Required credits 
The Doctor of Psychology program leads to the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology. This program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). For further information about accreditation status, contact the APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202.336.5979. The goals of the Psy.D. program are to develop competent clinical psychologists who are skilled in the delivery of direct services; who are respected in consultation to applied agencies; who are knowledgeable of current empirical and theoretical developments; who are capable of critically evaluating clinical services; who function in an ethical, compassionate, and self-aware manner; and who are able to assume leadership positions in mental health delivery systems.
The Psy.D. program is designed as a full-time program of study, including three years of course work, each of which consists of a fall semester, a spring semester, and a summer term. A yearlong full-time or a two-year half-time internship and a dissertation are also required. The program follows the Practitioner/Scholar training model and places emphasis on preparation for productive careers as professionals in clinical settings. Course work and supervised practical experiences provide skills in assessment of behavior, personality, and intellectual functioning and in intervention with children, adults, couples, families, and groups to enhance their functioning and satisfaction.
The program also offers a Child and Adolescent proficiency track within the program’s current curriculum and structure. In addition to a core curriculum—which includes courses in clinical child development, child psychotherapy, and clinical aspects of adolescence—the track allows students to have specific practicum experience in child and adolescent work. The goal of the track is to provide students with an opportunity to develop not only a broad theoretical foundation but also strong therapeutic, assessment, and program development skills in working with this specialized population.
As a community, the program is committed to affirming diversity in all of its aspects. As a member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP), the doctoral program endorses and subscribes to NCSPP’s resolutions and guidelines concerning standards, curriculum, and diversity in the preparation of professional psychologists and makes every effort to incorporate them in its program.
The Practitioner aspect of this program integrates supervised clinical experience with ethical issues, professional affairs, and interprofessional relations training in self-awareness, capacity to form a therapeutic relationship, and use of self as a professional. Students are expected to maintain membership and active participation in national and local professional organizations and to conduct themselves in accordance with accepted professional and ethical standards.
In support of the development of clinical skills, practicum experiences are integrated with academic and applied course work during the student’s second and third program years. Practicum placements are made on the basis of the student’s career aspirations and skill level, which are enhanced by consideration of diversity in the context of clinical work and by exposure to different clinical populations in a variety of clinical settings under the supervision of doctoral-level psychologists.
Professional Practice Seminar (second year) and Case Conference Seminar (third year) provide weekly opportunities for students to share and explore, together with an experienced faculty member, their experiences in practica and to receive additional supervision on their clinical work. These seminars foster professional socialization in the broadest sense of the term. The Psy.D. program is continually expanding the depth and breadth of practicum experiences available to doctoral students.
Practicum training and academic course work prepare advanced graduate students for their clinical internships, which are taken in the fourth or fifth year. Students must have successfully defended a dissertation proposal prior to submitting applications for internship. Students have been successful in national competition for internships accredited by the American Psychological Association.
While the Practitioner component of this Practitioner/Scholar program is emphasized, it is complemented by the development of the ability to evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively the efficacy of one’s own clinical interventions, the validity of various assessment tools, and the contemporary clinical literature in general. This Scholar component of the Practitioner/Scholar training is intended to support productive careers as practitioners and leaders in clinical settings.
The Scholar aspect of the program includes didactic instruction and practical experience in applied research issues. Research methods that support careers as professionals include program evaluation techniques, case studies, theoretical analyses, field experiments, and quasi-experimental designs with clinical populations in clinical settings. These are skills that contribute to effective performance as leaders in mental health delivery systems. Consistent with the Practitioner/Scholar goals, students write a doctoral dissertation on a clinically relevant topic, using appropriate quantitative or qualitative methods and demonstrating the capacity for doctoral-level scholarship.
The Qualifying Examination is designed to assess attainment of psychological attitudes, knowledge, and skills related to professional practice, achievement of doctoral-level scholarship, and readiness to assume additional clinical responsibility.
The student prepares a clinical work sample, including evidence of therapeutic skills, for evaluation by two faculty readers.
The Qualifying Examination includes three components:
- Theoretical Component
- Clinical Component, which includes the write-up of a treatment case
- Oral Examination
For the Theoretical Component, the student writes an essay of clinical relevance to the Clinical Component of the Qualifying Examination.
The Qualifying Examination is generally taken during the second year of course work. The Clinical Component and oral exam must be passed, or the student will enter the second year of practicum with provisional status. If any part of the Qualifying Examination is failed, the student will have an opportunity to retake that part of the examination. A second failure will result in dismissal from the program.