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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Mar 31, 2023
2010-2011 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Addendum 
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2010-2011 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Addendum [Archived Catalog]

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy Specialization


Master of Arts, Clinical Psychology - MFT Specialization

The M.A. in Clinical Psychology program Specialization Martial and Family Therapy (MFT) provides strong preparation in the development of essential diagnostic, therapeutic and consultative skills in order to work with a variety of clinical populations- ranging from children to the elderly- and with a variety of emotional, intellectual, and psychological conditions and problems. Graduates will have the training to work in a variety of clinical settings, and with required licensure, independent practice. The program has adopted the practitioner-scholar model which is predicated on the belief that a competent mental health practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of the scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of Marital and Family Therapy and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations. The program also incorporates the content areas outlined by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences to prepare those students seeking professional counselor licensure and desiring to begin professional practice at the master’s level.

Acknowledged for its commitment to diversity, The Chicago School recognizes that service to a diverse community plays a vital role in all levels of mental health care. The MFT Specialization embraces this commitment through the integration of multicultural education and diversity throughout its curriculum; successful students demonstrate an appreciation for and competency in this area. Likewise, the faculty reflects experience in graduate level teaching and clinical practice with diverse clinical populations.

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School’s Master’s in Clinical Psychology, MFT Specialization Program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors that are considered in admission are: GPA from undergraduate and any graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, the required admission essay, and letters of recommendation from academic professors or professional or volunteer experience supervisors. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission.

The MFT Specialization has one specific required undergraduate course that must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade earned of “C” or better (one course in psychology). The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required, however students who have taken the exam may submit their scores to enhance their application. Scores should be sent directly to the school (GRE School Code: 1119) for consideration. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation. Applications must be submitted with a $50.00 (USD) application fee in order to be evaluated.


TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students

TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from this requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.

ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.

International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc ( In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.

International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.


Applicant Notification

The Chicago School reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.

If a student is offered admission, in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.



Transfer of Credit

Prior graduate coursework, if within the area of study, may be eligible for transfer of credit. Students accepted to the program may petition by submitting a Petition for Transfer/Waiver of Credit** and all required documentation to the Office of Student Services. The decision to accept transfer credit is solely that of the school which reserves the right to require satisfactory performance on an examination before awarding a transfer of credit. Satisfactory completion of a competency examination is required before transfer of credit is awarded when the course in question has been taken more than five years prior to admission. No credit will be transferred for coursework that is more than 10 years old. Transfers of credit are subject to the following conditions.

  • Transferred course credit is restricted to graduate-level courses from a recognized, regionally-accredited graduate degree granting institution.
  • Transfer of credit is not granted for clinical practicum or internships.
  • Transfer of credit is granted only for courses in which the grade obtained was a “B” or higher. (Pass/Fail grades are not eligible.)
  • No credit will be transferred for coursework that is more than 10 years old.
  • All coursework being submitted for transfer credit evaluation must have been completed prior to matriculation into The Chicago School.
  • For each hour of credit accepted a transfer a fee will be assessed. Please see the tuition and fee page of the TCS website.
  • A maximum of 12 semester hours of credit may be transferred.
  • Internal transfers do not pay the transfer course fee.

A course that does not meet the specific content requirements of an existing TCS elective course may be accepted as transfer credit as an elective if the course supports the required competencies and learning objectives of the program and meets the following conditions:

  • The course must meet all other requirements for transfer credit.
  • The course must be at the equivalent degree level.
  • Approval by the Department Chair for the transfer credit and documentation of this approval is required.


Waiver of Courses

Any domestic or international student with previous graduate coursework may request a waiver** of additional coursework. Waiver of courses does not reduce the total number of hours of coursework to be completed at The Chicago School; it permits students to substitute coursework as approved by the department chair. An international student, who has completed an undergraduate course that, in the judgment of the department chair, is equivalent to a required course at The Chicago School, may apply for the course to be waived. Waiver will not apply to undergraduate courses offered by U.S. educational institutions. Students may seek a waiver for a total of 12 credit hours. Waiver and transfer of credit hours may not exceed a total of 12 credit hours.

**The Petition for Transfer of Credit/Waiver is available on the school website. Please submit all required documentation with each petition. Any credit approved for transfer will not be added to the student’s academic record until after the second week of their first semester.


Residency Requirement

It is expected that students will fulfill all degree requirements through courses offered at The Chicago School. Under unusual circumstances, and subject to the approval of the department chair, a student may be permitted to complete certain course requirements at another institution.


Satisfactory Progress

Matriculated students must be continuously enrolled in the program until graduation unless granted an approved leave of absence. Satisfactory progress semester hours do not include waiver or transfer credit hours. No student will be permitted to take less than three semester hours of coursework in the fall or spring semesters unless that student has fewer than three semester hours of coursework remaining or is on an approved leave of absence. In order to receive financial aid, however, the student must be at least half time for the semester.

Credit Hours per Year and Program Length:

The maximum duration of Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, Marital & Family Specialization Program is five years. Students must complete, at minimum, 9 semester hour credits each calendar year. Students must be enrolled for a minimum of 8 semester hours during fall and spring semester and four credits during summer term to be classified as full-time in terms of financial aid.


Student Professional Evaluation and Student Review Process

The course content and experiential activities offered by the M.A. Clinical Psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology are designed to afford students the opportunity to advance their intellectual and professional development and functioning. Throughout the program of study, students are given feedback concerning their personal, academic, and professional strengths, developmental needs, and performance. This feedback will come from a variety of sources including faculty, supervisors, peers, and clients. Students are expected to respond and incorporate this feedback in a mature and professional manner. Throughout their matriculation in the program students are expected to explore and recognize the effects their personal beliefs, issues, emotions, and behaviors have on others and on their ability to function as a professional counselor and practicing clinician. Additionally, all students are reviewed annually by program faculty and administration with respect to their overall program performance during the Student Review Process.


Criminal Background Check Requirement

As part of the school’s ongoing commitment to protect the public, increase campus safety, and to preserve the integrity of its reputation and degrees, The Chicago School requires Criminal Background Checks (CBCs) of all students participating in school sanctioned community engaged scholarship (e.g., community service, service learning, community based research) and field training experiences (e.g., practica, internships).

Students will be provided the necessary information to complete the CBC in a timely manner through an outside vendor at their own expense, and they must be completed by the tenth day (i.e., the “Add/Drop”) of the semester. Students who fail to meet this requirement may be dismissed from or denied the opportunity to progress in the program, including participation in course work, practica/internships and/or community engaged scholarship activities until the CBC is complete. An offer of admission or permission to continue enrollment may be reversed if the CBC results are incompatible with eligibility to meet relevant degree, licensure, or certification requirements or if they increase physical or reputational risks to the school and its inhabitants and/or partner agencies and the people with whom they work.

For the full policy and additional information about the school’s criminal background check, click here.


Graduation Requirements

By the end of the third week of the semester in which a student expects to meet the program requirements for the Master of Arts degree, he or she is required to submit a Petition for Degree Completion to the Office of Student Services. Students must submit the petition and be in good standing in their program for the Master’s degree to be awarded. Degrees are conferred three times per year.


The Program


The M.A. Clinical Psychology Program with Specialization in Marital and Family Therapy is offered in all three of our California locations: downtown Los Angeles, Irvine, and Westwood. All locations offer the same program and program requirements in a cohort format.


The mission of the Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology program, MFT Specialization, is to prepare mental health professionals who serve the mental health profession through professional competence, personal integrity and academic excellence. This is realized through a curriculum that integrates the theoretical foundations of counseling and clinical psychology, essential diagnostic, clinical and consultative skills, and clinical field placement into appropriate practice in a variety of settings and with diverse populations. Recognizing that our students are intrinsically motivated to help others, we acknowledge the significance of promoting an environment that is sensitive to difference and preparing clinicians, who actively develop their multicultural competence. Thus, the program seeks to engage faculty and students in the preparation of counselors who meet the needs of diverse communities.

Program Outcomes

  1. Students will utilize the scientific method for critical evaluation of research examining the practice of clinical psychology.
  1. Students will foster the development of individuals and facilitate group interaction.
  1. Students will analyze issues of racial and cultural diversities and awareness of the richness of human differences in ideas and beliefs.
  1. Students will effectively communicate of critical information in the field of clinical psychology to a wide range of individuals and groups.
  1. Students will apply insight into personal attitudes and beliefs as they conduct clinical interviewing of clients, prepare individual treatment plans, and set appropriate psychotherapeutic goals.
  1. Students will provide effective and ethical diagnostic and assessment services to a diverse set of clients.
  1. Students will provide a wide range of effective and ethical psychotherapeutic interventions to a diverse group of clients.

Writing Assessment and Requirements

Believing that academic preparedness is a key to success in graduate school, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires new students to complete its innovative program, Foundations for Scholarship and Practice. This program, offered by the Center for Academic Excellence (CAE), reinforces the skills new students need to achieve their career goals. “Foundations” is an integral part of the first semester’s curriculum and all students are required to complete the program successfully and in a timely manner.

Foundations for Scholarship and Practice consist of three elements:

  1. Writing Assessment Process – In this component of “Foundations,” each student writes an essay in response to an assigned question and submits it to CAE for scoring. CAE returns the scored essay with constructive feedback. Based on the student’s performance, the school may waive the Academic Writing Course requirement (#2, below). Essay submission by the given date is considered successful completion of this element of “Foundations.”
  2. Academic Writing Course – This online course in professional writing is taken before or during the first semester at The Chicago School. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element.
  3. Academic Focus Program – Academic Focus is an online, tutorial-driven orientation to graduate academics. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element.

Ethics and Professional Behavior

The Chicago School expects that all clinical MFT students will be knowledgeable of and adhere to the ”Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct”, as published by the American Psychological Association, as well as the ”Code of Ethics” of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In addition, no student shall obtain part- or full-time employment that is beyond the scope of their cumulative training in the field of psychology or MFT and shall not use titles governed by licensure statutes, unless so licensed by the state. A student who fails to adhere to this policy or otherwise fails to demonstrate the appropriate ethics required for practice in the field of professional counseling is subject to discipline and possible removal.


The program incorporates eight content areas outlined by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and provides the academic requirements to prepare students seeking professional MFT licensure in CA. Students must consult the licensure requirements for states in which they plan to reside post-graduation.

MFT Practicum 

The practicum experience is designed to meet both the BBS requirements as well as to enhance the learning experience of the student through practical application of didactic classroom instruction. The practicum require three credit hours for two semesters - a total of six credit hour during which time the student participates in a clinical training field placement where the student accumulates a minimum of 250 hours of supervised clinical experience in a mental health setting. In addition, the student is required to attend a regularly scheduled practicum seminar during which students will participate in clinical case consultation, case presentations and complete a clinical case report. At the end of the second practicum seminar, students will complete a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE) which consists of a full clinical case report, tape and transcripts as well as a presentation of this case to the class and instructor. The CCE provides an important assessment of a student’s competency in meeting key programmatic outcomes 


Establishing Readiness for Practicum 

During the semester prior to starting practicum, students will take a Readiness for Practicum Examination. Permission to take the Readiness of Practicum exam is predicated upon successful completion of courses with a B- or better taken in the first year. This is a one hour written examination in which students respond to a clinical vignette and answer questions related to four key areas: 1. Law and Ethics; 2. Diagnosis; 3. Theory and application; and 4. Treatment planning. Students can earn up to 3 points per question, with a minimum of 7 points total to pass the exam. Students must earn a minimum of 1 point in Law and Ethics in order to pass, regardless of the total points otherwise earned. If a student fails the examination, they must wait until the next semester to re-take the examination and postpone practicum. Generally this means the student will need to go through the practicum placement procedure again. 

Transfer of credit for the practicum is not granted and practicum requirements are never waived. Further details regarding this area are found in the Practicum/Internship Manual available from the director of clinical training.


Requirements for Beginning Practicum

Among other requirements, students will need to complete the following before beginning practicum:

Complete with a grade of B- or better a minimum of 24 hours of credit units before beginning their practicum experience. 

Pass the Practicum Readiness examination. 

Approval of the faculty. If it is determined that a student is not ready to start practicum, a meeting will be scheduled with the student, faculty advisor and the clinical training department to discuss an alternative plan. 

Attend the practicum orientation meeting prior to starting the practicum placement process. During the meting you will be told about the various sites, and about the procedures for interviewing for these positions.

Practicum Placement

Students must express their intent to apply for practicum and traineeship in writing to the Office of Applied Professional Practice. Students will participate in practicum placement prior to their completion of their first year but are expected to successfully pass all their pre-requisite coursework and pass the Practicum Readiness examination prior to beginning work at their practicum site. If any of the first year courses are not passed with a grade of B- or better, they must be retaken within 12 months and successfully completed with a grade of B- or better. 

Dismissal from the Practicum Site

Students are strong advised to treat practicum as they would any other professional obligation. Students have an ethical duty to their clients and to their sites and are expected to seek consultation from their supervisors and faculty if difficulties are encountered. The earlier a student seeks appropriate consultation, the better the outcome will be. Dismissal from a practicum s considered extremely serious, will result in immediate referral to the Placement and Training Committee, and may result in dismissal from the school.


Student Learning Assessments

Students are assessed at various times throughout the program to insure that programmatic outcomes are being met throughout the curricula. These are as follows:

1.      Course outcome assessments. At the end of each course, instructors complete a course outcomes assessment that evaluates each student in light of program outcomes. Instructors assign a numerical value ranging from 1-4 for each outcome for each student in the course. This helps to insure alignment of each course with programmatic and institutional outcomes.

2.      Practicum Readiness Examination. Toward the end of their third semester, students will take a Practicum Readiness Examination to assess their basic knowledge of 4 key areas of clinical practice: law and ethics, diagnosis, theory and application and treatment planning. This examination must be passed with a minimum score of 7 out of a possible 12, and a minimum score of 1 on the Law and Ethics question. 

3.      Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE). At the end of their second practicum course, students will have completed a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE) comprised of a Clinical Case Report, tape and 10-minute transcript, and a formal oral presentation of that case to the seminar students and instructor. Students must pass the CCE in order to pass practicum. The CCE assesses a student’s competency in all areas of clinical treatment and application.

4.      Written Comprehensive Examination. Once students toward the end of their final semester, students will take a written comprehensive examination which is designed to assess competency in all programmatic outcomes. Students must pass the comprehensive examination in order to graduate.

Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE)

During the practicum seminar, students will conduct a formal case presentation and submit a 10-minute transcript and tape of an actual client session. In MM610 Practicum I a clinical case presentation outline will be completed and turned into the instructor along with the tape and transcript. For MM615 Practicum II the student will complete a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE) which consists of a Clinical Case Report, a tape and transcript as well as a formal oral presentation of the case to the class and instructor. The CCE results will determine if a student successfully passes practicum. If a student does not pass the first time, the student will be able to submit a second CCR, tape and transcript using a different interview. Students are advised to meet with their seminar instructor to review the first CCE and prepare to pass the CCE the next time. Failure to pass a second CCE means that the student has failed practicum and the student will need to complete practicum again.

Written Comprehensive Examination (WCE)

All students are required to successfully complete the Written Comprehensive Exam. The information tested by the exam covers the program competencies. The comprehensive examination is generally administered twice a year and taken during the last year of enrollment in academic coursework. Students must be in good academic standing to be eligible to take the Written Comprehensive Examination. Additional information regarding registering, qualifying, format and dates of the exam can be obtained from the Department Chair of the program. Students who are unable to pass the Written Comprehensive Examination will be allowed to retake the exam a maximum of two additional times. The exam may be retaken during the next scheduled administration of the exam. Students will receive information from their faculty advisor concerning their performance on the examination. Assistance from faculty in constructing additional experiences and instruction aimed at enabling them to pass this program requirement can be offered. Any student who fails the Comprehensive Examination a third time is automatically dismissed from the program.


In awarding the Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology Marital & Family Therapy Specialization, The Chicago School certifies that the graduate has attained a high level of competency in assessment, case formulation, treatment planning, and implementation, as well as the knowledge and skills base that underlie these abilities.


The student should have a foundational understanding of issues pertaining to human development and developmental assessment, family life cycle development, group dynamics, individual assessment, social and cultural foundations of behavior, maladaptive behavior and diagnosis, ethical practice and decision making, treatment planning, and substance abuse where appropriate. Review these areas as needed