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Mission and Goals


Goals and Student Learning Outcomes for the B.A. in Psychology

 (based on the American Psychological Association's Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major, 2007) 

Goal 1:  Knowledge Base of Psychology

Demonstrate familiarity with the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in psychology.

Outcome 1.1:  Characterize the nature of psychology as a discipline.

Outcome 1.2:  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding representing appropriate breadth and depth in selected content areas of psychology.

Outcome 1.3:  Use the concepts, language, and major theories of the discipline to account for psychological phenomena.

Outcome 1.4:  Explain major perspectives of psychology (e.g., behavioral, biological, cognitive, evolutionary, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural).

Goal 2:  Research Methods in Psychology

Understand and apply basic research methods in psychology, including research design, data analysis, and interpretation.

Outcome 2.1:  Describe the basic characteristics of the science of psychology.

Outcome 2.2:  Explain different research methods used by psychologists.

Outcome 2.3:  Evaluate the appropriateness of conclusions derived from psychological research.

Outcome 2.4:  Design and conduct basic studies to address psychological questions using appropriate research methods.

Outcome 2.5:  Follow the APA Ethics Code in the treatment of human and nonhuman participants in the design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of psychological research.

Outcome 2.6:  Generalize research conclusions appropriately based on the parameters of particular research methods.

Goal 3:  Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology

Respect and use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and, when possible, the scientific approach to solve problems related to behavior and mental processes.

Outcome 3.1:  Use critical thinking effectively.

Outcome 3.2:  Engage in creative thinking.

Outcome 3.3:  Use reasoning to recognize, develop, defend, and criticize arguments and other persuasive appeals.

Outcome 3.4:  Approach problems effectively.

Goal 4:  Application of Psychology

Understand and apply psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues.

Outcome 4.1;  Describe major applied areas (e.g., clinical, counseling, industrial/organizational, school, etc.) and emerging (e.g., health, forensics, media, military, etc.) applied areas of psychology.

Outcome 4.2:  Identify appropriate applications of psychology in solving problems.

Outcome 4.3:  Articulate how psychological principles can be used to explain social issues and inform public policy.

Outcome 4.4:  Apply psychological concepts, theories, and research findings as these relate to everyday life.

Outcome 4.5:  Recognize that ethically complex situations can develop in the application of psychological principles.

Goal 5:  Values in Psychology

Value empirical evidence, tolerate ambiguity, act ethically, and reflect other values that are the underpinnings of psychology as a science.

Outcome 5.1:  Recognize the necessity of ethical behavior in all aspects of the science and practice of psychology.

Outcome 5.2:  Demonstrate reasonable skepticism and intellectual curiosity by asking questions about causes of behavior.

Outcome 5.3:  Seek and evaluate scientific evidence for psychological claims.

Outcome 5.4:  Tolerate ambiguity and realize that psychological explanations are often complex and tentative.

Outcome 5.5:  Recognize and respect human diversity.

Outcome 5.6:  Assess and justify their engagement with respect to civic, social, and global responsibilities.

Outcome 5.7:  Understand the limitations of their psychological knowledge and skills.

Goals and Student Learning Outcomes for the M.S. in Counseling Psychology

(based on content areas of the California State licensing exam for Marriage and Family Therapists)

Goal 1 : Clinical Evaluation

Identify presenting problems and collect information to assess clinical issues and formulate a diagnostic impression with in a client's interpersonal and cultural context

Outcome 1.1: Conduct a thorough initial assessment

Outcome 1.2: Consider the impact of substance abuse history, psychosocial history, cultural factors, age, and other environmental factors on the assessment of client problems.

Outcome 1.3: Evaluate the need for referrals based on clients' medical and psycosocial functioning.

Outcome 1.4: Gather, evaluate, and integrate information from collateral sources, testing, signs, and symptoms in order to formulate an accurate psychiatric diagnosis.

Goal 2: Crisis Management

Identify, evaluate, and manage crisis situations within the client's interpersonal and cultural context

Outcome 2.1: Assess the level of a client's crisis, suicide potential, and risk for domestic violence and the need for intervention.

Outcome 2.2: Evaluate the impact of a crisis in light of a client's level of impairment, trauma history, human diversity factors, and acculturation.

Outcome 2.3: Develop intervention strategies for managing a crisis situation.

Goal 3: Treatment Planning

Develop a comprehensive, measurable treatment plan and prioritize treatment goals based on assessment, diagnoses, and a theoretical model within the client's interpersonal and cultural context

Outcome 3.1: Establish and prioritize collaborative treatment goals and monitor progress toward them.

Outcome 3.2: Formulate an appropriate treatment plan that is sensitive to a client's culture, values, beliefs, social environment and includes appropriate referrals to medical and community services.

Outcome 3.3: Formulate treatment plans from several different theoretical perspectives (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-existential, postmodern, psychodynamic, systems, group and child).

Goal 4: Treatment

Implement, evaluate, and modify clinical interventions consistent with the treatment plan and theoretical orientation including outcome-based models and diversity factors

Outcome 4.1: Maintain a therapeutic relationship and implement culturally-sensitive treatment.

Outcome 4.2: Implement interventions from several different theoretical perspectives (e.g., cognitive-behavioral, humanistic-existential, postmodern, psychodynamic, systems, group and child).

Outcome 4.3: Implement interventions that consider developmental issues, substance abuse, and psychosocial stressors.

Outcome 4.4: Determine a client's readiness for termination and develop a termination plan.

Goal 5: Ethics

Identify, apply, and manage ethical standards and principles in clinical practice

Outcome 5.1: Obtain informed consent for therapy.

Outcome 5.2: Maintain professional boundaries in therapy.

Outcome 5.3: Manage ethical issues in therapy including confidentiality, scope of practice, scope of competence, and record maintenance.

Goal 6: Law

Identify, apply, and manage legal mandates in clinical practice

Outcome 6.1: Know the legal requirements for confidentiality, privilege, treatment of minors, and requests for records.

Outcome 6.2: Know the exemptions to confidentiality and act o mandated reporting obligations when appropriate.

Outcome 6.3: Know and comply with other legal standards that affect the professional practice of counseling.


The B.A. in psychology at California State University, Bakersfield exposes students to the broad range of perspectives, problems, methodologies, and bodies of knowledge found in contemporary psychology. Students will understand psychology from the perspectives of (1) a natural or biological science, (2) a behavioral or social science, (3) an applied or professional field, and (4) a set of experiential or humanistic concerns. Those four perspectives are expressed through five goals, which are areas of knowledge, skills, and values that the faculty believe represent the primary outcomes of majoring in psychology. To the extent that these goals are met, students will be prepared for entry into a psychology-related graduate program and/or for a career in a psychology-related field.