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Central Washington University


Counseling and Psychology Degrees Offered at Central Washington University

Central Washington University appears in our ranking of the 50 Top Online Bachelor of Psychology Degree Programs.

The Department of Psychology at Central Washington University offers a bachelor of arts degree as well as a variety of graduate programs. At the undergraduate level, students have two options, either a 45 or 60-credit-hour track in addition to general education requirements. The former is geared toward students interested in a more diverse education and requires a minor or second major. The longer program is recommended for those who plan to pursue admission to a graduate program in psychology. Both require students to complete core classes like General Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, and Introductory Statistics as well as at least one course from each of five categories in the discipline. Additional advanced statistics and research courses are included in the 60-hour track, and all students must complete the senior assessment prior to graduation. CWU offers this program both on campus and entirely online.

At the graduate level, there are two master’s tracks and one education specialist program available in the counseling and psychology field. The M.S. in Experimental Psychology requires a total of 45 credit hours and prepares students for work in research and academia. Core classes include Ethics in Research, Instructional Strategies in the Behavioral Sciences, and Current Issues in Psychology along with several statistics and research methods courses. Six credit hours composed of a thesis, comprehensive examination, and/or project study is completed during the final year. The master’s in clinical mental health counseling program is another graduate option that is geared toward students who plan to become licensed therapists. The course of study takes a little over two years and requires 90 quarter hours and includes classes like Theories and Practice of Counseling, Behavior Disorders and Psychopathology, Counseling for Relationships and Families, and Professional and Ethical Issues. Throughout the program, students take part in hands-on learning experiences and complete at least 27 hours of internship and practicum courses by graduation.

Featured Programs

The school psychology program at Central Washington University includes courses from both the education and psychology departments. Students can choose between two different pathways, a three-year track that is campus-based and a four-year summer cohort designed for professionals currently working in a Washington school district. The program revolves around the scientist-practitioner model which focuses on data-driven methods and using research to inform practice. The curriculum includes 25 courses including Educational Rights of Children with Disabilities, Applied Behavior Analysis, Theories and Practice of Counseling, and Applied Clinical Neuroscience. There are also a series of assessment classes including Intellectual Assessment and Behavioral and Social-Emotional Assessment. The program concludes with a year-long internship working alongside a counselor in a public school as well as a graduate thesis.

About Central Washington University

The state of Washington opened the Washington State Normal School in 1890 primarily as a teacher training institution. Over the years, the school expanded, offering a wide variety of degree programs, and officially became Central Washington University in 1977. The main campus remains in its original location in Ellensburg, a college town about 100 miles east of Seattle, but the university has since established eight satellite campuses throughout Washington. Today, there are over 135 available undergraduate majors and 32 graduate programs, and several are offered entirely online. In every discipline, students are taught the importance of social responsibility and examining situations from different perspectives. Nearing the designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution with 15% of the student body of Hispanic descent, the CWU campus is an inclusive community with students, faculty, and staff celebrating diversity. The school is also emerging as a leader with its educational programs. The U.S. News and World Report has ranked Central Washington University the tenth best public school in the Regional Universities West category and #48 out of 141 regional universities in the western part of the United States.

Central Washington University Accreditation Details

Central Washington University has maintained continuous regional accreditation since 1917 from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This signifies that the school has met specific quality standards in all aspects of operations from the curriculum to financial standing. The NWCCU review process consists of a seven-year cycle that continuously repeats, and CWU most recently passed the Year 7 Evaluation in 2018. The standards are divided into five categories including Planning and Implementation, Effectiveness and Improvement, and Mission Fulfillment, Adaptation, and Sustainability. While the NWCCU looks at the institution overall, there are other accrediting bodies that review and certify individual departments. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, the National Association of School Psychologists, and the Washington State Association of School Psychologists have provided accreditation to various counseling and psychology programs at Central Washington University.

Central Washington University Application Requirements

Admission to the undergraduate psychology major requires completion of an application and submission of $50 fee, ACT or SAT scores, and all official transcripts from prior high schools and colleges. For freshmen applicants, a 3.0 high school GPA guarantees admission. Students with GPAs lower than 3.0 are advised to include a personal statement with their application. At the graduate level, all applicants need to send the online application, $75 fee, and transcripts showing both completion of an undergraduate degree and at least a 3.0 GPA in the most recent 90 quarter hours of coursework. In addition, three letters of recommendation and a statement of objectives must accompany the application. The M.S. in Mental Health Counseling also requires a resume, and counseling and psychology graduate applicants to all three programs need to submit GRE scores.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition for Washington residents is $6170 per year with an out-of-state rate of $21,151. The university is part of the Western University Exchange, though, so students from other participating western states receive a tuition discount bringing down the non-resident tuition to $10,321 annually. At the graduate level, full-time in-state students can expect to pay about $3354 per quarter which increases to $7828 for non-residents. The university offers more than 300 scholarships in addition to the merit scholarships that are automatically awarded to students who meet certain GPA and test score requirements. Graduate students are encouraged to apply for research and teaching assistantships which provide tuition waivers in exchange for working with Central Washington University faculty members.