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Clinical Psychology, Psy. D. - Admission Requirements

Overview, Admission Requirements, Curriculum

Clinical Psychology, Psy. D.

(This program is currently not accepting applications.)

  • Prerequisite coursework includes a minimum of 12 units of psychology that were completed in a regionally-accredited college/university program with a letter grade of “B” or above. This coursework should cover at least four of these six content areas: Fundamentals of Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Statistics, Research and Cognitive Psychology.

  • The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program is interested in candidates who will bring various strengths to the profession of psychology. Therefore, a holistic perspective is applied when evaluating applicants to the program. Candidates should have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university, ideally with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.* Demonstration of English proficiency may be required.

  • Applicants must complete Phillips Graduate Institute’s Admissions Application Packet (See Admission Application Process)

  • Admissions interview with Clinical Psychology Doctoral department chair or their designee
  • Applicants to the Clinical Psychology program are encouraged to submit a sample of their writing with their application materials.

Please refer to the Student Services section of this catalog for details on admissions policies and procedures.

*Note: Departmental approval of a Grade Point Average Exemption Petition may allow admission for applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirementPlease refer to the Student Services section of this catalog for details on admissions policies and procedures.

Program Entry Date

Students may enter the program only in fall semester, which is the beginning of the academic year. Applicants and students may call the Admissions Office (818-386-5660) for dates and class schedules.

Clinical Training Office

Doctoral students receive assistance with the procurement of clinical training placements (both practicum- and internship-level training) through the Clinical Training Office (CTO). The CTO provides students with information regarding various approved clinical training opportunities available to them. In addition, the CTO determines student readiness for application to practicum- and internship-level programs. Each student must obtain CTO approval of the sites to which they intend to apply prior to submitting applications. Once students are placed in approved training rotations, the CTO provides a liaison and quality assurance function to ensure that students’ training needs are being met.


Doctoral students must acquire clinical experience, known as practicum-level training, prior to their pre-doctoral internship. This practicum requirement is met by completing a minimum of two separate and approved practicum rotations. The duration of a complete practicum rotation is 9 to 12 months, depending on the training site. Trainees are involved in training at the practicum site for 12 to 15 hours per week. Students who successfully complete both practicum rotations accrue approximately 1,200 hours of supervised clinical experience before advancing to the internship. For those seeking more competitive full-time internships, completion of a third practicum rotation is strongly recommended in order to increase their chances of being admitted to these internships.


Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 1,500 hours of supervised professional experience at the pre-doctoral internship level. This experience may be completed as a one-year, full-time internship (during the fifth year of the academic program) or two half-time internships (distributed over the fourth and fifth years of the program). Internship training programs must meet one of the following criteria: accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA); be a member or meet membership criteria for the Association of Pre- and Post-Doctoral Internship Centers (APPIC); or be a member or meet membership criteria for the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC).

Faculty Advisement

Students are assigned an academic advisor at the beginning of their first semester of enrollment and are required to meet with the advisor at least twice per semester. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their advisor. The faculty welcomes open communication with students. Therefore, students are encouraged to make appointments with other members of the faculty to answer any questions they may have and seek consultation. Faculty maintain an open door policy.

Doctoral Project

The PsyD doctoral project consists of original, scholarly work that represents an applied contribution to the field of professional clinical psychology. The doctoral project is conducted independently by the student under the supervision of a faculty member/mentor. Students are expected to integrate sequential educational and training experiences (e.g., Integrated Research & Statistics I and II, Legal Research, and Program Evaluation) with their studies in the core concentration (Diversity and Forensic Issues in Clinical Psychology). The focal point of a doctoral project may be program development, program evaluation, creation of an innovative clinical intervention model, development of a theoretical model, grant or research proposal, creation of a clinical training manual/program, etc. The goals of the PsyD project are to: 1) increase knowledge of a specific topic or area; 2) expand the application of knowledge; and 3) disseminate knowledge about a problem area or more effective service delivery methods to professionals and paraprofessionals in mental health and related fields.

Students should select a doctoral project topic and request a Project Mentor in the spring semester of the third year. During the same semester, they are enrolled in the PsyD Project Preparation course. Students subsequently enroll in the PsyD Project I & II courses in the fall and spring semesters of the fourth year. During that time, they collaborate with the Project Mentor and a Community Consultant in order to assure timely progress on the doctoral project. All projects are to be completed at the end of the three-semester course sequence (i.e., upon completion of the fourth year of the program). If a student does not complete the doctoral project course assignments by that semester’s end, the student must re-enroll in PSY 800A or PSY 800B, depending on the status of the doctoral project. Students are expected to finalize the doctoral project by the beginning of fall semester of the fifth year. If a student does not complete the doctoral project within this time frame, they must enroll in one unit of Doctoral Project Extension, PSY 800E, while the project is being completed. In order to be eligible for graduation, a student must obtain approval of the final draft of the doctoral project from the Project Mentor and Community Consultant and submit the doctoral project to the Library for binding.

Global Assessment and Review

Faculty conduct an annual individualized global assessment and review of every doctoral student at the end of each academic year. This is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of each student’s respective progress in the program. Students receive written feedback from the review, which they are instructed to discuss with their academic advisors. The areas evaluated are aligned with the student learning outcomes and include professional behavior and attributes, written skills, oral skills, socialization into the field of professional clinical psychology, and mastery of core competencies.

Comprehensive Examinations (Comps)

All students are required to pass written and oral components of the Comprehensive Examinations that are linked to core competencies and specific student learning outcomes. This occurs at the end of the second year in the program. In order to be eligible for the Comprehensive Examinations, the student must be making satisfactory academic progress.

Clinical Competency Examination (CCE)

Doctoral students will be required to sit for the Clinical Competency Exam in the fall semester of the fourth year of the program. This exam is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to integrate academic knowledge with clinical skills (e.g., assessment, diagnosis, interventions) at a more advanced level of competence.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Opportunities

To support student learning in the area of education and to prepare them for careers in faculty and academic environments, the program offers TA positions. These positions are competitive and are announced each semester. TA’s typically are required for courses such as statistics, psychodiagnostic assessment, legal research, doctoral project preparation, and other classes as needed. TA’s are mentored by the respective course instructors and by the department chair.

Program Compliance

The Phillips Graduate Institute’s Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology Program meets the academic requirements for licensure as a psychologist in the State of California. Students are encouraged to contact the Board of Psychology (BOP) for complete information regarding licensing requirements (www.psychboard.ca.gov). Most licensing requirements for the State of California are offered on site through the Continuing Education Office and Extension.

Academic Proficiency

Any student receiving a grade of B- or below in a course must retake the course, demonstrating sufficient mastery of course content. Retaking a course may delay program completion and graduation. The student must meet with their academic advisor to discuss the impact of repeating a course on the academic plan and program completion. Both the original grade received in the course and the grade received upon retaking the course are included in the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Requirements for Degree Completion

The degree is posted three times yearly; on the last day of December, May, and August. All of the following requirements must be met prior to degree posting:

  • Completion of 96 units of core courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • Successful completion of two full practicum training programs (minimum of 1,200 hours)

  • Child Abuse, Spousal Abuse, Chemical Dependency and Aging/Long Term Care course hours as required for licensure as a psychologist in the State of California

  • Successful completion of eight units of pre-doctoral internship (minimum 1,500 hours)

  • Verification of required hours in personal psychotherapy*

  • Successful completion of Comprehensive Examinations

  • Successful completion of Clinical Competency Examination (CCE)

  • Successful completion of doctoral project, poster session and related requirements

  • Intent to Graduate form on file with the Registrar Office one semester prior to the date that the student expects to meet all graduation requirements

  • Payment in full of all financial obligations to Phillips Graduate Institute and the California Family Counseling Center

  • Return of all Library materials

  • Provision to the Library of a copy of the doctoral project, ready for binding by the deadline specified each year

  • Completion of an exit interview with the Financial Aid Department (Financial Aid recipients only)

*Psychotherapy Requirement: In order to become a competent clinical psychologist, an individual must be willing to engage in collaborative work on personal issues in a therapeutic relationship. This experience is in keeping with Phillips Graduate Institute’s philosophy of theory, experience and application as it represents integrated learning. Therefore, all students are required to engage in 45 hours of psychotherapy during their tenure in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program. The 45 hours should be completed with one therapist within one calendar year, and a letter of completion should be forwarded from the therapist to the department chair by the beginning of the third year in the program. Therapists must be licensed psychologists who are at least three years post-licensure and in good standing with the Board of Psychology. In compliance with APA’s ethics code, students must select therapists that are external to the PGI community. Students are not expected to discuss information from the personal therapeutic experience as part of their coursework or clinical training. The cost of therapy is to be met by the student.

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