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From Theory to Practice: How Applied Psychology Master's Degree Programs Prepare You for the Workforce


Taking on a role in helping professions requires a thorough understanding of how to apply the learned material in real-life situations. Although a disconnect sometimes exists between academic theory and professional practice, the nature of applied psychology creates harmony between coursework and fieldwork.   

The Master of Arts in Applied Psychology Program (MAAP) at SNU offers a path to a promising future in a wide range of careers where an understanding of human development, behavior, and relationships is foundational. Participants will develop their professional identity and competence in theoretical and practical knowledge in assessment, diagnosis, research, ethics, cultural responsiveness and diversity. Below, we dive further into the MAAP course of study at SNU and its advantages for prospective students.

Comprehensive Curriculum for Professional Applications

There are many career pathways for students pursuing a degree in psychology. The Master of Arts in Applied Psychology offers a holistic curriculum in tune with industry needs as a foundation in the core psychological discipline. 


Practical Exposure and Hands-On Training

A core focus of applied psychology degree programs is the application of knowledge and practical experience. Courses are enriched with real-world expertise and insights from industry professionals. These can include guest lectures, workshops and mentorship opportunities to prepare students for professional roles.   

Although SNU’s MAAP degree program does not require practicum hours, it does include a pathway that can lead to acceptance into the Master of Science in Counseling Psychology (MSCP) degree program. In addition to coursework, MSCP students complete 150 practicum hours (four credit hours) and 450 hours of internship (five credit hours), with 250 of those 600 total hours being direct client contact hours. 

Methodology for Modern Challenges

Ethical research methods are essential for the discipline of applied psychology. SNU’s MAAP program places a strong emphasis on implementing social science research methodologies to prepare students to review and critique research in counseling and practical settings. 

This provides students with an introduction to the assessment process and teaches them how to design and conduct studies, collect data and analyze results using statistical tools. Visibility into proper research equips graduates with the ability to critically evaluate information, make evidence-based decisions and contribute to the advancement of psychological knowledge in their chosen fields.

Mastery of Essential Soft Skills

MAAP programs maintain a heavy focus on the development of effective communication and strong interpersonal skills. Through counseling simulations, group projects and role-playing exercises, students learn how to communicate empathetically, actively listen and build rapport with clients and colleagues, plus other techniques such as:

  • Relationship-building
  • Interviewing
  • Reflective listening
  • Self-understanding
  • Insight development
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Cultural competence

Another integral aspect of Applied Psychology is ethical considerations. Graduates are equipped to navigate ethical dilemmas responsibly and respect cultural diversity in their interactions with clients and organizations. Courses prioritize the ability to work with diverse identity demographics, including various races, religions, genders, ages and socioeconomic statuses, complete with insights into the impact of these factors in counseling. 

Students have the opportunity to examine counseling approaches with persons of various backgrounds by analyzing the barriers to cultural responsiveness and ways to incorporate cultural responsiveness in counseling. The regimen takes an intersectional approach to conceptualizing counseling cases and applying techniques in the appropriate contexts. 

Prepare for a Helping Profession You’re Passionate About

At SNU, our goal is to provide students with the best possible training on a timeline that fits their busy lifestyles. Courses are completed over three nontraditional terms in approximately 16 months, taken sequentially to allow focused study on one subject area at a time. Although not intended to meet the academic requirements for any state licensure, the MAAP provides students with foundational knowledge and skills that can be applied across most helping professions.

The MAAP program aims to offer all the foundational knowledge and resources necessary for students to thrive in their careers. By preparing students to meet the demands of the ever-evolving workforce, this carefully crafted curriculum creates empathetic, intelligent individuals suited for their new roles. To find out more about advancing your education in the field of psychology, access our “Adult Student Playbook” for further insights.

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