July 8-9, 1999

NOTICE OF INTENT:Authorization to Offer a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology; Montana State University-Billings

THAT: The Board of Regents of Higher Education authorizes Montana State University-Billings to award a Master of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology.

EXPLANATION: The Department of Psychology proposes to create a Master of Science degree program in Clinical Psychology. This degree program would provide degree candidates the opportunity to pursue advanced study in psychology and give students the opportunity to obtain the following career goals:

  • Obtain a graduate degree in Psychology
  • Prepare for employment in a clinical or research setting
  • Prepare for state examinations leading to LCPC or similar licenses
  • Prepare for teaching at the community college level
  • Prepare for additional graduate study (e.g. MSW, PhD or PsyD)

These goals are consistent with the objectives of similar graduate programs at other universities and have been identified as needs of our graduates in the MSU-Billings Psychology Department. Student interest in a master's degree offering by the department was recently assessed by a survey of 61 psychology students. When asked by the survey, 89% said they had "plans to attend graduate school in psychology or a related field" and 97% were "interested in finding out more" about a Master's program at MSU-Billings. When asked if they would apply to a program in the department, 46% said they would apply, 48% said they might apply and 7% said they would not apply. It may interest the Board that, when asked what type of careers they were interested in being prepared for during graduate study, 79% said clinical practice, 34% said research, 33% said teaching and 39% said further graduate work. We have designed our program according to these responses and, as mentioned previously, this is quite consistent with the goals of other programs after which we have modeled our proposal.

While a discussion of the details of the program is not appropriate in this Notice of Intent, it should be noted that the program proposes two tracks that will make it sufficiently broad to attract and serve the needs of a diverse population of graduate students. Also, we anticipate establishing contacts in other Psychology departments (including the departments at Bozeman and Missoula) to help our graduates apply to PhD granting programs. We are convinced that many students from the Billings area need a program of this nature to facilitate their educational and career goals. In addition, we have designed a foundation of "core" graduate courses which is broad enough in scope to serve those students interested in teaching and further graduate studies. Yet the curriculum is specific enough to allow students to pursue certification from state and national agencies. We believe Billings is a particularly good location for such a program because of its wealth of potential sites for internship training.

In summary, the Department of Psychology has proposed a master's degree program that seems to have great potential to serve the needs of area students. In addition to adding these graduate students to the student population of MSU-Billings, we feel that we will be cultivating future graduate students for the other campuses in the University System and would like to work toward that end. Our conclusion, given all of the information available to us, is that now is a perfect time for the Department of Psychology to expand our efforts into graduate education.

Proposed Starting Date: Fall 2000