The Ph.D. program requires a minimum of four full-time pre-internship years followed by a one-year internship. While the Ph.D. degree can be completed within five years, six to seven years is the average length of study. The minimum academic load for full-time students is twelve credit units per quarter. Students are eligible to apply for internship after passage of a Preliminary Qualifying Comprehensive Exam and approval of a dissertation proposal. Once the dissertation proposal is approved, up to three additional years are allowed for the completion of all requirements for the Ph.D. degree (i.e., completion of the dissertation and its defense, and the internship year).

Year 1

A sequence of required courses is taken during the first year. Clinical practica also begin during the first year. It is anticipated that students will begin active participation in a research program with their advisor. The fourth quarter (Summer) is typically devoted to research and applied courses designed to prepare students for second year practica.

Year 2

A series of required general courses and track courses are offered during the second year. Students may begin to take electives as part of their schedule. Continuation of clinical practica and research participation occur during this year. Completion of a thesis, along with satisfactory course grades, qualifies the student for the M.S. degree.

Comprehensive Examinations
The research methods comprehensive examination is taken in June of the second year.  The clinical comprehensive examination is taken in January of the third year.

Year 3 and Year 4

Required courses, electives, clinical practicum and research activities continue during these years. Comprehensive examinations are taken after completion of the Master's Thesis. Upon successful completion, students may develop their dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be approved by September 30, if the student is to be eligible to apply for internship the following year.

Additional didactic activities in which students may participate include: Department sponsored colloquia; Neuroimaging Seminars; a Visiting Speaker Series and individual case conferences sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry; training conferences, special lectures and grand rounds sponsored by basic science and/or clinical departments, as well as the Psychology and Psychiatry Service of the North Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center (NCVAMC).