Grad programs in Dental Hygiene, Psychology announced

By Emily Salvatori, Editor
Two new master’s programs will be available at West Liberty University. A Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology and a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene are now taking applications for fall of 2019. The two programs have been approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). With the addition of these two programs, West Liberty University now has eight master degree programs.

The M.A. in Clinical Psychology is a three year program that will include evening classes on campus. The M.S. in Dental Hygiene is a two year program that will be 100 percent online.
When new graduate programs are created, there is a long process that begins in the respective academic areas to fulfill a need. Sara Sweeney, director of the Office of Graduate Studies, said, “These are growing fields. We’re fulfilling a need. A lot of our alumni have been asking for these programs, so when we see that there’s a need, the academic areas work to develop the program.”
To get a new graduate program on campus, it must go through a lengthy process.
“There are several different committees on campus that have to approve, they have to do an intent to plan, and then a proposal. Then it has to go through the accreditation process. So it starts here on campus, it works its way all the way through the board, then it goes to the state, and then once it gets past all of those, it also has to go to the Higher Learning Commission,” said Sweeney. “Then there may be, depending on the program, an additional accreditation process. For instance in business, they had to go through their business accreditation agency as well. So certain programs have multiple levels.” 
Dr. Tammy McClain, the M.A. Clinical Psychology program director, said, “The M.A. Clinical Psychology program was designed to provide individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related with field with the necessary education and practical experience to eventually be licensed in West Virginia as a psychologist.”
McClain also said, “Mental health and substance abuse problems continue, at the same time that the number of psychologists in West Virginia is very limited. The M.A. Clinical program offers the only masters level psychology program designed to address this shortage.  In addition, West Liberty University will be opening a clinic on campus that will serve as both a training opportunity for our students and provide an affordable service to the community.  While we hope that students will remain in West Virginia, students would be eligible for licensure in 12 other states, and this number is growing.  The American Psychological Association has recognized the need to address master’s level education and has published guidelines for educating students at this level.”
The admission requirements for the Clinical Psychology graduate program are a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, an overall 3.0 GPA, a GRE subject test in the 60 percent percentile, a personal statement, three recommendations and a resume. 
Stephanie Meredith is the program director for the M.S. in Dental Hygiene. 
The M.S. Dental Hygiene program admission requirements are a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, a 3.0 GPA,  a dental hygiene license in one state at least, three recommendations (one recommendation from an employer), GRE scores and a personal video statement. It is recommended to have Public Health and General Supervision permits. 
The priority deadline to apply for the programs is March 1, 2019. 
Sweeney said, “We’re going to see a lot of growth. We have over 300 graduate students this semester, and compared to last fall we had a 10 percent increase in the number of graduate students. It’s a very big growing area and we’re very excited about it.”
For more information, contact Sweeney at [email protected]

Photo Credit: Media Relations