Case Western University has a reputation as one of the top universities in the country for a number of its programs. "U.S. News & World Report" ranks the graduate psychology program at Case Western University No. 78 on a list of the best in the country. The university offers a number of degrees in psychology, including an undergraduate degree and masters degrees or doctoral degrees in either experimental psychology or clinical psychology.
The undergraduate degree in psychology provides students with a broad-based psychological education that prepares them for a number of careers, such as social work and counseling. However, many students choose to go on to graduate study. The undergraduate degree takes four years to complete, but it only takes two years to complete the courses in the major. Courses in the major consist of 30 credit hours. Some courses include Social Psychology, Physiological Psychology, Psychology of Learning, Sensation and Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Human Intelligence, Research Design and Analysis, Psychological Measurement and Experimental Child Psychology. Fifteen hours of elective credits are also included.
The graduate program is focused around the two doctoral degree offerings: Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychology. Students are expected to have a master's degree when they begin these programs, but students who do not have a master's can complete one en route to completing doctoral requirements. Completing the master's degree may delay completion of the doctoral degree, but the timeline depends upon the student's particular research interests and how long it takes to complete that research.
The clinical psychology program is approved by the American Psychological Association, and it emphasizes a scientist-practitioner model. Course work emphasizes theory, practice and research methodology. Students gain practical experience through clinical placements and internships. One year-long internship is required, but students are encouraged to gain additional experience in a variety of settings. The degree takes five to seven years to complete, on average, and students can choose a subspecialty in adults and gerontology or children and family.
The experimental psychology program is designed for students interested in university-level teaching or research. In addition to providing a strong foundation in the principles and theory of psychological study and practice, the program aims to provide students strong training in research design. The program follows an apprenticeship model and assigns students to a faculty mentor to work closely on research from the beginning to the end of the program. Students can choose from research specialties including developmental psychology, affective neuroscience, cognitive psychology, behavioral genetics and developmental disorders. The experimental psychology doctorate takes less time to complete than the clinical psychology program: only four years, on average.
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.