Chapter VI. Graduate Programs

College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

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.

Master of Science in Community Psychology (PSYC)

The Master of Science in Community Psychology program is a two-year, 42 credit-hour, lock-step program that is designed to provide knowledge and skills to students who desire to gain employment in community organizations with advanced training and/or to enter into a doctoral program in community psychology. Students will be required to go into community organizations and work with them directly in a practicum class with service requirements involved in other courses as well. Community psychology methodology will also be emphasized in this 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.

Program Objectives
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:

Admission Requirements

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.


Program Requirements
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.

Admission Criteria

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:


Specialization in Spirituality (10 hours)

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.

Specialization in Catechesis (8 hours)

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.

Specialization in Ministry with Hispanics (minimum of 8 hours)

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.

Specialization in Youth Ministry (8 hours)

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.

Requirements for a Certificate in Pastoral Studies

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.

Admissions Requirements

In addition to the general admissions criteria, the applicant must submit the following:

Degree Requirements

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: