Path to Degree
Course requirements for the Ph.D. degree include a minimum of 91 academic credits that cover coursework necessary to obtained clinical competencies specified by APA for a doctorate in Clinical Psychology, along with training in neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology. Further, students must complete three qualifying examinations (1st and 2nd doctoral exams, and the Clinical Competency Exam), a master’s thesis, a minimum of three years of closely supervised clinical externship experiences (the first at the program’s training community clinic, Queens College Psychological Center), a one-year full-time internship, and a doctoral dissertation.
The curriculum emphasizes 1) the breadth of scientific psychology, 2) the scientific, methodological, and theoretical foundations of practice, 3) evidence-based psychological assessment and treatment, 4) cultural and individual diversity, and 5) attitudes for lifetime learning and professional development. As students advance, training includes a more specific emphasis on neuroscience and clinical neuropsychology, as applied to the understanding of psychopathology and behavioral functioning, and the application of this knowledge to the assessment and treatment of clinical populations.
The expected order and timing of coursework, related academic requirements (e.g., doctoral exams, dissertation) and training experiences are detailed on the Clinical Psychology at Queens College Program Requirements sheet (or, “Blue Sheet”).
EXAMS AND RESEARCH REQUIREMENTS
At the Clinical Psychology at Queens College program all students must pass a written First Doctoral Exam before proceeding beyond 45 credits and a Second Doctoral Exam before the end of their fifth year in the program. The First Doctoral Examination evaluates students’ competencies in study design, research methodology and statistics by having them write a 5-page NIH style research proposal. The de-identified exam is graded by two to three faculty members using NIH scoring guidelines. The Second Doctoral Examination is designed to give students the opportunity to examine a specific topic of interest in depth and has both a written and an oral component. The Second Doctoral Exam consists of the student writing and defending a dissertation proposal (detailed background, hypotheses and proposed method sections) with a three-person faculty committee.
Students are expected to join a research lab with a Clinical Psychology at Queens College program faculty member in their first semester and to be engaged in empirical research with program faculty members throughout their doctoral academic career. These experiences should enable the student to fulfill two formal research requirements: the Master’s Thesis and the Dissertation.
An additional milestone required by the Clinical Psychology at Queens College program is the Clinical Competency Exam (CCE), which is completed prior to applying for Internship. The CCE consists of a written and an oral component. The written component consists of a summary of externship training experiences and a de-identified written report that describes an intervention that was implemented in detail. The oral examination is completed with two licensed faculty members and evaluates the student’s ability to conceptualize the case described in the write-up. The student is asked to describe the case, defend the choice of assessment tools and intervention strategies, outline steps in clinical decision making, discuss the application of research findings to the clinical work, discuss ethical issues, address issues of cultural diversity with respect to assessment and/or intervention and conceptualize an alternative perspective for approaching the intervention. Students are expected to demonstrate breadth as well as depth in their thinking about clinical activities.
The clinical externship is an integral part of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology at Queens College and was developed to provide students with developmentally appropriate experiences to apply didactic and theoretical training in assessment and intervention in “real-life” clinical settings. Students are required to complete a minimum of three years of externship. For externship purposes, a 'year' means 16 hours/week for three consecutive semesters (e.g. summer, fall, and spring).
Students with the required academic prerequisites complete a sequence of supervised clinical experiences that begins with applied training and experience at our training clinic, the Queens College Psychological Center (QCPC), where the chief activities include assessment and the application of evidence-based intervention techniques. Subsequent externships require competitive applications among an array of approved sites, including sites that specialize in clinical neuropsychology, that span the New York Metropolitan Area.
Students complete a one-year full time clinical internship in their 6th year, and are encouraged to attend APA-accredited placements. Although the majority of students in the program choose neuropsychology-oriented internships, this is not required.