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Clinical Psychology, Psy. D. - Overview

Overview, Admission Requirements, Curriculum

Clinical Psychology, Psy. D.

(This program is currently not accepting applications.)

Mission Statement

Phillips Graduate Institute’s competency-based Clinical Psychology Program is informed by a systems perspective that incorporates the cultural, social, legal/ethical, and historical contexts of professional psychology. Knowledge and application of diversity issues are central to the students’ evolution as competent practitioners. The faculty demonstrates a commitment to student learning by emphasizing the integration of theoretical and empirical literature, clinical expertise, and clients’ cultural and individual differences. Students’ educational experiences are enhanced by the Core Concentration: Diversity and Forensic Issues in Clinical Psychology. This intensifies the focus of training and professional development.

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

The program’s mission statement is exemplified by two overarching goals that anchor all academic and training activities:
  • The first program goal is that students should demonstrate the awareness, knowledge and skills required to become ethical and competent practitioners with diverse clients in community-clinical settings

  • The second program goal is that students should be proficient critical thinkers and consumers of research as they apply the professional literature to the variety of potential clients and systems that represent professional practice.


Program Goal 1: Community-Clinical Practice. Students should demonstrate the awareness, knowledge and skills required to become ethical and competent practitioners with diverse clients in community-clinical settings.

Student Learning Outcomes:
1. Knowledge: Students understand the conceptual, theoretical and empirical foundations of assessment, diagnosis and interventions with diverse persons and systems.
1.1 Students explain major concepts, theories, methods and research findings related to clinical psychology (assessment, diagnosis)
1.2 Students evaluate the relevance of concepts, theories and research findings for specific situations
1.3 Students comprehend the basic concepts, theories and empirical findings relevant to the process of clinical supervision
2. Application: Students apply appropriate methods for assessment, diagnosis, interventions and clinical supervision
2.1 Students select appropriate assessment tools and methods to evaluate diverse persons and systems
2.2 Students employ the professional literature and standard procedures to reach accurate diagnostic conclusions
2.3 Students select interventions that address the presenting problems of diverse clients
2.4 Students apply theoretically-based and/or empirically-based methods to clinical supervision
3. Ethical-Legal: Students should demonstrate the knowledge and skills relevant to the ethical practice of clinical psychology, in accordance with APA’s Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as California’s legal guidelines.
3.1 Students identify relevant ethical standards and principles as well as legal statutes to make decisions related to professional activities
3.2 Students communicate effectively, in oral and written formats, with diverse persons involved in their professional interactions (e.g., faculty, peers, staff, clinical supervisors, clients and organizations)
3.3 Students identify personal world views, values and biases


Program Goal 2: Students demonstrate competency in case conceptualization and clinical practice.

Student Leaning Outcomes:
1. Knowledge: Students should demonstrate knowledge of the research process.
1.1 Students comprehend the research process, including formulation of hypotheses, research design, procedures, statistical analysis and interpretation of results
2. Application: Students demonstrate the ability to use research and statistical methods to specific research questions and professional activities
2.1 Students propose, design and evaluate research studies, with attention to issues of diversity
3. Ethical-Legal: Students should demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to apply ethical and legal guidelines that are relevant to their research activities based on APA’s Ethical Principals of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as California’s legal guidelines.
3.1 Students apply ethical and legal guidelines to research activities


Education Philosophy and Training Model

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program (CPDP) conceptualizes the practice of clinical psychology as a profession requiring an integrated set of competencies that are informed by the principles of scientific psychology. The program is committed to producing ethical professional psychologists with a lifelong interest in learning and working in diverse communities. Toward this end, there is an emphasis on integrating academics and experiential learning in a confluent manner, accompanied by application and development of skills in structured clinical training environments. Therefore, this program is designed to synthesize theory, research and supervised clinical experience. The curriculum reflects a multifaceted approach to learning that provides a foundation for sequential, increasingly complex clinical training, while preparing students for progressively higher levels of professional functioning. The combined emphases on systems and issues of diversity distinguish the program and ensure that graduates are well prepared to work at multiple levels in an increasingly complex society.

The Practitioner Scholar model serves as the foundation of the doctoral program. Accordingly, the main purpose is to provide an educational and professional training program that fosters the development of clinical skills that are informed by scholarly inquiry. This perspective emphasizes critical thinking, integration of the professional literature with professional activities, rigorous clinical conceptualization, and other skills related to evidence-based practices. Such an approach rests on the psychologist’s ability to be a scholarly consumer of research, to apply the scientific literature across a range of clinical activities, and to evaluate clinical applications and outcomes.


Program Structure

The program consists of 96 units of coursework (which includes a doctoral project) plus the full-time, pre-doctoral internship. The program is designed to be completed in five years. All coursework must be completed in residence. During the first year, all students are required to attend the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program on a full-time basis. Students in the first two years of the program attend classes on Monday and Tuesday. Students in the third and fourth years of the program attend classes on Thursday and Friday.

After completing a year of full-time study in residence, a student with extenuating circumstances may petition to take classes on a part-time basis. Petitions for part-time study must be developed by the student in collaboration with their academic advisor and approved by the department chair. Approved modifications will be indicated on the student’s Academic Plan and forwarded to the Registrar Office.
The curriculum consists of core courses (usually completed in the first three to five semesters), followed by more advanced coursework, including those required for the concentration. The required internship experience may be completed on a full-time basis in the final year of the program (two semesters), or the internship may be distributed over the final two years (four semesters), simultaneous with coursework.

Students entering the program with an earned master’s degree in psychology may petition to have up to 24 of the 96 units of coursework transferred to meet degree completion requirements. Students who wish to pursue this option must do so during the admissions process, after they have accepted the admissions offer to enter the program. The following courses are not eligible for transfer requests: Psychopathology, Clinical Interviewing I-II, Professional Seminar I-II, Legal & Ethical Bases of Psychology, Diversity Laboratory I-II, Case Consultation courses, and P800 series courses.

Students entering the program without a master’s degree complete a non-terminal Master of Arts degree that does not lead to licensure. A master’s degree is offered upon successful completion of the course load required in the first two years, at least one full rotation of practicum, and passing Comprehensive Examinations. This typically occurs at the end of the second year of the program.

Phillips' innovative Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program offers students a challenging intellectual environment, providing exposure to appropriate professional role models and developing characteristics that are critical to professional functioning in an increasingly complex world. This is facilitated by the program’s integrated focus on academics, supervised clinical experience, experiential learning, and personal development. Faculty members possess extensive clinical, research and teaching experience and are skilled in guiding students’ attainment of clinical expertise. The program provides the academic preparation necessary for graduates to sit for required licensing examinations in the State of California.

Concentration: Diversity and Forensic Issues in Clinical Psychology

To augment the foundational courses and training in clinical psychology, the program offers a concentration that integrates diversity and forensic dimensions of knowledge and practice in clinical psychology. This involves more advanced training in multicultural and diversity-related competencies and their applications in legal contexts. Students are thereby prepared to function professionally in an increasingly pluralistic society and are well equipped to interface with legal systems. Focused education and training in the core concentration provide a knowledge base and skill set that is not common in most doctoral-level professional psychology programs and give graduates a competitive edge as they pursue employment or build a professional practice.

All students take two gateway courses (Gender Roles and Legal Research) before selecting more advanced study in the core concentration. The concentration courses provide 12 academic units that tie clinical psychology with the Forensic and Multicultural/Diversity areas. In addition to the Gender Roles and Legal Research courses, the Core Concentration requires classes in specialized assessment and clinical interventions, consultation, juvenile justice, depositions and court testimony. Furthermore, the doctoral project must reflect an original contribution to clinical psychology and areas of study relevant to the core concentration. Finally, students are strongly encouraged to complete at least one clinical training rotation (practicum or internship) at a site that provides supervised clinical experience related to forensic and/or multicultural diversity issues in accordance with the core concentration.


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