UMass Boston

Clinical Psychology PhD

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Acquire the skills and training necessary to become a compassionate clinical psychologist.

Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association since 1993, UMass Boston’s program in clinical psychology is based on a scientist-practitioner-activist model. The program prepares clinical psychologists who have an excellent foundation in psychological science and can translate their basic knowledge into practical applications to meet the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and adults from diverse sociocultural groups. Graduates of the program have the requisite skills to advance understanding of key human problems through research, scholarly activities, clinical practice, teaching, professional service, advocacy, and activism.

In this program, you will:

  • Develop a solid foundation in clinical psychology theories and research methodologies, enabling you to provide effective treatments for a wide range of mental health concerns
  • Acquire advanced clinical skills through supervised practicum and internship experiences
  • Cultivate professional competence and ethical decision-making, integrating scientific knowledge, critical thinking, and empathy to promote the well-being and resilience of clients
  • Contribute to the field of clinical psychology through research, advocacy, and leadership

Info Sessions

Join UMass Boston Clinical Psychology PhD faculty and staff for an informal one-hour, online info session! Meet the current program director, faculty and student representatives. Learn more about the Clinical Psychology PhD program and bring questions you may have about the programs and/or application process.

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How to Apply

We review applications comprehensively—looking across all aspects of the application for each applicant rather than having specific cutoff criteria in any one particular area. We no longer accept GRE scores as part of our admissions criteria.

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • Prerequisites. A minimum of 6 courses in psychology or a closely related social science field. A course in statistics is required before students enroll in our program, but it is not required at the time of application.
  • Background. Highly qualified applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to a career serving the needs of minority and urban populations will be given priority. In keeping with the mission of the university and the particular emphases in the program, individuals from diverse racial, ethnic, and minority backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Research Fit. An important criterion for admission to the clinical psychology program is the fit between student clinical and research interests and the interests of the program’s faculty. We require each applicant to list the faculty research mentors whose team(s) they want to be considered for based on shared research interests. The research mentor works closely with the student, helping to plan course work and select practicum opportunities as well as guiding the student’s research training.
  • Essay. Please provide an essay of about 1,000 words. The primary purpose of this essay is to introduce yourself, your passions, your interests, and your career objectives. Remember that we will be reviewing your CV, so there is no need to duplicate the information you present there. Instead of telling us what you have done, use this essay to tell us about you, why you have done what you have done, how it has affected you, and how it relates to what you are hoping to do in our program and beyond. This is an opportunity to tell us your story. In addition, the essay should:
    • Describe your personal, academic, and professional experiences and strengths that have led to your interest in clinical psychology and have prepared you for the challenges of graduate school and a career in clinical psychology.
    • Describe your interest in clinical psychology and how the UMass Boston Clinical Psychology Program, specifically, will contribute to advancing your academic, career, and personal goals.
    • Describe the research that you are interested in pursuing as a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Program at UMass Boston.
  • Curriculim Vitae (CV). Please provide as part of your application.
  • Letters of Recommendation. You will also be asked to provide three letters of recommendation within the GradCAS portal.
  • Supplemental Information. You will also be asked to provide the following supplemental information in the GradCAS portal:
    • A list of all undergraduate psychology courses and any graduate psychology courses that you have taken at any time, the institutions at which you took them, and the grades you received for each course.
    • A grade point average for your undergraduate psychology courses (and only these courses).
    • Course name and grade of any statistics class that you have taken, as well as the institution, semester, and year you took it. (You will still be considered even if you have not taken a statistics class. This question is to help us track who will need to take a statistics class before matriculation.)
    • A 2-3 sentence summary of your research and clinical interests.
    • The name(s) of the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work and a sentence or two describing your interest and match for the specific faculty member. Visit our faculty mentors page for an updated list of faculty mentors and their interests.
    • Agreement with our ethics policy related to trainees who experience conflicts working with diverse clients (you must agree to our policy for your application to be reviewed further).
    • Any notes or comments to the committee to expand or explain any aspect of your application that needs clarification.

Interview Policy

The Clinical Psychology Program receives approximately 600 applications a year. From this applicant pool, we undertake an extensive review of applications and invite approximately 40 finalists for a day-long campus visit and interviews.

The Admissions Committee schedules interviews for all finalists once all applications have been reviewed. Interviews are an important part of the application process. Interviews are usually held in February, and applicants are notified of an invitation to interview in late January or early February.

Unfortunately, due to the size of our applicant pool, our policy is that clinical faculty do not conduct interviews with applicants who have not undergone our review process and have not been invited for an interview. We appreciate your interest in our program.

Deadlines & Cost

Students are admitted to the Clinical Psychology Program to work toward the PhD degree only; the program does not offer a terminal master's degree. Applications are due in the Graduate Admissions Office by December 1 for enrollment the following September. There are no spring semester admissions in the Clinical Psychology Program. The program expects to admit six to eight students each year.

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: See Bursar's website. Traditionally, we have been able to waive tuition and provide a stipend for students through at least the first four years and, for most, the duration of their on-campus years.

Curriculum

Core Courses (33 Credits)

  • PSYCLN 601 - Assessment and Testing I 4 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 610 - Culture and Mental Health ;3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 613 - Lifespan Psychopathology 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 620 - Intervention Strategies 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 641 - Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior: Life Span Development I 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 642 - Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior: Life Span Development II 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 650 - Clinical Psychology Proseminar I 1 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 651 - Clinical Psychology Proseminar II 1 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 660 - Physiological Psychology 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 670 - Advanced Statistics 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 675 - Research Methods and Ethics in Clinical Psychology 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 680 - History and Systems 3 Credit(s)

Required Practicum Courses (24 Credits)

  • PSYCLN 785 - Practicum and Ethics I 6 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 786 - Practicum and Ethics II 6 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 787 - Practicum III& 6 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 788 - Practicum IV 6 Credit(s)

Elective Practicum Courses and Training (4 or More Credits)

  • PSYCLN 690 - Introduction to Clinical Outreach and Intervention Practicum 2-3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 692 - Clinical Research Practicum II 1 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 781 - Assessment Practicum I 1-4 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 782 - Assessment Practicum II 1-4 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 783 - Advanced Clinical Research Practicum I 1 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 784 - Advanced Clinical Research Practicum II 1 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 791 - Advanced Clinical Outreach, Intervention, and Consultation Practicum I 1-4 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 792 - Advanced Clinical Outreach, Intervention, and Consultation Practicum II 1-4 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 893 - Advanced Community Practicum I 1 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 894 - Advanced Community Practicum II 1 Credit(s)

Master’s Research Courses (6 Credits)

  • PSYCLN 698 - Master’s Research 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 699 - Master’s Research Seminar 3 Credit(s)

Teaching Seminar (3 Credits)

  • PSYCLN 891 - Teaching Seminar 3 Credit(s)

Elective Distribution Courses (12 Credits)

Complete four courses.

One course from must be taken from each of the four groups below.

Students may also enroll in additional non-required courses offered through other UMass Boston departments (e.g. language, psychotherapy, statistics, etc.) that may enhance their professional development.

Group 1: Therapy Approaches

  • PSYCLN 721 - Child Therapy 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 726 - Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Therapy 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 727 - Emotion-Focused Psychotherapy 3 Credit(s)

Group 2: Assessment

  • PSYCLN 701 - Neuropsychological Assessment 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 710 - Child Assessment 3 Credit(s)

Group 3: Advanced Methods and Analysis

  • PSYCLN 770 - Advanced Statistics II - Latent Variable Modeling 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 775 - Qualitative Methods in Clinical Psychology 3 Credit(s)

Group 4: Diversity

  • PSYCLN 745- Psychology and Activism for Social Justice 3 Credit(s)
  • PSYCLN 879 - Advanced Community Psychology 3 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete a minimum of 82 credits from at least 22 courses including twelve core courses, four required practicum courses, four elective practicum credits, two Master’s research courses, one teaching seminar, and four elective distribution courses.

The program requires a minimum of five years of full-time graduate study that includes three years of residency at UMass Boston, and the completion of an APA accredited internship prior to awarding the doctoral degree. Students are required to complete all coursework and to have completed their dissertation proposal prior to applying for an APA accredited internship.

Doctoral candidacy: Passage of a written qualifying exam.
Master’s thesis: Complete an empirical master’s thesis. May be waived if successfully completed at another university.
Dissertation: Compose and defend an empirical dissertation.
Teaching experience: Students must teach in their fourth year of study.
Practica: Students must complete two year-long, part-time practica in their second and third year of study.
Internship: Students must complete a one-year, full-time APA accredited internship.

Statute of limitations: Eight years.

Contact & Faculty Mentors

Assistant Director Brooke Craveiro
clinical.program@umb.edu
(617)287-6340

The Clinical Psychology PhD Program at UMass Boston uses a clinical research apprenticeship model. Each first-year graduate student apprentices with a clinical faculty member who will serve as research mentor and advisor to the graduate student. For more information, please reference our summary of Clinical Psychology PhD 2024-2025 Faculty Mentors.

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Psychology Department

Learn more about UMass Boston's Psychology department, our research, and our faculty.

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Explore the Clinical Psychology PhD Program

Mission Statement

(Revised Spring 2017)

Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association since 1993, University of Massachusetts Boston’s (UMass Boston) program in clinical psychology is based on a scientist-practitioner-activist model. The program prepares clinical psychologists who have an excellent foundation in psychological science and can translate their basic knowledge into practical applications to meet the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and adults from diverse sociocultural groups. Graduates of the program have the requisite skills to advance understanding of key human problems through research, scholarly activities, clinical practice, teaching, professional service, advocacy, and activism.

Our clinical psychology training model is biopsychosocial in its scientific orientation, and places special emphasis on the roles of culture and context in understanding the complexities of multiple dimensions of human behavior and functioning. This emphasis includes, but is not limited to, bringing to the study of clinical psychology an understanding of social justice, equity, oppression, systems of privilege and marginalization, procedural and relational justice, and epistemological and methodological marginalization. This includes a commitment to training a diverse workforce of scientist-practitioner-activist clinical psychologists. Among the many skills students learn in our program, we aim to develop within them a lifelong commitment to using clinical psychology to serve the general population and to meet the needs of marginalized individuals and communities by being culturally humble and responsive researchers, mentors, clinicians, supervisors, teachers, leaders, advocates, activists, and community members. The training in our program results from an affirmative commitment by both faculty and students to engage in ongoing personal reflection and reflection upon the practices in our field—to increase our self-awareness and guide thoughtful psychological practice and relevant social justice actions.

Our educational mission is to train scientist-practitioner-activist clinical psychologists who will:

  1. Engage in social science research, critical scholarly inquiry, and educational activities including scholarly analysis that specifically address social and structural inequities affecting psychosocial health and functioning, including but not limited to inequities based on social class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender, disability, age, language, citizenship, immigration status, and religion.
  2. Provide affirming and empowering evidence-based clinical services to people across sociocultural groups and statuses.
  3. Serve as leaders, role models, and change-makers to promote social justice within their organizations, the profession of psychology, and other contexts. We aim to foster students’ capacity to serve as advocates and activists.
  4. Apply their developed awareness of how the field of clinical psychology is socially situated, reflect critically on the practices and purposes of our field, and understand how it can privilege or marginalize certain identities and lived experiences, treatment and assessment practices, and epistemological and philosophical positions.

Learning Objectives

To achieve these long term goals for our graduates, we have the following Learning Objectives for their time within our program. Our Learning Objectives line up with the longer term goals for our graduates related to Research (1), Practice (2), and Activism (3) above. The fourth aim above reflects our overall approach to how we approach all aspects of our training. It focuses on applying a reflective practice in critical social justice theory across all aspects of the work. In this way, it does not have specific learning objectives associated with it, but rather it serves as the lens through which we view research, practice, and activism.

Goal 1: To produce graduates who engage in clinical psychology research, critical scholarly inquiry and analysis, and educational activities that specifically address social and structural inequities affecting psychosocial health and functioning.

Objectives for Goal 1:

To provide students with:

  • 1.1 Foundational knowledge in the science of psychology with specific attention to training in addressing social and structural inequalities with appropriate conceptual, methodological, and culturally sensitive skills.
  • 1.2 The basic skills necessary to become critical consumers of the existing research literature, identifying gaps in the literature and developing the skills to design and implement rigorous research projects.
  • 1.3 The skills necessary to evaluate research critically in relation to issues of contextual and cultural diversity and to design and conduct research that helps advance the field in understanding and attending to these issues.

Goal 2: To produce graduates who are knowledgeable about and skilled at providing affirming and empowering evidence-based clinical services to people across sociocultural groups and statuses.

Objectives for Goal 2:

To provide students with:

  • 2.1. Didactic and clinical training needed to become proficient in testing and assessment theory and practice that is both informed by scientific knowledge and is culturally responsive.
  • 2.2 Didactic and clinical training needed to become proficient in a continuum of intervention skills in a manner that is culturally informed and responsive, guided by scientific knowledge, and that considers individual assessment performance in the context of developmental and broader systemic factors.
  • 2.3 Introductory level knowledge of competencies in supervision and consultation skills, through exposure to the literature on best practices supervision.
  • 2.4 Didactic knowledge and skills to understand, recognize, and address the contextual factors, positionality, and power dynamics inherent in co-constructed therapeutic relationships and embedded in clinical settings.

Goal 3: To produce graduates who have the awareness, knowledge, and skills to serve as leaders, role models, and change-makers to promote social justice within their organizations, the profession of psychology, and other contexts. We aim to foster students’ capacity to serve as advocates and activists.

Objectives for Goal 3:

To provide students with:

  • 3.1 Didactic experiences to provide foundational awareness, knowledge, and skills to engage in activism within clinical practice and research activities.
  • 3.2 Training aimed at fostering growth to apply activist-informed awareness, knowledge, and skills across professional contexts.

Program Description

Our program coursework and training experiences emphasize:

  • A biopsychosocial approach. Students learn to conceptualize and treat problems in living by considering not only problem behavior and mental disorders but also by considering the person within their physical, psychological, developmental, and social contexts. Research training gives students skills for analyzing problems from a variety of theoretical perspectives.
  • Assessment and psychotherapy skills. The program trains students in a broad range of assessment and intervention skills that enable them to promote healthy adaptation, prevent the development of individual and social problems, and treat problem behavior and mental disorders. We teach students to critically reflect upon our field's use of assessments and clinical approaches and guide students to utilize or create culturally responsive, equitable approaches to serve all their clients.
  • Sociocultural context. Within a broad understanding of sociocultural factors, our coursework highlights systemic oppression and privilege, power dynamics, and social and cultural approaches to clinical psychology. We emphasize the ways in which these factors affect individual development across the lifespan, relational interactions, and social groups and dynamics for all people-with a particular emphasis on how marginalized and disadvantaged individuals and groups are impacted. As a foundation for developing this understanding, and the ability to apply it to psychological activities, students reflect upon their own personal cultural situations and positionalities to better understand the experiences of others. They examine and develop skills regarding how to best advocate for their professional values in diverse and complex settings.
  • Developmental phenomena in typical and atypical pathways. In our program, students learn about the range of lifespan developmental trajectories from infancy through adulthood. This focus helps to elucidate the ways in which relationships and other environmental factors can support or hinder adaptive or maladaptive development, with the recognition that behaviors which are adaptive in one context may be maladaptive in another. Consistent with our biopsychosocial orientation, students embrace the complexity of developmental processes by taking into consideration the dynamic and transactional interplay of physiological, genetic, social, cognitive, emotional, and cultural influences across time.
  • Skills toward practice. Students have the opportunity to take coursework and engage in supervised pre-doctoral clinical training experiences that can be used towards attaining licensure in Massachusetts and many other states.

Program Policies

Policy Statement for Clinical Training

Program Policies Related to Trainees Who Experience Conflicts Working with Diverse Clients (Adapted from the Sample APA Policy Recommendations) (see Handbook)

As articulated in our program policy statement, we are committed to a training process that ensures that graduate students develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to work effectively with members of the public who embody intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs, and values. In our Counseling Center practica and in the training we provide in our other on- and off-campus practicum courses we are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our community. Consistent with this principle, the Counseling Center policy and our policy for on campus practicum experiences require that trainers and trainees do not discriminate on the basis of age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or socioeconomic status in the services provided at the training clinic or practicum site.

In some cases, tensions may arise for a student due to differences in beliefs or values with clients. Because the students will have to navigate these sorts of clinical situations in their future practice careers, the program has a responsibility to prepare students to do so in a safe and ethical manner. The program will respectfully work with students as they learn how to effectively practice with a broad range of clients. Thus, students should expect to be assigned clients that may present challenges for them at some point in training.

If trainees do not feel comfortable or capable of providing competent services to a client because it conflicts with the trainee's beliefs or values, it is the trainee's responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of his/her supervisor. Because client welfare and safety are always the first priority, decisions about client assignment and reassignment are the responsibility of the faculty/supervisors.

Other Policies

You may view our mental health policy as well as our other policies in the clinical handbook.

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Student Handbook

Download the Clinical Psychology PhD Handbook.

Student Admissions, Outcomes & Data

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Accreditation Questions

Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
202.336.5979
apaaccred@apa.org