M.A. Program Admission FAQ

M.A. Program Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application deadline?

Applications are reviewed in two rounds. Applications must be submitted and all other application materials must be postmarked on or before one of the two deadlines to ensure a decision from the admissions committee by the corresponding notification date. Applications submitted after the second round deadline will be considered on a space-available basis.

Round One
Application Deadline: March 10
Decision Notification: May 10

Round Two
Application Deadline: May 10
Decision Notification: July 10

Do I need an undergraduate degree in psychology?

No. An undergraduate degree in psychology is not required.

Are there any prerequisite courses?

No. There are no prerequisite courses.

Do I have to take the GRE general test?

No. The GRE is not required.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?

Yes. A minimum overall undergraduate or graduate school grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is required.

What if my GPA is below the minimum?

All applications are given full consideration regardless of GPA. Applicants that do not meet our minimum GPA requirement can still be accepted under exceptional circumstances. Appeals for waiver of this requirement should be made through our online application. All aspects of each application (essays, letters of recommendation, coursework, clinical experience, volunteerism and/or work experience) are considered during the decision making process.

What other materials are required to complete my application?

A full list and description of required application materials can be viewed here.

Do I have to send all of my transcripts and letters of recommendation in at one time?

No. Individual documents (transcripts and letters of recommendation) will be kept in a file with your name on it until you submit your online application. At that time, all application materials on file will be processed by scanning them into our system, allowing you to see what we have on file in real time through your online account at wi.edu/apply. Applications will not be forwarded to the admissions committee until all required materials have been received and processed.

Can I send additional materials in support of my application?

Please do not send us publications, certificates unrelated to your degree, or other materials not specifically requested. They will not be forwarded to the admissions committee for review.

What is the status of my application?

You may check the current status of your application at any time using your online application account at wi.edu/apply. Please allow one business day for your status to be updated once you have finalized and submitted your application. Follow up status emails are sent as necessary.

How will I know when my application is complete?

You will be notified by email as soon as all application materials are received and processed. Your completed status is also viewable online in your applicant account at wi.edu/apply.

When will I know if I am invited to an interview?

Interviews begin mid March. If you are selected for an interview, you will be sent an email inviting you to schedule a convenient time using our online scheduling system.

If I am from out of state or out of the country, do I need to interview in person?

We strongly encourage all applicants selected for an interview to do so in person, and every effort will be made to accommodate the applicant's travel schedule. Arrangements can be made for a live online interview via Skype in the event an on-site interview cannot be scheduled.

When will I find out if I am accepted?

Applicants meeting the March 10 deadline will be notified on or before May 10. Applicants meeting the May 10 deadline will be notified on or before July 10. Applicants who complete their files after the second round deadline will be evaluated as soon as possible, but in most cases will be notified after July 10.

What happens if I am accepted for admission?

You will be notified by email and letter and given a deadline to respond. Those who accept our offer of admission must submit a nonrefundable deposit by credit card (preferred), check, or money order payable to the Wright Institute in the amount of $500. This deposit will be credited toward your first-trimester tuition, and is not refundable should the student decide not to matriculate.

Why wasn't I accepted?

The Institute regrets that the complexity of the evaluation process makes it impossible for an unsuccessful applicant to be informed of the reasons for the admission committee's decision.

Can I reapply to the Wright Institute?

Yes. If you already have an online Wright Institute application account, you may log back in using your existing email address and password (if your email address has changed or you are unable to reset your password using our automated system, please contact admissions, do not create a new account). Application materials for unsuccessful applicants are kept on file for two years before they are destroyed. Transcripts can be reused if nothing has changed since you last applied.

What is the average size of the entering class?

The average size of the entering class is 40, which is split into two equal cohorts.

Is the M.A. accredited?

The Wright Institute's Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology program is approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS, Board of Behavioral Sciences, 1625 North Market Blvd., Suite 5-200, Sacramento, CA 95834, 916.574.7830. http://www.bbs.ca.gov). The MA program is designed to meet the requirements defined in the Business and Professions (B&P) Code Sections 4980.37 and 4980.40 which cover the statutes and regulations relating to the practice of marriage and family therapy.

Do you accept transfer credits?

The maximum number of credit hours or courses eligible for transfer is six (6) semester credit hours or two (2) courses. Transfer courses must be graduate level and taken for credit at a regionally accredited college or university. No more than five years may have elapsed between the course and a student's application to the Wright.

Students must have earned a grade of "B" or better for any course to be eligible, and eligible courses must be equivalent in content and units to the course for which a waiver is requested. There is no transfer credit for military service, credit by examination, credit by correspondence, or credit for life experience.

Official transcripts are required for transfer credit to be considered.

Students are required to provide a copy of the catalog description and/or the course syllabus from the institution where the credit was awarded to validate that the course satisfies the transfer credit criteria.

Please note: evaluations of prior coursework will only be done if an applicant is admitted to our program.

Do you have a distance-learning program?

No, all classes are held at the Institute.

As an international student, do I need to provide proof that I have the financial resources to attend the Wright Institute?

International students admitted to the program who cannot be supported by American funding agencies must complete a Wright Institute Verification of Finances form (available for download here) and provide documentation verifying source/s of funding.

How long does it take to complete the Master's Program?

The Master's Program is designed to be completed in two years. If the practicum hours in the second year are not completed concurrently with coursework, then the program may extend into a third year.

When are classes held?

Classes are held approximately one weekend per month and one evening per week. To view a full academic calendar, visit: http://www.wi.edu/ma-class-schedule

How long are the classes on the weekends?

Each semester unit is the equivalent of 15 hours of class time. Typically, a three unit course takes place over two weekends separated by three or four weeks. Classes are held on Friday night for 4 hours, Saturday for 9.75 hours, and Sunday for 8.75 hours, totaling 22.5 hours per weekend.

How much can I expect to pay for books per year?

You should budget $1300 to $1600 per year for textbooks and readers.

How long is the comprehensive exam?

The comprehensive exam is taken at the end of the second year after completion of all coursework. It is an in-class examination consisting of 150 multiple choice questions that address specific clinical problems, theory, multi-cultural issues, a general knowledge of counseling psychology, and other areas covered through coursework. A score of 75% is required for passing.

How many practicum hours do I need to complete in order to graduate?

In order to graduate, you need to accrue a minimum of 500 hours of supervised clinical experience. The maximum number of hours you can accrue as a student "trainee," and apply toward licensure, is 1300 hours. A total of 3000 supervised hours is required for MFT licensure. Once you graduate, you are an MFT intern and you will continue to accrue the remainder of the 3000 hours through an internship.

Where can I get more information about MFT licensure?

For additional information, refer to the Board of Behavioral Sciences' website at www.bbs.ca.gov.

How much will my total tuition per semester be?

Total tuition cost per semester varies based on the number of classes you take. You should expect to pay $920 per unit.

Do you have financial aid, scholarships, or grants?

The Wright offers financial aid in the form of Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and Federal Perkins Loans. Students may borrow up to approximately $20,500 per school year. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at (510) 841-9230 ext. 137 or email: jkalyayeva@wi.edu. Please also visit www.fafsa.ed.gov for additional information.

Are there any discounts/options for student work for reduced tuition?

Not at this time.

What is the need in California for MFTs?

To have a clearer understanding of job availability for MFTs in California, you may want to look at popular job posting sites. For example, on Craigslist (www.craigslist.org) search under jobs for counselor, MFTI, MFT, or therapist. Professional Organizations like CAMFT (www.camft.org) also post internship and job openings on their website and in their monthly magazine.

What can I expect for an average salary upon completion?

The Wright cannot attempt to disclose set figures for income. Salary varies by the institution, clients, and hours of work a clinician provides within the year. You may want to check job postings for MFTs to get an idea of the salary range. Upon completion of the Master's program, you should be able to assume clinical responsibilities at an entry level under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional.

Do you have job placement services?

We do not offer job placement services. However, the Master's Field Placement Office does maintain a list of current Master's level job postings.

What happens if I cannot/do not complete the program? Is there a time frame for course completion? Can I put financial aid on hold?

You are able to defer your classes for up to one year. However, financial aid assistance requires that you have no more than six months without continuous study before you will begin to incur your payments. For detailed information on missing class hours and/or refunds, please refer to the Student Handbook.

How is coursework evaluated? How are the practicum hours tracked?

Students receive a letter grade and an evaluation of professional conduct for each course. Practicum hours are tracked by the student and the agency and reported to the Wright Institute. Students receive credit or no credit for practicum based on the number of hours completed and the supervisor's formal evaluation of the student's progress.

Where do I do my practicum?

Available sites include, but are not limited to, state, county, and community mental health facilities, outpatient clinics, psychiatric hospitals, schools, residential treatment programs, day treatment facilities, chemical dependency treatment programs, rehabilitation programs, and forensic programs. Practicum sites are available throughout the Bay Area and other regions of California. Sites vary by the populations they serve as well as the treatment modality and clinical specialty implemented by the site.

Do I have to work with families or children?

Yes, the BBS requires that each licensee attain "not less than 500 total hours of experience in diagnosing and treating couples, families, and children."

Can I use my job for my practicum?

No, unless the Wright Institute approves the site and there is a demonstrated need. (Please see the Field Placement Handbook section on guidelines for approval of sites.)

Can I collect practicum hours in a private practice?

No, a "trainee" (pre-MA degree) may not earn hours in a private practice setting.

Should I seek my own counseling?

Yes, we strongly encourage it and so does the BBS. You may apply up to 100 hours of personal psychotherapy received by you (triple counted for a maximum total of 300 hours) toward the 3000 hours of supervised professional experience required for licensure as an MFT (hours must be accrued after you begin the program). For a referral to a therapist, please contact your advisor, Dr. Godfredsen, or Dr. Esherick.