Psychology Graduate Handbook

Welcome and Overview

Welcome to the UHV Master’s program in Counseling, Forensic, and the Specialist in School Psychology Program at University of Houston Victoria (UHV) in the School of Arts and Sciences. The Psychology Department at UHV has been offering educational, informational, and cultural opportunities to students.

This handbook contains policies specific to the Counseling, Forensic, and Specialist in School Psychology Program’s that supplement those found in course syllabi, the UHV Catalog, and the UHV Student Handbook. Please become very familiar with this handbook. Students are responsible for knowing the material in the Handbook and using it as a guide to academic and nonacademic policies and procedures within the Psychology Graduate program.

The information in this handbook is updated annually. Changes may also be made throughout the academic year. If a change occurs, an announcement will be posted on the psychology website located on the Arts and Sciences webpage; students will also be notified via e-mail.

Congratulations on your decision to advance your education. The faculty and staff are here to help you reach your goal!

The information below is general to Graduate Programs in Psychology as a whole (Please review either the Counseling, Forensic or Specialist in School Psychology Handbooks for specific program requirements).

Criminal History Acknowledgement

Occupational License HB 1508

As outlined in the Texas Occupations Code, Section 1, Chapter 53, Sections 53.151 – 53.152 (amended in 2017 by HB 1508), if you are currently enrolled in an educational program that may prepare an individual for an initial occupational license as defined under Texas Occupations Code Section 58.001, in accordance with state law, please be advised of the following:

  1. An individual who has been convicted of an offense may be ineligible for issuance of an occupational license upon completion of the educational program.
  2. Each licensing authority that may issue an occupational license to an individual who completes an educational program must establish guidelines that state the reasons a particular crime is considered to relate to a particular license and any other criterion that affects the decisions of the licensing authority.
  3. Local or county licensing authorities may issue additional guidelines related to criminal history. Applicants should contact their respective local or county licensing authority for more details.
  4. A person may request a criminal history evaluation letter regarding the personal eligibility for a license issued by a licensing authority under Texas Occupations Code Section 53.102.

Students are encouraged to review all applicable eligibility requirements related to the respective occupational license. Questions related to eligibility requirements should be directed to the applicable licensing authority.

Academic Regulations and Grading


Effective communication between the Psychology Program faculty and students is critical for success in the program. To facilitate communication, the program keeps a database of addresses, phone numbers, and email for all students, as well as recent graduates. Students should remember to keep their information updated through myUHV and Student Records.

Electronic Mail

It is a program expectation that all students will maintain and access their UHV email accounts on a frequent basis. Program communication is handled almost completely through email; therefore, having your correct UHV email address on file with the program is imperative!

Change of Program

Psychology Graduate Students wishing to transfer between Graduate Psychology programs must apply for admission to the new program and will be considered with other applicants entering in the Fall semester.  They are not guaranteed acceptance into the new program. Repeated switching between programs is strongly discouraged as it often delays your desired completion date and disrupts the continuity of your professional skill development.

Any student wishing to complete degree requirements for two Psychology Graduate programs must fully complete one program before applying for a second Psychology graduate degree program. As a UHV alumnus, you are only allowed to transfer up to 50% your previous programs courses to the new program’s degree plan if you are accepted.

Professional Development

Throughout the academic year each program may offer additional opportunities for professional development or social interaction with program members. Details regarding these events and attendance requirements will be given to students with advance notice. Students are also encouraged to attend regional/national conferences, either to present research findings or to participate in the professional activities of peers and colleagues. Attendance at professional conferences is also a great way to develop and refine thesis projects, if desired. The Department also has a chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology and School Psychology Association (SPA), in which graduate students are encouraged to join and participate in the above-mentioned organizations. In addition, students are encouraged to join professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), American Counseling Association, National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), Texas Association of School Psychologist (TASP), Texas Association of Psychological Associates (TAPA), and Texas Counseling Association (TCA).

Review of Student Progress

Student progress will be reviewed on a regular basis with the intention of identifying students who may need remediation to continue in the program. Continuation in the Counseling, Forensic or Specialist in School Psychology program requires satisfactory academic performance, appropriate personal attributes, and ethical behavior. In addition, students must demonstrate the acquisition of appropriate clinical and professional skills. All students are evaluated annually and as needed for academic progress and professional behavior and development. A student who fails to meet minimal criteria will be asked to sign a probation agreement that specifies the remediation terms for continuation in the program. Dismissal from the program will result if the student fails to follow the terms of the agreement. See the below information for more detailed information concerning the program’s expectations regarding appropriate personal attributes.

Appropriate Personal Attributes for the Graduate Psychology Programs


  • Shows a pattern of reliable attendance in classes and at practicum/internship obligations.
  • Shows a pattern of completing class projects and other program requirements on time.
  • Shows a pattern of a good effort when working on university tasks.
  • Shows a pattern of accepting responsibility for mistakes.


  • Shows a pattern of respect for others and sensitivity to others.
  • Does not engage in a pattern of offensive practices.
  • Does not act in a hostile manner- name calling, intimidation, abusive or threatening behavior, sexual harassment, attempts to humiliate or ridicule others, repeated expression of racist, sexist or other prejudicial attitudes.

Personal Problems

  • Shows sufficient insight and judgment to know the limits of ability to avoid harming clients or potential clients.
  • Is not a danger to self or others.
  • Is not too distressed to be effective in the skills required for Counseling, School, and Forensic, or testing.
  • Is able to conform to the demands of the tasks involved in the program's education.
  • Exhibits no impairments that may lead to inability to conform including substance abuse, delusions, and poor reality testing among other conditions.


  • Shows a pattern of integrity and honesty.
  • Does not show a pattern of deception and lying.
  • Does not cheat or engage in plagiarism.

Self-Presentation and Professional Demeanor

  • Shows a pattern of good personal hygiene and grooming, as well as site-appropriate professional attire.
  • Shows ability and potential to develop appropriate professional etiquette.

Probation and Remediation

Counseling, Forensic, and Specialist in School Psychology students are expected to maintain adequate progress in their respective programs of study. In case of probation and remediation concerns, please review your program’s policy concerning probation and remediation procedures located in each specific program’s handbook.

Unethical Behavior and Academic Dishonesty

Due to the high degree of morality and ethical conduct of the psychology profession, unethical behavior and academic dishonesty of any form, such as plagiarism or cheating, will not be tolerated and is considered unacceptable behavior of graduate students in Psychology. Any student engaging in unethical behavior and/or in direct violation UHV’s Academic Dishonesty policy, as noted in the UHV Student Handbook, will be subject to reasonable and appropriate sanctions as outlined by University policies. Please see UHV Student Handbook for further information.

Degree Plan Advisors (from University Catalog)

You are responsible for all requirements of the catalog under which you will have graduated. During your first semester of attendance at the university, the School of Arts and Sciences staff advisor will initiate your degree plan. The degree plan advisor will work with you and your Faculty Advisor to complete a plan for approval. You will sign the plan. The Faculty Advisor and appropriate School Dean also sign when approving it and the Office of Admissions validates the degree plan before it becomes an official document. You will receive a copy when the process is complete, ordinarily during the same semester in which the process began.

The original degree plan is kept on file electronically in Student Records and you and the school of your plan will each receive a copy. Since the degree plan represents your commitment to complete the requirements and the University’s commitment to hold you accountable for meeting those requirements, it is a very important document. In order to change it in any way, secure a substitution form from the Department of Arts of Sciences. The Faculty Advisor and School Dean must approve the change and Student Records validates it before it becomes official.

Please note that if you interrupt enrollment for more than one calendar year, you will need a new degree plan upon your return to UHV.

Your Degree Plan/Student Advisor for the Graduate Psychology Programs:

Lizbeth Cardoza, Academic Advisor
(361) 570-4237

Your faculty advisors are listed below:

Counseling Psychology: Dr. Catherine Perz (Program Director)

Forensic Psychology: Dr. Karen Parsonson (Program Director)

School Psychology: A – J:  Dr. Elise Hendricker (Program Director)

K – Z: Dr. Shannon Viola


The University policy on dropping courses and/or withdrawal from the University can be found in the current Student Handbook. Deadlines for dropping classes with a W can be found in the University Calendar.

Maximum Timeframe for Completion

Graduate students are expected to complete their degree or certification within a maximum of 68 attempted credit hours. If a student changes plans, he or she must still complete his or her Master’s degree within the 68 attempted credit hour limitation. No limit is set to the number of times a student may change his or her plan; however, all attempted hours at UHV and transfer hours will be included in the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) timeframe determination. Additionally, graduate students must complete the program within 7 years after formal admission. Course credit, either transfer or from UHV, may not apply to any graduate degree if at graduation the course credit is more than 10 years old.

While part-time study is permissible, we encourage part-time students to take a minimum of 6 hours per semester to ensure they are meeting program deadlines for graduation.

Graduate Psychology students who have not enrolled in classes for a one-year period must reapply to their program to gain admission status.  They may or may not be accepted for admission

Grade Appeal

Faculty members have the qualifications, responsibility, and authority to evaluate students' performance and to assign grades. They are expected to exercise great care and objectivity, to be receptive to students' inquiries about grades assigned, and to be receptive to the advice of their colleagues in instances of disputed grades. Faculty members may change a final grade, once recorded, only by timely, written notification to the Registrar, ordinarily with the approval of their Dean. Otherwise, a grade may be changed only by the chief officer or chief academic officer of the institution in accordance with duly established procedures as described below.

Informal Procedure

Students who believe that a grade assigned is inaccurate or unjust first should make an appointment with the instructor of the course. If they remain unsatisfied or prefer not to see the instructor, they should make an appointment with the School Dean. The Dean may handle the case or after consultation with the instructor, convene a divisional committee to review it. If the change of grade seems warranted, the Dean will so advise the instructor.

It is assumed that most grade appeals can be settled in this manner. However, students who remain unsatisfied should make an appointment with the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Vice President will attempt to resolve the matter informally. If not successful, the Vice President will, at the student's request, determine whether to refer the case to the Academic Council for review and advisement. The following conditions will apply:

  1. The appeal must involve a terminal grade for a course or program.
  2. The appeal must be for reasons other than simple disagreement about the relative merits of the student's performance: i.e., cases to be heard by a university-wide committee should relate ordinarily to charges of arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory treatment rather than issues of academic judgment.
  3. The appeal must, in the Vice President's opinion, involve a palpable issue and evidence capable of sustaining rational argument.
  4. The appeal must be initiated within one semester; fall or spring, after the grade in question has been assigned.

Formal Procedure

If the four conditions noted above are met, the student should petition the Vice President for Academic Affairs in writing, specifying the action requested and explaining the basis for the request. Any documents or material considered relevant should be cited or submitted. Upon notification of the relevant parties, the process will unfold as follows:

  1. The Academic Council will examine the appeal and supporting evidence, and will determine whether a hearing is needed to address the appeal.
  2. If a hearing is determined to be unnecessary, the Council will deliberate and reach a judgment on the appeal.
  3. If a hearing is determined to be advisable or if the student or the instructor involved requests a hearing the Council will establish a meeting time when the relevant parties can attend.
  4. The student and the instructor involved may be asked to appear separately or together, at the Council's discretion.
  5. The student may bring one person to witness the hearing, but that person is not to participate unless called upon. (If the person is to be an attorney, the Vice President for Academic Affairs must be informed in advance).
  6. The student may have others submit testimony in person or in writing.
  7. The instructor involved may also have others submit testimony.
  8. Following the hearing(s), the Council will deliberate and reach a judgment advisory to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  9. The Vice President will then inform the student, instructor, and School Dean of the decision.
  10. If the decision is that the grade should be changed, the instructor will be asked to change it.
  11. If the instructor is unwilling to change the grade, the Vice President will instruct Student Records in writing that the change is to be made.

Application for Graduation

UHV does not automatically award a degree when you complete your scholastic requirements. To be considered as a candidate for a degree, you must submit an application for graduation through myUHV by the published deadline, regardless of your plans to participate in the commencement ceremony. You can file an application either during the semester prior to, or during the semester in which you plan to graduate. It is suggested that students apply for graduation one semester prior to their intended graduation date. The application will trigger a detailed review, revealing any requirements left to complete. If you applied for graduation in any past semester but were disapproved, you must re-file an application for graduation.

There are typically two commencement ceremonies per year, one for Spring and one for Fall. At the present time, Summer semester graduates participate during the Fall ceremony. You should contact the Victoria College Bookstore to obtain information on caps, gowns, rings, and invitations.

You must be on track to complete all requirements toward your degree in the semester for which you plan to participate in the commencement ceremony. If all requirements for graduation cannot be met during the current semester, you may be denied participation in the commencement ceremony. For information concerning eligibility to participate in one of the ceremonies, please contact Student Records, 361-570-4368 or 1-877-970-4848 ex. 4368.

Special Accommodations

The University of Houston System complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, pertaining to the provision of reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids for students who have a disability. In accordance with Section 504 and ADA guidelines, the University of Houston-Victoria strives to provide reasonable academic adjustments / auxiliary aids to students who request and require them. If you believe that you have a disability requiring an academic adjustment/auxiliary aid, please contact the UHV Office of Disability Services; Cheryl Worley, Manager; University North, Suite 214 -H; Office – (361) 570-4287; Fax – (361) 580-5504;;

Alumni Relations

The Alumni Relations department is responsible for building relationships between alumni, current students and friends of the university and preserving their connection to the institution. Alumni Relations offers a variety of value‐added opportunities including networking events such as various educational, cultural and sporting events. In addition, UHVconnect, a web‐based community, is a free tool for students and alumni. Additionally, there is a Facebook page and Twitter account to follow if you would like to stay connect with alumni events. For more information, please call (361) 570-4369 or visit the Alumni Relations website.

Graduate Psychology Faculty

Rick Harrington, Ph.D.
Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division

Counseling Psychology Program Faculty

Catherine Perz, Ph.D.
Associate Chair, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division
Director of the Counseling Psychology and the Undergraduate Psychology Program
Associate Professor

Donald Loffredo, Ed.D.

Forensic Psychology Program Faculty

Karen Parsonson, Ph.D.
Director of the Forensic Psychology Program
Assistant Professor

Specialist in School Psychology Program Faculty

Elise Hendricker, Ph.D.
Director of the Specialist in School Psychology Program
Assistant Professor

Shannon Viola, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

August 2018