Overview – M.A. in Community Psychology

Why Earn an Online Master of Arts in Community Psychology?

Point Park University offers an online master’s program that helps you connect to communities. Our human-focused master’s degree program in community psychology helps you develop the skills and knowledge needed to focus on the specific needs of individuals and families who are ready to improve their lives.

Point Park’s program stands out from other similar master’s programs because our theoretical approach based on existential-humanistic, feminist, critical, and liberation social psychologies is so unique. The program seeks to graduate psychology students who connect with our holistic approach to better understanding behavior and will take their new knowledge into the community to enhance the well-being of individuals and groups through research, community assistance and clinical practices.

Curriculum Overview

As you earn a Master of Arts in Community Psychology online with Point Park University, you’ll benefit from a curriculum that provides a broad array of psychology courses and topics that will deepen your foundational psychology knowledge while exploring the topics to meet the outcomes relevant to many of today’s community mental health outreach programs and community-focused nonprofit organizations. You’ll experience topics such as Community Psychology, Childhood & Society, Critical Race Studies, LGBTQ Studies and more.

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  • Next Start Date: January 10, 2022
Est. Program Length: 5 semesters
Credit Hours: 36
Course Length: 8 Weeks
Cost Per Credit: $740
Transfer Credits Accepted: Up to 9
  • Est. Program Length: 5 Semesters

  • Credit Hours: 36

  • Course Length: 8 Weeks

  • Cost Per Credit: $740

  • Transfer Credits Accepted: Up to 6

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What Will You Learn?

Students in our M.A. in Community Psychology program take courses like:

  • Foundations of Community Psychology
  • Humanistic and Phenomenological Approaches
  • Psychopathology in the Context of Society and Culture
  • Social Psychology and Cultural Transformation
  • Childhood & Society
  • Critical Race Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Integrative Approaches to Mental Health
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

The program emphasizes:

  • Understanding the role of social and cultural influences on mental health and well-being
  • Prevention
  • Diagnosis and treatment of mental illness
  • Empathic understanding
  • Recognition of diverse ways of living
  • Ethically informed approaches
  • Respect for a variety of values
  • Respect for human dignity
  • Respect for the rights of all humans.

At Point Park, Community Psychology students showcase their research at national conferences and benefit from a network of psychology professionals from across the nation.

Course Offerings

Admission Requirements

Course Description
The historical, philosophical and theoretical background to community psychology will be examined. Special emphasis will be placed on involvement in our local urban community with recognition of its existing resources as well as its diverse population. The course will require small field work projects as well as theoretical and research papers. (3 credits; no prerequisites).

Course Description
This course will address comprehensively and in detail humanistic and phenomenological psychology as used in research and practice. The course will examine the phenomenological approach to research, and explore how this approach provides a foundation for a humanistic understanding of the person in the context of culture and community. (3 credits; no prerequisites)

Course Description
Mental distress, maladaptive behavior and problems in living will be examined broadly and from multiple perspectives, with special emphasis on the social and cultural antecedents and consequences of human suffering and dysfunction. Critical examination of current diagnostic systems will be explored in light of contemporary research. (3 credits; Prerequisite: PSYC 503)

Course Description
This course will ask how theories of social psychology may, as participatory action research, affect beneficial cultural transformations within communities. Socio-cultural therapeutics will be analyzed indepth. Traditional foundations to social psychology will be comprehensively presented along with current and cutting edge perspectives in the field. (3 credits; Prerequisite: PSYC 503)

Course Description
Practical skills will be learned regarding the creation and implementation of programs related to community building, health initiatives/services, and non-profit organizations. The course will include necessary knowledge of local and federal restrictions and support, coalitions, technical assistance and local community partnerships. Program evaluation and assessment skills will be taught. (3 credits; Prerequisites: PSYC 551 & 552)

Course Description
This course will provide a detailed account of ethical issues that arise within clinical and research settings. Specific case examples will be studied and ethical issues will be role-played and scrutinized in class. The American Psychological Association’s ethical standards as well as the Pennsylvania Psychological Association’s ethical guidelines will be examined in depth.

Course Description
This course will explore the historical, philosophical, and theoretical foundations to quantitative research and proceed to explore descriptive statistics, correlational analyses, experimental designs, and inferential statistics. Proficiency in information literacy and research will be expected. Understanding of quantitative measures and results within peer-reviewed journals will be stressed. APA ethical guidelines for using human participants will be reviewed. Quantitative lab projects will provides students with opportunities to apply concepts with actual data.

Course Description
This course will introduce the historical and philosophical foundation to qualitative research including specific theories, methods, practices, and interpretive skills within human science research. Proficiency in information literacy and research is expected. Qualitative research will be compared and contrasted to natural science quantitative research. APA ethical guidelines for using human participants will be reviewed. The course will include original research: proposal, pilot study, field work (observations, participant observations), and interviews as well as analysis and scholarship. (3 credits; No prerequisite)

M.A. Electives:

One faculty member will chair the thesis, and at least one other faculty member will serve on the committee. Students will identify a regional community that appears to be in need of intervention, due to a high prevalence of antecedent social factors that are likely to increase or mediate mental illness and/or wellbeing. Based on a review of the research literature and assessment of the community, students will design a plan for a community intervention that promises to improve the mental health and well-being of members of the identified at-risk community. (3 credits; Prerequisite: PSYC 563)
This practicum will provide students with research experience under the guidance of a faculty member and/or a community agency on-site supervisor. Students will engage in community assessment, program development, and/or community-based interventions for a minimum of 10 hours per week.
This practicum is an independent study course which will involve supervised practice in applied community psychology. Students will participate in community intervention or program within an agency. A minimum of 120 hours of on-site work at the placement site must be completed in order to earn a grade for the course. Prerequisite: PSYC 503.

Electives List

PSYC 524 Childhood & Society

PSYC 525 Lifespan Development

PSYC 532 Mental Health and Well-Being

PSYC 541 Brain, Body & Experience

PSYC 555 Critical Race Studies

PSYC 556 Girls’ and Women’s Mental Health

PSYC 557 Integrative Mental Health

PSYC 558 Intro to Grant Writing

PSYC 559 LGBTQ Studies

PSYC 560 Mindfulness: Buddhist

PSYC 595 Spec. Topics in Clinical-Community Psychology

PSYC 642 Critical Theory in Social Sciences

PSYC 643 Dynamics of Social Systems

PSYC 646 Psych. of Religion & Spirituality

PSYC 647 Psychology of Sex and Gender

PSYC 648 Psychology of Human Diversity

PSYC 649 Psych. of Emotion and Motivation

PSYC 652 Community Practicum I

PSYC 653 Community Practicum II

PSYC 693 Research Practicum

PSYC 694 Research Practicum II

PSYC 695 Advanced Spec Topics

How can you help your community?

An M.A. in Community Psychology opens the door to a variety of career opportunities. Graduates may also choose to pursue a doctoral degree.

  • Administrator or director of community mental health and development programs

  • Social or community service manager

  • Community researcher

  • Unlicensed counselor

Next Steps

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Discover the Point Park University Online degree that will help you further your current career, or forge a new career path.

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