Program Structure & Overview

 O'Donnell HallCertification of Completion of Didactic Coursework, Practica, and a Capstone Examination are required to apply for graduation with a MSCP degree.


To better meet the individual student’s academic background and professional practice, the post-doctoral MSCP degree Program is offered with a interfusion of live classroom and synchronous online instruction. Live instruction is offered in Las Cruces, NM; where the program is based. In addition, it is possible to participate in live classes from your home computer; and to review archived classes through the NMSU online learning management systems.  ALL Instruction is provided on the weekends.  Over the course of didactic training students are exposed to over 450 hours of classroom contact.


Students are required to attend a number of mandatory classes in person; at the Las Cruces campus.  But we encourage, particularly for in state students, in person attendance for all courses.  Students will attend the second class weekend in September; followed by and the six other weekends marked as “LIVE” throughout the scheduled curriculum.  Most of the “LIVE” mandatory classes involve hands-on Physical Health (head-to-toe) Assessment training as part of the Pathophysiology sequence.  The final LIVE course involved remedial training, preparation for the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists, and a (mini) graduation of the Didactic experience. These type of training are a distinguishing feature of the Program; only offered at NMSU. And we currently partner with the Arrowhead Park Medical Academy; which offers state-of-the-art technical/educational amenities and realistic simulation examination rooms and medical apparatuses.  Moreover, case vignettes and lab/radiology studies are studied at length during this premiere sequence.


Utilizing the most current approaches to postgraduate education, each module in the program contains didactic material and is taught through lectures that are closely tied to assignments.  These modules include interactive case studies presented by either practicing physicians or a prescribing/medical psychologist. Again, our program is structured in a hybrid format (distance-ed and face-to-face) and currently requires seven (7) face-to-face weekend meetings (Click here for tentative weekend class schedule) for the two (2) years of didactic course work.


Practica consist of two supervised clinical experiences:  An 80hr physical assessment practicum; and a 100 client/patient, 400 hr. practicum.  Each require an approved site, professional liability coverage, and licensed physician as a supervisor.  Practica are further discussed at length in the MSCP degree Student Handbook and Practicum Manual.  Please also familiarize yourself with our links on NM Legislation, Psychopharmacology Education & Training, and Prescriptive Authority.


Students then later sit for the Capstone Examination; which is a culmination of your training as a budding psychopharmacologist.  The Capstone is graded by a panel of 3 independent reviewers; who have NMSU graduate faculty status. The examination covers six core areas of psychopharmacology education and training; and the student’s ability to articulate a commitment to continued (life-long learning) education in the field of psychopharmacology.


State-of-the-Art Simulation Laboratories & Other Amenities

Over the years, the Program has partnered with other programs to offer students exemplary hands-on training pathophysiology and physical assessment.  This training sequence also provides students exposure to laboratory and radiology studies; with an emphasis on integrated care.  Currently, the Program is proud to partner with Arrowhead Medical Medical Academy.  This facility is well equipped with top of the line audio/video equipment (including archival abilities), dissection labs (when learning the neurosciences of a sheep’s brain), an Anatomage virtual dissection table, realistic Examination rooms,  medical instruments, training dummies with feedback sensors, observations rooms, and bug-in-ear devices.  It is here that Trainees develop their skills in full head-to-toe examination, differential diagnosis, and further integration of psychopharmacotherapy.  This in-depth sequences also prepares Trainees for their 80 hr. practicum, preparation for the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologist, and enhanced activities in their current professional careers.  Please take you time to review the images below.