Master of Arts in Applied Psychology
Our unique M.A. curriculum fosters culturally competent practices within a framework of rigorously applied research. This flexible, online degree program blends empirical research and data-driven analysis with a commitment to social justice. Students gain the skills to apply cutting-edge psychological insights and develop socially responsible solutions to complex community issues.
All students complete their studies with a capstone or thesis that addresses a current or emerging social justice problem in the field.
Please note, this is not a licensure program.
Solve real-world problems and foster social justice
Students can enhance their learning by adding an emphasis to their coursework: Child and Adolescent Development, Crisis Management, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Health and Wellness. They achieve the following learning objectives:
- Gain understanding of the influence that gender and sexuality have within culture and society
- Explore how sexuality and gender shape power dynamics
- Closely examine issues that are specific to gender and sexual minorities
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Psychology
The 35-credit M.A. in Applied Psychology has 21 credits of core, 2 credits of practicum and 9 credits of elective courses as well as three credits for a thesis or capstone project. Students complete the following core courses.
- Adlerian Psychology: Community Applications
- Cognitive, Affective and Biological Bases of Behavior
- Diversity and Individual Differences
- Ethics and Socially Responsible Practice for Applied Psychology
- History and Systems for Applied Psychology
- Research Methods
- Social Justice Practicum
Students can select electives from a wide-range of courses based on an emphasis of their choice. Emphasis options include:
- Gender and Sexuality Studies
- Crisis Management
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Health and Wellness
Social justice practicum
The social justice practicum; a non-discipline-specific and non-clinical, experiential practicum; begins in the second course period (of the first year of a student's program). It is completed before students can advance to clinical or discipline-specific training. It includes four components:
- Monthly workshops to explore civics, community organizing and intersectionality
- A minimum of 200 hours of work at community-based organizations to collaborate on projects that strengthen the social justice missions of community partners
- Completion of online modules
- A formal presentation at the Social Justice Symposium
Students obtain the skills and perspectives to use collective power and social justice strategies to help create a more equitable society. They identify and understand their strengths and role in contributing to social equity. They also learn how to work with diverse communities as agents of social change.
Students gain research experience through the capstone project or thesis. The capstone project enables them to develop socially responsible recommendations and solidify the contributions they intend to make to the field of applied psychology. It involves identifying an emerging or a current social justice problem and completing an applied research project. This project demonstrates their expertise in cultural competence and engagement as a practitioner of social justice.
The thesis project involves student-directed research in an area of applied psychology that relates to the program's curriculum. Students write a publishable, scholarly paper that discusses their research and findings.
Students learn from expert faculty members who're experienced activists, mentors, practitioners, and scholars. Michelle Dennis, Ph.D., the chair of the Department of Applied Psychology, uses mentorship to help her students achieve their academic and professional goals. She encourages them to network with each other and faculty members to enhance their educational experiences. In addition to earning a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Dennis has held positions as a business analyst, researcher and statistician.
Adler University promotes research that enhances teaching and helps communities solve problems. Its institutes and centers facilitate socially just solutions through research and advocacy. Its faculty members investigate a wide range of social justice and wellness issues including public safety and inequality.
Adler University provides an interactive online learning experience that accommodates students' busy schedules. An asynchronous learning model allows students to complete coursework any time during a certain date range. During eight-week-long courses, students review course materials, complete assignments and participate in learning activities.
Students study course materials and interact with classmates and instructors through several web-based tools including audio and video lectures and presentations, discussion boards, online chats and video conferencing.
They receive support from the same academic and administrative staff as on-campus students.
The M.A. in Applied Psychology program prepares students for rewarding positions as consultants and full-time professionals in a number of fields and settings, including:
- Health Clinics and Care Facilities
- Non-Clinical Youth and Older Adult Services
- Nonprofit Systems
- Public and Behavioral Healthcare Systems
- Public Safety and Emergency Management Systems
- Family and Domestic Violence
- Human Resource Management
- Sports Psychology
- Veterans Affairs
Create Social Change at Adler University
Founded in 1952, Adler University graduates socially responsible practitioners — educated to be effective agents of social change in the pursuit of justice. Our rigorous programs and passionate faculty provide the tools, skills and real-world experience needed to address society’s most challenging issues.
Adler University offers graduate degrees designed for social change in psychology, counseling, family therapy and public service. Put your passion to work in a program uniquely dedicated to engaging communities and advancing social justice — online or at our Chicago or Vancouver campuses.
Degrees & Awards
|Master's Degrees||Thesis or capstone|