http://www.pacific.edu/Academics/Schools-and-Colleges/College-of-the-Pacific/Academics/Departments-and-Programs/Psychology.html
Phone: (209) 946-2133
Location: Psychology/Communications Building

Matt Normand, Chair
Corey Stocco, Director of Graduate Studies

Program Offered

Master of Arts in Behavioral Psychology

The department offers a graduate program of study that leads to the MA degree in psychology with special strengths in behavior analysis and behavioral psychology.  

Mission

The mission of the Master's program in behavioral psychology is to train students to be researchers and clinicians using a scientist-practitioner model. Through a combination of coursework and practical experiences, we provide training that spans the domains of behavior analysis: the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, and service delivery. We have assumed this mission because we believe the solutions to many problems of great social significance require professionals who are engaged with the science and ethics of behavior analysis throughout their careers.

All students:

  • take the same courses and receive formal academic training in behavior analytic principles and techniques.  
  • earn their funding through supervised work in applied settings or through teaching assistantships (see explanation below).  
  • are required to engage in research throughout their graduate work and to conduct an empirical thesis
  • are provided with research mentorship and supervision.

The Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) has verified that our course sequence meets the coursework requirements for eligibility to take the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)® exam.  We also provide supervised clinical experience which meets the BACB® Fieldwork requirements.

Our students have a high rate of sitting for and passing the BACB® exam. Doctoral preparation students have a high rate of being accepted into quality doctoral programs. A list of former graduate students and their current employment or academic placements upon graduating our program is available upon request.

Answers to FAQs can be downloaded here

The program prepares students for:

1) Sitting for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® exam (www.bacb.com) and subsequent employment in settings where applied behavior analysis is used.  Students seeking this option typically earn their funding through supervised clinical experience.

2) Applying to PhD programs in behavior analysis.  Students seeking this option also typically earn their funding through supervised clinical experience which meets the BACB® Fieldwork requirements.

Supervised clinical experience is available in many settings including homes, schools, care homes, and treatment centers, and include working with typically developing children, children diagnosed with developmental disabilities and/or autism spectrum disorders, and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses.  All students are supervised by masters-level BCBAs within our program.

3) Applying to PhD programs in behaviorally-oriented clinical/counseling psychology.  Students seeking this option typically earn their funding through a teaching assistantship.  

Master of Arts in Psychology

Students must complete a minimum of 30 units with a Pacific cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in order to earn the master of arts in psychology.

Minimum 28 units, including each of these required courses:

PSYC 207Psychology of Learning4
PSYC 251Behavioral Treatment/Applications4
PSYC 258Behavioral Assessment4
PSYC 262Ethical Behavior4
PSYC 278Controversial Treatments in Applied Settings4
PSYC 283Research Design4
PSYC 299Thesis2 or 4
Select two units from the following:2
Practicing and Supervising Behavior Analysis I
Practicing and Supervising Behavior Analysis II
Graduate Independent Research

Notes: 1) Students are expected to spend four semesters and one summer in residence in Stockton as part of completing the program. 2) All students must complete a one year research apprenticeship with the same faculty research mentor during their first year. During their second year, students may continue with the same faculty mentor, change faculty mentors, or remain with the same faculty mentor and join additional research teams. 3) Registration for Psyc297 and Psyc285e/Psyc285f is by instructor permission and is based on students' performance during their first year.

Psychology Courses

PSYC 101. Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology I. 5 Units.

This course is the first course in a two-course sequence required for the psychology major. This course will teach the student how to design, complete, analyze, interpret, and report empirical research used to test hypotheses derived from psychological theory or its application, and to be able to critically evaluate scientific research produced by others. Prerequisite: Fundamental Math Skills requirement. (GE3B)

PSYC 102. Research Methods and Statistics in Psychology II. 5 Units.

This course is the second course in a two-course sequence required for the psychology major. This course will teach you how to design, complete, analyze, interpret, and report empirical research used to test hypotheses derived from psychological theory or its application, and to be able to critically evaluate scientific research produced by others. Prerequisite: PSYC 101 with a “C-“ or higher.

PSYC 115. Advanced Lab in Cognitive Psychology. 4 Units.

This advanced lab will focus on more in-depth exploration of a specific topic area within the field of Cognitive Psychology. The course will include strong research/applied component that will help students get more hands on feel for research and/or application of the concepts within the field. Possible topics include Memory, Thinking Fast and Slow, or other topics. Prerequisites: PSYC 015, PSYC 11102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 117. Advanced Lab in Clinical Psychology. 4 Units.

This advanced lab will focus on a more in-depth exploration of a specific topic area within the field of Clinical Psychology. The course will include a strong research/applied component that will help students get more hands on feel for research and/or application of the concepts Psychology, Testing and Assessment, or other topics. Prerequisites: PSYC 017, PSYC 053, PSYC 102 with a C- or better, or permission of instructor.

PSYC 118. Advanced Lab in Child Clinical Psychology. 4 Units.

This lab is a more in depth look at topics within the field of clinical child psychology. Each time the course is taught, a specific topic of study such as parenting, child mental health, etc. will be the focus. The course relies heavily on becoming aware of the available research within the field of Clinical Child Psychology as well as more effectively accessing and understanding research in general. Experiential opportunities will be included. Prerequisites: PSYC 017, PSYC 102 with a “C-“ or better.

PSYC 125. History and Systems of Psychology. 4 Units.

This course traces the development of “modern psychology” from its birth in early philosophy to its founding as an independent discipline in the late 1800s to its current status with an emphasis on modern behaviorism and cognitive psychology as the two dominant theoretical systems in psychology. In addition, other modern developments such as evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience are discussed. The course focuses on specific content areas and ideas in psychology and the individuals who are most credited with their development.

PSYC 129. Advanced Lab in Developmental Psychology. 4 Units.

This advanced lab will focus on a more in-depth exploration of a specific topic area within the field of Developmental Psychology. The course will include a strong research/ applied component that will help students get a more hands on fells for research and/ or application of the concepts within the field. Possible topics include The Study of Infants, Psychology of Aging, Cognitive Aging, or other topics. Prerequisites: PSYC 029, PSYC 102 with a C- or better. (DVSY, ETHC)

PSYC 153. Advanced Lab in Behavioral Psychology. 4 Units.

This advanced lab will focus more in-depth exploration of a specific topic area within the field of Behavioral Psychology. The course will include a strong research/ applied component that will help students get a more hands on feel for research and/or application of the concepts within the field. Possible topics may include Behavioral Economics, Behavioral Approaches to Common Childhood Problems, the Power of Habit, or other topics. Prerequisites: PSYC 053, PSYC 102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 158. Behavioral Assessment. 4 Units.

An overview of behavioral assessment techniques is examined. Specific topics include data collection, inter-observer agreement, social validity, treatment integrity, functional assessment, stimulus preference assessment, indirect assessment techniques, and functional analysis procedures. Prerequisites: PSYC 053 and permission of instructor.

PSYC 162. Ethical Behavior. 4 Units.

This course will cover professional conduct and ethical behavior within the broad discipline of psychology, as well as the specific ethical and professional guidelines for the Behavior Anaysis Certification Board (BACB®). This course addresses ethical decision-making, regulatory standards, and professional behavior in assessment, treatment, and research, in a variety of settings. Although this course will encompass a variety of disciplines and settings within psychology, primary attention will be given to those disciplines intersecting with the practive of applied behavior analysis and on those settings in which behavior analysts in practice are most likely to operate. Topics include accountability, confidentiality and informed consent, quality of services, quality of life, emergency management, research and academic settings, professional collaborations, boundaries, cultural competence, and ethical safeguards. Prerequisites: Junior standing or higher and permission of the instructor.

PSYC 169. Advanced Lab in Social Psychology. 4 Units.

This advanced lab will focus on a more in-depth exploration of a specific topic area within the field of Social Psychology. The course will include a strong research/applied component that will help students get a more hands on feel for research and/ or application of the concepts within the field. Possible topics may include Social Influence, Conformity, or other topics. Prerequisites: PSYCH 069, PSYCH 102 with a C- or better.

PSYC 183. Research Design. 4 Units.

This course is the design and analysis of research using single subject and group designs. Prerequisite: PSYC 105 and permission of instructor.

PSYC 187. Internship. 1-4 Units.

This internship course gives experiences in a work setting and is contracted on an individual basis. PSYC 187 represents advanced internship work that involves increased independence and responsibility. Students may register for only one course listed below in any semester and may receive no more than four units of credit for any of these courses. Pass/no credit is the only grading.

PSYC 189. Practicum. 4 Units.

The practicum offers non-classroom experiences in activities related to the curriculum under conditions that is determined by the appropriate faculty member. PSYC 189 represents advanced practicum work which involves increased independence and responsibility. Students may register for only one course listed below in any semester and may receive no more than four units of credit for any of these courses. Pass/no credit is the only grading.

PSYC 189A. Applied Psychology Practicum. 4 Units.

Students will acquire skills necessary to the application of principles of general psychology to solve personal, organizational and social problems while serving as assistants to faculty and professional psychologists.

PSYC 191. Independent Study. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 195. Seminar. 4 Units.

PSYC 197. Independent Research. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 207. Psychology of Learning. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the scientific investigation of learning and behavior. Both experimental and related theoretical developments are considered, as well as applications of the basic principles of learning to issues of social significance.

PSYC 251. Behavioral Treatment/Applications. 4 Units.

This course focuses on the application of behavior analytic principles and methods in applied settings, with an emphasis on behavior change procedures, maintenance and generalization of behavior change, and emergency interventions. Topics addressed include the definition and characteristics of applied behavior analysis, selection and evaluation of intervention strategies, measurement of behavior, display and interpretation of behavioral data, and behavioral assessment. Additionally, basic behavioral principles, single-case experimental design, and ethical issues are discussed in the context of behavioral assessment and intervention. Prerequisite: Open only to graduate students in the psychology major.

PSYC 258. Behavioral Assessment. 4 Units.

Students study an overview of behavioral assessment techniques is examined. Specific topics covered include data collection, inter-observer agreement, social validity, treatment integrity, functional assessment, stimulus preference assessment, indirect assessment techniques, and functional analysis procedures.

PSYC 262. Ethical Behavior. 4 Units.

This course will cover professional conduct and ethical behavior with the broad discipline of psychology, as well as the specific ethical and professional guidelines for the Behavior Analysis Certificate (BACB®). This course addresses ethical decision-making, regulatory standards, and professional behavior in assessment, treatment, and research, in a variety of settings. Although this course will encompass a variety of disciplines and settings within psychology, primary attention will be given to those disciplines intersecting with the practice of applied behavior analysis and on those settings in which behavior analysts in practice are most likely to operate. Topics include accountability, confidentiality and informed consent, quality of services, quality of life, emergency management, research and academic settings, professional collaborations, boundaries, cultural competence, and ethical safeguards. Prerequisites: Psychology major and graduate student status.

PSYC 278. Controversial Treatments in Applied Settings. 4 Units.

This graduate seminar covers the varieties and consequences of pseudoscience in the helping professions and how to avoid being influenced by them. The helping professions comprise a significant industry in the United States. This includes medicine, psychology (including behavior analysis), psychiatry, social work, and other forms of counseling. It includes community mental health centers, and other venues such as mental hospitals, crisis centers, and schools. Each profession has a code of ethics that calls on professionals to help clients, to avoid harm, to honor informed consent requirements and promote independence. Professional codes of ethics call on professionals to draw on practice-related research findings. What do we find if we look closely at their everyday behavior? To what extent do professionals and researchers honor obligations described in such codes of ethics? Although this course will encompass a variety of disciplines and settings, primary attention will be given to those disciplines intersecting the practice of applied behavior analysis and on those settings in which behavior analysts in practice are most likely to operate. Prerequisites: Psychology major and graduate student status.

PSYC 283. Research Design. 4 Units.

Students learn the design and analysis of research using single subject and group designs.

PSYC 285E. Practicing and Supervising Behavior Analysis I. 1 Unit.

This course provides clinical and supervisory experience with the University of the Pacific Behavior Analysis Services Program. This course includes practice in conducting behavioral interventions, designing, implementing, and monitoring behavior analysis programs for clients. Students oversee the implementation of behavioral programs by others, attend behavioral program-planning meetings, and review program-relevant literature. Faculty and staff will observe interns engaging the activities in the natural environment at least once every two weeks, and provide specific feedback to interns on their performance. Multiple populations and sites will be available, including but not limited to, typically developing school-aged children in school and home settings, and individuals with psychiatric diagnoses and/or developmental disabilities in their homes or in community settings. Permission of instructor required. Pass/No Credit grading only.

PSYC 285F. Practicing and Supervising Behavior Analysis II. 1 Unit.

This course provides clinical and supervisory experience with the University of the Pacific Behavior Analysis Services Program. This course includes practice in conducting behavioral interventions, designing, implementing, and monitoring behavior analysis programs for clients. Students oversee the implementation of behavioral programs by others, attend behavioral program-planning meetings, and review program-relevant literature. Faculty and staff will observe interns engaging the activities in the natural environment at least once every two weeks, and provide specific feedback to interns on their performance. Multiple populations and sites will be available, including but not limited to, typically developing school-aged children in school and home settings, and individuals with psychiatric diagnoses and/or developmental disabilities in their homes or in community settings. Permission of instructor required. Pass/No Credit grading only.

PSYC 287. Graduate Internship. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 289. Practium. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 291. Graduate Independent Study. 1-4 Units.

PSYC 297. Graduate Independent Research. 1-4 Units.

Pass/No Credit grading only.

PSYC 299. Thesis. 2 or 4 Units.

This course requires students, under the guidance and supervision of a designated faculty research advisor, to independently plan, organize, conduct, evaluate and write-up an original research project as partial fulfillment of the MA degree. Permission of instructor. Pass/No Credit grading only.

Clinical Skills Development

Students should be able to demonstrate clinical skills and the ability to apply knowledge and research to clinical problems.  Students are evaluated on the following (based on the BACB® requirements).

  1. Professionalism and Interpersonal Skills
  2. Clinical Judgement
  3. Written Skills 

Professional Skills Development

Students should be able to independently articulate appropriate, reasonable, and achievable goals for their academic development as evaluated by faculty advisor.

Student Self-Regulation of Learning

Students should be able to:

  1. Propose their thesis no later than their fourth semester
  2. Defend their thesis no later than their third December (i.e., fifth semester)
  3. Graduate within 3 years of entering the program
  4. Gain admittance into a doctoral program, pass the BACB® exam, and/or obtain employment commensurate with their training upon graduating (depending on the goals of the student).

Psychology Faculty

Matthew P. Normand, Professor and Department Chair, 2007, BA, Western New England College; MA, Western Michigan University, 1999; MS, Florida State University, 2002; PhD; BCBA 2003, mnormand@pacific.edu, http://www.theskinnerbox.com

Corey Stocco, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, 2015, BA, University of Wisconsin, 2007; MS, Northeastern University, 2010; PhD Western New England University, 2013, cstocco@pacific.edu, 209.946.7318, https://www.stoccolab.com, Psychology/Communication Bldg Room 102

Marlesha Bell, Visiting Assistant Professor, 2020, BA, CSU Northridge, 2013; MS, CSU Northridge, 2015; PhD, University of South Florida, 2020, mbell@pacificedu, 209.946.7311

Jessica Grady, Associate Professor, 2013, BS Lebanon Valley College; PhD, West Virginia University, 2011, jgrady@pacific.edu

Carolynn S. Kohn, Professor, 2003, BA, University of California Santa Barbara; MA, Hahnemann University, 1996; PhD 2000; BCBA 2003, ckohn@pacific.edu

Carla Strickland-Hughes, Assistant Professor, 2017, B.S. North Carolina State University, 2011; M.S., Ph.D., University of Florida, 2014, 2017, cstricklandhughes@pacific.edu