Course requirements for the Ph.D. degree include a minimum of 90 academic credits. The curriculum prepares students broadly/generally in clinical psychology and additionally includes specialization in psychology and law. The curriculum emphasizes general clinical assessment, general clinical intervention, and evidence-based practice, all within a scientist-practitioner framework. As students advance, training includes a specific focus on psychology as applied to the law and legal settings. Courses move from general to more specialized, within a series of progressions that are each keyed to specific training outcomes.
Students must complete a minimum of two years of closely supervised practicum experiences, although students frequently choose to do additional placements to provide specialized expertise as they progress in the program. Practicum experiences occur in conjunction with coursework designed to synthesize didactic and practical learning.
In addition to the usual requirements of completing and defending the doctoral dissertation, there are two doctoral examinations. The First Doctoral Examination allows students to demonstrate proficiency in basic research skills. Students complete an empirical research project under the close supervision of their research advisor, produce a scholarly manuscript on the project, and orally defend their work. It is also possible to meet this requirement by conducting a critical literature review of publishable quality, although it is more common for students to choose to complete an empirical project. Students entering with a M.A. degree from another institution may meet this requirement through an oral defense of their M.A. thesis, providing the project was of sufficient empirical rigor as determined by the Program. Students are required to complete successfully pass this requirement by the end of their second year in the program.
The Second Doctoral Examination is an extensive written and oral presentation of the scientific literature in a particular area. The review frequently serves as the basis of the student’s dissertation proposal. The faculty may ask the student questions about the relationship of the literature they reviewed to any broad area in the field of psychology. This exam ensures that students are not too narrowly focused. The exam is graded pass or fail and the student must pass the examination for progress in the Program to continue.
Dissertations in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology may consist of a broad range of topics and methods. Our commitment is to high-quality, empirical scholarship. Required course work and in-residence clinical training can be completed within four years. However, given the rigorous empirical work required by the Program, many students apply for internship in their fifth year.
In addition to course requirements, all students complete a one-year internship. All but a few of our students have received APA-approved internship placements. Those who have not, have all received very high-quality placements meeting equivalent supervision and experience requirements.
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