FAQs | Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Chatham University

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Chatham University Master of Science in Counseling Psychology

+ Is the MSCP program accredited?


The MSCP program is accredited by the Master's in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC). MPCAC is an organization whose mission is to accredit academic programs that provide science-based education and training in the practice of counseling and psychological services at the masters level. MPCAC is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA), an organization dedicated to enhancing quality in higher education through specialized and professional accreditation. The accreditation puts the MSCP program in very good company with other MPCAC-accredited programs. There are currently approximately 54 programs across 22 states accredited by MPCAC. Some other examples of accredited programs include Boston College, University of Kansas, Columbia University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and New York University.

Accreditation serves a useful and important function in helping programs develop and maintain the best possible educational standards and practices for students. It is important that the type of accreditation matches the mission and practices of the program being accredited. There are several organizations who accredit masters counseling 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. Please note that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does NOT require graduation from a program with any specific accreditation to become licensed.

+ 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 License Professional Counseling (LPC) in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and 46 other states.  Therefore, upon earning the MSCP degree and acquiring the requirements to obtain an 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 a behavioral health counselor, 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. Survey data over the past five years indicate that 90% of our alumni are working in the counseling or related field.

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: The MSCP program has a talented, student-centered faculty. The MSCP faculty all hold PhD's in either clinical or counseling psychology and most are licensed psychologists in Pennsylvania. The faculty are "quadruple threats" – excelling in teaching, research, clinical practice, and student development. Areas of expertise include (but are not limited to) – positive psychology, multicultural counseling competence, refugee populations, integrated health training, sport psychology, interpersonal therapy, religion and spirituality, improving the quality of life of individuals with disabilities, group counseling, and counseling men.

MSCP students are matched with a faculty member with shared interests to maximize the advising relationship. Faculty take the time to get to know their students in order to map out a successful career trajectory.

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 »

+ Why Counseling Psychology?

Counseling Psychology is a subfield of Psychology with specific values focused on strength-based approaches to interventions, multicultural counseling competence, individual differences, human development across the life span, outreach and prevention, social justice and advocacy, relatively brief interventions, and understanding person-environment interactions. We are proud of such values and teach those values throughout our curriculum.

For more information, please see the Society of Counseling Psychology's website »

+ What is the difference between Counseling Psychology, Clinical Psychology, and Counseling (without psychology)?

There are many similarities in these helping professions. Some of the differences are primarily historical and philosophical, but important to keep in mind when researching programs and making career decisions.

Counseling Psychology v. Clinical Psychology. Graduates from clinical and counseling psychology programs are eligible for similar licenses, jobs, and perform similar roles and responsibilities.  As stated above, Counseling Psychology adheres to certain values. In comparison, Clinical Psychology tends to emphasize diagnosis, psychopathology, and the medical model of interventions. Thus, the differences are primarily an issue of emphasis.

For more information, please see the Society of Counseling Psychology's website »

Counseling Psychology v. Counseling (without psychology). The counseling field is based on psychological theory, science, and history. Thus, it only makes sense to use the best of both worlds – Counseling and Psychology. Thus, we identify as a Counseling Psychology program and students are trained by Counseling Psychologists. We firmly believe in the immense value in training students in the integrative field of Counseling Psychology, according to the stated values in the Why Counseling Psychology section.

Other schools have Counseling programs minus the psychology. Such programs are usually called Counselor Education or Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In general, they have decided to separate the psychology from counseling and focus solely on a narrow approach to training that emphasizes a "counseling identity."

Attending and graduating from a Counseling Psychology program or a Counseling (minus the psychology) program may impact the nature of your training, the types of jobs, supervision, and professional networking that you experience.

+ What are the Student Organizations in the MSCP Program?

We also offer 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 Dr. Deanna Hamilton, 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.

Faculty-Led Research Teams: Faculty members regularly engage in collaborative research. Student involvement is valued and encouraged. Students can gain valuable experience working alongside faculty and peers in conducting literature reviews, collecting data, analyzing data, writing papers, and presenting at conferences.

Graduate Psychology Student Advisory Council: The Graduate Psychology Student Advisory Council is a group of student representatives from the MAP, MSCP, and PsyD programs that meet on a quarterly basis with the PsyD and Masters Program Training Directors to provide student feedback, suggest novel initiatives or trainings, and facilitate student engagement.

Graduate Student Assembly: The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) is a group of graduate students from all university programs that meet to improve graduate student life at Chatham University; to promote interaction among all graduate students; to bring graduate students into a more active participation within their departments; to act as the representative body for the graduate students and to present their views to the administration, faculty, and undergraduates; and to enhance the quality of education available at Chatham University by helping to program campus-wide events and activities which enrich our community through creating on-campus programming of lectures, workshops, and seminars from professionals outside of our University and by helping to enable graduate students to seek professional development through the help of our professional development fund. GSA is made up of two representatives from each Graduate Program, but all graduate students are welcome to attend GSA meetings or are encouraged to share their thoughts/ideas/concerns with their programs GSA representatives. More information about the GSA and the graduate student experience can be found here »