May 19, 2024  
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog 
2009-2010 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Arts in Psychology

Combining strong psychotherapeutic training with philosophical reflectiveness, the existential-phenomenological therapeutic psychology program offers students an interdisciplinary focus on the qualitative, experiential study of human life. By laying the foundations for a therapeutic attitude, the program prepares students to enter the helping professions, and/or pursue doctoral studies. It proposes a humanistic model of understanding and working with people in-depth, respecting the complexity of human experience and drawing upon the wisdom accumulated by the long tradition of the humanities. It is informed by the philosophical traditions of existentialism, phenomenology and hermeneutics, and aims to be faithful to experience by setting aside theoretical prejudgments in order to understand persons existing in their situations.

Admission Requirements

Applicants provide the following for consideration:

  • Completed Application for Graduate Admission form and a non-refundable $55 application fee (waived for Seattle University alumni)
  • Evidence of four-year equivalent bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and the following six psychology courses: introduction to psychology, statistics, scientific research methods, growth and development, abnormal psychology, theories of personality—ordinarily the equivalent of a minor in psychology
  • Minimum 3.00 GPA calculated from official transcripts of all post-secondary educational institutions attended in the last 90 quarter/60 semester credits of your bachelor’s degree, including any transfer credits earned during this time, and any post-baccalaureate course work
  • Beginning understanding of existential and phenomenological philosophy/psychology. A suggested list of readings related to the orientation of the program is on file in the department and is available to interested persons
  • Prior to admission, experience in the areas of counseling or human services (600 hours related experience) as noted in the autobiography below
  • Autobiography (minimum of at least six pages) including, but not limited to, information on the applicant’s present and future interests in psychology. Essay should be sufficiently specific to give concrete sense of applicant’s personal, as well as vocational and intellectual development. Include account of work or volunteer experiences, influential courses or readings, interest in this program and orientation, and especially personal events and changes that furthered the interest in psychology and the therapeutic process and relationship.
  • Three letters of recommendation; no forms required
  • Writing sample, such as an undergraduate paper
  • If English is not applicant’s native language, official English proficiency scores meeting the university’s entrance requirements must be submitted. See policy 2008-01  in Admissions Policies for details.
  • Screened candidates will be invited for an interview, either in person or by telephone.

For a complete application packet and instructions contact graduate admissions at (206) 296-2000. For specific questions regarding the program of study, contact the department at (206) 296-5400.

NOTE: We regard one’s personal experience in psychotherapy, either prior to entering the program and/or before graduation, as extremely valuable. While in this program, students are not allowed to do psychotherapy as private practitioners.

Degree Requirements:

This is ordinarily a full-time, two-year program; students typically carry nine credits each quarter.

Fifty-five credit hours, including:

II. Other Requirements

  • Approved PSYC electives (18)


With permission, a student may take up to six credits total from the following: graduate courses from other SU programs; independent study courses; 400-level SU undergraduate courses; graduate credit from another university. Program director approval is required to accept graduate courses from other SU programs and/or independent study courses; approval by petition is required to accept 400-level SU undergraduate courses and/or graduate credit from another university.

Minimum credits required for degree: (55)