Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
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Curriculum

Learn more about the education components of the our Clinical Psychology PhD Program, including a timeline by program year, courses and clinical and research training expectations.

  • Timeline
    See a breakdown of what you can expect during each year of the program.
  • Courses
    Get a rundown of the courses routinely available to students.
  • Clinical & Research Training
    We provide a truly equal balance of research and clinical training; learn more.

Our Mission

The mission of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology is to graduate clinical psychologists who are highly competent, ethical and productive in the science and practice of clinical psychology, particularly within academic healthcare systems and similar settings (i.e., VA medical centers, children’s hospitals). This mission is accomplished through the following aims:

 Provide core knowledge and methods in psychological science.

This include work within:

  • The origins and development of major ideas in the discipline of psychology
  • The basic psychology-specific content areas of scientific psychology, specifically the affective, biological, cognitive, developmental and social aspects of behavior
  • Psychological research methods, statistical analysis and psychometrics

 Develop competencies in the integration of different areas of psychological science.

This includes advanced (graduate-level) scientific knowledge that integrates two or more of the multiple basic psychology-specific content areas identified in the first aim.

 Develop competencies in the integration of science and practice.

 Develop competencies in research.

Specifically, the substantially independent ability to: 

  • Formulate research or other scholarly activities that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological or professional knowledge base
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local, regional or national level

 Develop competencies in ethical and legal standards.

Specifically, to: 
  • Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with: a) the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; b) relevant laws, regulations, rules and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional and federal levels; and c) relevant professional standards and guidelines
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities

 Develop competencies in individual and cultural diversity.

Specifically, to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities, including research, training, supervision/consultation and service
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services and other professional activities); this includes the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers; also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics or worldviews create conflict with their own
  • Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups and apply this approach effectively in their professional work

 Develop professional values and attitudes.

Specifically, to:
  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning and concern for the welfare of others
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being and professional effectiveness
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training

 Develop competencies in communication and interpersonal skills.

Specifically, to:
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees and those receiving professional services
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well

 Develop competencies in psychological assessment.

Specifically, to:
  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases and distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences

 Develop competencies in psychological intervention.

Specifically, to:
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics and contextual variables
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision-making
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation

 Develop competencies in supervision.

Specifically, to demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.

 Develop competencies in consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.

Specifically, to demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.

 Develop competencies to prepare students for careers within an academic healthcare system, VA medical center and/or children’s hospital.

Specifically, to identify and pursue coursework and/or research/clinical training within at least one emphasis or major area of study, including behavioral medicine, clinical child and adolescent psychology, clinical neuropsychology, policy and psychopathology and treatment.
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