Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Philosophy and Objectives of the Program

The Clinical Psychology training program offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree through integrated academic, scientific, and professional training. During the course of the Ph.D. program, students also earn a Master of Science degree in Psychology. The program provides students with intensive instruction in the theoretical framework of psychology and broad experience in methods of practice in clinical psychology.

Our program is defined by the scientist-practitioner model: “The scientist-practitioner model produces a psychologist who is uniquely educated and trained to generate and integrate scientific and professional knowledge, attitudes, and skills so as to further psychological science, the professional practice of psychology, and human welfare. The graduate of this training model is capable of functioning as an investigator and as a practitioner, and may function as either or both, consistent with the highest standards in psychology. The scientist-practitioner model is ideal for psychologists who utilize scientific methods in the conduct of professional practice” (Belar & Perry, 1992).

In keeping with the scientist-practitioner model, we believe that clinical psychologists should be both scientists – knowledgeable in formulating and solving scientific problems – and practitioners – experienced in the use of empirically supported clinical techniques. To this end, the core courses are organized as integrated theory-research-practice units with a problem-solving emphasis.

Within the context of a general clinical psychology program, the Department of Psychology offers focused training in neuropsychology, health psychology, and psychopathology. The training emphasis of the program involves both a biological and a behavioral approach to the understanding and treatment of abnormal behavior and its relationship to normal behavior. The training tracks prepare students for teaching and research in medical, mental health, and academic settings, as well as for clinical service. Students receive training in a broad range of assessment procedures and intervention approaches with an emphasis on empirically supported interventions. Students gain experience with a range of medical, neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychiatric populations through clinical and research activities. Our graduates are well-prepared clinicians and researchers, thanks to their solid grounding in theory, practice, and research. The training ensures the development of broad-based clinical skills and encourages close, cooperative work with other healthcare specialists, such as pediatricians, internists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, geriatricians, and psychiatrists.

The clinical psychology program enjoys full accreditation status by the American Psychological Association (APA). We strive to maintain a balance between academic course work, research training, and supervised clinical practice. In designing the core curriculum, the department follows the recommendations of the Committee on Accreditation. The course curriculum includes a sequence of required courses that expose students to the current body of knowledge in the following areas:

  • Biological aspects of behavior
  • Cognitive and affective aspects of behavior
  • Social aspects of behavior
  • History and systems of psychology
  • Psychological measurement
  • Research methodology
  • Techniques of data analysis

Students in the areas of health psychology, psychopathology, and neuropsychology are required to take additional courses and electives. A sequence of clinical practice and participation in research round out the pre-internship years.

For questions about the program, please call Pat Rigwood at (847) 578-3305 or e-mail her at