College Factual recognized Washington Adventist University’s Psychology Department as one of the top 10% of programs nationally for the “Most Focused” in Psychology in 2019 and 2020. In 2021, it was ranked #8 Best Bachelor’s in Counseling and #6 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Counseling by Bachelorsdegreecentral.org.
Washington Adventist University’s Psychology Department is renowned for its illustrious and rich history, as well as its ever-progressing program structure. In 1961, WAU bore witness to its first bachelor’s degree in psychology at, then, Columbia Union College (CUC) and the Psychology Department’s creation in 1970 by Dr. John Cannon. By choosing an Adventist education, students learn how to integrate faith and science through various learning experiences taught by dedicated Christian psychologists and counselors.
The current department head, Dr. Grant Leitma, has been monumental in introducing a more extensive range of courses that the WAU Psychology Department has to offer. Students can choose to major in General Psychology or concentrated areas like Counseling Psychology as a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. Students also have the additional opportunity to minor in Behavioral Science and Forensic Psychology, a field that combines both psychology and law in both civil and criminal legal areas.
As an undergraduate, psychology majors can expect to “…develop professional career skills in communication, research, effective writing, teamwork, emotional intelligence, counseling and have the opportunity to apply those skills to Practicum experience before they graduate,” Dr. Leitma stated. “This enhances their chance to gain acceptance to graduate school. It also provides a pathway for our undergraduates to enroll in our MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. Nationally, there is a very strong demand for counselors. Research studies inform us that one in five Americans suffers from a mental health problem – COVID has made this situation worse. All of our MA graduates are employed, and we have a 90% average passing rate on the National Counselor Exam for licensing purposes.”
Beyond earning an undergraduate degree, the Psychology Department is proud to offer a new master’s program – Master’s in Education School Counseling. “We are excited about our newest program, the M.Ed. School Counseling degree program. It has brought many new graduate students to WAU,” Dr. Leitma said. “It is fully approved and accredited by the Maryland Department of Education and Maryland Higher Education Commission. Many new graduate students are teachers who desire to make a career transition to the counseling profession. Mental health issues in public and private schools are a genuine concern for K-12 students to succeed academically and eventually graduate on time.”