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4+1 Masters in Behavioral Health

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. Students who pursue the M.S. in Behavioral Health are interested in future careers in clinical practice, research, or policy. Students either may pursue the M.S. with an empirical thesis, concentrating in depth on a particular area of Behavioral Health, OR students may pursue the M.S. with a broad training base in Behavioral Health without a thesis. Curricular requirements and admissions criteria are detailed below.

Core Components of Program

By the end of the +1 year, students are expected to develop knowledge and skills relevant to a broad range of topics in Behavioral Health directly relevant to future careers in clinical practice, research, or policy.

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 provide a broad introduction to 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: The PSYC 6700 course requirement for the 4+1 MS in Behavioral Health is waived for students who successfully complete PSYC 3530 Introduction to Health Psychology during their undergraduate training.] 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 MS in Behavioral Health is waived for students who successfully complete the PSYC 3090-4090 sequence during their undergraduate training, 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.]

Both thesis and non-thesis options are possible. Please refer to the Course Checklists below for additional details regarding the curriculum.

Up to 6 graduate credit hours may count toward both 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 students will complete some coursework toward the M.S. (typically two graduate courses) during their senior year. In addition, it is expected that students pursuing the thesis option have conducted empirical research as an undergraduate student.

For advice on senior year courses that are appropriate for 4+1 M.S. applicants, please contact Dr. Julie Alvarez at jalvar@tulane.edu.

Behavioral Health M.S.

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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
  3. 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.

The non-thesis option comprises 30 graduate credit hours (10 graduate courses). In addition to the core courses discussed in the “Core Components of Program” section, non-thesis students admitted to the 4+1 terminal Master of Science program in Behavioral Health complete three applied courses: PSYC 7400 Developmental Psychopathology and either the Assessment course sequence (PSYC 7610 Psychological Assessment I and PSYC 7620 Psychological Assessment II) or the Intervention course sequence (PSYC 7630 Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention and PSYC 7660 Evidence-Based Interventions for Children and Adolescents). Note: Because the applied 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 (PSYC). 

The thesis option 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). Students electing to pursue the thesis option should have initiated empirical research as an undergraduate student and identified a specific area of research interest. An assistant, associate, or full professor in the Department of Psychology must commit to thesis supervision prior to admission; in some instances, adjunct and research faculty may serve as co-directors.

Note: Students must have successfully completed either PSYC 3330 Abnormal Psychology / Clinical Science & Psychological Disorders or PSYC 3340 Developmental Psychopathology (i.e., earned a grade of A or A-) prior to applying to the 4+1 Program in Behavioral Health.

Admissions Information

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 who are graduating in May should apply by April 1 of senior year for fall admission of the same year, whereas students graduating a semester early (i.e., December graduates) should apply by December 1 of senior year for spring admission of the following year. The online application opens annually on September 9th. 

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 four years was 3.71)
  • A letter grade of B or higher earned in PSYC 3090 Univariate Statistics I (Note: the 4+1 Admissions Committee generally does not offer admission to students who earn less than an A- in 3090)
  • Successful completion of PSYC 3330 Abnormal Psychology / Clinical Science & Psychological Disorders or PSYC 3340 Developmental Psychopathology (i.e., earned a grade of A or A-) 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 should have been earned as an undergraduate
  • 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, the recommendation must contain a commitment from an assistant, associate, or full professor in the 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 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 adviser to assure that each student’s uniquely tailored curriculum satisfies degree requirements, as well as the student’s own academic goals. Thesis Behavioral Health students will be advised by their thesis director.  Non-thesis Behavioral Health students will be advised by Dr. Julie Alvarez. The checklists, which highlight the requirements of each track, should be helpful in planning your curriculum with your adviser.

Course Checklists

Program Graduates ▾

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

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

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

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