At Saint Leo University, you have your choice of many highly-rated Masters level programs ranging from a number of different Masters of Business degrees to a Master of Arts in Creative Writing to a variety of Masters of Education specializations. Well, now Saint Leo is proud to offer its students yet another option when it comes to earning a higher education. It's a Master of Science in Psychology and the best part is that it's available online.

To give you more information about this program, we've reached out to the Director of the Master of Science in Psychology program at Saint Leo University, Cathleen B. Dunn, Ph.D. Here are the questions we asked, followed by her very informative and truly exciting answers!

Q: Tell me a little bit about the new M.S. in Psychology program. For instance, when will it be offered and what can enrolling students expect to learn?

"This program is a 36 credit hour (2-year) program," says Dr. Dunn. "It is fully online and asynchronous" and students can expect to "progress through the program in cohorts of no more than 15 students," she adds. This allows for "a more personalized and student-centered experience," she says, sharing that "students will take one course per eight-week term."

With a planned start date of Summer I 2017 (which is May 1, 2017), this program offers students a "broad-based, general degree in Psychology," says Dr. Dunn. "The curriculum provides a comprehensive, global understanding of human behavior. It focuses on a wide range of psychological theories and practice, in such courses as social, developmental, and physiological psychology."

Students enrolling in the M.S. in Psychology call also expect to "develop practical skills related to data analysis, research, writing skills and teaching," says Dr. Dunn. "This approach provides the graduate with a variety of employment options and opportunities upon graduation."

Q: Speaking of employment options, what types of careers can students enjoy after graduating with this particular degree?

With an M.S. in Psychology, "a graduate can pursue careers in management, data analysis, market and survey research, program evaluation, research analysis/project management, statistical consulting, human resources, testing & assessment, training, and teaching at the university or high school level," says Dr. Dunn.

"It also can prepare a student for pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology, in areas such as general, I/O [Industrial Organizational], social or experimental [psychology]." This degree can also help students prepare for a career in a variety of fields, such as those related to business and telecommunications. It also helps provide the educational foundation for careers in government, the military, police and fire departments, non-profits, and educational settings, she says.

"This degree is useful anywhere where advanced data analysis and research skills and knowledge of human behavior would be an asset," states Dr. Dunn, or any "positions requiring an advanced degree for opportunity for job promotion." In fact, the only psychology-based areas not covered by this particular degree at Saint Leo are those related to clinical or counseling, she says.

Q: What makes Saint Leo's graduate psychology program a top choice when compared to other universities?

"The program has high standards for both admittance & retention," says Dr. Dunn. For instance, admittance into the program requires either a B.A. or B.S. degree with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of a 3.00 or higher. However, if a student holds a GPA of a 2.8 or 2.9, he or she may be considered for acceptance upon obtaining acceptable scores on the GRE general test, says Dr. Dunn.

These high standards are also reinforced throughout the program. "Students must maintain a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.25 with no more than one grade of C in required coursework to remain in the program," says Dr. Dunn.

Dr. Dunn further stresses that there are many benefits to taking this particular program at Saint Leo. "Because it is a fully online, asynchronous program, it allows students greater flexibility while maintaining rigorous standards," she says. Additionally, the personalized and student-centered experience offered by the cohorts of 15 is an advantage as well.

The program also offers some things you won't find in other M.S. in Psychology programs, says Dr. Dunn. One of them is what's called the Final Capstone Project.

"In this project, students choose an area of interest in the field and engage in research design and analysis, emphasizing ethical decision making and writing excellence," explains Dr. Dunn. This alone provides "a marketable addition to graduates' resumes," says Dr. Dunn, "benefitting them as they seek to secure employment, advance in their current employment situation, or pursue further graduate study."

"Another unique feature of the program is our distinguished faculty who all possess doctorates in psychology in many areas of specialization, such as I/O, experimental, social, clinical, and developmental psychology," says Dr. Dunn. "Our faculty all have extensive teaching experience, both on-ground and online."

Q: How did Saint Leo decide to begin offering this particular program?

"Saint Leo decided to offer this program in response to a perceived need for undergraduate students to continue in their study of psychology," says Dr. Dunn. Essentially, undergrads were searching for a psychology program that was "not counseling or clinically based," says Dr. Dunn. Therefore, they needed "a broad-based, general degree in psychology to be prepared for the job market." This program helps meet that need as it "focuses on practical skills related to data analysis, research and teaching," says Dr. Dunn. 

Q: What makes you most excited about the new MS in Psychology program?

"I am most excited that it is broad-based, general degree that does not have a counseling/clinical focus" says Dr. Dunn. "It is an opportunity for students to continue their study of psychology at the graduate level and to apply psychological science and theory to real-world settings. It allows these students to seek highly marketable and fulfilling careers."

"Another exciting feature is that it is fully online and asynchronous," says Dr. Dunn, "making it more flexible for the students and attracting a nationwide enrollment." She also likes that students will progress through the program in cohorts of no more than 15, "allowing for a more personalized and student-centered experience" and that it offers the final Capstone Project which, once completed, is "an asset to the graduates when they are seeking employment."

Q: Who can students contact if they have any questions about the program?

If you want to know more about the M.S. in Psychology, Dr. Dunn suggests you contact any of the following individuals:

Michael Marino

Graduate Enrollment Counselor, Saint Leo University

Direct: 352-588-7211

Nathanya Bastian

Graduate Enrollment Counselor, Saint Leo University

Direct: 352-588-5806

Cathleen Dunn

Director of the Graduate Studies in Psychology Program, Saint Leo University

Direct: 352-588-7193