West Liberty University has received approval from the Higher Learning Commission for two much-needed master degree programs, the Master of Science in Dental Hygiene (MSDH) and the Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. Student applications are now being accepted for fall of 2019.
“With this announcement of our two newest master degree programs, I am proud to say West Liberty University now has eight master degree programs up and running. This is important to our state and our workforce, and we look forward to continuing to provide opportunities for students who wish to advance their careers and earn their graduate degree on the hilltop,” said Dr. Stephen Greiner, WLU president.
Both are approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and housed in the College of Science. The MSDH is offered in an online format. The MA in Clinical Psychology offers an evening coursework schedule.
“We are pleased to offer more options for healthcare professionals seeking advanced degrees, and we know that our professors and this rigorous curriculum will provide professionals with the education they seek,” said Dr. Karen Kettler, interim dean of the College of Science.
Dental hygiene prepares graduates for leadership roles in dental education and public health.
According to Sara Sweeney, director of Graduate Studies, “Many dental hygienists with undergraduate degrees have expressed an interest in this new master’s program and will be glad to hear that WLU now offers it.”
The MSDH 30-credit hour program is an online program that allows working professionals to advance their career while holding a full-time job.
WLU has long been known for its excellence in providing dental hygienists with a first-class education in its Sarah Whitaker Glass School of Dental Hygiene, which was established in 1938 and has graduated thousands of alumni.
“We are excited for graduates to have the opportunity to advance their career possibilities by earning their MSDH degree. By having an online platform, students across the country can continue to work while pursuing their academic goals,” said Stephanie Meredith, Dental Hygiene program director.
The MA in Clinical Psychology prepares graduates to meet the licensure requirements set by the West Virginia Board of Examiners of Psychology.
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The 54-credit hour program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework, six credit hours of practicum and 18 credit hours of professional internship. The coursework and the practicum are completed over four semesters, and the internship course sequence will be completed in the third year to prepare students for license eligibility. Coursework will be offered in the evenings to allow working professionals an opportunity to participate.
“West Virginia meets the demand for mental health professionals by allowing individuals who possess a Master’s of Arts in psychology to serve as a Board Approved Supervised-Psychologist until they have met the supervisory requirements necessary for independent licensure,” explained Dr. Tammy McClain, program director for the new master’s program. Twelve other states also recognize the degree in the same way to meet the need for trained psychologists.
“In addition, students who are interested in pursuing a Doctor of Psychology degree will find that this program prepares them for the rigors of a doctoral program,” she said. “Our students will be trained to provide mental and behavioral health interventions for individuals and families, psychological assessments and consultation.”
Clinical psychologists work in community mental health clinics, health care facilities, schools, social service agencies, education and research.
The need is especially great in rural states, like West Virginia, where 11 out of 55 counties have no psychologist at all.
“Our students have been asking for this degree for more than a decade. With the limited availability of psychological services in West Virginia, particularly in rural areas, and the ongoing need for mental and behavioral health services, we look forward to being able to provide our state with the high-quality professionals it needs,” said McClain.