Program Overview and Training Philosophy

The Program is designed for full-time students only. This is a 109-credit, five- to six-year program. In addition to the four to five years of coursework, we require one year of full-time predoctoral internship.  The length of in-residence training can be completed in four years but the rate of progress varies among students.  Moreover, it is not uncommon for students who make satisfactory progress to extend the duration of in-residence training to bolster their research and publications portfolio.

The primary goal of the Program is to train doctoral-level (Ph.D.) students in the ethical science and practice of clinical psychology with an additional emphasis on the interaction of physical and mental health. The program espouses the scientist/practitioner model, which places equal emphasis on clinical and research training.  Furthermore, in our view, research and clinical practice are highly integrated and mutually informative.

The Program follows a junior colleague model for education, training, and socialization among the faculty and students. This model posits that clinical, research, and professional psychological skills are best developed through modeling and observational learning. This model emphasizes mutual respect and courtesy between faculty and students, and hopes to instill the value of lifelong learning.

The program has identified four overarching training goals:

  • Goal 1: Provide sequential and cumulative training of increasing complexity in evidence-based psychological and healthcare assessment, intervention, and consultation services.
  • Goal 2: Produce independent researchers capable of contributing to the scientific body of knowledge in the field of clinical psychology as it is applied to diverse health issues, and able to educate and mentor future researchers in the field.
  • Goal 3: Train effective clinical providers and researchers, through comprehensive training that is cumulative and graded in complexity in psychological theories, clinical practice, and research with clinical health psychology as an emphasis.
  • Goal 4: Provide comprehensive training in the professional values, attitudes, standards and ethics of clinical work and research with diverse individuals and groups.

Our training process is sequential, graded in complexity and cumulative. Upon entering the program, each student is assigned a core faculty member as an academic advisor, who meets with the student at least twice per year to address academic and program-related issues. During the first month of the program, each student collaboratively identifies a research mentor, a core faculty member who provides individual supervision to students in her/his lab about research and career development mentorship throughout the student’s tenure in the program. Academically, students first complete core courses and emphasis is placed on achievement of foundational knowledge.

Clinical training begins in the spring semester of the 1st year with our in-house training clinic, the Parnes Clinic, as part of the program’s Behavioral Medicine Practicum sequence. In the second year and throughout their tenure in the program students are placed in year-long externships, which are formal external clinical training sites typically located in medical centers, hospitals and outpatient clinic settings.  After the students satisfactorily achieve all academic and clinical requirements during in-residence training they are required to complete a full-time predoctoral internship (see clinical training section for further details).

The program’s robust training in research is focused on the application of clinical psychology to diverse health conditions and populations. The research lab courses, which are required throughout the tenure of the students in the program, serve as platforms for students to learn core concepts related to the specific research area and to develop, implement and successfully complete their research projects.  The student is required to achieve two research milestones, the predoctoral project and dissertation thesis.

Students are expected to demonstrate competencies in all areas of training. Our assessment of competencies is based on academic performance, direct observations of expected skill sets, indirect evaluations including but not limited to students’ evaluations by clinical supervisors as well as procedures developed by the program faculty to directly observe and evaluate core clinical and research competencies. In addition, the program has developed two independent procedures that assess competency in a manner consistent with the APA competency benchmark system.

For a comprehensive overview of the programs’ training procedures, policies and values see the Program Manual.

Elective Courses and Minors

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology (Health Emphasis) Program Minors

Students have the option to complete a number of minors that are offered by the Clinical Psychology (Health Emphasis) Ph.D. Program. In order to successfully fulfill the requirements for a minor, a student must complete all required coursework with grades of B+ or higher in each course as well as any required externships and/or research projects. A summary of each minor can be found below and can also be found in the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology Academic Catalog.

*Students interested in elective training opportunities through the minors are required to schedule an in-person appointment with the faculty member who directs the minor they wish to pursue in order to discuss the training process and requirements, and to receive formal approval.

Clinical Neuropsychology Minor

Director: Dr. Roee Holtzer
The training in Clinical Neuropsychology is consistent with the educational and training guidelines recommended by Division 40 of the APA and the Houston Conference. Core courses in assessment, interviewing, psychopathology, therapy, statistics, and biological basis of behavior must be completed before students begin their training in the Clinical Neuropsychology Minor. Successful completion of the courses “Science of Cognitive and Affective Function” and “Physiological Health Psychology” also serves as a prerequisite for admissions to the minor. Then, concurrent with the two-semester didactic sequence (Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology I and II) students are required to complete a formal year-long externship in Clinical Neuropsychology. The course in Psychopharmacology may be taken in parallel or subsequent to completion of the above year-long didactic sequence. As discussed above, the following courses are required for the minor: (1) [71432] Physiological Psychology, (2) [84474] Science of Cognitive and Affective Function, (3) [71510] Clinical Neuropsychology I, (4) [84500] Clinical Neuropsychology II, (5) [84534] Psychopharmacology.

Research Methodology and Statistics Minor

Director: Dr. Elizabeth Seng
The Research Methodology and Statistics Minor will give students an opportunity to gain advanced didactic and applied training in research methodology and statistics in the behavioral sciences. Students must take [71481] Statistics I and [84499] Statistics II as prerequisites to the minor. Students will then take coursework in advanced statistics, building upon their background in statistics [84471)], epidemiology [71488], qualitative research [84615], and test construction [71486]. Students will also practice advanced research methodology and statistics skills through an applied project consisting of either an academic research project, an abstract submitted to a conference, or a peer-reviewed publication, and a paper describing the methodology used in the study.

Additional Minors

Clinical Psychology (Health Emphasis) Ph.D. Program students are eligible to complete several minors that are offered through the Clinical Psychology Psy.D. program or the School-Clinical Child Psychology Psy.D. program at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. In order to successfully fulfill the requirements for a minor, a student must complete all required coursework with grades of B+ or higher in each course as well as any required externships and/or research projects. A summary of each minor can be found below and can also be found in the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology Academic Catalog.

Geropsychology Minor

Director: Dr. Richard Zweig
The Ferkauf Older Adult Program (FOAP) offers a minor in the newly emerging field of clinical geropsychology comprised of didactic coursework and clinical training experiences. Didactic Training Requirement: Students who seek a minor in clinical geropsychology must complete 9 credits (see below) to meet the didactic coursework requirement; one of these must include [71419] Assessment and Treatment of Older Adults, an overview of issues critical to the diagnosis and psychological treatment of psychological problems in older adults. Required Coursework: (1) [71419] Assessment and Treatment of Older Adults and (2) Two of the following courses: [84474] Science of Cognitive and Affective Function; Geropsychology Lab I [71403] & II [84610]; [71430] Research in Depression & Personality Disorders in Older Adults I; [84611] Research in Depression & Personality Disorders in Older Adults II; [71510] Clinical Neuropsychology I & [84500] Clinical Neuropsychology II (only open to students pursuing the Neuropsychology minor); Geriatric Neuropsychology Practicum I [71401] & Geriatric Neuropsychology Practicum II [84628] (open to participants in the FOAP geropsychology externship ONLY). Advanced Clinical Training Requirement: Students who seek the minor may satisfy the advanced clinical training requirements through participation in an externship that emphasizes supervised clinical work with older adults (minimum experience of nine (9) months of applied supervised training for at least ten (10) hours per week).

Accreditation status

The Ph.D. Clinical Psychology with Health Emphasis program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation supports the APA Commission on Accreditation (CoA) in carrying out its responsibilities as the nationally recognized accrediting body for education and training programs in professional psychology. Contact information for the CoA is provided below:

Contact APA Accreditation

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

Phone: 202-336-5979, 202-336-5979
TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123
Fax: 202-336-5978