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Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychology

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100% Online Certificate in Psychology

Complete your studies on your own time.

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New start date every Monday

Start your first course when it’s convenient for you.

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10-13 Months to your Certificate in Psychology

Finish your psychology certificate in just 6 courses.

National and Northcentral have merged, and this program is now offered by NU. Learn more.

Home » Programs » Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychology

Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychology

Prepare to expand your psychology career with the 100% online Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychology at National University. NU’s psychology certificate will assist you in pursuing a variety of career opportunities in research and education in both the public and the private sector, including jobs in schools, hospitals, clinics, research centers and business, and on health care teams.

Tailor Your Psychology Certificate to Fit Your Goals

Tailor your NU psychology certificate with one of these areas of emphasis: General Psychology, Gerontology, Health Psychology, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Psychology of Gender and Sexual Fluidity, Social Policy and Behavioral Health Administration, Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders and Trauma and Disaster Relief.

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Course Details

  • Credit Hours: 18
  • Courses: 6
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 10-13 Months

The Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychology can be completed in 18 credits. Each course runs 8 weeks, and you’ll receive 3 semester credits per course.

  • General Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Health Psychology
  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • Psychology of Gender and Sexual Fluidity
  • Social Policy and Behavioral Health Administration
  • Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
  • Trauma and Disaster Relief

Course Sequence

Students can select any six courses from all the courses listed below or they can select a group of six courses based on an area of specialization.

General Psychology *

Course Name

This course reviews the various theoretical perspectives that have attempted to define and assess personality. Students will trace modern psychology’s efforts to explain differences in individual personalities as well as identify universal characteristics. Finally, students will analyze and compare various concepts regarding personality and assess their application in understanding why people act in the manner that they do.

This doctoral-level course is designed to increase awareness of multicultural issues in psychology, including some issues of social diversity, with a focus on theoretical models, research, and techniques and interventions for working with culturally diverse populations in various settings from therapy to the workplace.

This doctoral-level course examines the critical concepts of emotion, motivation, and cognition. Topics to be explored include biological, cognitive, cultural, and social influences on emotional development and behavior. The importance of motivation on emotion will be reviewed. The relationship between emotion and cognition will be evaluated as will the concept of emotional intelligence. Emotions and their impact on mental health also will be discussed.

This course examines the historical and theoretical perspectives of positive psychology. The emphasis includes a scientific investigation of the latest research of positive psychology focusing on subjective well-being, positive emotions, strengths, resilience, post-traumatic growth, grit, and growth mindset. You will explore how positive psychology is being implemented in the home, workplace, education, and in clinical settings. You will evaluate the challenges faced by the positive psychology field and the potential evolution of this branch of psychology.

This course focuses on the theories, research findings, and applications of community psychology. Relationships between environmental conditions and culture and the development of the health and well-being of all members of a community are also examined. Students will examine key concepts, principles, and values of community psychology. The theoretical frameworks in peer-reviewed research will be examined, assessed, and synthesized.

Students in this course will learn, practice, and develop core communication skills that are essential to interviewing in the helping professions. As this is a practice-oriented course, students who plan to use interviewing techniques in their current or future professions will gain experience in essential communication skills such as listening to clients, clarifying concerns, and facilitating appropriate actions. Those students will benefit most from this course who are either currently in a helping profession capacity where interviewing is applied, or who are able to practice their skills as interns or in other settings.

* Students may select courses from a broad range of electives at the 7000 or 8000 level (with the exception of Foundations and Internship courses)


Course Name

In this doctor-level course you will explore the biological and psychological changes that occur within adults over time (intra-individual changes) and the extent to which these changes occur at different rates among different individuals (inter-individual differences). Theory and current research will be examined.

In this course you will review the psychology of aging and related mental health considerations, areas often misunderstood by older adults, family, caregivers, and medical professionals. Common mental health issues such as depression, addiction, and anxiety faced by older adults will be addressed. Neurological changes, including Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia spectrum disorders, will be examined. Symptoms, assessment and treatment options for mental health issues in this population are complicated by the presence by the physical problems and associated medications and treatment. Other topics to discuss include risk factors for non-medication compliance, neglect, and abuse of older adults in residential homes, loneliness, and cross-cultural differences in coping strategies and social support.

In this course, you will examine the gamut of helping services known as elder care. These services include basic assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), rehabilitation care, aging in place, familial caregiving, long-term care and hospice. This course focuses on the concepts, theories and strategies related to the care of older adults. Common concerns related to elder care needs will be discussed including the emotional strains families and older adults may face. A key component of the course will be identification of caregiver strategies, including support groups, respite care and other community resources.

In this course, you will examine multicultural influences on the aging process on individuals. Topics to be covered include attitudes toward aging and well-being, social support, elder care, and end of life issues. Gender and cultural differences in aging experiences will be discussed. Concerns related to special populations also will be addressed.

In this course, students will consider the psychological aspects of death and dying in modern society. Students will also explore attitudes toward death and theories related to the stages of death and dying, along with coping strategies for dealing with impending death, the aftermath of suicide, and end of life decisions. This course will also address assisted dying, grief, and survivor’s guilt.

Positive aging examines older adulthood as a stage in lifespan development with unique opportunities for growth and fulfillment. In this course you will focus on healthy aging practices and interventions, explore practical applications of research and ethics, and emphasize the role of diversity in evidence-based interventions for older adults. You will explore issues related to advocacy and accessibility through a culturally-sensitive lens. You will also examine factors fostering healthy aging including mental health and sexuality.

Health Psychology

Course Name

This doctoral-level course examines psychological influences on physical health and well-being. Key topics to be explored include health behavior change, diversity in healthcare, social support, chronic illness management, illness prevention, and wellness. The role of health psychologists will be discussed, including how they contribute to healthcare policy.

The body-mind connection is a well-researched topic in the field of medicine and psychology. This course will help the student become aware of the body of research surrounding the impact of behavior, personality, and social factors on physical health. Further, it will explore how diversity issues, such as gender, age, and ethnocultural factors influence health-related behaviors.

Behavioral nutrition investigates the relationship between healthy diet and behavior. In this course, you will learn about what constitutes good nutrition, malnutrition, and under-nutrition. The physiological impact of nutrition will be examined. Psychosocial factors influencing nutrition and behavior will be reviewed.

This course surveys topics related to eating disorders and obesity, including etiology, assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. Specific focus is given to the dispositional, social, and cultural factors associated with the development and maintenance of disordered eating patterns. Implications for psychological and physical health are examined.

This course takes an evaluative look at complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) from a health psychology perspective. Evidence-based practice in the application of CAM methods to managing physical health needs will be explored. Strategies and techniques leading to successful treatment outcomes will be assessed. Usage of CAM methods for diverse populations including children, older adults, ethnic groups and other minority populations will be examined.

Image description: Complementary and Alternative Medicine can take many forms. This image depicts an open journal with flowers, a lemon, and various spices and herbs. Certain herbs and spices have medicinal properties and have been used over the years to treat various ailments. Some will also keep a journal to notate treatment plans and which treatments did or did not work. This information is helpful for working with your doctor and others on your care team.

Consulting in health settings requires an array of personal skills, knowledge, information, and techniques. In this course, the student learns practical skills for consulting. The student also becomes familiar with typical programs offered by consultants in healthcare settings.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Course Name

The course provides an overview of Industrial/Organizational Psychology (I/O), which involves application of the specific method to investigate issues of critical relevance to individuals, business, and society. Key concepts, tools, and research related to I/O psychology will be addressed in this course. Specifically, you will review the historical foundation of the field as well as explore topics of significance to industrial psychology (e.g., personnel selection, training and development, performance) and organizational psychology (e.g., employee motivation and attitudes, leadership, organizational development, and psychological health and well-being).

In this course, you will gain an appreciation of leadership and how it differs from management. You will approach these topics through a review of literature. Self-assessment on key leadership scales will help you to understand your own profile as leaders, as well as gain additional insight in the characteristics of leaders.

This course focuses on contemporary theories and research surrounding job attitudes and motivation in the workplace. You will explore the methods used to measure job attitudes and motivation. You will also examine strategies for increasing motivation and improving job attitudes. In addition, important issues such as generational diversity, affectivity, occupational stress, and organizational withdrawal will be addressed.

In this course you receive an overview of theory, research and practice related to the implementation and management of change in organizations. The role of culture, climate and leadership in planned organizational change is explored.

This course provides a focus on Personnel Psychology topics including recruitment, personnel selection, performance, and training. Specifically, you will review the fundamentals of job analysis and measurement which serve as the foundation of many human resource management systems. In addition, you will explore recruitment, personnel selection, and placement as well as the legal ramifications of these critical staffing decisions. Job performance models will be examined and you will apply criterion theory to understand performance measurement. Key concepts, tools and research related to career development and training will also be addressed in this course.

This course provides an overview of how psychologists may provide their expertise to assist individuals, agencies, corporations and other types of organizations dealing with problems involving human behavior in the workplace. In this course you will learn how to develop the personal skills and understanding of consulting to give you a basis to develop a successful consulting program.

Psychology of Gender and Sexual Fluidity

Course Name

In this doctoral-level course, you will critically engage in materials designed to explore the diverse processes in which gender concepts are constructed using biological, psychological, and social lenses. You will explore gender, including transgender, cisgender, gender queer, gender non-binary, and gender-fluid. Along with exploring the many forms of gender, you will identify how gender can be experienced as performative rather than as an essential quality. Additionally, you will discuss implications for research and professional practice.

The specific focus of the course is on the processes and dynamics of interaction within family relationships as they relate to concepts of gender identity, sexual orientation, and the intersection of larger social discourses. In this course, you will examine diverse family units (e.g., LGBTQ families, open-relationships), roles, rules, and conflict resolution in families, and an exploration of socio-contextual factors.

In this course you will explore the intellectual and social movements (such as Marxism, post-structuralism, critical race studies, queer studies, indigenous studies, and postcolonial and transnational studies) that have influenced the development of theories and concepts in gender studies as they relate to research and practice in psychology. You will engage critically in deepening understanding of how theories and epistemology influence the constraints and possibilities in the psychology of gender and sexuality. This is meant to be a theory introduction course to set the stage for the remaining courses in this specialization and engage your thinking in how these theories influence research, teaching, and advocacy.

This course will involve an exploration of human sexuality through a socio-contextual lens regarding the psychological and political influences on sexual identity development, sex, and sexuality. The focus of the course will be upon research and advocacy in relation to issues often arising from oppressive cultural discourses of sex and sexuality. You will address topics including sex, sexual orientations, sexual behaviors, intersexuality, and interpersonal challenges from family and the culture. Using a social-constructionist frame, this class will acknowledge and deconstruct discourses that give rise to the oppressive effects of intolerance, homophobia, sexism, and assumptions of hetero-normativity.

In this course you will build on the ideas of developmental psychology to further explore how developmental tasks (e.g., LGBTQ identity development, coming out, dating, love, relationships, marriage, parenting, career, aging) unfold and are affected by the developmental stages throughout lifespan and in the context of societal and institutionalized heteronormativity and homo/bi/trans-phobia. Additionally, the intersection of moral and religious/spiritual development will be explored in relation to LGBTQ lifespan development.

This course will look at the intersection of social, relational, and political dynamics that impact the policies related to LGBTQ individual and family lives from a global perspective. This will include the ways that organizational policies (e.g., APA) and laws across countries impact the psychology profession, research, practices and advocacy. Policies to be covered include adoption/surrogacy, second-parent rights, marriage, medical transitioning, homelessness/drug policy, divorce/relationship dissolution, HIV, researcher and advocacy bias, social media.

Social Policy and Behavioral Health Administration

Course Name

Students seeking a PhD in Psychology with specialization in Social Policy and Behavioral Health Administration are required to take this course. This course covers ethics and cultural diversity as it relates to mental health and wellness. The history of ethics as well as how ethics relates to legal standards are addressed. Cultural diversity, sensitivity, and competence are also covered.

Students seeking a PhD in Psychology with a specialization in Social Policy and Mental Health Administration are required to take this course. In this course, you will analyze various evidence-based practices used by behavioral health practitioners in the treatment of mental illness and behavioral challenges. Methods of therapeutic accountability, clinical feedback, and outcome monitoring which can be used across all therapeutic approaches will be examined. You will analyze and evaluate treatment approaches in regards to moral, empirical, and political criteria. You will also evaluate considerations for best practice and appraise and select appropriate instruments for behavioral health evaluation.

This doctoral-level course examines the critical concepts of emotion, motivation, and cognition. Topics to be explored include biological, cognitive, cultural, and social influences on emotional development and behavior. The importance of motivation on emotion will be reviewed. The relationship between emotion and cognition will be evaluated as will the concept of emotional intelligence. Emotions and their impact on mental health also will be discussed.

In this course you will explore the historical and current treatment of those who suffer from mental and substance use disorders as well as the various treatment settings. This course will review the role of social stigma of mental illness and substance use disorders, and take a deeper examination of how the health care system is experienced by individuals who are historically underrepresented including persons of color, person who identify as LGBTQIA+, and those who are economically disadvantaged. Finally, this course will provide an overview of how local and federal policies regarding mental and behavioral health play a critical role in healthcare financing and the accessibility of appropriate quality treatment services.

Effective development, integration, and maintenance of a mental health organization are necessary in today’s market in order to have sustainability. Beginning with problem analysis you will transform an idea into a feasible program plan. How an organization adapts to change will also be discussed. In this course you will be asked to analyze strategic management factors such as how to best create a multidisciplinary team that will coordinate roles within the organization and maximize supervisory capabilities.

In this course, you will gain an appreciation of leadership and how it differs from management. You will approach these topics through a review of literature. Self-assessment on key leadership scales will help you to understand your own profile as leaders, as well as gain additional insight in the characteristics of leaders.

This course focuses on contemporary theories and research surrounding job attitudes and motivation in the workplace. You will explore the methods used to measure job attitudes and motivation. You will also examine strategies for increasing motivation and improving job attitudes. In addition, important issues such as generational diversity, affectivity, occupational stress, and organizational withdrawal will be addressed.

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

Course Name

In this course you will acquire essential knowledge for effective integration of treatment services and ancillary support to individuals with co-occurring substance-related and other addictive disorders and other mental conditions. Specific focus will be placed on leadership responsibility in accurate assessment, treatment planning, and follow up services. Attention will be placed on developing a balanced treatment approach to adequately address the unique needs of the individuals receiving services.

This course connects the issues of substance-related and addictive disorders with family systems dynamics. You will use foundational knowledge regarding substance-related and addictive disorders to understand addictive behaviors. You will also learn about family systems, including family roles, rules, and patterns. Understanding the connection of family relationships and generational patterns of addiction is key to facilitating successful recovery. You will review major theoretical frameworks for successful intervention with family systems as well as with individual who demonstrates addictive behaviors.

This course provides an overview of substance-related and addictive disorder assessment and treatment planning. One overarching goal of the course is to give you exposure to various screening and assessment measures used in the process of assessment of substance-related and addictive disorders. A second overarching goal is to develop skills related to treatment planning for substance-related and addictive disorders including clinical interview, knowledge of addictive processes, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Finally, you will use the results of the assessment measures to inform diagnostic considerations and decision making around treatment goals and interventions.

In this course you will evaluate strategies for developing groups for substance abuse and explore how to assess goodness of fit and readiness for group therapy. While therapeutic substance abuse groups will be explored most directly in the course, you will also explore other approaches to substance abuse treatment such as support groups and alcoholics anonymous among other approaches. Additionally, you will compare different theoretical approaches to care. A discussion of client needs across settings such as inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers will be covered, as well as an examination of managed care and possible barriers to treatment. You will also have an opportunity to discuss factors related to long-term success and relapse prevention.

This course provides an overview of research and theory in the field of substance-related and addictive disorders. You will examine theories of disorder development, maintenance, treatment and relapse. You will learn about research methods for studying disorders and treatment efficacy across diverse populations You will select appropriate research designs to address specific issues related to substance abuse and addiction. Considerations for incorporating research into treatment will be explored. You will also examine potential ethical issues that can arise in research and how to address them.

In this course you will explore substance-related and addictive disorders from theoretical, socio-cultural, biological, and legal/ethical perspectives. Topics covered include: classification and pharmacological properties of major abused substances, recognizing signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction, physiological and psychological processes of use and dependence, theoretical explanations of use and abuse, prevention of substance abuse, treatment approaches to substance abuse and addictive disorders, and the impact of substance abuse and addictive disorders on individuals, families and society.

Trauma and Disaster Relief

Course Name

In this course you will explore the individual and systemic predictors, types, and impacts of trauma across various personal, family, and community settings and disasters types. You will also examine the cumulative effects of trauma and theoretical approaches to supporting resiliency in individual, family, and community contexts. You will also explore methods to assess resiliency at various levels.

In this course students will learn how to identify and assess the effects of trauma on the emotional, cognitive, neurological, and physical human systems, as well as the possible short- and long-term effects of trauma across the lifespan (infancy, child, adolescent, adult). In addition, students will examine how diverse cultural backgrounds influence trauma response across the lifespan. You will review pertinent theory, research and evidence-based practices.

In this course you will examine crisis and disaster and the impacts they have on individuals, families and communities. You will explore how a crisis can lead to a catastrophic event or result in trauma. Pre-crisis, crisis and disaster response and management will be explained. Trauma responsive theories and evidence-based practices will be explored. You will also review the symptoms and impacts of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma and vicarious trauma. You will be able to mitigate and respond to natural and human-made crises and disasters via recognition of pre-crises and disaster signs.

In this course you will examine how trauma may manifest at the community level, where symptoms may appear in the physical, economic, social, and cultural environments and subsequently become barriers to solutions that promote health, safety and well-being. Different evidence-based approaches to building trauma-informed, resilient communities will be explored, and post-traumatic growth will be examined. You will also explore theory and current research in the area of community trauma and resilience.

In this course, you will examine how constructs of culture, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation influence the experience and effects of trauma from a multitude of contexts including natural disasters. In addition, you will explore the role of historic and intergenerational trauma as a means to develop cultural competency when responding to trauma. Finally, special populations such as refugees, children of war, and survivors of torture will be examined relative to specific variables that impact trauma or disaster response.

This course provides an overview of ethical issues that may arise when working with disaster and trauma survivors. You will learn about ethical principles, such as APA and emergency responders’ codes of conduct, and theoretical decision-making frameworks used to make sound ethical decisions in difficult situations. You will also examine potential ethical issues that can arise when conducting research and choosing appropriate evidence-based therapeutic interventions for trauma and disaster survivors.

Certificate Requirements

The University may accept a maximum of 6 semester credit hours from a graduate-level program to NU’s Post-Master’s certificate program. Coursework must have been completed at an accredited college or university within the last seven years with a grade of “B” or better. See the Transfer Credit Policy for additional information.

The Post-Master’s Certificate has the following graduation requirements:

  • Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred master’s level or higher degree from an accredited academic institution
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University
  • All financial obligations must be met before the student will be issued their complimentary diploma and/or degree posted transcript

Total Credit Hours: 18 Credit Hours
Courses: 6 Courses
Recommended Completion Time: 12 Months 8 weeks
Next Start Date: Every Monday
Classroom Size: One


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