Feb 25, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Studies in Psychology and Counseling

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Psychology and Counseling

  • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Master of Science in Psychology

Norma Burgess, Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Shanna Ray, Program Director, M.S. in Psychology; Chair, Department of Psychology, Counseling & Family Science
Jake Morris, Program Director, M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Chris Gonzalez, Program Director, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Core Faculty

Our full-time faculty consists of professors representing the areas of counseling, clinical, experimental, neuroscience, developmental and cognitive psychology. We supplement this group with several excellent part-time faculty members who are experts in their fields. For further information about each faculty member, visit our website.

J. Dale Alden III, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Justin G. Briggs, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling; Clinical Director, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy Program
Christopher J. Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Psychology and Counseling
David M. Morgan, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Jake Morris, Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Melanie Morris, Clinical Director, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Shanna D. Ray, Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Douglas Ribeiro, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Frank H. Scott, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling; Director, University Counseling Center
Denis’ Thomas, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Counseling
Paul E. Turner, Professor of Psychology and Counseling


The mission of the graduate Psychology and Counseling program is to prepare competent and caring professionals who adhere to high standards of ethical behavior. Graduates of our program should be able to serve individuals of all ages and from diverse ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds. Our curriculum is informed by faith and we encourage a dialogue and integration of findings in psychology and theology.

Degrees Offered

Lipscomb’s graduate counseling program offers the following options:

  • M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (61 hours, including practicum and internships) prepares students to seek licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor with Mental Health Services Provider designation. This program will prepare students to provide counseling services in a variety of settings including mental health centers, churches and private practice.
  • M.S. in Psychology (39 hours). This program is designed primarily for students preparing to pursue doctoral study in psychology, but allows flexibility in choosing electives for unique career goals and will enhance career opportunities in diverse areas including education, ministry, social work, health care and business. This degree involves a significant research component.
  • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) (60 hours, including practicum and internship) prepares students to seek licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. This program will prepare students to provide marriage and family therapy in a variety of settings including mental health centers, churches and private practice.

Students interested in changing graduate programs may do so with an additional interview, which may be waived at the discretion of the program director, and an internal assessment of availability and fit. It is likely when transferring programs that not all classes will be applicable to the new program. Students concerned about the transfer of hours should consult with the program director to assess degree completion requirements prior to switching programs.

Lipscomb graduate students wishing to complete a second Master’s degree may apply for the second desired program with the completion of a new application and a second interview (other requirements will be waived). Students who are admitted will be able to apply nine hours of their prior graduate course work toward the second Master’s degree at the director’s discretion.

Students who have completed a master’s degree in psychology or a related field, at Lipscomb or a different university, may be interested in course work that enables them to pursue licensure. These students must complete all application procedures and be admitted to the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling as a non-degree seeking student (Students who completed their Master’s degree at Lipscomb will only need to complete their application and interview).

Admission Policies and Procedures

Applicants to graduate programs must submit the following:

  1. Application Form. Each applicant must complete an application form. The application form is available at lipscomb.edu/admissions/graduate then click on “Apply by Program” to complete the online application.
  2. Application Fee. Each application should be accompanied by a $50 nonrefundable application fee. Fee will be waived for those applying before October 1 for Spring semester and March 1 for fall semester.
  3. Goals Statement. A 750-1000 word expanded goals statement concerning the applicant’s interest in the program’s curriculum and expected career progression is required.
  4. Standardized exam score. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination are required for students seeking their first graduate course work. (For more information on the GRE, visit www.ets.org/ and click on “GRE.”)
  5. TOEFL. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for international students. (See section titled International Students  for more information.)
  6. References. Three letters of reference are required. Letters should be from individuals who are familiar with your professional and/or academic achievements.
  7. Official Transcript(s). Each applicant must submit an official transcript, showing degree conferral when appropriate, from all schools attended.
  8. Health Form.* Each accepted new student must submit a completed health form signed by a health care provider. (To print a copy of the health form, visit www.lipscomb.edu/healthcenter/forms)
  9. FERPA:* The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights of access to educational records; even if you are independent of your parents, you must submit this form prior to enrollment.

* These forms must be submitted after acceptance into the program.

All application items should be submitted to the Graduate Studies in Psychology and Counseling office by the program deadlines. Please check the website, psychology.lipscomb.edu, for application and program deadlines.

Items should be mailed to: Graduate Studies in Psychology and Counseling, Lipscomb University, One University Park Drive, Nashville TN 37204-3951.

Transfer of Courses

Although all graduate credit hours may be transferred from another accredited institution, a maximum of nine hours (or more at the program director’s discretion) will be counted toward a graduate degree. The director or appropriate faculty member of the graduate program will evaluate the course(s) being proposed for transfer and make a determination of suitability. No course with a grade below a “B” will be considered for transfer. See “Special Consideration ” in front of catalog.


Students are required to provide satisfactory documentation of personal identification for off-site learning experiences required in many programs of graduate study at Lipscomb University. Failure to provide proper credentials will result in failure to complete the desired course of study. For complete policy, see section entitled Required Documentation for Off-Site Learning Experiences  in the opening section of this catalog.

Student Classifications

Students are admitted to graduate courses in one of four categories:

  1. Graduate Student: one who has satisfied all admissions requirements. A student with an incomplete admission file will be accepted to the program at the discretion of the program director but will be placed on an academic hold which will prevent registration for the following semester. Once the proper admissions documents have been received, the hold will be removed and the student will be allowed to register for the following semester.
  2. Conditionally Admitted Student: one who has been admitted conditionally, without satisfying all admission requirements, at the discretion of the program director. Students admitted with the following criteria may be required to complete a minimum of nine hours of graduate work with a grade of “B” or above before the conditional admission is removed.
    1. With a substandard GPA or GRE score.
    2. A transfer student with a graduate GPA of 3.0 or above. The transfer student must be in good standing at the previous institution attended.
    3. As a student who has not completed a bachelor’s degree program. The transfer student must be in good standing at the previous institution attended.
  3. Non-Degree Student: one who has been admitted to graduate studies and has met all admission requirements except GPA or MAT/GRE. The student may take up to nine semester hours for graduate credit. Those hours may be applied toward a master’s degree if the student makes a grade of “B” or better in the courses taken for credit and if all admission requirements (GPA and entrance test score) are met and the student is formally admitted to a graduate program as a degree-seeking student.
  4. Visiting Student: one who is currently enrolled as a student in good standing at the post-bachelor’s level at another graduate school, wishes to take courses at Lipscomb and desires to have transcript evidence of course work done at Lipscomb provided for the school of primary enrollment.
  5. Probationary Student: one who has been readmitted to a graduate program following academic suspension from the program.

Admission to a program does not imply admission to candidacy for the master’s degree. Only those students who meet the requirements for “graduate student” described above are eligible for candidacy.

Academic Policies

Course Load

A student enrolled for six hours is considered a full-time student by Lipscomb University. However, students in the MFT program are required to maintain a 9-12 hour load in order to remain in the program. CMHC and Psychology students normally enroll in 9 hours, but the programs allow flexibility for students wishing to enroll in fewer hours. A student enrolled for less than six hours is considered a part-time student. No student will be permitted to enroll for more than 12 hours per semester without special approval from the director of the graduate program.

Academic Standing

  1. Good Academic Standing: To remain in good academic standing, the student must maintain a cumulative 3.00 GPA and a 3.00 GPA on the most recent 12 semester hours of work.
  2. Probation: Should the student’s cumulative graduate GPA fall below 3.00, he or she will be placed on academic probation and an action plan to remediate the deficiency developed with the student’s program director and/or academic advisor. Additionally, earning an “F” in a course will cause a student to be placed on probation.  A student on academic probation will not be allowed to enroll for more than six hours during any term the probation applies. The probationary student is required to achieve a 3.0 cumulative GPA and successfully pass any failed classes before the probation status will be removed. It is expected that the student will accomplish this within the next 6 hours, but extensions can be granted in special circumstances at the program director’s discretion. A course(s) may be repeated to achieve the requisite GPA.  
  3. Suspension: If a student is on probation and the requisite GPA is not attained, the student will be suspended from graduate studies at Lipscomb for the following semester, after which the student may apply for readmission. The student may be required to appear before the graduate committee.   
  4. Appeals: Appeals to suspension decisions should be made in writing to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. Appeals must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on the Monday of the week before classes begin for the term during which the student wishes to be readmitted.

A graduate course in which a student has earned a “C” or “F” may be repeated. Students earning a “C” or below in a practicum or internship course will be required to repeat the course before the student may proceed to the next course in the clinical sequence. In such cases, only the higher grade will be used to compute the student’s GPA. Failing grades will provide no credit toward the degree but will be included in figuring scholarship level, unless replaced with a higher grade by repeating the course(s). A 3.00 GPA must be maintained to be eligible for financial assistance.

Degree Completion Requirements


No period of formal residency is required for a degree in a master’s program.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for the M.S. in psychology, M.S. in clinical mental health counseling or the MMFT degree must be completed within a five-year period from the time of initial matriculation.


Admission to a program does not imply admission to candidacy for the master’s degree. During the course of pursuing the M.S. degree, the student must be admitted to “candidacy.” For admission to candidacy the student must satisfy the following within the first twelve months following admission:

  1. Complete all required undergraduate deficiencies if admitted on condition.
  2. Complete at least twelve hours of graduate work.
  3. Maintain a 3.00 GPA on all courses taken toward the requirements for the degree with no incomplete grades.
  4. File a degree plan in the graduate program office which meets all requirements and is approved by the advisor, administrator of the graduate program and the dean of the college.
    After admission to candidacy and approval of the degree plan, any changes in the degree plan must be approved by the administrator of the graduate program and the dean of the college. The application for candidacy must be filed before the beginning of the student’s last semester in the program. No student will be allowed to graduate in the same semester in which the application for candidacy is filed.

Minimum Credits

The M.S. in Psychology requires 39 semester hours, the M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling requires 61 hours, and the Master’s of Marriage and Family Therapy requires 60 hours, exclusive of hours accumulated to satisfy academic deficiencies.

Minimum GPA

The minimum cumulative grade-point average is 3.00 for all graduate courses taken for graduate credit while pursuing the degree. No grade below a “C” is acceptable. Such grades will not apply toward degree completion.


Students must register for GN 999X the semester in which all course work will be completed for graduation. Students who do not file their intent to graduate form in the registrar’s office by the end of the first week of their last semester may be delayed in graduating.

Graduate students receiving degrees are hooded during the May and Dec. commencement exercises.


Any exceptions to the above stated requirements would require approval by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in collaboration with the Dean of the College and the Program Director.

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees for 2017-18*

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling tuition per credit hour $943
M.S. in Psychology tuition per credit hour $943
Masters of Marriage & Family Therapy tuition per credit hour $981
Tuition to audit 50% of tuition
Application fee $50
Application for Graduation $195
Background Check fee approx. $25
Returned payment fee $30
Technology fee $150
Thesis fee (includes printing and binding) $75
TouchNet payment plan enrollment fee (per semester) $60
Withdrawal fee $195
Internship continuation fee (COUN 6910) / Clinical Practice Extension (PSFT 6800) $500
Additional Expenses: Practicum and internship students are required to obtain and maintain student membership (inclusive of professional liability insurance coverage) with the American Counseling Association or with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. Documentation will be required. For information on ACA membership and benefits, www.counseling.org\Students. For information on AAMFT membership and benefits, www.aamft.org.
* Effective May 1, 2017  


Program of Study Requirements

    Master of Marriage and Family TherapyMaster of Science

    (Applied behavior analysis, biomolecular science, engineering management, exercise and nutrition science, health care informatics, information security, informatics and analytics, information technology management, clinical mental health counseling, psychology, software engineering and sustainability)

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