Enter the mental health field
Interested in becoming a Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP)? The Master of Science in Psychology—Mental Health Professions (MSPsy) at Bridgewater College allows you to meet the requirements to become a Qualified Mental Health Professional in Virginia.
You can complete the program in less than one year! Graduate with your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, along with an important designation in the mental health field.
A stepping stone
Your course work and field experience are focused on practical and directly relevant skills that are needed in various mental health and human service careers. The program can also be used as a stepping stone for future mental health graduate programs in clinical social work, professional counseling, school psychology or clinical psychology.
You can work towards meeting the standards and expertise in one of the following areas:
- Qualified Mental Health Professional – Child/Adolescent
- Qualified Mental Health Professional – Adult
- Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional
- Certified Brain Injury Specialist
- Dementia/Memory Care
The MSPsy program classes are conveniently scheduled to give you the time you need to complete your practica and internship hours.
Become a qualified mental health professional using best practices and empirically-validated techniques. Learn and practice skills in formal case management, motivational interviewing and crisis intervention.
Complete the 30 credit-hour MSPsy full time in as little as 35 weeks.
Take it to the next level with Bridgewater College. Apply today by filling out our online application.
Once you create an account, the information for the MSPsy application will be available.
- Meets Virginia requirements to register as a Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP)
- Focus on QMHP specialties such as child/adolescent, adult, etc.
- Complete your master’s degree and the hours you need for QMHP at the same time
- Graduate with your bachelor’s and master’s degrees, having met all the requirements for QMHP designation, in 5 years (4 + 1)
- Accumulate the experience and practical skills for many mental health and human services careers
- A complete online graduate application.
- Application fee of $50.
- Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale.
- Submission of official sealed transcript of all undergraduate and graduate course work completed.
- Completion of undergraduate (Bachelor’s) coursework with a minimum grade of C or better in:
- Introductory social science (psychology or sociology preferred)
- Abnormal psychology
- Quantitative research methods and/or statistics
- Physical or natural science with an accompanying lab
- Ideal candidates will have 18 or more credits in psychology, sociology, social work or health services areas
- Letters of Recommendation:
Three letters of recommendation should be submitted with your application. At least one letter should be from an internship supervisor, field experience supervisor or employer. At least one letter should be from an undergraduate professor. Letters may not be written by faculty serving on the Admissions Committee during the application cycle when a student applies. Please view your application as a persuasive argument about why you will succeed in the program.
- Personal statement (details below)
Apply by March 19, 2021, for priority consideration. Applications received after the due date may be considered as program space allows until April 30.
- Part 1: Put this graduate program into some personal life history (past) and professional planning (future). What have you done (personally, academically, vocationally, volunteer, etc) to prepare you for this graduate program in Psychology-Mental Health Professions? How do you expect the program to connect to you – and you to the program? Finally, how do you foresee this program helping to advance your personal and career goals into the future?
- Part 2: Working in the mental health professions requires resilient personal qualities, cognitive appraisal skills, and an encouraging helping approach. What are personal qualities that you understand about yourself that leads to a positive and productive helping approach when working with others? How have you come to this understanding (personally) and how has this been confirmed (from others)?
- Part 3: To best prepare each student for an immediate position for employment and to maximize opportunities to become certified or designated by an organization – a single specialization is needed to accumulate the minimum 500 hours of internship and practicum in the program. We currently recognize the following areas of specialization:
- Child/adolescent (mental/emotional/behavioral)
- Adult (mental/emotional/behavioral)
- Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
- Brain Injury
- Dementia/Memory Care
- Corrections/Criminal Justice
Identify which area of specialty you choose. Explain what reasons you have for selecting the specialty area. Finally, discuss the type of work environment that you seek (type of facility, coworker/peer interactions, supervisor relationship, consistency of workday activities, etc.)
PSY-510 Motivational Interviewing – Fall 4 credits
Focus on motivation as the key element in personal change and health. Primary text and class information gives a detailed and action-oriented approach to engaging, focusing, evoking, and evaluating change. The course also recognizes the importance of relationship and ambivalence as substantial factors in the change process in everyday practice. Includes applied lab of 10 complete motivational interviews and formal plan for change. Specific attention for use in child & adult mental health, intellectual disabilities, brain injury, dementia, and corrections settings.
PSY-515 Case Management – Spring 4 credits
Introduction and skill development of best practices in case management. Primary topics include cultural differences, boundaries, communication, documentation, assessment, potential impediments, and methods of monitoring. Includes applied lab of 10 complete case management assessments. Resources also utilized from the Case Management Association. Specific attention for use in child & adult mental health, intellectual disabilities, brain injury, dementia, and corrections settings.
PSY-520 Substance Use & Abuse – Fall 3 credits
Focus on the biopsychosocial approach to current substance and substance use issues. The common divisions of substances are covered and the interaction of the user – including developmental issues – are highlighted. Programmatic, prevention and psychoeducational materials from SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) evidence-based practices are incorporated throughout.
PSY-525 Data, Coding, and Financials – Spring 3 credits
Introduction and skill development in the area of program management. Modules will cover the basics of program evaluation; medical coding for diagnosis and treatment; and budget preparation, management, and reporting.
PSY-530 Psychiatric Rehabilitation – Fall 3 credits
Programmatic areas of rehabilitation – for use in child & adult mental health, intellectual disabilities, brain injury, dementia, and corrections settings. Primary topics include various levels of assistance, Recovery Model, co-occurring life challenges, employment/education, residential services, socialization, self-help & peer services, and disability assessment. Specific training in standard methods of determining disability and independent functioning. Introduction to various information and programmatic summaries – including Evidence-Based Practices from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). Resources also utilized from the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association.
PSY-540 Forensics, Criminal Justice & Mental Health – Fall 2 credits
Introduction and education to various ways mental health and the legal system interact. Topics covered include mental health services in prisons/jails, legal proceedings for adults/children, Child/Adult Protective Services procedures and requirements, alternate models for restitution, and outcome monitoring.
PSY-545 Crisis Intervention Strategies – Spring 3 credits
Introduction to the most frequent crisis situations in mental health care. Warning signs, referral practices, and appropriate prevention are emphasized. Some content regarding when/how/not to physically engage when providing mental care is covered. Primary material includes SAMHSA resources on “Alternatives to Seclusion and Restraint” as well as specific training/certification for appropriate physical restraint practices.
PSY-535 Progress Monitoring & Professional Ethics – Spring 3 credits
Focus on appropriate and ethical care. Introduction to the various methods of monitoring and evaluating “success” or “progress” or “accomplishment” of therapeutic goals. Introduction to various helping professions’ code of ethics (e.g. Case Management Association, United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, American Psychological Association). HIPAA certification included as part of the course. Includes a basic historical review of how challenging times brought about reform to what is considered professional and ethical responsibilities of staff care towards those for which they care. Self-care of the professional will also be covered.
PSY-570 Practicum – Fall + Spring 2 credits each
Semester-long supervised practicum experience in a public or private agency setting that provides services to individuals that match the student’s identified specialty area (A=Adult; C=Child/Adolescent; ID=Intellectual Disabilities; BI=Brain Injury; DM=Dementia/Memory Care; or CCJ=Corrections/Criminal Justice). Student will complete a minimum 200 hours within the semester, have a specified on-site supervisor, and the placement will be formally registered with the department (and Virginia Board of Counseling for QMHP-A and QMHP-C).
PSY-580 Internship – May Term 1 credit
Supervised internship experience in a public or private agency setting that provides services to individuals which match the student’s identified specialty area (A=Adult; C=Child/Adolescent; ID=Intellectual Disabilities; BI=Brain Injury; DM=Dementia/Memory Care; or CCJ=Corrections/Criminal Justice). Student will complete a minimum 100 hours within the term, have a specified on-site supervisor, and the placement will be formally registered with the department (and Virginia Board of Counseling for QMHP-A and QMHP-C). The position may be paid or unpaid and will be full-time during the term (~30-40 hour weeks). Enrollment eligibility in this culminating course is contingent upon completion of all other course work in the program.