Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

  • The Psychology Department offers a Doctor of Psychology degree in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) that places emphasis upon professional applications of psychology based on a solid grounding in the scientific knowledge base of psychology.

    The program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. The program is designed to meet the academic requirements of licensure and to provide the student with background to immediately assume responsibilities in appropriate professional settings.

    Admission Criteria

    The following criteria are used in the evaluation of application materials: (a) overall grade point average and grades in psychology courses (3.0 minimum in both areas); (b) scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (minimum combined score of 290 for Verbal Reasoning + Quantitative Reasoning); (c) training in research methodology; (d) prior clinical experience in practicum or employment; (e) the applicant’s statement of goals; (f) three letters of recommendation; and (g) results of a personal interview. Applicants who do not have undergraduate degrees in psychology or limited coursework in psychology are strongly encouraged to take the GRE subject test in psychology to demonstrate knowledge of the content areas in the field.

    Breadth of undergraduate training is preferable to narrow specialization. Weaknesses in one area may be offset by strengths in another area, although the Admissions Committee gives preference to applicants with some demonstrated strengths in all areas. Students may be required to make up deficiencies.

    The deadline for receipt of all application materials is December 15. The Admissions Committee will then select a pool of qualified applicants who will be invited to the campus for personal interviews. Announcements of final admissions decisions will be made around April 1.


    The Psy.D. program follows a practitioner or applied model of training of clinical psychologists. Emphasis is placed on professional applications of psychology to a wide variety of human problems. Students receive extensive supervision in the development of skills in interpersonal relations, psychological assessment, psychotherapy, community outreach, and program evaluation and a solid grounding in the scientific knowledge base of psychology.

    Program Requirements

    The Psy.D. program is typically completed in four calendar years of full-time study plus an additional year of full-time internship. The curriculum requires a minimum of 102-104 semester hours of acceptable graduate credit. Each student must complete requirements for (a) core course work; (b) special proficiency/elective course work requirements; (c) practicum, internship, and professional issues; (d) doctoral project; (e) comprehensive academic and professional examinations; and (f) master’s and doctoral candidacy. In addition, a course in Historical Trends and Systems in Psychology is required for graduation.

    A. Core Course Work (57 cr.)

    The core courses are required of all students. These courses cover several areas of psychology and provide the scientific basis for professional practice.

    1. Methods of Behavior Change

    PSYC 830 Methods of Intervention I 3 cr.
    PSYC 831 Methods of Intervention II 3 cr.
    PSYC 833 Clinical Group Techniques 3 cr.
    PSYC 834 Family Therapy 3 cr.

    2. Methods of Assessment and Evaluation

    PSYC 841 Psychological Assessment I 3 cr.
    PSYC 842 Psychological Assessment II 3 cr.
    PSYC 843 Psychological Assessment III 3 cr.

    3. Research and Methodology

    PSYC 801 Research Methods in Psychology I 3 cr.
    PSYC 803 Evaluation Research 3 cr.
    PSYC 802 Clinical Research Methods 3 cr.

    4. Individual Differences

    PSYC 835 Advanced Psychopathology 3 cr.
    PSYC 836 Personality Theory and Systems of Psychotherapy 3 cr.
    PSYC 853 Issues in Developmental Psychology 3 cr.

    5. Physiological Bases of Behavior:

    PSYC 856 Drugs and Behavior 3 cr.
    PSYC 857 Clinical Neuropsychology 3 cr.

    6. Cognitive Bases of Behavior:

    PSYC 852 Models of Learning 3 cr.

    7. Social Bases of Behavior:

    PSYC 855 Racial, Cultural, and Gender Issues in Psychology 3 cr.
    PSYC 858 Advanced Social Psychology 3 cr.

    8. History of Psychology:

    PSYC 810 Historical Trends in Psychology 3 cr.

    B. Elective Course Work/Special Proficiency: three courses

    Students select three advanced courses in consultation with an advisor. Special elective packages include Child/Family and Behavioral Medicine.

    C. Practicum, Internship, and Professional Issues (27 cr.)

    PSYC 920 Professional Issues 3 cr.
    PSYC 993 Advanced Psychological Practicum 21 cr.
    PSYC 994 Internship 3 cr.

    Students will typically register for practicum experience throughout their program with sampling from diverse settings. During the final year, a full-time professional internship emphasizing depth and long-term involvement is required.

    D. Doctoral Project (9 cr.)

    PSYC 995 Doctoral Project (Dissertation) 9 cr.

    E. Comprehensive Academic and Professional Examinations (0 cr.)

    Each year, an evaluation of clinical and professional competence will be made. This evaluation data will be shared with the student as feedback, and a joint effort will be made to remediate any deficiencies.

    Students must also pass a preliminary examination and a research proficiency evaluation covering basic knowledge appropriate for a professional psychologist. This examination will cover material related to all of the core course work areas.

    The Clinical Proficiency Evaluation is completed during the final year on campus. Students present assessment and therapy work samples to a committee of faculty members.

    Satisfactory performance on both the preliminary examination and the professional evaluations must be achieved before candidacy for the doctorate will be recommended. Serious deficiencies may result in recommendations for remedial work, reexamination, delay of candidacy, or termination from the program.

    F. Master’s and Doctoral Candidacy

    Students will routinely obtain the master’s degree en route to the doctorate. Requirements for candidacy for the M.A. degree include the successful completion of 24 credits of approved graduate course work with a grade point average of 3.0 and the recommendation of the Clinical Training Committee based on satisfactory academic and professional evaluations. The 54 credits for the M.A. must include nine hours of practicum and 45 hours of the core course work of the Psy.D. degree.

    The candidacy for the Psy.D. will be awarded following the completion of all M.A. requirements plus a minimum of an additional nine credits, successful performance on the preliminary examination and research proficiency evaluation, and satisfactory annual academic and professional evaluations. A grade point average of 3.0 is required for candidacy.

    G. Transfer of Graduate Credit

    Applicants who have completed course work at other institutions may request transfer of credit. A maximum of 36 semester hours of credit may be approved. A portion, but not all, of the practicum requirements may be transferred for equivalent supervised experience.

    H. Part-time Study and Residency

    Students must complete two consecutive semesters or one summer plus the preceding or following semester of full-time study to meet residency requirements. At other times, students may complete part-time studies. All students complete a Plan of Study, which will include a detailed semester-by-semester outline of proposed course work and completion dates for exams, doctoral project, and internship. An average of 15 semester hours must be completed each year, and all requirements must be completed within seven years. It is not possible for all course requirements to be met through summer, evening, and weekend course scheduling. No classes are offered on line.

    Other Policies

    The Psychology Department has established guidelines for the registration and completion of the doctoral project, academic good standing, full-time student status, an appeals process, and other academic matters. These guidelines are explained in the Psychology Graduate Student Handbook.