Minimum Program Duration Coursework First Year Project Research Statement Clinical Advising Committee Clinical Training Practicum Preliminary Examination Psychology GRE Breadth Requirement Integrative Paper Requirement Dissertation Professional Ethics Clinical Program Handbooks and Manuals

Minimum Program Duration

The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program requires a minimum of 5 full-time academic years of graduate study (or the equivalent thereof) and completion of an internship prior to awarding the doctoral degree (6 years total). All five full-time academic years of study must be completed at the University of Wisconsin, with virtually all of this time in residence, except in unusual circumstances by petition.  Student should be aware that 6 years is the minimum program duration.  Students pursuing research programs that required a high degree of methodological/analytic expertise or exceptionally transdisciplinary focus may need additional time to obtain these skills and complete the program.


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

Psychopathology series
Two courses in the psychopathology series are required. These courses focus on child, adolescent, and developmental psychopathology (740) and adult psychopathology (741).

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), 808 (Culture & Diversity in Clinical Practice), 809 (Ethical & Legal Issues in Clinical Practice), 810 (Clinical Supervision, Consultation, & Community Psychology).

Methodology series 610 and 710
(General. Generalized, and Multi-level Models statistics series), 806 (Foundations of Research in Clinical Psychology), and 910 (Psychometrics).

Domain Specific Knowledge/Breadth Series
The following courses are required as part of formal training Domain specific knowledge in Psychology.  Students may occasionally petition to substitute a comparable course as part of their Ideal Curriculum Proposals.  711 (Affective Neuroscience; two half semesters w/Davidson or one full semester with Pollak), 720 (Essentials of Cognitive Neuroscience w/ Postle), 728 (Seminar in Social Psychology w/ Niedenthal),  and EP 725 (Theories and Issues in Human Development w/Brown in Educational Psychology).

Pro-seminar in Clinical Psychology (Lunch & Learn)
Students are required to register for and participate in 704 every semester prior to internship. The pro-seminar requirement involves three primary activities throughout the semester as follows:

• Attend the (approximately) weekly Lunch and Learn series. These meetings involve presentations by faculty and students. Some meetings also focus on program requirements and program evaluation. Students should plan to present each year in either a Lunch and Learn meeting or the Spring Research Symposium (see below). Lunch and Learn is scheduled for Wednesdays from 12-1pm each semester.

• 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.

Other Coursework Requirements
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).

CP 737 (History and Systems of Psychology: Clinical Psychology).  This course is offered each summer in by the Department of Counseling Psychology.

990 (Research).  Clinical graduate students can add credits of 990 as needed to complete their schedule to the appropriate credit load. For reference, the Graduate School considers full time enrollment as 8-15 graduate level credits (no audit or pass/fail) during the academic year. Graduate level courses are defined as 300 level and above by the Graduate School. .

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.

Summer Enrollment
Students holding an academic year (i.e., Fall/Spring semesters) TA, PA, or RA appointment or a UW Fellowship do not need to enroll in summer.

Students with a RA summer appointment must enroll in at least two graduate level credits in summer.

Trainees, and fellows (NRSA, NSF, etc.) that are being paid during the summer months must enroll in at least two graduate level credits in summer.

Dissertators must be enrolled in three credits during the summer if they are expecting to successfully defend their dissertation and graduate during the summer session Students holding spring TA, PA, or RA appointments are eligible for summer tuition remission, if necessary

Ideal Curriculum Proposals
Students are required to complete an ideal curriculum 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 as part of their training in Clinical Psychology.   Any changes to this proposal must be approved by the area group. 

Dissertator Credit Load
Clinical graduate students who are dissertators must register for exactly three credits per semester. These will typically include 1 credit each of 990, 805, 704.

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.

The First Year Project proposal should be submitted to your mentoring committee as an NRSA style grant proposal (Specific Aims and Research Strategy sections only) to provide you training in grant writing.  You should also prepare a short presentation of the proposal to provide to your mentoring committee at this proposal meeting.  Your completed (or progressing) FYP will be presented to the entire department during the FYP Symposium in the Fall of your second year.  You will also submit a written paper for evaluation by your mentoring committee on the Friday before the FYP symposium.  You will discuss/defend this paper in a separate meeting with your mentoring committee within approximately two weeks of the FYP Symposium.


Clinical Mentoring Committee
A strong student-faculty mentor relationship is the cornerstone of our clinical program. However, students also benefit from perspectives and information from individuals outside of their primary mentor’s lab. 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.  This clinical mentoring committee builds on (and satisfies) the department’s required mentoring committee.

All clinical students are expected to select a 5 person (minimum) advising committee that would include their major professor and other members 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. At the point of the dissertation proposal, the mentoring committee must contain at least one member from outside the Psychology Department. We recommend that this individual is a committee member from the beginning to ensure continuity in mentoring. Finally, students should include either the Director (Burk) or Assistant Director (Gioia) of the PRTC in mentoring committee meetings starting in their second year and beyond. This will facilitate discussions about the integration of research and clinical training and goals. Drs. Burk or Gioia count among the 5 (minimum) members.

Prior to the meeting, students are expected to distribute the current version of their clinical portfolio to their committee for review. Their portfolio is expected to provide a framework for the committee to advise the student on their training progress and future goals. This portfolio will serve only as a guide for advising and discussion until the end of year 4, where it is evaluated to advance to dissertator status.
In addition to the once annual meeting required by the department, students are encouraged to request a meeting of their committee whenever they desire additional perspectives on their performance, goals, or other career or academic issues.

Clinical Training Practicum
Clinical psychology graduate students are required to complete a minimum of 500 hours of direct client contact hours (intervention and assessment combined) and at least 75 hours of formally scheduled supervision.  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. Students are asked to identify their clinical strengths and weaknesses, the training goals that were met during the current semester, and new goals for the upcoming semester. The student self-evaluation is used to stimulate an ongoing discussion with the clinical supervisor to facilitate individual achievement.
    • Supervisors assign ratings ranging from 0 to 100 points in six areas of clinical competency (0 = skill not demonstrated, 50 = adequate for stage of development, 100 = greatly exceeds expectations). Supervisors are provided with a “ratings codebook” containing detailed definitions of rating anchor points. Areas of competency include: assessment, intervention, consultation, supervision, management, and advocacy.
    • If a student receives multiple supervisor ratings below a “50% – 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/or 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.

Clinical Portfolio


A. Evaluation and Timeline of the Portfolio

The clinical portfolio is evaluated by the student’s mentoring committee.  The clinical portfolio will be developed over the first four years in the program.  Students will submit their developing portfolios to their full mentoring committee each year during their yearly mentor committee meetings.  The personal statement and other components of the portfolio can be used to guide the discussion at these meetings about professional goals, progress, accomplishments, future plans, and obstacles or other challenges.  The full committee can provide feedback on draft materials as they are included in the portfolio each year. 

The final portfolio must be submitted to the mentoring committee for evaluation by the end of the fourth year in the program (i.e., prior to the start of the fall academic semester of their fifth year). The student must also meet with their mentoring committee to discuss the final portfolio.  This meeting should happen in the summer of the fourth year or within the first 4 weeks of the start of the fall academic semester in their fifth year.  This final portfolio will be evaluated as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  An evaluation of satisfactory is required to become obtain dissertator status.  Although all members of the mentoring committee will be included in this discussion/meeting, the final decision regarding satisfactory or unsatisfactory is determined by only the clinical faculty members of the committee.  If the mentoring committee does not include at least three clinical faculty, the DCT will add additional clinical faculty to attend the meeting where this final evaluation will occur. 

B. Components of the Portfoli0

B.1 Personal statement

Students should provide a brief (up to approximately 500 words) personal statement.  This statement should include a narrative of their career goals to provide a context for the materials provided in their portfolio.  The statement can also provide details regarding current accomplishments and expertise, anticipated accomplishments and/or expertise to be gained in the program and plans to acquire it, obstacles experienced or anticipated, or any other relevant information to contextualize their portfolio or establish themselves as an emerging clinical scientist.

B.2 Research experiences, training, and products

All students must include the required research products below.  Depending on their career goals and professional aspirations, students should submit additional research products as available.  Examples of additional (not required) research experiences and/or products are provided below.  However, this list should not be considered exhaustive.   For all published or submitted papers, students should report their relative contributions to the conceptualization, design, analysis, and writing in percentages. 

Required research products

  • Clinical Lunch and Learn presentations: Provide title, abstract, date.  At least one is required.
  • Fourth year capstone presentation: Provide title, abstract, date.
  • Research statement: Provide in format of tenure portfolio research statement or internship research statement (i.e., Please describe your research experience and interests in 500 words).  See appendix on writing a research statement at the end of this document for more details.
  • Significant research products: Students must include at least one significant research product. These products should be led by the student (i.e., the student would be listed as first author if submitted).
    • A published (or submitted) version of the first-year project.
    • A published (or submitted) substantive review or theory paper
    • Completion of an additional “meaningful” empirical study beyond the first-year project. Students should provide sufficient detail about the project’s aims, methods, findings, and implications to allow the committee to evaluate the contribution made by the project.  In contrast to the other significant products listed above, this project can be included in the portfolio prior to submitting a manuscript for publication.  However, if the project has been submitted or published, the manuscript should be included.

Additional research products

  • Empirical papers: Can include co-authored papers submitted or published.
  • Theory or review papers: Can include co-authored papers submitted or published.
  • Methods papers: Can include first-authored or co-authored papers submitted or published.
  • Perspectives papers or letters: Can include first-authored or co-authored papers submitted or published.
  • NRSA or other grants: Include grant and any summary statements or other evaluations.
  • Presentations or posters at scientific meetings: Provide title, abstract, and date. If possible, a pdf of the poster or related handout should also be included.  These can include presentations/posters at local meetings.
  • Meaningful blogs or other online contributions
  • Research collaborations, consulting, or fellowships in industry
  • Workshops attended or led: Provide title, workshop summary, and date


B.3 Clinical experiences, training, and products

All students must include the required clinical products below.  Depending on their career goals and professional aspirations, students should submit additional clinical experiences and/or products as available.  Examples of additional (not required) clinical experiences and/or products are provided below.  However, this list should not be considered exhaustive.  

Required clinical products

  • Descriptions of clinical practicum experiences: Brief description should include the name and dates for the practicum, brief description of the client population and other relevant details (e.g., interventions, modalities). This should include documentation of clinical hours (per internship categories) and available/completed supervisor evaluations.
  • Internship clinical orientation statement: Please describe your theoretical orientation and how this influences your approach to case conceptualization and intervention. You may use de-identified case material to illustrate your points if you choose. 500 word limit
  • Certification by clinic director of developmentally appropriate clinical expertise

Additional clinical products

  • Assessment report(s). Provide integrative or other assessment reports after appropriate de-identification. Do not include raw data from assessments.


B.4 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) experiences, training, and products

All students must include the required diversity statement described below.  However, they may also include and/or describe additional experiences, training, and products that demonstrate their training and commitment to DEI practices, broadly construed.  Examples of additional (not required) DEI experiences and/or products are provided below.  However, this list should not be considered exhaustive.   It should also be noted that many of the products that you might include in this section could be “cross-listed” in another category of the portfolio.  For example, if you develop a case conceptualization and treatment plan for a patient from an under-represented group, it could be cross-listed in both the clinical and DEI categories.

Required diversity products

  • Diversity statement: Describe your experiences, training, and practices regarding research, clinical practice, and teaching/mentoring (if applicable) with diverse populations. Diversity is construed broadly in this context by design. You may wish to reflect on your engagement with a myriad of populations, from those who have historically been marginalized and understudied in psychology, to at-risk and vulnerable populations traditionally subject to systematic discrimination in social science research and society more generally. Suggested length: 500 words.     

Additional diversity products

  • Case conceptualization and/or treatment planning for a patient from an under-represented or marginalized group.
  • Syllabus or course design that attend to issues of DEI
  • Description of mentorship experiences of students from under-represented groups
  • Translations of research instruments into other languages to increase accessibility
  • Development of protocols for research/lab practices to address DEI issues
  • Descriptions of workshops or consultation with experts on DEI practices in research, clinical practice, or teaching

B.5 Transcript

All students should include an (unofficial) copy of their current transcript documenting their coursework and grades.  At the time of final evaluation of the portfolio, their transcript must confirm that they have completed all required coursework.


B.6Teaching experiences, training, and products (Optional)

There are no required teaching experiences, training, or products.   However, students who plan to pursue a career that involves teaching should consider pursuing formal experiences in teaching during their time in our program.  Examples of experiences and/or products that you can consider including in your portfolio to document these experiences are listed below.  This list should not be considered exhaustive.

Teaching products (not required)

  • Teaching statement: Provide a statement that describes your teaching philosophy and indicate how you strive to achieve and ensure excellence in teaching and mentoring. Suggested length: Up to 500 words.
  • Description of courses TAed or taught: Include course evaluation summary statistics and raw evaluations if available.
  • Description of courses developed and materials: Include course materials such as syllabus, required reading, sample exams, course website)
  • Description of mentorship experiences

C. Further Guidance on Research Statements in Portfolio

When preparing a research statement, you should think about conveying the following: What is your research program about? What questions are you addressing and what are you seeking to explain? What are some (even if preliminary) answers to your “big questions”? What’s novel (e.g., theoretically, empirically, methodologically) about your approach?

Keep in mind the following points: (a) Your committee (and others) are looking for evidence that you are forming “….a coherent program of research that establishes yourself as an emerging leader in your field” and that “the scholarship should be both novel and of sufficient impact to make a significant contribution to the theoretical framework of their field.”  (b) You needn’t try to fit every single project or accomplishment into this document – the goal is to provide a coherent narrative rather than a laundry list of everything you have done and are doing.  (c) Ideally, the research statement is written in a way that is understandable to anyone in the Department. It shouldn’t take special knowledge to decode. Those who seek more detail and more technical language can and will rely on your publications.

We strongly encourage you to read and consider the recommendations about writing powerful research statements described in this article by Drs. Gernsbacher and Devine.

In general, there are no limitations on the sorts of research topics, research designs, or analytic strategies that may be used in dissertation research. The dissertation proposal should be submitted to the mentoring committee as an NRSA style grant proposal (Specific Aims and Research Strategy sections only) to provide the student with additional training in grant writing. Students also prepare a short presentation of the proposal that is delivered to their mentoring committee at the proposal meeting. The completed dissertation is presented to the entire department in a public defense. Students will discuss/defend their dissertation in a separate private meeting with the mentoring committee; typically this meeting is held immediately following the public presentation.

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.  Students must also complete the appropriate Human Subjects Protections Training given the nature of their research program.  Further detail is available here.

Clinical Program Handbooks and Manuals
A complete listing of all policies and procedures for the Clinical Psychology graduate program is available for download.  It contains all information provided on this website as well as additional policies and procedures dictated by the Psychology Department and the UW-Madison Graduate School.    The policies and procedures manual for the Psychology Research and Training Clinic is also available (please contact the clinic director).