Clinical Psychology Program Requirements

(Revised 9/12/17)

First Year Project
Research Statement
Clinical Advising Committee
Clinical Training Practicum
Preliminary Examination
Psychology GRE Breadth Requirement
Integrative Paper Requirement
Professional Ethics


Students must obtain a B or better in all required coursework described below.

Psychopathology series: Four half-semester courses in the psychopathology series are required. Two of these courses (740 I and II) focus on child, adolescent, and developmental psychopathology. The other two courses (741 I and II) focus on adult psychopathology. 

Clinical training series: The following courses are required as part of formal training in assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy:  800 (Cognitive and Neuropsychological Assessment for Diagnosis), 802 (Assessment of Psychopathology and Personality), 807 (Introduction to Conducting Psychotherapy), 803 (Advanced Techniques in Psychotherapy), 811 (Theory of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; half semester course), 808 (Culture & Diversity in Clinical Practice),  809 (Ethical & Legal Issues in Clinical Practice),  810 (Clinical Supervision, Consultation, & Community Psychology)

Three additional clinical training courses are recommended but not required.  These are 812 (Culture & Diversity in Clinical Practice II), 813 (Ethical & Legal Issues in Clinical Practice II), and 814 (Clinical Supervision, Consultation, & Community Psychology II).

Methodology series:  610 and 710 (General. Generalized, and Multi-level Models statistics series), and 806 (Foundations of Research in Clinical Psychology).

Proseminar in Clinical Psychology:  Students are required to participate in 704 every semester prior to internship. The broad goals of this program requirement are to expose students to diverse perspectives on topics relevant to clinical psychology, provide opportunities to present research and ask/answer questions in the moment in public, to build community, and to provide bi-directional communication between the students and the program/DCT.   These discrete goals are met to varying degrees by multiple required activities each semester.   These requirements include:

  • Attend 6x per semester lectures/brown bags in our or other departments or centers across campus (attendance reported to the Clinical Program Administrator via survey at end of each semester).  This activity provides exposure to diverse perspectives and also opportunities to ask questions in public settings.  As a guiding principle, this requirement should be satisfied by attendance at events that are not otherwise expected or planned if this requirement was not in place (e.g., lab meetings, conference attendance and similar activities can NOT be used to satisfy this requirement.)   You can live stream or view recorded lectures to satisfy up to approximately half of these lectures if necessary or desirable.

  • Attend 1x per semester lab sponsored lecture. We rotate laboratories across the area for this requirement.  The clinic may also be a sponsor of these events as well.  The goal of this activity is to provide more opportunities to discuss etiology, assessment and intervention as a group, drawing on specific expertise from our various laboratories and the clinic.

  • Attend the fall town hall meeting with the DCT and the spring Department Diversity Day events.  The DCT reserves the right to schedule 1-2 more required town hall meetings each year as needed for program-student communication or feedback.  Please contact the DCT to request a town hall if students feel additional meetings are desirable or issues need to be discussed.

  • Attend the Spring Research symposium.  The cornerstone of this event is the required “4th year research talk”.  Students are required to give one other talk between their 1st and 4th years at this symposium.  Use of the symposium to give capstone “Job Talks” prior to graduation is encouraged.  All students are encouraged to present as often as they like. This activity provides an opportunity to present student research and to ask/answer questions in public settings.

  • Schedule a public defense of the dissertation project.  This activity provides an opportunity to present student research and to ask/answer questions in public settings.

805 (Field Work in Clinical Psychology). Clinical graduate students must enroll in at least 1 credit of 805 in every semester in which they are actively involved in clinical practice in our department’s clinic and/or off-site clinical practice (i.e., starting in the second semester of their second year when enrolled in 807).

913 (History of Psychology: Clinical Psychology). This half semester course is required and is offered approximately every four years.

990 (Research).Clinical graduate students can add credits of 990 as needed to complete their schedule.

995 (Pre-doctoral Internship).All clinical graduate students are required to complete a one year pre-doctoral clinical internship. Students will register for this 0 credit course during each semester of their internship year ONLY if they have defended their dissertation. Students will not be required to pay tuition in the semesters after they have defended their dissertation. Students who have not yet defended their dissertation must continue to register and pay tuition for 3 credits of 990 for fall and spring semesters (Research) while on internship and will NOT register for this course.

Coursework Breadth requirement: All students are required to take coursework that covers the breadth of scientific psychology. Our program provides flexibility in how this breadth training is obtained.   Students are required to complete an ideal coursework proposal by the end of their first semester in the program.  The clinical area group will review and approve this proposal.  This proposal then serves as a contract between the student and the area with respect to courses they will be required to complete to demonstrate breadth.   Any changes to this proposal must be approved by the area group. 

NOTE FOR DISSERTATORS: Clinical graduate students who are dissertators must register for exactly three credits per semester.  These will typically include some combination of 990, 805, 704, and clinical practicum courses (808, 812, 809, 813, 810, & 814) as necessary for a total of exactly 3 credits.

First Year Project

Our Clinical program is committed to strong training in scientific psychology, and the First Year Project is designed to get you off to a flying start in research. You will gather data, run analyses, write a research report, and present your data to faculty and students at a symposium held in the fall of your second year. This experience gives you an early sense for the demands and satisfaction of psychological research. Most importantly, it provides a sense of accomplishment. It is an opportunity to synthesize newly learned skills, and it becomes a reference point for continued efforts.

Research Statement

Students should submit one yearly research statement to their mentors during the spring evaluation process each year. This research statement (approximately 3 pages; single spaced) should be modeled on what applicants would submit for a tenure track assistant professor position. This requirement encourages the student to think about and develop their conceptualization of their program of research as they advance through the program. The research statement is also evaluated by their full committee at the time that the student completes their integrative paper.

Clinical Advising Committee

A strong student-faculty mentor relationship is the cornerstone of our clinical program. However, the student may benefit from perspectives or information from other faculty as well. To promote such input the student must form and consult with a "clinical advising committee."  This clinical advising committee builds on (and satisfies) the department’s required mentoring committee

The purpose of the clinical advising committee is to assist students in (a) setting appropriate goals, (b) anticipating and successfully completing program requirements, (c) integrating research and clinical training experiences, (d) considering career options and other professional issues, and (e) evaluating their progress toward their professional goals. It is expected that the committees will address all of these issues during the advising sessions.

All graduate students are expected to select a three-member advising committee that would include their major professor, a member of the Clinic staff (Linnea Burk or Chris Gioia), and a third member of their choosing. All committees must have at least one faculty member who is a core clinical faculty. (Core clinical faculty are clinical area group faculty members whose tenure home is the Department of Psychology).  Additional committee members may be added as appropriate and useful.  Prior to the meeting, students are expected to prepare a 1-2 page document that summarizes their accomplishments for the past year and their goals for the coming year. In addition, students should provide committee members with an updated CV prior to each meeting.

Students should request a meeting of their committee whenever they seek additional perspectives on their performance, goals, or other career or academic issues. At the very least, students must convene a meeting of their advising committee once per year starting in their third year. Students will meet with a mentoring committee in their first and second years as part of the development and evaluation of their First Year Project to satisfy department mentoring committee requirements. Student may choose to invite clinic staff to these earlier meetings but it is not required.

Clinical Training Practicum

Clinical psychology graduate students are required to complete a minimum of 400 hours of practicum experience, of which at least 150 hours are direct client contact hours (intervention and assessment combined)and at least 75 hours are in formally scheduled supervision. However, in our experience, successful internship applicants target approximately 500 direct hours or more.   Many internship site also maintain minimum requirements specifically for direct assessment hours but substantial variation exists across sites.  Therefore, we recommend that you review all requirements for internship sites you may find attractive early in your clinical training.

Clinical practicum students must register for at least one credit of 805 each semester. Clinical students' practicum experience begins with enrollment in 807 (Introduction to Conducting Psychotherapy) during the second semester of their second year. In order to complete the practicum requirement satisfactorily, students must be judged by clinical faculty and staff to have met standards of clinical competence.

After six semesters of practicum, students who have not prepared a satisfactory dissertation proposal will not register for additional elective practicum until they have met this requirement. Typically, students will have taken six semesters of practicum after their fifth year of graduate study.

Students’ clinical competence is objectively evaluated and documented by two methods.   

1. Self- and Clinical Supervisor Evaluations:  At the end of each semester of clinical practicum student performance is evaluated by their clinical supervisor(s) and by themselves. Supervisors are instructed to make their ratings by comparing the student’s performance to the expected performance for someone with their level of clinical training and experience.  Using a five point scale ranging from “1 - notable deficiency” to “5 - clearly advanced,” supervisors rate the student’s interpersonal and clinical performance in the following areas: self-awareness and self-reflection; interpersonal interactions, both general and within the context of the supervisory relationship; knowledge of standards of practice, ethics, and cultural; diagnostic interviewing; psychotherapy; psychological assessment; consultation/collaboration with other professionals; and supervision of others. Students also evaluate their own performance at the end of each semester. Their own and their supervisor’s ratings are then used to facilitate a face to face discussion of strengths, weaknesses, and training needs.   If a student receives multiple supervisor ratings below a “3 – adequate, meets expectations,” a formal remediation plan may be developed to address deficiencies. Plans could include, but are not limited to: additional practicum training or movement to a different practicum site; a change in supervisor, the use of multiple supervisors, and/or additional supervisory contact; additional coursework or training workshops; and referrals to other professional services for the student. Such plans will be time limited and include clear goals/benchmarks that the student will be required to meet in order to continue with the clinical training program.


2.  The Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale (CTRS):  The primary therapeutic model followed by the clinical training program is cognitive behavior therapy. As part of the initial practicum experience students will be trained to use the Cognitive Therapy Rating Scale (CTRS) to assess how well student-led therapy sessions exemplify this model. Most research and accrediting bodies use a minimum total score of 40 to represent therapeutic competence in CBT. In January of the student’s first practicum year in the training clinic a sample of 3 to 5 recorded therapy sessions will be rated by clinical supervisors using the CTRS. It is expected that at least one of these sessions will have a total score of 40 or above before the student applies for off-site clinical practicum experiences (applications are typically made in February and March). A score of 40 on the CTRS indicates that the majority of individual item level scores are “2 – evidence of competence, but numerous problems and lack of consistency” and “3 – competent, but some problems and/or inconsistencies” or higher. Identified areas of weakness will be addressed during the student’s second semester in the training clinic. Students with CTRS total scores lower than 40 will have a limited choice of practicum experiences and may be required to remain in the training clinic for another year.  By the time of internship application, the student is expected to have had three additional psychotherapy sessions representing their current work rated at 40 or higher on the CTRS. The sessions chosen for rating can be from a client seen in the training clinic or from a client seen at an external practicum site. If the sessions are recorded at an external site, the graduate clinician must obtain written consent from the client and clinical supervisor for program supervisors to watch and rate the session.


Preliminary Examination

Students in the Clinical Area Group must demonstrate “breadth” as part of the area group degree requirements. Breadth is demonstrated in part on the preliminary examination through the design of an honor’s sections of an undergraduate course in a broad content area in Clinical Psychology such as Abnormal Psychology and through 3 papers on classic, current and future debates and/or issues in the field of clinical science broadly.

(A) Compose a syllabus for a semester-long honor’s section of an undergraduate lecture course in a broad content area in Clinical Psychology. Assume the semester has 15 weeks and that your class will meet twice a week. The syllabus should include: (A) the topic(s) that will be covered by each lecture; (B) brief description of the key concepts, themes, research findings, etc. that will be emphasized in that lecture, (C) details about required readings to support each lecture (e.g., “read pp. 135-150 of Chapter 9 of our textbook”); (D) basic information about how you will evaluate students’ performance in the course (e.g., a midterm and a final; final project). Note that you do not need to write the exams or the lectures for the course.

(B) Compose a syllabus for a once-a-week discussion or lab section to accompany the lecture component of the course. Assume that the goal of the section is to allow your students to engage more deeply with the lecture material and have the opportunity to discuss important findings (classic and/or modern) in the field. The syllabus should include the reading(s) (and activities, if relevant) for each section. Note that discussing a reading (or pair of readings) is an acceptable section activity.

(C) Write three papers (4 pages each; single spaced) on the following topics: (1) describe a classic debate in the field; (2) describe a current debate in the field; (3) describe where you think the field is going in the future. These issues may not be addressed well in the text and reading assignments the student chose for the course, but are topics that a course instructor should feel confident teaching and discussing. Students are encouraged to take an integrative approach to these topics and attempt to cut across historic domains within the literature.

(D) All documents (i.e., lecture syllabus; section syllabus; paper on classic debate; paper on current debate; paper on future direction) are due to the area group chair by September 1st. The oral defense must occur after the start of the fall semester but prior to October 1st. The oral defense committee will consist of three members of the area group (including affiliates) but will not include the student’s mentor. The student will be notified of the faculty that will serve on their oral defense committee when they turn in their materials. The student should come to the meeting prepared to describe and answer questions about your course, including your choice of topics, readings, and materials to be covered, as well as your three “big question” papers. As such, any topic related to Abnormal Psychology broadly defined could be discussed at the defense. Students may schedule an initial meeting with their committee before beginning their course design if desired; this is an opportunity to discuss the scope of the intended course and for faculty to provide specific suggestions or guidance to the student (if any are needed). We expect that the student’s course design will be her/his own work; as such, students should not consult other students who have done this assignment before nor seek feedback on the materials the student has compiled. During the preparation of the materials, students may seek out committee members if the need for clarification arises, but it is expected that students will work independently on the selection of topics, readings, and assignments for the syllabus, as well as in the preparation of the three papers.

This assignment is designed to allow students to achieve three goals through one process. First, this assignment will require students to review and engage with a wide range of topics in clinical psychology, including topics outside the specialty areas of our faculty. Second, this assignment will help students develop and receive feedback on teaching materials that could be useful to them in the future. Note that the purpose of the final meeting is not to evaluate students’ teaching methods and/or philosophy, although students may choose to discuss such topics with faculty after the defense if so interested. Third, this assignment will help the faculty assess the student’s mastery of the domain.


Psychology GRE breadth requirement

Students are required to demonstrate mastery over the breadth of Psychology on the Psychology GRE subject test. Mastery is operationalized as > 80th percentile on the total score and both sub-scores.  This requirement can be met prior to admission. However, if the student does not enter with an adequate score on this exam, they should complete this requirement at the beginning of their 4th year, after completing the preliminary exam.


Integrative Paper Requirement

Clinical students demonstrate “depth” expertise in their own research areas via the Integrative Paper requirement. Students may satisfy this requirement by the end of their fifth year with one of two products

Option 1: A theoretical or review paper. For this option, the student can specify in advance the format/guidelines for the paper to match their proposed outlet for the paper. For example, they might adopt the guidelines (e.g., length, number of references, focus) for a review to be published in Psychological Review or Psychological Bulletin. However, they might instead indicate another outlet that accepts reviews in other (often shorter) formats (e.g., Neuropsychopharmacology, Biological Psychiatry). Alternatively, they might write a book chapter following guidelines from the editor for the book that they have been invited to submit.

Option 2: A research grant application. For this option, students should adopt the guidelines for a specific grant mechanism. This will often be an NRSA F31.However, other mechanisms are acceptable if approved by their committee (e.g., NIH R36, some foundation grants).NSF applications are not appropriate for this option.

Students should select a three person committee to evaluate their product. They should obtain approval of the option and topic from their committee prior to undertaking the project. Mentors can advise their students during their completion of this project. A committee defense can be scheduled at any point between the 3rd and 5th years in the program. Of course, students can begin work on this project at any point after they have obtained committee approval. However, the stipulation that the start of the 3rd year is the earliest deadline for the paper defense reflects the clinical faculty’s belief that this integrative activity is probably best pursued after the student has a solid foundation in their field of study.



In general, there are no limitations on the sorts of research topics, research designs, or analytic strategies that may be used in dissertation research. Dissertation research, however, does require that students collect their own research data, either from subjects or from archival records. Publications such as scholarly journals are not considered archival data bases for the purpose of dissertation data generation. A review of data from journal articles may be used in literature reviews or meta-analyses and may often be valuable and may be publishable in their own right but serve, for dissertation purpose, primarily for the preparation of a dissertation introduction. The dissertation demands the collection of data beyond that gathered, analyzed and presented by previous researchers. Dissertation committee composition follows department guidelines.

Professional Ethics

The Clinical Psychology Area Group requires that students demonstrate that they comprehend and adhere to the principles of professional conduct as contained in the APA publications, General Guidelines for Providers of Psychological Services, the Ethical Principles of Psychologists, and the Casebook on Ethical Principles of Psychologists. These principles pertain to their conduct as students, teachers, therapists, and researchers. The student's adherence to these criteria will be determined at student progress reviews and on an ad hoc basis by clinical faculty and staff.