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Pacific Oaks College    
2020-2021 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
  May 25, 2024
2020-2021 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Master of Arts in Cultural and Family Studies

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Pasadena, San Jose, and off-campus locations

*The availability of off-campus locations depends on enrollment.

Program Overview and Philosophy

The School of Cultural & Family Psychology’s Master of Arts in Cultural & Family Studies (MA CFS) is a 31-credit non-clinical MA degree which was specifically designed for people who are looking to gain a MA degree to enhance their career, to assist with promotions, and a stronger educational base in Cultural & Family Studies.  This MA degree will offer a broad understanding of psychology, along with a concentration in children and families and their cultural dynamics.  This degree focuses on the optimal development of individuals and families across the lifespan and in multiple contexts.  This degree will give graduates the educational preparation for a variety of jobs in human & social service agencies, day-care facilities, religious institutions or parent education programs.  It will include a Capstone Project* for its final class. It is important to note that the 31-credit Master of Arts in Cultural and Family Studies is NOT a clinical degree, and will not meet the educational requirements for CA BBS to apply for a license in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).

This degree also offers an alternative for current School of Cultural & Family Psychology MFT students (enrolled in any of the program specializations), after beginning their MFT Program, whom: (1) Find they are not a good fit for the clinical practice dimension of the profession and therefore would pursue non-licensed administrative and/or educational positions. This reflects redirecting students to a more appropriate career option and not rejecting them as a student; (2) or whose life circumstances prevent them from engaging in supervised clinical work; (3) or is by recommendation of the SCFP Department, based on First Year Review (4) and/or have been dismissed from their Clinical Training Placement site; (5) and/or have not demonstrated appropriate growth, development or adherence to the MA in MFT Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs).

Continuing student transfer into the program is at the discretion of the Dean of SCFP.  New student acceptance into the program will require an interview with department faculty, Letters of Recommendations, and Essay (with a specific essay prompt regarding how they will use this degree), along with all other POC Admissions requirements.  All students will sign an Acknowledgement stating that they understand this program will NOT meet California Board of Behavioral Sciences educational requirements for MFTs or LPCCs.  Additional details about the 31-credit master’s program may be found in the Academic Catalog and the Pacific Oaks College SCFP Student Handbook.

Cultural & Family Studies Program Learning Outcomes

  • PLO 1:  Demonstrate effective oral and written communication
  • PLO 2:  Examine cultural and diversity issues within the field of psychology and family studies
  • PLO 3:  Identify and apply current research methods
  • PLO 4:  Develop understanding of the principles and theories of human and family development, including their effects upon individuals, couples and family relationships
  • PLO 5:  Develop familiarity with cross-cultural mores and values
  • PLO 6:  Students will be able to use critical and creative thinking, skeptical inquiry, and a scientific approach to address issues related to behavior and mental processes.
  • PLO 7:  Students will be able to apply psychological principles to individual, interpersonal, group, and societal issues.

Program Specific Requirements

To be admitted into the Cultural & Family Studies MA Program ssuccessful completion of a bachelor’s degree or higher, from a regionally accredited institution is required.

A full-time student entering with 0 credits and successfully completing 9 credits per semester would take four semester to complete the degree. 31 credits are required to complete the degree.

Graduation Requirements

Students are required to submit the Petition for Degree Completion and fee to the Office of the Registrar the semester before they anticipate completing their degree requirements. Students must submit the application, settle all outstanding fees with the Student Finance Office, satisfy any deficiencies, and be in good standing in their program for the degree to be awarded.

Please Note: A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation.

Number of Admit Terms per Year

Ground: 3

  • Fall
  • Spring
  • Summer

Application Requirements:

  • Completed Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement in relation to the CFS program
  • Official Transcripts Regionally Accredited Bachelor’s Degree Granting Institution showing date of Degree Conferral
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be from a current or previous supervisor

Transfer of credit and waiver of courses

Transfer credit and waiver of courses are not accepted in the M.A. in Cultural and Family Studies program.

Residency requirement

It is expected that students will fulfill all degree requirements through courses offered at Pacific Oaks College.

Program Specific Requirements

The MA CFS program is a 31-credit graduate program, comprised of courses in the MFT program and has a Cultural & Family Studies Capstone Project.  This is a year-round program, including enrollment in summer.  On-ground attendance includes fall and spring 16-week semesters and a 12-week summer semester.  A full-time student taking three courses per semester will finish in five semesters. A part-time student taking two courses will complete the program in six semesters.  It is important to note that the 31-credit Master of Arts in Cultural and Family Studies is NOT a clinical degree, and will not meet the educational requirements for CA BBS to apply for a license in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

CFS Program Core Courses - 31 credits total

CFS Capstone Project Requirement

This course is designed to guide students through a review of the content domains covered along the degree path of the Master of Arts in Cultural & Family degree. It affords an opportunity to synthesize and articulate knowledge obtained during degree progression via the selection of multiple threads of inquiry and analysis of peer-reviewed, scholarly literature related to successfully completed coursework. The course requires informed library research and concise exposition. This course is a capstone experience, in which students identify a research topic, conduct literature reviews, and then develop a substantial written Research Paper, Needs Assessment, Critical Literature Review, an original, applied evaluation project, or an original grant proposal.

  1. Select a topic of relevance to their psychology area, drawing on different theories, perspectives and past research studies and methods
  2. Review and critically evaluate published research in psychology and related disciplines.
  3. Write a comprehensive review of literature on a topic in psychology or a related discipline
  4. Write a journal length manuscript, appropriate for submission to a professional journal in psychology or a related discipline. This manuscript will be one of the following: 1) an original, small empirical research project; 2) a comprehensive literature review; 3) an original, small applied evaluation project; or 4) an original grant proposal.

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