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Clinical-Counseling Psychology

The master's degree in the Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program provides rigorous training in basic areas of psychology and their application in assessment, counseling, and psychotherapeutic treatment.

To learn more about Clinical Psychology, see the American Psychological Association's Society of Clinical Psychology website. To learn more about Counseling Psychology, see the APA's Society of Counseling Psychology website.

One of the strengths of this Program has been the presence of faculty who have been trained in Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology, which has provided a valuable opportunity for collaboration between faculty and graduate students. The master's degree can be completed with two years of full time enrollment on campus.

You may contact our current graduate students at ccpstudents@ilstu.edu if you would like to ask questions about their experiences in the Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program.

University Admission Requirements

A student applying to a master's program must:

  • Have earned a four-year bachelor's degree or its equivalent from a college or prior to fall admission
  • Send official transcripts from each college or university, other than Illinois State, where graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts should be emailed from the school to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200

International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.

Additional Program Admission Requirements

A student applying to this program must:

  • Submit a complete application by December 15
  • Have a cumulative 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) for either the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or at least a 3.0 GPA for 9 hours of graduate coursework
  • Have completed at least 15 hours of undergraduate psychology courses that include general psychology, psychological statistics, research methods, abnormal psychology, and learning theory. Applicants should have a proficiency in math based on a passing grade in finite math or Precalculus (MAT 120 or 144 or equivalent), a grade of B or better in psychological statistics (PSY 340 or equivalent) or a score of 144 or higher on the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE General Test. Applicants who have not completed the required undergraduate courses may be admitted, but the missing course(s) will be added to the master's program's curriculum. Any missing courses must be completed during the first year of graduate study.

A complete application requires:

  • Official GRE General Test scores (use institution code 1319)
  • A curriculum vitae or resume that includes the following information, if applicable:
    • Any experiences (paid, unpaid, internship, volunteer, etc.) including dates, employer or organization, business addresses, and the nature of the experiences that are relevant to admission to this graduate program
    • Any academic honors and awards including the year it was received and, if not evident from the title, briefly explain what the honor or award recognizes
    • Any research experiences, skills, and accomplishments
  • A writing sample (scholarly work approximately 5-15 pages long)
  • A personal statement (approximately 2-3 pages, double-spaced that addresses the following:
    • Professional and career goals
    • Qualifications for admission to this graduate program
    • Research interests and experiences
    • Clinical practice interests
    • Your interests in this graduate program
    • How your interests and goals fit with this graduate program
  • Three recommendations (see application instructions about providing names and email addresses; recommendations must be uploaded to the application)

Applicant Interview Day: March 2, 2018 (Friday)

Some applicants may be invited to visit the department during the spring semester. The Applicant Interview Day schedule includes meeting with current graduate students and other invited applicants, interviews with faculty members, lunch, and a late afternoon social. Invited applicants will be contacted by the graduate coordinator.

Admission is offered only for the fall semester and is very competitive. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Admission offers are sent in February. The Council for Graduate Schools stipulates that an applicant has until April 15 to accept or decline an admission offer. Some admission offers may be delayed until applicants notify the department that they are declining admission.

Admission Dates and Deadlines

Term Application Deadline
Fall (August)  December 15 
Spring (January)  No spring admission 
Summer (May/June)  No summer admission 

Graduate Assistantship Information

The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.

Eligibility

To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,

  • be admitted as a degree-seeking student to a graduate program
  • be in good-standing
  • be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credits) during the fall or spring semesters

Benefits

Graduate assistants receive

  • monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
  • a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
  • a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment

The department routinely awards graduate assistantships to applicants who accept admission to Illinois State. Applicants who accept our admission offer will receive information about completing the assistantship application process. Graduate assistantships are subject to verification of employment eligibility under U.S. immigration laws and the receipt of anticipated state funding.

Cost & Funding

See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from continuous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.

Graduate Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Karen Mark  DeGarmo 423  kimark@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8130 

Plan of Study

The master's program in Clinical-Counseling Psychology provides rigorous training in basic areas of psychology and their application in assessment, counseling, and psychotherapeutic treatment. The goal of the program is to produce graduates who are:

  • Informed by a scientific approach in their provision of mental health services
  • Holistic in their approach to mental health, incorporating strengths from traditional clinical psychology and counseling psychology philosophies in their work
  • Highly competitive for professional positions in mental health agencies, which includes community mental health, substance abuse treatment, and child welfare
  • Prepared to pursue a career path that may include doctoral study in psychology and related fields, and
  • Eligible for licensure in Illinois as a licensed clinical professional counselor, and likely to grow in leadership roles in mental health agencies.

The program seeks to accomplish these goals by emphasizing:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Methodological training that prepares individuals to be sophisticated consumers of psychological and psychiatric research
  • Multiple philosophies of human development, etiologies of psychological distress, and treatment.
  • Integration of research with practice, and
  • Personal and professional development of students.

The typical plan of study for most students is presented below. While departmental and licensing requirements determine most of the curriculum, each student with the program advisor, each student prepares a plan of study that considers academic preparation and professional objectives. The graduate program's required courses meet the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) requirements in Illinois. To compare the requirement with the appropriate course, see the list below of LCPC requirements list below.

When courses are offered may change depending on scheduling and faculty availability. The courses identified below are for three credits, unless otherwise noted.

Year 1

FALL

  • PSY 420 Theories of Personality
  • PSY 440 Statistics: Data Analysis and Methodology
  • PSY 468 Advanced Psychopathology and Mental Health Diagnosis
  • PSY 470 Legal, Ethical, and Practice Issues in Clinical-Counseling Psychology

SPRING

  • PSY 438 Techniques of Objective Assessment
  • PSY 464 Theories and Techniques of Counseling: Adults
  • PSY 467 Family Therapy
  • PSY 490 Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project (1 credit)* or PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)**

SUMMER

  • PSY 421 Advanced Behavior Modification
  • PSY 436A02 Practicum in Clinical-Counseling Psychology (1 credit)***
  • PSY 466 Substance Abuse Counseling
  • PSY 490 Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project (1 credit) or PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)

Year 2

FALL

  • PSY 436A02 Practicum in Clinical-Counseling Psychology
  • PSY 437 Group Psychotherapy
  • PSY 490 Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project (1 credit) or PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)

SPRING

  • PSY 436A02 Practicum in Clinical-Counseling Psychology
  • PSY 451 Psychology of Diversity
  • PSY 465 Vocational Counseling
  • PSY 490 Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project (1 credit) or PSY 499 Master's Thesis (1 credit)

* Students completing a clinical-counseling capstone project must register for three total credits of PSY 490 (for one or more semesters) plus an approved elective for three credits.

** Based on past experiences, students who finish their thesis proposals by the end of spring or summer semesters of Year 1 will have a very good chance to defending the theses by the end of the spring semester of Year 2. Students who finish thesis proposals later most likely will not defend their theses until the summer semester of Year 2 and possibly later. Students completing a thesis must register for PSY 499 for 4-6 total credits for two or more semesters.

***In order to register for practicum, students must have earned a cumulative 3.0 GPA and grades of B or better in PSY 464 and PSY 470. Furthermore, a grade of B or better in practicum is required in order to continue in subsequent semesters of practicum.

LCPC Requirements and Relevant Psychology Courses

  • Human Growth and Development: PSY 420 Theories of Personality
  • Counseling Theory: PSY 464 Theories and Techniques of Counseling
  • Counseling Techniques: PSY 421 Advanced Behavior Modification
  • Group Dynamics, Process, and Counseling: PSY 437 Group Psychotherapy
  • Appraisal of Individuals: PSY 438 Techniques of Objective Assessment
  • Research and Evaluation: PSY 440 Statistics: Data Analysis and Methodology
  • Professional, Legal, and Ethical Issues: PSY 470 Legal, Ethical, and Practice Issues in Clinical-Counseling Psychology
  • Social and Cultural Foundations: PSY 451 Psychology of Diversity
  • Lifestyle and Career Development: PSY 465 Vocational Counseling
  • Practicum/Internship: PSY 436A02 Practicum in Clinical-Counseling Psychology
  • Psychopathology and Maladaptive Behavior: PSY 468 Advanced Psychopathology and Mental Health Diagnosis
  • Substance Abuse: PSY 466 Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Family Dynamics: PSY 467 Family Therapy

Practicum Opportunities

Practicum is the core of the professional training in the Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program. Practicum comprises several components that complement each other—a class seminar with didactic and case presentation elements, individual therapy supervision, and a clinical placement. Students enroll in practicum for three semesters (summer, fall, and spring), and must receive a grade of B or better each semester in order to continue in subsequence semesters. The 12-month placement is at a community agency in the Central Illinois area. The number of placements and agency sites varies each year. Practicum assignments are determined through a matching process that requires an application and interview. Practicum placement is from May 16 of the first year of graduate study through May 15 of the second year. The practicum assignment requires 20 hours of work per week at the agency, which also constitutes a graduate assistantship with a full tuition waiver.

Practicum Sites

The Baby Fold

The Baby Fold is a child welfare agency in Normal. Services include residential and school programs, and family counseling. Practicum students work with children and adolescents in foster care who were removed from their homes due to neglect or abuse; students learn about the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services system. They also counsel birth parents and co-teach classes to parents and other groups. Training opportunities focus on developing a variety of therapy skills for working with children, adolescents, adults, and families.

The Center for Youth and Family Solutions

Located in Bloomington, The Center for Youth and Family Solutions is a not-for-profit social service agency that provides mental health, family support, community, and child welfare services to the McLean County community. Agency services reflect an eco-systemic, family systems perspective, using a variety of clinical techniques and theories. This placement involves a combination of outpatient/office therapy and outreach/home or community therapy through the Family Counseling division. The practicum can include individual, family, and couples/marital therapy sessions.  Opportunities exist for group therapy, crisis intervention, and involvement in Individualized Care Grant services.  Clientele served include small children and their caregivers, and adults.  Cases range from short-term assessment, brief therapy, and stabilization to longer-term, in-depth therapy.

Chestnut Health Systems

This division of Chestnut Health Systems, in Bloomington, provides services to individuals with histories of substance dependence or abuse; however, many clients also have coexisting psychiatric diagnoses. In their roles as addiction therapists, practicum students conduct group therapy, psychoeducational groups, and may provide individual therapy to clients participating in intensive outpatient treatment. Clients may be self-referred for therapy or attend treatment as part of a court order. Other activities include conducting intake evaluations, interpreting personality assessments, providing treatment recommendations, and communicating with community professionals and legal entities.

DeWitt County Human Resource Center

DeWitt County Human Resource Center is located in Clinton, Ill. (approximately 35 miles south of Bloomington-Normal). Practicum students completing placements at this agency are involved in a full range of activities associated with this comprehensive community mental health center. Students provide individual, family, and group therapy to clients representing diverse backgrounds that include children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of presenting concerns and diagnostic categories. Other responsibilities include conducting intake interviews and crisis intervention counseling–practicum students may be on-call a few days a month and may assess individuals over the phone or at a area hospital.

Heritage Behavioral Health Center

Heritage Behavioral Health Center (HBHC) is a county mental health center located in Decatur, Ill. (approximately 50 miles south of Bloomington-Normal). This center provides comprehensive community-based services through 33 program areas, focusing on mental health and addiction services. Practicum students may be involved in placements in a variety of program areas with placements tailored to students’ particular areas of interest. Students work with clients representing a wide range of ages (children, adolescents, and adults), presenting various concerns, and diagnostic categories. HBHC placement would involve providing individual and group therapy on an outpatient basis, conducting outpatient assessments, and providing services through the residential treatment facility for individuals dealing with substance abuse issues.

Institute for Human Resources (IHR)

The Institute for Human Recourses is located in Pontiac, Ill. (approximately 40 miles north of Bloomington-Normal). This Livingston County comprehensive community mental health center provides prevention, education, treatment, and aftercare services. Through the county's mental health department, students provide individual and family counseling to clients (children, adolescents, and adults), conduct assessments, create individualized treatment plans, and work with clientele with a wide range of presenting concerns and diagnoses. Opportunities also exist to observe crisis calls at the local hospital and jail.

Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois - Springfield

Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois - Springfield provides services as a branch of Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois (MHCCI). Students complete this placement at the center located in Springfield, Ill. (approximately 60 miles southwest of Bloomington-Normal). Practicum students are involved in the adult outpatient services, conducting assessments and providing counseling for individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses. It is typical for practicum students to have a case load of up to 30 clients, who generally are being treated for mood, anxiety, thought, and personality disorders. MHCCI offers integrated treatment with psychiatrists, nurses, and caseworkers, providing opportunities for practicum students to collaborate with these treatment professionals. Opportunities also exist for students to gain experience with crisis intervention services and involvement in emergency room services at the adjacent hospital. Similar experiences providing services for children and adolescents are available through the practicum placement at The Children's Center, a division of MHCCI, which is also located in Springfield.

Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project

Students admitted to the Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program have the option of completing either a clinical-counseling capstone project or a master's thesis in order to fulfill their degree requirements. Details about the thesis option are available on the Thesis Procedures website. The Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project procedures are explained below.

Time Frame and Procedures

In order to complete the capstone project in a timely manner, students should begin researching appropriate topics during their first year of graduate study. Students should solicit a Clinical-Counseling Psychology faculty member as their project chair no later than the end of spring semester of the first year. In the early stages of the project, the student and faculty member typically work together to develop an appropriate topic. It is recommended that students review what is being published in current clinical and counseling psychology journals for potential capstone project topics.

By the start of the fall semester of the second year, students should complete the CLINICAL-COUNSELING CAPSTONE PROJECT CHAIR and TOPIC form, which identifies both the project chair and topic. The form also includes an override request for PSY 490 Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project. The Project Chair form is an interactive Word document that should be completed on a computer and printed. Students and faculty members should sign and date the Project Chair form, which should then be submitted to the Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program coordinator. When the Project Chair form is approved by the coordinator, the Graduate Programs Office will notify students when they can register for PSY 490.

Student will work with their project chair to further develop the topic. Student must write a capstone project paper. When the paper is nearly complete, students and their project chair should solicit another Clinical-Counseling Psychology faculty member as the project reader. The project chair and reader should independently evaluate the capstone project paper. The project chair, in consultation with the reader, must approve the project paper before the student can schedule an oral defense of the capstone project. If the project chair identifies any changes to the capstone project paper, the student must complete these changes and submit a revised capstone project paper to the project chair and reader for a second evaluation.

Project Format

The capstone project requires student to write an intensive theoretical paper, research review, or position paper on an emerging topic or issue of contemporary relevance. The project must be at least 30 pages long, excluding references. The project must address the relevance of the topic in the following areas:

  • Foundations of behavior (normal and/or abnormal)
  • Assessment and measurement
  • Applications to therapy
  • Relevant ethical and professional issues
  • Cultural considerations and relevance to special populations
  • Research challenges and needs

For example, a student may be interested in panic disorder. The project might address how panic disorder is assessed and diagnosed, what form the behavior takes and its etiology, how panic disorder is treated, any relevant ethical or professional issues in the assessment and treatment of panic disorder, future research directions needed, and cultural differences in the assessment and treatment of panic disorder. Some of these domains would require more depth than others given the project's topic, but all of the domains must be addressed in a satisfactory manner in the capstone project before it is defended.

Project Defense

After receiving approval from the project chair, students must defend their capstone project in a public forum. The project chair and reader will be in attendance along with any member of the University academic community who are interested in the project's topic. The department encourages graduate students to attend a capstone project defense in order to observe the process.

The capstone project should be defended at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student, project chair, and reader. The capstone project must be defended between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify the students when a room has been reserved. Students also need to inform the Graduate Programs Office which faculty member is the project reader.

 

At least one week before the defense date, students must submit to the Graduate Programs Office by 12:00 p.m. (Noon) a printed copy of the capstone project. Students must also provide a copy of the project to the project chair and reader; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the project chair and reader. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled defense to the department's graduate students and faculty members. The capstone project defense will also be posted on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office. Students must also complete the OUTCOME OF THE CLINICAL-COUNSELING CAPSTONE PROJECT DEFENSE form. Students should take this Defense form to their project defense.

During the defense, the project chair and reader will assess the student’s understanding of the issues raised in the capstone project. Students are expected to summarize their project and answer questions from individuals at the defense. When the discussion has ended, everyone should leave the room except for the project chair and reader. The project chair and reader will discuss the quality of the written and oral components of the capstone project. When the deliberations are complete and a decision has been reached, the student will be asked to return to the room. If the defense is approved by the project chair and reader, the student has passed the defense and the project is complete. The project chair and reader should sign the Outcome of the Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project Defense form. The project chair should submit the signed Defense form to the Clinical-Counseling Psychology coordinator. After the student passes the defense, the final project (incorporating any required changes communicated to the student during the defense) must be submitted electronically to the Clinical-Counseling Psychology coordinator.

If either the defense or responses to the questions during the defense are not satisfactory, the student must schedule a second defense for a later date. If the student does not pass the second oral defense, then the student will not be able to complete the project, which is a master's degree requirement. 

Continuous Enrollment

Students who have completed all course work and practica, but are still working on a capstone project, must maintain continuous enrolled until they successfully defend their project. Students must registering for one credit of PSY 490 each fall and spring semester until the capstone project is successfully defended. Registration for PSY 490 in the summer is required only  when a student expects to end the capstone project and complete the degree by the end of the summer semester. Students should contact the Graduate Programs Office at psygrad@ilstu.edu to request an override for PSY 490.

Thesis Procedures

Clinical-Counseling Psychology graduate students must complete either a thesis or a clinical-counseling capstone project in order to satisfy graduation requirements for a master's degree. Students must complete all of the degree requirements, including the thesis or capstone project, in six years beginning with the first semester of enrollment. See the Clinical-Counseling Capstone Project website for more information about this degree option.

Students who chose to complete a thesis are responsible for reviewing and complying with the department's Thesis Procedures, which are explained below. Students should also review the Thesis section in the Graduate Catalog and the Graduate School's Academic (Thesis Assistance) website for additional information about the University's thesis policies, continuous enrollment, graduation deadlines, etc. A thesis:

  • Should have a theoretical framework as its conceptual base
  • May represent a test or prediction derived from a theory, or an extension of an existing group of studies
  • May replicate an existing study, provided it attempts to repeat the study with some meaningful variation
  • May be reports of surveys related to themes of professional interest (see American Psychologist)
  • May have as a goal the development or improvement of instrumentation (see Behavior Research Methods)
  • May be ethological or statistical in nature, originating a new design, improving an existing design, or reapplying a quantitative statistical technique (see Journal of Mathematical Psychology and Educational and Psychological Measurement)
  • May be theoretical in nature providing an exposition of constructs, assumptions, interactions among constructs, translation into empirical variables, or illustrations of applications (see Psychological Bulletin and Psychological Review)
  • Must investigate a real problem (i.e., if the answer is obvious based on existing literature, the thesis poses a non-problem). However, research may be conducted to solve a practical problem, provided the solution can be generalized.

Thesis Standards

A thesis should be written in the professional style of a journal article, except for the rare thesis that is non-empirical in nature. The thesis chapters are usually identified as: Introduction, Method, Results, and Discussion. Graduate students are required to comply with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th edition, 2010) and with the University's thesis policies, which are available on the Graduate School's Academic (Thesis Assistance) website.

The Graduate School's thesis policies covers the administrative aspects and appearance of a thesis. The APA's Publication Manual governs the professional format and style of a thesis. There are subtle differences between the Graduate School's thesis policies and the department's Thesis Procedures. Students are expected to comply with the department's Thesis Procedures to successfully complete their theses. Students must also follow the standards of the APA's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct when conducting research.

Important Deadlines

Students are encouraged to review the  Dates and Deadlines on the Graduate School's Graduation and Commencement website for specific deadlines related thesis procedures including the last day for: submitting a Proposal Approval Form, submitting a Right to Defend request, and for a thesis defense. If these deadlines are not met, graduation will be postponed until the following semester.

Forming a Committee

During the first semester of graduate study, students should review the  Faculty Research Interests website, as a resource for potential research topics. Students should talk to faculty members who are knowledgeable or who are willing to become familiar in the area in which students would like to complete their thesis research. Students need to solicit faculty members to serve as the thesis committee chair and on the thesis committee.

By the middle of the second semester of their first year, students should solicit one faculty member to serve as the thesis committee chair. Graduate School thesis policies require the committee chair be a full member of the Graduate Faculty. An associate member of the Graduate Faculty may serve as a committee co-chair, along with a full member of the Graduate Faculty.

When a faculty member agrees to serve as a committee chair (or two faculty members as co-chairs), students must complete the DEPARMENT APPROVAL OF THESIS COMMITTEE CHAIR form. The Committee Chair form also includes an override request for PSY 499 Master's Thesis. The Committee Chair form should be signed by the student, committee chair, and the program or sequence graduate coordinator. The signed Committee Chair form should be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office. Students cannot register for PSY 499 until the signed Committee Chair form has been received by the Graduate Programs Office and the override request has been processed. Students will be notified, by the Graduate Programs Office, when they can register for PSY 499.

In consultation with their thesis committee chair, students should solicit a second faculty member for the committee. After the second faculty member agrees to serve on the committee, students must complete the DEPARTMENT APPROVAL OF THESIS COMMITTEE form. The Committee form should be signed by the student, committee chair, and faculty member. The signed Committee form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair. If there are committee co-chairs, students and their co-chairs may decide not to solicit another faculty member for the thesis committee, provided both co-chairs are full member's of the Graduate Faculty. Graduate School thesis policies require the majority of the thesis committee (i.e., chair and members) to be full members of the Graduate Faculty. If one co-chair is an associate member of the Graduate Faculty, another faculty member, who is a full member of the Graduate Faculty, must be solicited for the thesis committee.

If a committee member is unable to complete his or her service or is willing to yield his or her position on the committee, students should consult with their thesis committee chair about soliciting a new faculty member for the committee. Students must complete the CHANGE OF THESIS COMMITTEE and/or TOPIC form. The Change form should be signed by the student, committee chair(s), current committee member, and new faculty member. The signed Change form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair. Students will be notified if the faculty member has been approved as the new thesis committee member. If the thesis has been proposed and approved by the thesis committee, students must also complete the Graduate School's COMMITTEE CHANGE FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website.

If a committee member is unable to complete his or her service or is willing to yield his or her position on the committee, students should consult with their thesis committee chair about soliciting a new faculty member for the committee. Students must complete the CHANGE OF THESIS COMMITTEE and/or TOPIC form. The Change form should be signed by the student, committee chair(s), current committee member, and new faculty member. The signed Change form must be submitted to the Graduate Programs Office for approval by the department chair. Students will be notified if the faculty member has been approved as the new thesis committee member. If the thesis has been proposed and approved by the thesis committee, students must also complete the Graduate School's COMMITTEE CHANGE FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website.

Writing a Proposal

Graduate students must write a proposal that will be evaluated by their thesis committee. Students should discuss the contents of the proposal with their committee chair. The committee chair determines how much guidance will be provided to students in the development of the hypothesis, research project, and proposal. There should be a clear understanding between students and their committee chair of what is expected from each party.

The proposal should include a brief synopsis of the thesis topic and hypothesis, and the details of the research project. A thesis usually involves data collection; however, other data-based approaches are acceptable (e.g., meta-analyses, archival data sets, etc.). The proposal should address the use of human participants or animals in the research, if applicable. The proposal should also identify any ethical issues with the use of human participants or animals. Students should be diligent in the completeness of their thesis topic and research project. The committee chair should approve a draft of the proposal before it is submitted to the thesis committee.

Students should review the information on the department's Tools and Links for Researchers website in preparation for their thesis research. Before conducting any research involving human participants, the student's research project must be approved by Illinois State's Institutional Review Board (IRB). The proposal must include, in its method section, a detailed explanation of how the ethical issues will be addressed (e.g., possible risks to human participants, how such risks will be minimized, confidentiality procedures, informed consent, debriefing procedures, etc.). Students must also comply with the department's Ethical Guidelines and Procedures for Research Using Human Participants. If students anticipate using human participants from external sources (outside the University), the proposal must include a statement of the ethical procedures of the external source, and how the research project will conform to those requirements. The department recommends students obtain a signed agreement or memorandum of understanding, from the external source, that identifies the specific data students have permission to collect and use for their research project.

Before conducting any research involving the use of animals, the student's research project must be approved by Illinois State's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). The proposal must include, in its method section, a detailed explanation of how the ethical requirements for the care and use of animals will comply with the IACUC procedures.

Scheduling a Proposal

Graduate students must propose their thesis in a public forum. Before presenting a proposal, students must determine if the proposal contains any copyrighted material. Students should review and complete page 2 of the Graduate School's PROPOSAL APPROVAL FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academic (Forms) website. If any box under section (5) Copyright Checklist is checked for copyrighted material, students must consult with the Copyright Officer and obtain the Copyright Officer's signature on the Proposal Approval Form.

After consulting with the committee chair about proposing the thesis, students must contact the Graduate Programs Office to request a reader. The reader, who is a psychology faculty member, is appointed by the department. The reader represents the department and ensures that students and their thesis committees comply with the department's procedures and the University's requirements. The Graduate Programs Office will notify students when a reader has been assigned.

The proposal must be presented at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student, thesis committee, and reader. The proposal must be presented between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify the student when a room has been reserved.

When the proposal date has been determined, students must complete the information on page 3 of the Proposal Approval Form. Only the thesis committee should be identified on the Proposal Approval Form, along with their department/school and Graduate Faculty status. Students should contact the Graduate Programs Office at psygrad@ilstu.edu to determine the Graduate Faculty status for the thesis committee. The reader is not identified on the Proposal Approval Form. If the thesis committee does not satisfy the Graduate School's thesis committee requirements (described on page 1 of the Proposal Approval Form), the exception section on page 3, under section (6) Graduate Committee Information, must be completed. A brief rationale must be provided for the exception. If a committee member is not an Illinois State faculty member, students must also include the committee member's curriculum vitae, with the Proposal Approval Form, to satisfy the exception requirement.

At least one week before the scheduled proposal date, students must submit, by 12:00 p.m. (Noon), the Proposal Approval Form and a printed copy of their proposal to the Graduate Programs OfficeStudents must also provide a copy of the proposal to the thesis committee and reader; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the committee members or reader. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled proposal on the department's graduate students and faculty email listserv, and will post the information on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office.

Presenting a Thesis Proposal

The department encourages psychology graduate students to attend thesis proposals in order to observe the process. The proposal is also open to the University academic community. Students should consult with their thesis committee chair if students would like to invite non-academic parties (i.e., family and friends) to the proposal. Individuals observing the proposal may ask the student questions and provide comments about the presentation. However, participation by such individuals should not monopolize the presentation. Since the proposal is a formal evaluation of the student, the thesis committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to recognize individuals for questions or comments during the presentation. The department prohibits any refreshments at a thesis proposal.

At the proposal, students should discuss their thesis and any relevant literature, and explain their research project. When the presentation has ended and there are no more questions, everyone should leave the room except for the thesis committee, reader, and any other psychology faculty members. The committee will discuss the proposal. Psychology faculty who have an opinion about the proposal are encouraged to present their remarks for consideration by the thesis committee. The decision to approve or withhold approval of the thesis proposal is the responsibility of the thesis committee. The committee must reach a consensus about the status of the proposal. When a consensus is reached, the student will be asked to return to the room and will be informed of the committee's decision.

If the proposal is approved, the thesis committee and the student should sign the Proposal Approval Form. If the committee determines that changes are required in the thesis, the committee should discuss the changes with the student. The committee chair should give the student a written list of the required changes. Students are responsible for incorporating the changes in the thesis and must provide the thesis committee and reader with an updated proposal. When the thesis committee is satisfied with the revised thesis proposal, the thesis committee and the student should sign the Proposal Approval Form. The student must submit the signed Proposal Approval Form to the Graduate Programs Office, for approval by the department chair.

The Graduate School must also approve the Proposal Approval Form. The Graduate Programs Office cannot submit the signed Proposal Approval Form to the Graduate School until a Protocol number, if applicable, has been recorded in section (4) Compliance Requirements on page 2 of the Proposal Approval Form. If the Protocol number is not available when the Proposal Approval Form is signed, the Graduate Programs Office will retain the signed Form. Students must notify the Graduate Programs Office when a protocol number has been assigned to their thesis research. The Graduate Programs Office will record the Protocol number on the Proposal Approval Form and will submit the signed Form to the Graduate School. Students will be notified by email when the Graduate School approves the Proposal Approval Form. The email will also include a copy of the Proposal Approval Form signed by the Graduate School. The approved Proposal Approval Form should be retained by the student; the information on the Proposal Approval Form will be required by the Graduate School when the student is ready to defend the thesis.

If the thesis committee does not approve the proposal, students have two options:

  1. Students may choose, with the agreement of their committee, to rewrite the proposal. The thesis committee and student should discuss the problems with the current proposal. The second proposal must address and correct the identified problems. Students must schedule a second proposal presentation. This option requires students retain the same thesis committee.
  2. Students may chose to develop a new thesis topic. If this option is selected, students may retain their thesis committee, if the committee members agree to stay with the thesis committee, or solicit other faculty members for a new committee. The department's thesis procedures must be repeated, including the forms for a new committee, if applicable, and proposal presentation.

Establishing a ProQuest Account

The University uses a national electronic database, ProQuest, for submission of all theses. The department recommends students establish a ProQuest account after their proposal has been approved. Students can access the ProQuest website on the Graduate School's Thesis Assistance (Plan Your Defense) website.   The approved proposal should be uploaded to ProQuest. If the ProQuest account is not established after the thesis proposal is approved, it must be established before students submit the Right to Defend form to the Graduate School.

Continuous Enrollment in PSY 499

Students should review Continuous Registration requirements in the Thesis section of the Graduate Catalog. After the proposal is approved and all degree coursework has been completed, students must enroll for at least one credit of PSY 499 every fall and spring semester until the thesis is successfully defended. Registration for PSY 499 in the summer is required only when a student expects to defend the thesis and complete the degree by the end of the summer semester. Students should contact the Graduate Programs Office at psygrad@ilstu.edu to request an override for PSY 499.

Conducting Thesis Research

After the proposal is approved, students should begin conducting their thesis research. While it is appropriate to consult with faculty members, students are expected to conceptually understand the statistics and data analysis that is presented in the thesis. Any significant changes to the research project, after the proposal has been approved, may require additional IRB or IACUC review and approval, if applicable. Students should consult with their thesis committee chair before making any changes to their approved proposal or research project.

Defending a Thesis

Graduate students must defend their thesis in a public forum. Before scheduling a defense, students must have a current thesis uploaded in ProQuest. Although the thesis does not have to be fully formatted, it should contain all of the required thesis chapters. The thesis must comply with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and the Graduate School's thesis policies, which are available on the Graduate School's Academics (Thesis Assistance) website. Student must complete and submit the RIGHT TO DEFEND FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. The completed Defend Form should be submitted to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will review the thesis in ProQuest. If the thesis is acceptable, the Graduate School will notify students by email that they may schedule their thesis defense. If the Graduate Programs Office is not copied on this email, students must forward the Graduate School's email to the Graduate Programs Office. The Right to Defend email must be on file in the Graduate Programs Office before students can schedule their thesis defense.

The thesis should be defended at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student, thesis committee, and reader. The thesis must be defended between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, while classes are in session (i.e., excluding University holidays, final exams week, or semester breaks). When an acceptable time has been determined, students should contact the Graduate Programs Office to reserve a room. The Graduate Programs Office will notify the student when a room has been reserved.

At least one week before the scheduled defense, students must submit to the Graduate Programs Office by 12:00 p.m. (Noon) a printed copy of the thesis. Students must also provide a copy of the thesis to their thesis committee and reader; the copy may be printed or sent electronically, depending on the preferences of the committee members and reader. The Graduate Programs Office will announce the scheduled defense to the department's graduate students and faculty members. The thesis defense will also be posted on the University Events website and on the bulletin board across from the department's office. Students must also complete the Graduate School's OUTCOME OF DEFENSE FORM, which is available on the Graduate School's Academics (Forms) website. Students should take the Outcome of Defense Form to their thesis defense.

The department encourages psychology graduate students to attend a thesis defense in order to observe the process. The defense is also open to the University academic community. Students should consult with their thesis committee chair if students would like to invite non-academic parties (i.e., family and friends) to their defense. Individuals observing the defense may ask the student questions and provide comments about the presentation. However, participation by such individuals should not monopolize the presentation. Since the defense is a formal evaluation of the student, the thesis committee chair has the discretion of whether or not to recognize individuals for questions or comments during the presentation. The department prohibits any refreshments at a thesis defense.

At the defense, students should discuss the importance of the thesis topic, their research and the methods employed, analysis of the data, and their conclusion. When the defense has ended and there are no more questions, everyone should leave the room except for the thesis committee, reader, and any other psychology faculty members. The committee will discuss the quality of the thesis and defense, taking into account the consistency between the thesis proposal and defense, and the incorporation of required changes identified at the thesis proposal, if applicable. Psychology faculty who have an opinion about the thesis are encouraged to present their remarks for consideration by the thesis committee. The decision to approve or withhold approval of the thesis defense is the responsibility of the committee. The committee must reach a consensus about the status of the defense. When a consensus has been reached, the student will be asked to return to the room and will be informed of the committee's decision.

The thesis committee can reach one of three decisions about the thesis: approved, a provisional approval with required changes, or not approved. If the committee approves the thesis, the committee members should sign the Outcome of Defense Form. If the decision is a provisional approval, the committee should discuss the changes required in the thesis with the student. The committee chair should provide the student with a written list of the required changes. Students are responsible for incorporating the changes before the thesis committee will approve the thesis. After the changes have been made and the thesis is approved, the thesis committee should sign the Outcome of Defense Form. Students must submit a copy of the signed Outcome of Defense Form to the Graduate Programs Office. If the thesis is not approved, the student should discuss any viable options with the thesis committee.

Students must upload the approved thesis to ProQuest. Students must also complete the FINAL DEPOSIT CHECKLIST, which is available on the Graduate School's  Academics (Forms) website. Students must submit the signed Outcome of Defense Form and the Final Deposit Checklist, and any copyright permissions, if applicable, to the Graduate School. The Graduate School will examine the thesis in ProQuest to determine if the thesis complies with the University's thesis policies. If the Graduate School notifies students of required changes, those changes must be made and the revised thesis must be uploaded to ProQuest before the University will accept the thesis as meeting degree requirements for graduation. If the required changes are not completed before the thesis final deposit filing deadline, graduation will be postponed until the following semester.

Publication of Data

If the thesis is published or if a paper is presented at a professional convention, authorship should follow the provisions of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. An agreement between students and their thesis committee should govern whether committee members are identified as co-authors.

Alumni Careers

The first students in our Clinical-Counseling Psychology Program graduated in May 2002. Before 2002, students earned their master’s degrees from either Clinical Psychology or Counseling Psychology.

We are proud of all of our graduates. Many of our alumni are employed in mental health centers where they provide direct services or, in some cases, have moved into management. Also, some of our graduates continued their education in doctoral programs in psychology.

Post-graduation positions that some alumni have obtained:

  • Account administrator, Whytecliff Group Limited, Hong Kong, China
  • Addiction Therapist/Substance Abuse Counselor, Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Adolescent Outpatient Clinician, Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Adoption Preservation Therapist, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, Peoria, Ill.
  • Adult Outpatient Counselor, Aurora Mental Health Center, Aurora, Colo.
  • Adult Therapist, Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield, Ill.
  • Behavioral Health Specialist, Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, Lemont, Ill.
  • Case Manager, BJC Behavioral Health, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Clinical-Counseling Psychologist, Quaid-e-Azam International Hospital, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • Clinician, Brief Solutions Team, BASE Team, Midtown Community Mental Health Center, Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Clinician, FamilyCore, Peoria, Ill.
  • Clinician II-Counseling, Community Elements, Champaign, Ill.
  • Consultant, Macon County Mental Health Board, Decatur, Ill.
  • Consultant, Skill Sprout, Peoria, Ill.
  • Counselor, Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, Ill.
  • Counselor, Psicología Integral and private practice, San José, Costa Rica
  • Counselor, UnityPoint Health, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Counselor/Case Manager, Center for Behavioral Health, Louisville, Ky.
  • Counselor/Case Manager, DeWitt County Human Resource Center, Clinton, Ill.
  • Crisis Counselor/ACS Counselor, Sinnissippi Centers, Dixon, Ill.
  • Guidance Consultant, ComPsych, Chicago, Ill.
  • In-House Crisis Specialist, McLean County Center for Human Services, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Instructor, Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon
  • Mental Health Counselor, Alexian Brothers Health System, Hoffman Estates, Ill.
  • Mental Health Counselor, North Shore University Health System, Highland Park, Ill.
  • Mental Health Therapist, The Wedge Recovery Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Outpatient Therapist, Alpha Assessment and Counseling, Enid, Okla.
  • Outpatient Therapist, Choices Institute, Enid, Okla.
  • Outpatient Therapist, Heritage Behavioral Health Center, Decatur, Ill.
  • Parent-Child Specialist/Foster Care Therapist, Children’s Home and Aid of Illinois, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Patient Account Representative Assistant, St. Joseph's Health Services Gundersen Lutheran, Hillsboro, Wisc.
  • Primary Clinician, Phoenix Recovery Home, Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Program Coordinator, Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center, Springfield, Ill.
  • Psychologist, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation Service Coordinator, Cedar Pointe Rehab and Nursing Center, Cicero, Ill.
  • Recovery Specialist/Research Coordinator, Fayette Companies/Human Service Center, Peoria, Ill.
  • SASS Therapist, The Center for Youth and Family Solutions, Bloomington, Ill.
  • Service Coordinator, Child and Family Connections #14, Peoria, Ill.
  • Therapeutic Interventionist, CIRCLE Academy, Cunningham Children’s Home, Rossville, Ill.
  • Therapist, Community Reach Center, Denver, Colo.
  • Therapist, Self-Injury Recovery Services, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital, Hoffman Estates, Ill.
  • Therapist, Sleezer Youth Home, Freeport, Ill.
  • Visiting Senior Research Specialist, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing, Health Care Invocation, Chicago, Ill.

 

Doctoral programs in which some alumni have matriculated

  • Ball State University (Counseling Psychology)
  • Illinois State University (School Psychology)
  • Indiana University (Counseling Psychology)
  • Tennessee State University (Counseling Psychology)
  • Tilburg University, Netherlands (Psychology)
  • University of Albany, SUNY (Counseling Psychology)
  • University of Iowa (Counseling Psychology)
  • University of Kansas (Counseling Psychology)
  • Western Michigan University (Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology)