Chapter VI. Graduate Programs
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
- Master of Science in Community Psychology
- Religious Studies
- Specializations within Religious Studies
- Certificate in Pastoral Studies
- Multidisciplinary Studies
- Course Descriptions
The College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences offers a Master of Science in Community Psychology and Master of Arts degrees in Religious Studies and Multidisciplinary Studies. A certificate for completion of a course of academic credits is also offered in the Pastoral Institute. Specific requirements for the certificate are listed in this section.
Please see information on admissions requirements in the descriptions for each program.
In addition to a focus on methodology, the program will train students based on a public health model or traditional community model rather than a clinical or medical model. As such, students will not be trained from a traditional individual counseling perspective.
The Master of Science in Community Psychology Program at the University of the Incarnate Word aims to prepare students for both further scholarship and applied work in the community. The program emphasizes the application of psychology in the form of community-based interventions rather than traditional therapeutic interventions. Training, in the form of both traditional coursework and direct practicum experiences, involves empirically-based approaches to cultural competence, health promotion, organizational assessment, intervention, and program development and evaluation. Furthermore, the program aims to develop in students an awareness of social justice principles and their application to the community. Particular emphasis is given to interventions that are rooted in the wisdom and work of the members of each community so that they may facilitate the competence and empowerment of community groups.
The goal of the master’s program is to provide students with the opportunity for both breadth and depth in an area of particular relevance to them. Students graduating from this program will have attained the following:
- An advanced understanding of the science and practice of community psychology;
- An understanding of the intersection of psychological theory with race, class, sexual orientation, ability/disability, and gender issues;
- The ability to apply psychological principles to issues of concern in communities and organizations;
- Skills and knowledge to assist in their work with communities and groups to create and sustain healthy communities;
- The ability to assess the impact of interventions based in psychological principles;
- The ability to be critical consumers of the existing psychological literature;
- The ability to pursue an in-depth study of the topic and community of most interest to the students; and
- The ability to conduct relevant applied research in collaboration with members of the research setting.
- Baccalaureate degree in Psychology* with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0,or last 60 hours GPA of 3.3
- Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
- Three letters of recommendation from persons in a position to evaluate the applicant’s academic background, achievements, potential for graduate study, and readiness to work in a community setting
- Statement of Purpose: essay indicating why the applicant desires to pursue graduate-level work in the area of Community Psychology
- Sample of scholarly work (for example, a significant paper from an upper-level undergraduate course completed)
- Interview with program faculty (individual and/or group, at discretion of Psychology faculty)
- Graduate Record Examination: submission of official results of the Verbal and
Quantitative sections of the General test
*Must have completed an introductory Statistics course and an introductory Research Methods course.
Note: Due to limited available spaces, meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program.
- Deadline for receipt of completed application and supporting documents: January 15
- Student Interviews will take place during the months of January and February
- Student Notification: March 15
- Student Acceptance Due: April 15
The program requirements are centered on the nature of community psychology, the branch of psychology concerned with the interaction between the person and the environment and the ways society impacts upon individual and community functioning. Community psychology focuses on social issues, institutions, and settings that influence individuals, groups, and organizations
Requirements for a Master of Science in Community Psychology:
A minimum of 42 hours in Community Psychology as follows:
Fall Year 1:
PSYC 6301 Foundations of Community Psychology
PSYC 6381 Applied Regression and Analysis of Variance
(OR MATH 6363 Research Statistics I)
PSYC 6302 Diversity and Cultural Competency
Spring Year 1:
PSYC 6303 Understanding Risk and Resiliency: A Focus on Prevention
PSYC 6384 Research Methods in Community Psychology
PSYC 6386 Program Evaluation
Summer Year 1:
PSYC 63TP Thesis Proposal
PSYC 6390 Seminar in Social Justice Aspects of Community Issues
Fall Year 2:
PSYC 6359 Practicum and Action Research
PSYC 6370 Family Systems
PSYC 63TR Thesis
Spring Year 2:
PSYC 6390 Seminar in Social Justice Aspects of Community Issues
PSYC 6388 Grantwriting for Community Psychology
PSYC 63TR Thesis*
* With thesis advisor permission, students not completing the Thesis after the 6 required hours will enroll in one more semester of 63TR, then 61TR until thesis is complete.
The Master of Arts in Religious Studies through the Pastoral Institute is designed to prepare laity, religious, and clergy to meet the challenges of contemporary church ministry and leadership, especially in parish ministries, religious education on all levels, spirituality and spiritual development, youth ministry and catechetical leadership. The degree program encompasses three areas of study: scripture, theology and ministry. The Institute strives to integrate various disciplines, particularly the social sciences, education, and the communication arts, with the Christian message. In keeping with the spirit and direction of the Second Vatican Council, the graduate program promotes personal growth and renewal.
An integral part of the Institute is the emphasis, not only on solid scriptural and theological foundations, but also on the pastoral application of theory and research to the concrete situations of ministry and to the development of leadership roles in the church. Theological reflection, therefore, is built into each course. Opportunities for planning and participating in liturgical celebrations as well as for group discussion and sharing are incorporated into the program.
The applicant for the Master of Arts in Religious Studies must fulfill the general requirements for admission to the graduate program and for the Master’s degree, with the exception that in place of the GRE/MAT requirement applicants must present three letters of recommendation and a personal statement of ministerial and educational goals. Applicants should consult the Director for further directions regarding the letters of recommendation.
At least twelve semester hours in Theology or Religious Studies at the under-graduate level, taken after 1980, to include introductory courses in the study of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Documented non-credit studies will be evaluated on an individual basis upon request, for example, diaconal studies or diocesan certification courses.
Requirements for the Master of Arts in Religious Studies:
The degree plan requires thirty-six (36) semester hours, distributed as follows:
- 6 semester hours in Scripture, to include a course in the Hebrew Scriptures and one in the Christian Scriptures.
- 10 semester hours in Theology, to include a course in Sacraments, Liturgy, Morality, and Ecclesiology.
- 10 semester hours in Ministry, to include a two-credit pastoral project preceded by RSPI 6285: Program Planning and Evaluation. Upon request, a thesis option may be considered in special circumstances, but in general is not recommended due to the pastoral nature of the degree.
- 10 hours of electives, selected according to the student’s educational and ministerial goals. Part or all of these units may be taken in one of the areas of specialization. With the approval of the Director of the Pastoral Institute, a student may elect to complete up to nine hours of graduate credit in another graduate degree program offered by the University of the Incarnate Word.
For the Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies with a specialization in Spirituality, the following courses are required:
RSPI 6273—Introduction to Spirituality
RSPI 6274—Introduction to Prayer
Also, the Pastoral Project (RSPI 62CS) must be completed in the area of spirituality.
This specialization focuses on the techniques and environment of contemporary catechesis. Course offerings include:
RSPI 6236—Family Catechesis
RSPI 6239—Adulthood and Christian Maturity
RSPI 6240—Theory and Methods of Catechesis
RSPI 6242—Administration and Program Planning in Religious Education
RSPI 6244—Culture and Catechesis
RSPI 6251—Adolescent Catechesis
Also, the Pastoral Project (RSPI 62CS) must be undertaken in the area of Catechesis.
Through a cooperative program with the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC), the Master of Arts in Religious Studies may be obtained with a specialization in Ministry with Hispanics. Up to 14 credit hours from the MACC program can be applied towards the Master’s degree.
General requirements for admission to the M.A. in Religious Studies program must be met before a student may enroll in the cooperative program. While enrolled at MACC, students pay 40% of the University’s regular tuition costs (to the University) in addition to tuition and fees required by MACC. Further information on requirements may be obtained from the Director of the Institute or from MACC. Credits earned through MACC must be arranged individually with the Director of the Pastoral Institute.
The Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies with a specialization in Youth Ministry is offered in cooperation with the Office of Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
For the Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies with a specialization in Youth Ministry, candidates take the following courses:
RSPI 6155—Foundations of Ministry Leadership
RSPI 6156—Principles of Youth Ministry
RSPI 6157—Skills for Christian Leadership
RSPI 6158—Practices of Youth Ministry
RSPI 6159—Faith Growth of Youth through Pastoral Care
RSPI 6160— Faith Growth of Youth through Evangelization and Catechesis
RSPI 6161— Faith Growth of Youth through Prayer and Worship
RSPI 6162— Faith Growth of Youth through Justice and Service
Also, the Pastoral Project (RSPI 62CS) must be completed in the area of Youth Ministry. All applicants should consult with the Director of the Pastoral Institute to establish their course of studies and their area of specialization where appropriate.
A non-degree certificate recognizing 16 semester hours of graduate course work offers the opportunity for students to enhance their knowledge in the field of pastoral theology and ministry. Course choices are based on the individual’s previous studies and future plans for ministry. Certificate enrollment is open to all persons who meet the general admission requirements for admission to the M.A. in Religious Studies.
The Master of Arts degree in Multidisciplinary Studies allows a student, with approval from the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and Program Advisors, to design a degree plan that builds on personal interests, academic strengths, and career opportunities. The degree plan is made from courses in up to three academic disciplines that offer graduate programs. For example, a degree plan may be arranged thematically: a student might focus on contemporary American problems, combining courses in Education, Communication Arts, and Religious Studies. Another student might wish to combine courses from Nutrition, Education, and Biology in a degree that would enhance his or her career opportunities. The Dean of Graduate Studies and Research will serve as Program Advisor for this degree and will consult with the Program Advisors in the three fields that make up the MDS.
In addition to the general admissions criteria, the applicant must submit the following:
- An official notice of a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE: Combined score of 800 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections, Analytical Essay, 3.5), Miller Analogies Test (MAT, 40 or better), or Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT, 450 or better) as determined by the Dean.
- A statement of rationale for the proposed degree plan
The degree plan must be approved and signed by the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research and the Program Advisors for all disciplines involved before initiating any work toward the degree. The degree will include:
- At least 9 semester hours in each discipline of focus
- Any support courses taken outside the chosen disciplines need the approval the Program Advisor
- At least one research course
- A thesis or a capstone experience in one area of focus which incorporates the integration of all disciplines from which work is taken