The 4+1 terminal Master of Science program in Behavioral Health provides qualified students earning a baccalaureate degree in Psychology from Tulane University and Xavier University of Louisiana with graduate training in a specialty area of psychology. Behavioral Health is a broad term encompassing our social, emotional, and psychological well-being, which affects how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. The goal of the program is to prepare students for their next step of graduate training (e.g., doctoral program, medical school, law school) or entry into the workforce. Most students who apply to the 4+1 M.S. program in Behavioral Health are interested in future careers in clinical practice, applied research, or public health policy. Curricular requirements and admissions criteria are detailed below.
Since its inception in 2014, 44 students have graduated from the 4+1 program in Behavioral Health. Our 4+1 graduates and career trajectories after the M.S. degree are detailed in the “Program Graduates” section at the bottom of this webpage.
Core Components of Program
The 4+1 terminal Master of Science program in Behavioral Health provides students with training in the use of psychological principles and theories from the field of health psychology to overcome problems in real life situations. Specifically, there are three learning objectives:
- Students will gain a basic understanding of the scientific knowledge regarding the interplay between psychology and health and illness, including examining (a) psychological factors related to prevention and management of chronic disease, and (b) psychological factors affecting the treatment of health problems;
- Students will learn about factors related to effective health care delivery and health care systems including the role that psychologists may play in integrated health care; and
- Students will gain a basic scientific understanding of the major forms of psychopathology and assessment and treatment of the major mental disorders affecting individuals across the lifespan with a focus on youth.
All students admitted to the 4+1 M.S. program in Behavioral Health will complete a two-semester Health Psychology course series. The primary purpose of the fall lecture course (PSYC 6700 Health Psychology I) is to introduce the study of health psychology by examining how biological, psychological, and social factors interact with and affect the efforts people make in promoting good health and preventing illness, the treatment people receive for medical problems, how effectively people cope with and reduce stress and pain, and the recovery, rehabilitation, and psychosocial adjustment of patients with serious health problems. [Note: Although the PSYC 6700 course requirement for the 4+1 M.S. in Behavioral Health is waived for students who successfully complete PSYC 3530 Introduction to Health Psychology while they are undergraduate students at Tulane, credits do not count toward the graduate degree.] The spring seminar course (PSYC 6710 Health Psychology II) delves more deeply into contemporary topics in health psychology with direct relevance to the priorities outlined in recent healthcare reforms.
In addition, all students will complete two graduate statistics and research methods courses: (1) PSYC 6090 Univariate Statistics I (fall semester), and (2) PSYC 6100 Clinical and Community-Based Research Methods (spring semester). PSYC 6090 is an introductory graduate-level course in applied statistics designed to prepare students to understand statistical results presented in journal articles and research reports, to select and conduct statistical analyses for methodology courses as well as independent research, to interpret the results of these analyses, and to think critically about the use of statistical analyses in studies reported in the media or in scientific journals. [Note: Although the PSYC 6090 requirement for the 4+1 M.S. in Behavioral Health is waived for students who successfully complete the PSYC 3090-4090 sequence while they are undergraduate students at Tulane, credits do not count toward the graduate degree.] PSYC 6100 is a graduate-level introduction to psychology research methods, with an emphasis on those methods most relevant to clinical and community settings, especially focused on physical or mental health. [Note: During spring semesters in which PSYC 6100 is not offered, students may take PSYC 6110 Univariate Statistics II as a substitute. PSYC 6110 is an intermediate-level statistics course that focuses on the design of experiments and interpretation of research results.]
Note: Students who graduate from our accelerated terminal Master of Science program in Behavioral Health complete the M.S. degree in 1 year and do not receive any supervised clinical training; thus, our 4+1 program is not a “health service psychology” program as defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology: Master’s Programs. APA-accredited health service psychology programs are expected to prepare students for entry-level clinical practice at the master’s level. For accreditation as a health service psychology program, APA requires a minimum of 2 academic years of graduate-level study prior to receiving the master’s degree as well as supervised clinical training. Although our 4+1 program in Behavioral Health does not qualify a graduate for licensure or certification after completion of the program, many of our 4+1 graduates have pursued careers in health service psychology and/or successfully achieved licensure/certification. Some have received on-the-job training; others have pursued additional training/education after graduating from our 4+1 program (e.g., BCBA, PhD, PsyD, etc.). Our 4+1 graduates and career trajectories after the M.S. degree in Behavioral Health are detailed in the “Program Graduates” section at the bottom of this webpage.
The non-thesis track comprises 30 graduate credit hours (10 graduate courses). No thesis is required. The average completion time in this track is 9 months (i.e., almost all students can finish the coursework in two semesters if they completed two graduate courses during their senior year). In addition to the core courses discussed in the “Core Components of Program” section above, non-thesis students admitted to the 4+1 terminal Master of Science program in Behavioral Health complete three school psychology 7000-level doctoral courses: PSYC 7400 Developmental Psychopathology (spring semester of +1 year) and either the Assessment course sequence (PSYC 7610 Psychological Assessment I in the fall semester of the +1 year and PSYC 7620 Psychological Assessment II in the spring semester of the +1 year) or the Intervention course sequence (PSYC 7630 Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention in the fall semester of the +1 year and PSYC 7660 Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Adolescents in the spring semester of the +1 year).
Note: Because the school psychology 7000-level doctoral courses are capped at a small class size, not all students who apply for admission to the 4+1 M.S. program in Behavioral Health will be accepted into that program. For example, some students who apply to the Behavioral Health program may be offered admission to the 4+1 M.S. program in Psychological Science.
Up to 6 graduate credit hours may count toward the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree. Also, up to 6 additional graduate credit hours taken as an overload during undergraduate study (i.e., above the minimum 120 credit hours required to graduate) may be applied toward the M.S. degree. It is expected that applicants to the non-thesis track will complete some coursework toward the M.S. (typically two graduate courses) during their senior year. For advice on senior year courses that are appropriate for 4+1 M.S. applicants, please contact the 4+1 Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Julie Alvarez.
Thesis Track Checklist (pdf)
The thesis track is available only to Tulane alumni. This option provides an in-depth examination of the theories and methods of a specific area of Behavioral Health, including the completion of an empirical thesis in that area. The thesis track requires 30 graduate credit hours consisting of eight graduate courses (24 credits) plus the thesis (3 credits of graded PSYC 6610 Independent Study first semester of +1 year and 3 credits of graded PSYC 9980 Master’s Thesis Research second semester of +1 year).
Tulane students electing to pursue the thesis track must have initiated empirical research as an undergraduate student and identified a specific area of research interest. Students are encouraged to develop a master’s thesis topic that is a continuation or extension of their undergraduate honors thesis or independent study research. An assistant, associate, or full professor in Tulane’s Department of Psychology must commit to thesis supervision prior to admission. Potential thesis advisors include the following assistant, associate, and full professors: Courtney Baker, Paul Colombo, Michael Cunningham, Benjamin Deen, Jonathan Fadok, Michael Hoerger, Julie Markant, Lisa Molix, Damian Murray, Bonnie Nastasi, Laurie O’Brien, Stacy Overstreet, and Janet Ruscher. In some instances, adjunct and research faculty may serve as co-directors.
The average completion time for the thesis track is 12 months (i.e., students often defend their theses during the summer for the August degree). Note: Students who pursue the thesis track are strongly encouraged to defend and submit the master’s thesis to the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) within one year after entering the program. However, the master’s thesis must be defended and submitted in final form to SSE within two years after entering the program. Students who fail to meet the two-year deadline will be recommended for dismissal from the program.
Up to 6 graduate credit hours may count toward the bachelor’s degree and the master’s degree. Also, up to 6 additional graduate credit hours taken as an overload during undergraduate study (i.e., above the minimum 120 credit hours required to graduate) may be applied toward the M.S. degree. It is expected that applicants to the thesis track will complete some coursework toward the M.S. (typically two graduate courses) during their senior year at Tulane.
Thesis Committee and Prospectus
Master’s thesis research is the central element of the 4+1 Thesis Track. The thesis is an extension of research conducted at the undergraduate level and tied closely to the research advisor’s interests and expertise. A student conducting a thesis in partial fulfillment of the 4+1 M.S. degree in Behavioral Health will assemble a thesis committee of three faculty members, two of whom must be full-time faculty members in Tulane’s Department of Psychology. The student will prepare a written thesis prospectus for the committee, not to exceed 5 pages. The prospectus should describe the specific hypotheses, most relevant literature, proposed methodology and data analysis, and expected outcomes and significance of the project. Within one week after submission of the prospectus to the committee, the student will meet with the full committee for comments and guidance. The prospectus meeting with the thesis committee must occur prior to October 1 of the +1 year for students entering in August and prior to February 15 of the +1 year for students entering in January. Upon completion of the thesis, the committee will read and review the final thesis document and evaluate student performance at a formal thesis defense. The master’s thesis oral defense meeting must be held before: (a) April 15 for May degree, (b) August 5 for August degree, and (c) December 5 for December degree. The final document must be submitted to the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) by the deadlines posted on their website (the exact dates vary from year to year). The thesis must be defended and submitted in final form to SSE within two years after entering the master’s program. Students who fail to meet the two-year deadline will be recommended for dismissal.
Criteria for Admission
Note: Applications for the 4+1 program in Behavioral Health are accepted only from students pursuing a baccalaureate degree from Tulane University and Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).
Application Deadline: Students at Tulane University and XULA working toward the baccalaureate degree in Psychology may enter the 4+1 program during either the fall or spring semester of any academic year. The deadline for receipt of the COMPLETED APPLICATION, INCLUDING ALL SUPPORTING MATERIALS is April 1 to start in the fall semester and December 1 to start in the spring semester. Note: Spring semester applications only will be accepted from students who successfully completed the following courses during their undergraduate study: (a) PSYC 6090 Univariate Statistics I (or the PSYC 3090-4090 course sequence), (b) PSYC 6700 Health Psychology I (or PSYC 3530 Introduction to Health Psychology), AND (c) either PSYC 7610 Psychological Assessment I or PSYC 7630 Behavioral/Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention. There are no rolling admissions, and we do not accept early applications (i.e., students may not apply until the last semester of their Senior year). The online application opens annually on September 9.
To be competitive for admission, students should meet the following criteria:
- Undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or higher (Note: the average GPA of students admitted to our 4+1 programs over the past 5 years was 3.73)
- A letter grade of B or higher earned in PSYC 3090/6090 Univariate Statistics I (Note: the 4+1 Admissions Committee generally does not offer admission to students who earn less than an A- in 3090/6090)
- Successful completion of PSYC 3330 Abnormal Psychology / Clinical Science & Psychological Disorders or PSYC 3340 Developmental Psychopathology prior to applying to the 4+1 Program in Behavioral Health
- Baccalaureate degree from Tulane or Xavier University of Louisiana pending successful completion of requirements
- Standardized test scores (i.e., SAT, ACT, GRE) are NOT required for applicants to the 4+1 M.S. Program in Behavioral Health
- For applicants to the thesis track, at least 3 credits of independent empirical research in psychology must have been earned as an undergraduate. Also, an assistant, associate, or full professor in Tulane’s Department of Psychology must commit to thesis supervision prior to submitting your application. Note: The thesis track is available only to Tulane alumni.
- References: You should obtain two recommendations to provide an assessment of your qualifications for graduate study. One of the recommendations must be written by a regular full-time faculty member in Tulane University’s Department of Psychology (refer to the following website for a list of the full-time faculty: https://sse.tulane.edu/psyc/full-time-faculty). The full-time faculty member in Tulane’s Department of Psychology must meet at least one of the following two requirements: (a) For applicants to the thesis track (Tulane alumni only), the recommendation must contain a commitment from an assistant, associate, or full professor in Tulane’s Department of Psychology to supervise the thesis research; or (b) For applicants to the non-thesis track who completed a psychology graduate course (6000-level or above) during their junior or senior year, the letter must be written by the Tulane faculty member who taught the graduate course. The second recommendation may be submitted by a faculty member outside the Department of Psychology, a research supervisor, or a clinical supervisor. [Note to referees: in lieu of submitting a letter, you may complete the following one-page 4+1 recommendation form.
All students admitted to the 4+1 Accelerated M.S. Program in Behavioral Health will be assigned an advisor to assure that each student’s uniquely tailored curriculum satisfies degree requirements, as well as the student’s own academic goals. Students admitted to the 4+1 Non-Thesis track will be advised by the 4+1 Faculty Coordinator, Dr. Julie Alvarez. Students admitted to the Thesis Track will be advised by their thesis director. The thesis advisor will provide guidance in the selection of courses appropriate to your interests and in all aspects of the master’s thesis research. The checklists, which highlight the requirements of each track, should be helpful in planning your curriculum with your advisor: (a) Non-Thesis Track Checklist, and (b) Thesis Track Checklist.
Julie Alise, M.S., May 2023
Alumni Relations Assistant, Tulane University
Sam Allouche, M.S., May 2016
PhD Program, School Psychology, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA
Rebecca Ames, M.S., May 2015
Brand Strategist at Peter Mayer in New Orleans, LA
Annie Asher, M.S., December 2020
Research Analyst, Renaissance Learning, New York, NY
Jana Becker, M.S., May 2021
Research Coordinator, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD
Chloe Billingslea, M.S., May 2021
BSN/MSN Family Nurse Practitioner Program, University of Pennsylvania
Sidonia Compton, M.S., May 2018
Children’s Outpatient Therapist, Gulf Coast Mental Health Center, Gulfport, MS
Lauren deBlanc, M.S., May 2019
Registered Behavioral Therapist, Children's Autism Center, New Orleans, LA
Jill DeRosas, M.S., May 2015
Special Education Social Worker, Jefferson Parish Public School System, Louisiana
Chinwendu Duru, M.S., May 2017
PhD Program, School Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
Gena Gelb, M.S., May 2017
Coordinator, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY
Erica Golden, M.S., May 2016
Academic and Career Advisor, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Georgia Gray, M.S., May 2021
Principal's Assistant, Achievement First, Cranston, Rhode Island
Leah Herrick, M.S., May 2016
Registered Client Associate at Merrill Lynch in Mount Laurel, NJ
Naomi Holland, M.S., May 2018
Clubhouse Unit Supervisor, Independence Center, St. Louis, MO
Kate Homan, M.S., May 2018
Senior Consultant, Modell Consulting Group, LLC, New Orleans, LA
Kristin Ijeh, M.S., May 2020
Psychometrician & Research Coordinator, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas
Caroline Jacka, M.S., December 2016
Integrated Care Specialist, Vantage Health Plan, Monroe, LA
Jada Jones, M.S., May 2023
Brittney Jurgen, M.S., May 2015
Research Assistant, Boston Children's Hospital
Jackie Kandalaft, M.S., May 2020
Suzanne Kozikowski, M.S., May 2017
Neuropsychology Testing Technician at the University of California, Los Angeles
Jordana Levitt, M.S., May 2019
Innovation Program Coordinator, WakeMed Health & Hospitals, Raleigh, NC
Ilana Lurie, M.S., May 2023
Danielle McCauley, M.S., May 2023
Madison Murray, M.S., May 2022
Behavioral Therapist, Practical Skills Clinic, Danbury, Connecticut
Jesse Gomez Munson, M.S., May 2016
PhD Program, School Psychology, LSU, Baton Rouge, LA
Kyra Ness-Lanckriet, M.S., May 2020
Business Analyst, Harris Computer, Fort Collins, CO
Jae eun (Janie) Park, M.S., May 2021
Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, University of Notre Dame
Katarina (Katy) Patton, M.S., August 2022
Research Support Specialist, University of Miami Couples Lab, Miami, FL
Margot Paul, M.S., May 2015
Doctoral Student at the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium in Mountain View, CA
Catalina Pacheco, M.S., May 2019
Clinical Psychology PhD Program, University of New Mexico
Celeste Pinto, M.S., May 2021
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Student, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, NJ
Caroline Quaid, M.S., May 2015
BCaBA, Case Manager at Within Reach - Center for Autism in New Orleans, LA
Noelle Raymond, M.S., May 2017
LMSW, Campus Assistance Program Counselor, LSU Health, New Orleans,LA
Celeste Reames, M.S., May 2020
Psychometrist, Ochsner’s Michael R. Boh Center for Child Development, New Orleans, LA
Catherine Rochefort, M.S., May 2015
PhD Program, Clinical Psychology, Southern Methodist University
Casi Rupp, M.S., December, 2019
Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Maya Shaar, M. S., December, 2019
Youth Engagement Coordinator at Touro Synagogue
Mollie Sloter, M.S., May 2023
Qualified Mental Health Professional, CK Family Services, Dallas, TX
Hope Sterkel, M.S., May 2022
Brianna Truffa, M.S., May 2017
Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology and Human Sexuality, Widener University, Chester, PA
Hallie Voss, M.S., May 2021
Adjunct Professor, College of Lake County, Grayslake, Illinois
Leah Walsh, M.S., August 2018
PhD Program, Clinical Psychology, Fordham University, New York