Program Design and Curriculum

The program prepares students to be both scientists and practitioners, through a strong dual emphasis on research and clinical training. It involves a minimum of five years of full-time study consisting of required and elective academic course work, two year-long practica taken in the second and third year, a master's thesis, a qualifying paper, a doctoral dissertation, teaching experience and a one-year, full-time internship.

Degree Requirements

The Program in Clinical Psychology involves five to six years of full-time study. Its requirements include:

  1. Completion of 18 required and 6 elective courses, taken during the first three years of the program. (Note: All courses must be completed with a grade of B or better.) The required courses are designed to expose students to the specific emphases within the program on human development across the life span, and on ethnic and minority concerns and the role of culture in mental health. They also provide students with research training and basic clinical skills in preparation for the practica and internship. Required courses include the following:

    PSYCH 601 (Assessment and Testing I)

    A second testing course selected from among three (depending on career goals):

    PSYCH 602 (Testing and Assessment II)—covers personality assessment)—or

    PSYCH 701 (Advanced Neuropsychology Assessment), or

    PSYCH 710 (Child Psychological Assessment).

    PSYCH 610 (Culture and Mental Health)

    One additional Diversity Course

    PSYCH 613 (Lifespan Psychopathology)

    PSYCH 620 (Intervention Strategies)

    One additional Interventions/Psychotherapy course

    PSYCH 641 and 642 (Life Span Development I and II: Cognitive and Affective Bases for Behavior and Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior)

    PSYCH 660 (Biological Bases of Behavior)

    PSYCH 670 (Advanced Statistics I)

    PSYCH 675 (Research Methods and Ethics in Clinical Psychology)

    PSYCH 680 (History and Systems. of Psychology)

    PSYCH 699 (Master’s Research Seminar)

    PSYCH 785 and 786 (Clinical Practicum and Ethics I and II)

    PSYCH 787 and 788 (Clinical Practicum Seminar III and IV)

    PSYCH 790 (Professional Standards and Ethics)

    Students also take six elective courses drawn from the following four categories (at least one from each):

    Group 1 - Psychotherapy Elective:

    PSYCH 720 (Family Systems. and Family Therapy)

    PSYCH 721 (Child Therapy)

    PSYCH 726 (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

    Group 2 - Assessment Elective:

    PSYCH 602 (Assessment and Testing II: Personality Assessment)

    PSYCH 701 (Advanced Neuro-Psychological Assessment)

    PSYCH 710 (Child Psychological Assessment)

    Group 3 - Methods/Analysis Elective:

    PSYCH 770 (Multivariate Statistics and Causal Modeling)

    PSYCH 775 (Qualitative Methods in Psychological Research)

    Group 4 - Diversity Elective:

    PSYCH 645 (The Psychology of Gender)

    PSYCH 720 (Family Systems. and Family Therapy)

    PSYCH 742 (Social Construction of Self and Identities)

    Two additional electives from any of the above groups or from the General Electives listed below:

    PSYCH 614 (Forensic Psychology)

    PSYCH 662 (Psychopharmacology)

    PSYCH 628 (Trauma: Psychological Response and Recovery)

    PSYCH 719 (Severe Psychopathology)

    PSYCH 724 (Health Psychology)
  2. A research apprenticeship in the first year. Each student works closely with a faculty research mentor during the first year, gaining exposure to the faculty member’s program of research and designing and implementing a master’s research project.
  3. A master’s thesis. Students are not admitted into the Clinical Psychology Program for a terminal master’s degree. A master’s degree is granted, however, usually sometime after the second year, and after the student has completed 48 credits of course work, one year of part-time practicum, and an approved master’s thesis. This thesis gives students an opportunity to apply the knowledge acquired in the three-course research methods sequence (PSYCH 670, 675, and 699). The project done for the master’s thesis may be conducted in either a field or laboratory setting. Students enroll for PSYCH 699 (Master’s Research Seminar) in the spring of their first year and up to six master’s research credits (PSYCH 698) during their second year.
  4. Completion of two years of clinical practicum. One of the key components of the Clinical Psychology Program is systematic intensive training in the application of basic knowledge to the solution of human problems.. Such training is achieved through the required practica, which students complete during the second and third years of the program. Students spend two days a week in practice in the University’s Mental Health Counseling Center or in a field agency (e.g., a community mental health center; school for emotionally disturbed children; training hospital). The practicum provides supervised experience with client problems. and the opportunity to apply a wide range of assessment and intervention techniques. Along with the field component, students attend a required clinical seminar on campus each semester (PSYCH 785-786 in the second year and PSYCH 787-788 in the third year).
  5. The qualifying examination (usually taken in the third year) has several goals and purposes. It is intended to challenge students to prepare a critical, synthetic review of a limited body of literature in the area in which they plan to do their doctoral dissertation. Students are expected to consider sociocultural and developmental contexts in selecting the literature to be reviewed and/or in crafting the organizational framework that shapes their review. The review is intended to serve as evidence of the student’s readiness to begin doctoral work and, at the same time, to expose students to literature that stimulates their thinking in ways that will move their doctoral work forward. The literature review for the qualifying examination may be thought of as the first iteration of the more comprehensive literature review that will ultimately be required for the dissertation. At the same time, it may be somewhat broader in scope than the review for the dissertation, given the specific challenge to integrate developmental and sociocultural perspectives in the qualifying paper. Students completing the qualifying examination successfully are admitted to doctoral candidacy.
  6. A doctoral dissertation, which is usually completed by the end of the fifth or sixth year. Completion of a dissertation is one of the most important requirements of the doctoral program. The dissertation is an original empirical project that makes a substantive contribution to the knowledge base in human development or clinical psychology. The dissertation is supervised by a primary advisor and a doctoral committee consisting of at least two additional faculty members, one of whom comes from an area outside clinical psychology. The committee is responsible for approving the dissertation proposal, overseeing the data collection and analysis, and reviewing the dissertation. The dissertation must be approved by the doctoral committee, and an oral defense must be successfully completed.
  7. An internship, typically done in the fifth or sixth year, after the student has completed all other requirements. It involves the satisfactory completion of a one-year, full-time (or two years, half-time) APA-approved clinical internship in an outside agency. The internship is the logical extension of the practica. It is designed to complete the student’s preparation for functioning as an independent professional clinician.