Mission of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology
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
- Develop competencies in the integration of different areas of psychological science
- Develop competencies in the integration of science and practice
- Develop profession-wide competencies, including research, ethical and legal standards, individual and cultural diversity, professional values and attitudes, communication and interpersonal skills, psychological assessment and intervention, supervision, and consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.
- Develop competencies to prepare students for careers within an academic health care system, VA medical center, and/or children’s hospital
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. This mission is accomplished through the following aims:
- Provide core knowledge and methods in psychological science, including in:
- 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, including advanced (graduate-level) scientific knowledge that integrates two or more of the multiple basic psychology-specific content areas identified in aim #1
- 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 health care 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 & Treatment
The PhD Program provides intensive training in the clinical practice and science of psychology, along with the specific training that makes our students competitive for careers as clinical psychologists conducting research and/or clinical work in academic healthcare systems, VA medical centers, children's hospitals, and similar health care settings. As students progress through the program, they are expected to take on greater responsibilities and to be more autonomous, independent, and productive.
View a graphical representation of the program timeline.
Students typically complete the program in five or six years. The length of time required to complete our program depends on several factors: the student’s career and personal goals, the demands of the student’s lab, the expectations of the student’s primary mentor, the student’s desired clinical training, and the complexity of the student’s research qualifying paper and dissertation. Although some labs expect that all of their students will take 6 years to complete the program, other labs have a mix of students who complete in 5 or 6 years. The description below provides general guidelines for what is expected at each of the years in the program.
Year 1: The first year of training provides foundational knowledge in the science of psychology and clinical practice. Students are also active members of a research lab, receiving mentoring from the time they enter the Program.
Year 2: The second year builds upon these foundational skills through advanced coursework, participation in a research lab, and progress on clinical and research milestones. Students begin their first clinical practicum at the start of the second year.
Year 3: The third year continues with advanced coursework, research progress, and clinical practicum. By the end of the third year, students must complete two major milestones: the Research Qualifying Paper (RQP) and the Clinical Qualifying Examination (CQE):
- The RQP is an original empirical study that is modest in scope, often uses existing data within the research lab, and is conducted with substantial support from the student’s primary mentor.
- The CQE is designed to demonstrate competence in fundamental clinical skills, theory, and judgment.
Years 4 & 5: The fourth/fifth year is focused on completion of the final research milestone, the dissertation. The dissertation is an original empirical study that is more ambitious in scope and requires a greater level of independent functioning than the RQP. The dissertation proposal or prospectus must be defended by the end of the fourth year. Read more about TGS deadlines.
In addition to the dissertation, students in their fourth/fifth year of training are required to take an advanced practica placement that requires greater independence and higher-level assessment, case formulation, and treatment skills.
- Fourth year students are also required to complete one academic quarter as a teaching assistant for instructors teaching courses to first year doctoral students in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral program. Read more about this requirement.
Years 5 & 6: The fifth/sixth year involves a full-time clinical internship at an APA-accredited site. It is strongly recommended that students have either fully defended their dissertation, or have their dissertation nearly complete by the time that they begin their clinical internship. To assist in this process, we require that students have their dissertation proposal/prospectus defended before Sept. 30th of the year that they apply to internship.
Courses are offered on the quarter system.
The following courses are routinely made available to students. Additional courses, including Special Topics, may also be made available to students. Courses are categorized as Foundational Courses, Courses in the Bases of Behavior, Required Clinical Courses, Required Research Courses, and Elective and Emphasis-Specific Courses.
Required Foundational Courses:
- Scientific & Professional Ethics in Psychology
- Diversity in Psychological Science and Practice
- Life-Span Developmental Psychology
Required Courses in the Bases of Behavior:
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Cognitive & Affective Psychology
- Advanced Social Psychology
Required Clinical Courses:
- Psychological Assessment I, II, III
- Psychopathology Lab
- Introduction to Psychotherapy
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Required Research Courses:
- Research Methods (Statistics) I, II, II
- Advanced Research Methodology
Emphasis-Specific Elective Courses:
- Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (Psychopathology & Treatment)
- Behavioral Neuroanatomy (Clinical Neuropsychology)
- Brain and Behavior: Introduction to Neuropsychology (Clinical Neuropsychology)
- Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (Child & Adolescent)
- Child Psychological Assessment (Child & Adolescent)
- Child Psychopathology (Child & Adolescent)
- Cognitive and Behavioral Treatments for Depression (Psychopathology & Treatment)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Psychopathology & Treatment)
- Family Therapy (Child & Adolescent)
- Forensic Psychology & Neuropsychology (Clinical Neuropsychology; Psychopathology & Treatment)
- Health Psychology (Behavioral Medicine)
- Interprofessional Education Seminar (Behaivoral Medicine)
- Introduction to Psychopharmacology (Psychopathology & Treatment)
- Marital and Sex Therapy (Psychopathology & Treatment)
- Mental Health Policy (Policy)
- Motivation for Health Behavioral Change (Behavioral Medicine)
- Neuropsychological Assessment (Clinical Neuropsychology)
- Positive Psychology in Clinical Practice (Psychopathology & Treatment; Behavioral Medicine)
- Primary Care Psychology (Behavioral Medicine)
- Principles of Neuroimaging (Clinical Neuropsychology)
- Psychodynamic Traditions (Psychopathology & Treatment)
In accordance with the policy of The Graduate School, course credit is not provided for courses taken at other institutions prior to admission to the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. As such, course waivers and transfer credit are not provided.
Under certain circumstances, the Director of Education and Clinical Training in consultation with the Administrative Council will allow a student to substitute a course if he or she has had suitable previous experience or course work. In such a situation, the substitute course must be of similar and preferably more advanced content to the substituted course. A maximum of nine courses may be substituted.