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Out of the Ivory Tower and Into the Community

Through our unique, humanistic-focused master's degree program in community psychology, you'll develop the knowledge and skills to improve the lives of individuals, families and various communities with specific needs.

Different from other psychology master's programs in the Pittsburgh region, we offer a theoretical orientation based in existential-humanistic, feminist, critical and liberation social psychologies.

Our holistic approach seeks to better understand experience and behavior.

Improve the Well-Being of Individuals, Families and Communities

Our 36-credit Master of Arts program practical emphasis is on community-based participatory action research, community advocacy and outreach and community program evaluation. We train our students to work for community mental health outreach programs and community-focused nonprofit organizations, while also preparing them for further graduate studies in psychology or related fields.


Thesis

Our M.A. students work within a community to help address specific needs that have been identified by community members and organizations. Based on research review and assessment, students then design a plan to help empower and improve the mental health and well-being of members of the community.

Pictured are M.A. psychology students with Dr. Sarah Schulz. | Photo by Matt Metrovich

Courses & Topics

Courses offered in our M.A. community psychology program include:

  • Foundations of Community Psychology
  • Humanistic and Phenomenological Approaches 
  • Psychopathology in the Context of Society and Culture
  • Social Psychology and Cultural Transformation
  • Childhood & Society
  • Critical Race Studies
  • LGBTQ Studies
  • Integrative Approaches to Mental Health
  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

Our students also have the opportunity to present their research work at national psychology conferences and network with psychology professionals across the nation.

Faculty bring industry experience and expertise to the classroom.

Learn from faculty who have worked in various areas of clinical and community psychology and have had their research published in various scholarly journals.

Meet the faculty
Pictured is M.A. community psychology director Sarah Schulz, Ph.D.
FACULTY SPOTLIGHT
  • More than 10 years of experience as a psychiatric social worker in a variety of practice settings
  • Research interests focus on mental health, medical sociology and gender studies, with an emphasis on addressing barriers to health care faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community
  • Appointed to Pittsburgh's Gender Equity Commission

Pictured are M.A. in clinical-community psychology faculty and students at Point Park University. | Photo by Annie BrewerProgram Goals

The overall goal of the program is to enable graduate psychology students to enhance the well-being of individuals, groups and communities through research, community assistance and clinical practices.

Emphasis is placed on understanding the role of social and cultural influences on mental health and well-being including prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

Another goal of this program is to teach empathic understanding and recognition of diverse ways of living in the world. This sets the foundation for an ethically-informed approach to psychology that respects and values the fundamental dignity and human rights of all persons.

Internship Opportunities

  • Pittsburgh Action Against Rape: Community outreach internship. Interns provide community education, resources and training at high schools, colleges and universities.

  • Operation Safety Net: Community outreach internship and advocate ethnography. Interns help provide resources and vital information, listen, observe, advocate, empower, and help give voice to those living on the streets.  

  • Bridge to the Mountains: Community outreach internship and advocate ethnographers. Interns help provide resources and vital information, listen, observe, advocate, empower and help give voice to those living on the streets.  

  • Inside Our Minds: Community organizing and outreach. Interns will help with community programming to give voice to people with lived experience of mental illness in Pittsburgh.  

  • Mobile Thriving Respite: In partnership with Downtown Ministries, Allies for Health and Well Being, and the Allegheny Department of Housing and Urban Development. The respite with and for the street community in Pittsburgh. Interns provide opportunities for thriving (e.g., movies, music, books, gardening, talks, etc.). Contact: Dr. Robert McInerney, Professor of Psychology, at rmcinerney@pointpark.edu.

  • Youth and Family Training Institute, UPMCCommunity research. Help with data collection for PA counties implementing High Fidelity Wraparound. 

Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate QPA of 3.0 is required for full admission.

  • A letter of intent is required that addresses how your professional experience and career goals relate to graduate study, with a length of approximately 500 words.

Psychology Careers at the Master's Degree Level

With an M.A. in community psychology, you'll have the option to pursue a doctoral degree and/or various career opportunities, such as:

  • Administer or director of community programs in human services, mental health, prevention community, education, health promotion and community development
  • Social and community service manager
  • Community researcher
  • Unlicensed counselor

Note: The M.A. program does not prepare you for clinical licensure. 

Pictured is psychology student Emily Jamison. | Photo by Shayna MendezProfessional Affiliations

Point Park's psychology department is affiliated with the American Psychological Association's Divisions 32 and 27. Click on the links below to learn more.

Learn More

For additional details about our graduate programs, please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at gradadmission@pointpark.edu or 412-392-3808.

Alumni Success

Learn where our M.A. psychology graduates have gone on to build their careers.

More profiles
Pictured is M.A. clinical-community psychology alumnus Kevin Gallagher.
"Point Park’s approach to psychology has granted me an understanding of human nature that makes me believe leadership is not an act of domination, but of empathy."
Pictured is M.A. clinical-community psychology alumna Leatra Tate.
"During my time in the master's program I was introduced to an amazing and inspirational group of faculty members and students. I am so fortunate to have had the experiences I had in that program."

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