Psychology program receives top marks from national association
by Kelly Foss
The master's of applied social psychology (MASP) program at Memorial has received a six-year accreditation from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE). This accomplishment recognizes the high quality of the program in terms of structure, delivery, work term monitoring and evaluation, and institutional commitment.
The process of seeking accreditation initially requires the preparation of comprehensive documentation demonstrating that the co-operative education program meets national standards. These documents are then examined by a committee of individuals from CAFCE’s council as well as other institutions currently accredited by the organization. This is the first time the program has applied for such a standing and Dr. Cathryn Button, the program’s chair, is thrilled with their success.
“We are certainly the only accredited graduate program in psychology in the country and one of very few co-operative graduate programs,” said Dr. Button. “The program attracts highly qualified students from across the country and the CAFCE accreditation is important because people recognize that as a standard.
"The MASP program is an unsung hero because the graduate program in our department has been typically quite small, and in some years, the MASP program has provided the critical core to enable the graduate program to function in psychology.”
The MASP program, which was established in 1991, gives students the skills and knowledge necessary to design and conduct research across applied settings such as business, government, education and health care. It offers a combination of training in basic scientific methods and social psychological theory with practical experience in a variety of work settings.
The biggest demand for these students is in all areas of program evaluation. As more and more funding agencies require evidence that the programs they fund actually work, the demand for MASP graduates continues to increase.
“Our students end up with research design and analysis skills but they also have a thorough grounding in social psychological principles,” said Dr. Button. “That sets them apart from other evaluators. They’ve got a solid foundation in social theory and that can drive the research they do. They tend to be very valuable and we get repeat requests from employers for our students all the time.
“The great strength of the co-op component of our program is that it combines application of work-related skills and the opportunity for considerable networking,” she added. “As a consequence, our students usually have excellent job offers before they graduate. Indeed, we have no unemployed MASP graduates. The CAFCE accreditation formally recognizes these strengths.”