Chatham University

Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MSCP) FAQ's

+ What are the Benefits of the MSCP degree at Chatham University?

License-Eligible Earning the MSCP degree from Chatham University provides you with the educational requirements to be license-eligible as a LPC in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and 46 other states.

Therefore, upon earning the MSCP degree and acquiring the requirements to obtain a LPC, you will be able to operate as an autonomous counselor, supervise trainees, operate a private practice, and collect third-party reimbursements from insurance companies.

A Strong Career Path: Graduates of our MSCP program have an excellent track record of gaining employment in the mental health and counseling fields such as operating a private practice, drug and alcohol counseling, clinical research, and child and family counseling. Graduates work in outpatient and inpatient clinics, hospital settings, non-profit organizations, K - 12 schools, universities and colleges, and career development centers.

Plugged into our Network: The MSCP program maintains a collaborative relationship with literally hundreds of community agencies and organizations across Western Pennsylvania, which serve as field placement training sites and places of future employment.

Trained by Nationally Recognized Faculty: 14 full-time faculty teach in The MSCP program. Every faculty member has a PhD (in either clinical or counseling psychology). Most faculty members are engaged in both clinical practice and research in an area of their expertise. Faculty members are nationally recognized experts in counseling athletes, advocacy interventions for girls and women, interpersonal process therapy, group therapy, infant mental health, counseling men and fathers, ecopsychology and sustainable health, multicultural counseling, helping individuals with disabilities, and positive psychology (to name a few).

The faculty publishes research in respected and rigorous peer-reviewed, professional journals and present their work at national and international professional conferences and serve leadership roles within professional organizations. Taken together, the faculty is able to integrate their clinical practice and research expertise into state-of-the-art and cutting-edge training and education for students in the MSCP program.

Please see our faculty profiles for additional information.

Additional Benefits: We also provide opportunities outside of the classroom and beyond our curriculum for students to become involved in various student organizations and groups that enhance professional identity and development.

Psi Chi: Advised by Drs. Deanna Hamilton & Peggy Stubbs, this student led, International honor society, promotes community outreach and connects students across all levels of psychology training at Chatham. Undergraduates, Masters, Doctoral Students, and Faculty collaborate on service projects and enjoy psychology related social events.

Neuropsychology Club: Advised by Dr. Jill Cyranowski and coordinated by a former master’s student, Adam Saad, this club explores the fascinating area of neuropsychology. Students have observed neurological surgeries at local hospitals, among other cool activities.

The Psychology of Gender Research Team: Co-directed by Drs. Britney Brinkman and Anthony Isacco, this research team works with students to become active researchers and to learn about publishing, presenting, and loving research! Learn more.

Professional Identity Development: Yes, students in our program receive the necessary training to become Licensed Professional Counselors. Additionally, throughout their academic and extracurricular experiences they are able to integrate their professional identities in counseling and psychology.

+ Is the MSCP program accredited?

Thanks for asking!

Accreditation serves a useful and important function in helping programs develop and maintain the best possible educational standards and practices for students. We are, however, against the idea that there is only one type of accreditation that can assure programs are training competent professionals. The idea of different types of accreditation leading to professional licensure is not new, nor is psychology the only field that has multiple methods of accreditation. Both nursing and physician training programs have more than one accrediting body. It is important that the type of accreditation matches the mission and practices of the program being accredited.

We are currently seeking accreditation from the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC) that was established in 1997. MPCAC has two types of accreditation: MPAC (Masters in Psychology Accreditation Committee) and MCAC (Masters in Counseling Accreditation Committee). Chatham's MSCP program is seeking MCAC accreditation because it reflects the mission, values, and standards of our program. Further, as State licensing board increasingly require graduation from "accredited programs," MCAC offers an alternative to CACREP. Please note that the state of PA does NOT require CACREP accreditation to become licensed.

We anticipate submitting our application for this accreditation by the end of this fall 2015 semester and undergoing our site visit sometime shortly thereafter. We anticipate being accredited by the summer of 2016 (in time for the Fall 2016 semester). Stay tuned for future updates!

+ What is this CACREP I've heard so much about?

CACREP stands for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. It is an accrediting organization interested in promoting Masters-level counseling education and licensure for those trained in Counselor Education programs. CACREP has been clear in stating its desire to eliminate Masters-level Counseling Psychology programs. This controversy is often referred to as "CACREP only" language in licensure laws. Currently, two states (Kentucky and Louisiana) have "CACREP only" language in licensure laws.

As you might suspect based on our program's mission and identity, we are not CACREP accredited. We are not CACREP (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) accredited because we are a Counseling Psychology program, and psychology programs are not eligible for that accreditation. CACREP only accredits counselor education programs.

Although CACREP is not officially affiliated with the American Counseling Association (ACA), the ACA recently declared their support for CACREP only language in states’ licensure laws.

Please keep in mind that not all Counselor Education programs are CACREP-accredited and there are harmful consequences to "CACREP only" licensure language.

+ Why is "CACREP only" licensure language harmful?

Obviously, monopolies are frowned upon in the United States and CACREP is moving towards monopolizing master's level counseling education. CACREP has denied the effectiveness of unaffiliated programs without empirical support or careful inquiry and evaluation. In other words, most programs unaffiliated and unaccredited by CACREP meet rigorous educational standards and are effective at training professional counselors.

Further, CACREP licensure restrictions exclude well-trained clinicians from providing services, often at the expense of those who could greatly benefit from mental health support. From this perspective, CACREP restrictions are a social justice issue -- vulnerable populations are not receiving the counseling support that they need. At-risk populations and the general public need competent and well-trained counselors. CACREP’s actions have the potential to decrease the supply of counselors in communities most in demand of mental health services. This is an obvious problem that we would like to prevent and we are working with Universities across the country to try and stop CACREP only language from becoming part of licensure laws. In fact, some states have tried to adopt "CACREP only" licensure language, only to have the legislation overturned (e.g., New Jersey) because of the inherent problems in such exclusionary and restrictive policies.

+ Where did you get all of this Useful Information?

Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC)

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania LPC Licensure Board

Horne, A. M. (2013). Looking to the future - The role of master’s programs in Counseling Psychology: A response to Quality of Master’s Education: A Concern for Counseling Psychology? The Counseling Psychologist, 41, 710-716.

Jackson, M.A. & Scheel, M.J. (2013). Quality of master's education: A concern for counseling psychology? The Counseling Psychologist, 41, 669-699.

Jackson, M.A. & Scheel, M.J. (2013). Integrating master's education in counseling psychology for quality, viability, and value added. The Counseling Psychologist, 41, 717-723.

Palmer, L.K. (2013). Legitimizing and reclaiming master's training and education in counseling psychology: An urgent concern. The Counseling Psychology, 41, 700-709.