2017-2018 Catalog 
    Aug 08, 2020  
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]



Richard Beck, Chair
ACU Box 28011
Abilene, Texas 79699-8011
McKinzie Hall, Room 126

Phone: 325-674-2310
Fax: 325-674-6968
Email: psychacademics@acu.edu
Web: www.acu.edu/psychology


Stephen H. Allison, Professor
Richard Beck, Professor
John H. Casada, Associate Professor
Cherisse Y. Flanagan, Associate Professor and Director of Psychology Graduate Programs
Billy Jones, Professor
David P. McAnulty, Associate Professor and Director ACU Psychology Clinic
Robert McKelvain, Professor
Larry Norsworthy, Professor
T. Scott Perkins, Professor
Rachel Team, Associate Professor
Charles Wadlington, Assistant Professor

The Department of Psychology offers the Bachelor of Science in psychology. A minor in psychology may be added to other majors.

The Master of Science degree is available in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, psychology and school psychology.


Psychology is the study of behavior and mental processes. Students have the opportunity to study fundamental principles of human development, learning, personality, and physiological psychology. Students also learn concepts and skills in the application of psychology to industrial, clinical, counseling, and other work settings.

The major in psychology is intended to prepare students to be effective in:

  • Understanding the history, theories, concepts and ideas of psychology and assessing those ideas in light of Christian faith;
  • Synthesizing knowledge, creativity and Christian commitment to fashion solutions to problems and take advantage of opportunities;
  • The fundamental helping skills that enhance opportunities for Christian service and will provide the foundation for further professional training;
  • Preparation for graduate and professional training.

Accelerated Professional Psychology Degree Plan

Students who are committed to pursuing graduate training as a professional counselor or to pursuing doctoral study in psychology may participate in the Accelerated Professional Psychology Degree Plan (APPDP). Students who meet the admission requirements for the APPDP may take up to 24 hours of graduate course work in their senior year. The graduate course work will count toward both the undergraduate degree and toward an ACU masters degree in one of the following programs: Counseling Psychology, Clinical Psychology, or Specialist in School Psychology. Students must earn a total of 150 or more required hours to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the APPDP.

Interested students may seek pre-admission to the APPDP after they have completed 30 semester hours. Students must apply for full admission to the ACU Psychology graduate program in the Fall semester after they have completed 60 hours and have a GPA of 3.50.

When accepted into the APPDP and after they have completed 90 semester hours, students may take six hours of graduate course work in the Summer and six graduate course hours in each of the Fall and Spring semesters. No more than 12 hours per semester - 6 undergraduate and 6 graduate hours - is recommended. Graduate courses will count as general electives or electives in the psychology major and may not be substituted for required courses in the psychology major. Individual students’ academic programs must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies of the department each semester a student participates in the APPDP.

Study Abroad Expectations

All students are encouraged to participate in ACU’s Study Abroad program. Classes offered at Study Abroad sites vary depending on the site. Academic advisors can assist students in planning ahead for their Study Abroad experience and should be consulted during the freshman year.

Admission Requirements

Before being admitted to a program, a student must satisfy the requirements listed in the ACT/SAT Placement Information  section of this catalog.


Richard Beck, Chair

Cherisse Flanagan, Graduate Director
ACU Box 28011
Abilene, Texas 79699-8011
McKinzie Hall, Room 124

Phone: 325-674-4826
Fax: 325-674-6968
Email: cherisse.flanagan@acu.edu
Web: www.acu.edu/grad

Program Directors

David McAnulty, Director for Clinical Psychology Program and Counseling Psychology Program
Rachel Team, Director for School Psychology Program


Steve Allison, Professor
Richard Beck, Professor
John Casada, Associate Professor
Cherisse Flanagan, Associate Professor
Billy Jones, Professor
David McAnulty, Associate Professor
Robert McKelvain, Professor
Larry Norsworthy, Professor
Scott Perkins, Professor
Robert Rhodes, Professor
Jennifer Shewmaker, Associate Professor
Rachel Team, Associate Professor
Charles Wadlington, Assistant Professor


The Department of Psychology at Abilene Christian University offers the Master of Science (MS) degree and the Specialist in School Psychology (SSP) degree. The MS degree prepares students for professional practice and/or doctoral study in psychology. The SSP degree prepares students for professional practice and/or doctoral study in the field of school psychology. The SSP degree is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

Graduate study in psychology at ACU combines scientific scholarship, relevant clinical training, and a Christian worldview to prepare students for professional work, further graduate study, and licensure or certification by state boards in psychology or counseling.

The psychology faculty at Abilene Christian University views psychology as a scientific and applied profession through which one may provide service to the local community as well as the community of faith. Faculty members view the nature and needs of humankind from a biblical perspective. Excellence in research and clinical practice are a part of the Christian commitment that students are challenged to share.

The counseling psychology program is a 60-hour professional training program that includes academic work and relevant professional experiences. The counseling psychology meets all the requirements for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Texas. Requirements for licensure in psychology and counseling vary significantly by state; students must be aware that it is the individual student’s responsibility to ensure adequate completion of the specific academic and experiential requirements of a particular state licensing agency. To complete the degree in two years, students must complete 12 hours per semester as well as several short courses in May and January. Failure to follow course sequencing may significantly lengthen the time required to complete the degree.

The clinical psychology program is a 48-hour training program that prepares students with both counseling skills and the research skills and experience required to pursue doctoral work. Students who also want to pursue the Licensed Professional Counselor credential should choose additional electives to meet the licensing requirements. Most states require at least 60 hours to achieve licensure.

The Specialist in School Psychology program is a 60-hour course of study that provides the clinical training and academic experiences required for working in school settings. The school psychology program is approved by National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and meets all the requirements for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) licensure as a Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) and for the National Certification in School Psychology (NCSP) through the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).

The department also offers a 36-hour Master of Science degree in psychology for students with a variety of other professional interests such as research, non-profit management, or doctoral work.

Integration of professional excellence and Christian commitment is the guiding philosophy for graduate training in psychology at ACU. The curriculum emphasizes development of skills relevant to a broad range of professional activities. Students have opportunities to develop the essential skills to facilitate change in adults, children, adolescents, families, and groups. Through course work and supervised clinical experience, all students become proficient in the basic areas of intervention, including diagnostic interviewing, case conceptualization, crisis intervention, treatment planning and the psychotherapy process.

The psychology department at ACU is committed to training and mentoring students in applied research. In the last ten years, more than 180 students have presented research in the professional or scientific programs of regional and national psychology meetings. The practical necessity and the ethical responsibility to master the rapidly expanding scientific base of information underlying psychological intervention are emphasized through course work, individual and group projects, and thesis research. In each of the graduate programs, students have the opportunity to build expertise in their field of interest and to prepare to contribute to that field of knowledge. The psychology department actively supports student research.

The programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology are designed to prepare ethical professionals who have superior skills, are conscientious in their work, and are responsive to the needs of others. Personal characteristics of integrity, responsibility, emotional stability, and self-control are essential for psychology professionals. Thus, students experiencing significant personal distress or deficiency in one or more of these areas may be required to delay enrollment in practicum courses until those problems have been resolved. The student’s ability to maintain high quality professional relationships with faculty, off-site supervisors and with clients is essential to continuation in psychology training programs. The Director of Graduate Studies may deny enrollment in courses where professional contact is required when student’s capacity is impaired. In some situations, students may be assisted in revising their career plans to emphasize their personal strengths.

Admission Requirements

Admission decisions are made on a competitive basis. The minimum admission requirements for any of the graduate psychology degree programs are as follows:

  1. A completed application for admission with a nonrefundable application fee;
  2. An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended. The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent;
  3. Unconditional admission requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 to 4.0. If an applicant meets all other requirements and has an undergraduate GPA of 3.0-3.49, he/she may be admitted on probation. The condition of probation means that the applicant must make a final grade of B or above in each of the first 4 courses required in his/her program. Failure to do so will result in suspension from the program;
  4. Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be from psychology faculty or psychologists who are familiar with the applicant’s academic work;
  5. Completion of at least 12 undergraduate semester hours in psychology including: statistics, experimental psychology, abnormal psychology and 3 additional hours that may be physiological, developmental psychology, cognition, learning, or an acceptable substitute. The applicant must have made a grade of B or higher in each of the prerequisite courses. Prerequisites must be completed prior to enrolling in graduate program courses; they may not be taken concurrently.
  6. A written statement (600-800 words) describing the applicant’s professional goals, interests and reasons for choosing to enter the psychology program at ACU.
  7. The Department of Psychology does not consider the GRE or other tests as part of its admission requirements.
  8. Non-native speakers of English must pass an interview with two ACU psychology department faculty to establish that the applicant has sufficient skills in the English language and American culture to provide services to clients in practicum settings.
  9. Because all professional psychology programs require students to provide services to clients in practicum sites, all international applicants must complete an interview with members of the psychology faculty to assess the applicant’s capabilities in spoken English and understanding of North American culture.
  10. International applicants must also meet the University’s English language test requirements.

Application Deadlines

All applicants who qualify for unconditional admission will be accepted on a priority basis until March 30. Applicants who qualify for probational admission who have applied before March 30 will be notified of the admission decision on their application about April 10. Admissions after March 30 will be made on a competitive basis until programs are full. Except in unusual circumstances, applicants will not be admitted after July 1 for the fall semester. Only clinical and counseling psychology applicants who are qualified for unconditional admission will be considered for admission to begin graduate study in the spring or summer semesters. The school psychology program only admits students to begin in the fall semester. All international applicants must submit completed applications by February 15 for the fall semester.

Integrated Program

The Department of Psychology offers an integrated program called the Accelerated Professional Psychology Degree Plan (APPDP), which shortens the time it takes to complete both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology at ACU. In this program, high-performing undergraduate students count a specified number of graduate courses toward both degrees. For details regarding the Department of Psychology’s integrated program, refer to the undergraduate section above.


    Specialist in School PsychologyMaster of ScienceBachelor of ScienceMinor