Jul 22, 2024  
Academic Catalog 2019-2020 
Academic Catalog 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology, PhD

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Program Purpose and Objectives

This program adheres to the philosophy of integrated training in science and practice. Students receive didactic instruction, produce empirical research, and participate in supervised clinical practica. Graduates are capable of functioning as scientists and practitioners, but are trained with a particular emphasis on research and academic aspects of psychology. Consistent with the essential competencies required by the American Psychological Association, students are trained to administer programs and evaluate outcomes, to develop innovative interventions, to be competent supervisors and consultants, and to function effectively in integrated healthcare settings. Although the program is generalist in breadth, students receive research and applied clinical training in health service psychology, particularly related to the research and practice of mindfulness, behavioral neuroscience, and developmental psychopathology as they relate to psychological concerns.


The curriculum plan emanates from the primary aims of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology, which is to produce graduates who contribute to the scientific base of clinical psychology, are skilled in creating, researching, and implementing evidence-based practices across diverse populations, and are prepared to function as clinical health service psychologists.

Interprofessional Training

All first year students take a course in interprofessional clinical concepts. This course is administered by the College of Health Professions.


Research training is integral to the education of clinical psychologists. In addition to the master’s project and dissertation, clinical students involve themselves in active research labs under the direction of a faculty member during each semester in residence. Clinical psychology PhD students are required to present their research at scientific meetings and to submit their research for publication.

Diversity Training

Diversity is central to the PhD Program training, and it is evident throughout the program, including research, academics, and workshops. Students complete a required Diversity course. Additionally, diversity is diffused throughout most academic courses taught in the PhD Program. Students are trained to integrate diversity into their clinical services. Many PhD research projects address diversity issues and/or populations. While diversity may or may not be a key component of a student’s research question, students are encouraged to consider diversity implications or their research. Finally, the School of Graduate Psychology sponsors an annual Diversity Conference that is attended by the entire school. The day offers academic, scholarly, experiential and social activities. A group of faculty and students plans each year’s activities. Students in the PhD Program must attend two SGP Diversity Conferences as a non-credit degree requirement.


Each student is required to complete a minimum of two years of clinical practicum training. Students provide supervised direct clinical services, including assessment and psychotherapy, and they are required to accrue a minimum of 450 direct service hours before beginning doctoral internship. Training helps students integrate theoretical knowledge and research activity with clinical application. The PhD Program in Clinical Psychology emphasizes evidenced-based practice and students gain didactic and experientially-based training in these techniques.

Doctoral Internship

The clinical psychology Doctoral Internship is the culminating experience of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology. It is among the last major tasks undertaken by students prior to graduation and represents a significant commitment of time and effort. The internship provides opportunity to use and refine clinical skills and knowledge and to consolidate one’s professional identity.

The internship requires either full-time supervised clinical experience for one calendar year or a comparable halftime supervised clinical experience for two consecutive years. Internship training must occur at a site that is APA or CPA accredited or meets Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Center (APPIC) criteria. Students apply for internships through the APPIC match procedure.


Ideal candidates for the PhD program will have experience in research (e.g., as a research assistant, honors or master’s theses, etc.), a passion for applying research methods to clinical topics and issues, and general interests that match the research activities of our faculty. We seek students with both the academic aptitude and personal qualities that will enable them to develop personally and professionally into effective psychologists.

The application deadline for the once-per-year fall admission is in December. Applications received after the deadline may be considered. A personal interview is required for all finalists who apply to the program. PhD admission information is at http://www.pacificu.edu/future-graduate-professional/colleges/college-health-professions/areas-study/doctor-philosophy/admissions.

Requirements for Admission

  • Satisfactory Completion of a Bachelor’s Degree (GPA of at least 3.4 is desirable)
  • A strong undergraduate background in psychology. Applicants do not need to have majored in psychology; however, they are required to have taken and passed the following three courses with a grade of B or better:
    • One course in a math-based statistics course.
    • A psychology methodology course.
    • Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology or related course.
  • The following courses are recommended as preparation for work at the PhD level:
    • History of Psychology
    • Introduction to Psychology
    • Personality Theory
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Experimental Psychology
    • Physiological Psychology
    • Social Psychology
  • Applicants may be admitted with pre-requisite courses in progress. All prerequisite courses must be completed with passing grades of “B” or higher before an admitted student can matriculate into the PhD program. Other required materials include:
  • General Graduate Record Examination
    • The General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) must be taken within 5 years prior to application.
    • The school code for Pacific University is R4601; there is no department code.
    • The Psychology Subject Test is not required.
  • Official transcripts from all previous institutions attended
  • CV 
  • PhD applicant evaluation forms and letters of recommendation from two references
  • Completed essay questions from the application packet
  • Completed GPA calculations from the application packet

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following through http://www.pacificu.edu/future-graduate-professional/colleges/college-health-professions/areas-study/doctor-psychology/how-apply

  • Pacific University School of Graduate Psychology application
  • Two letters of recommendation and evaluation form
  • Curriculum Vita
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Official GRE scores
  • TOEFL test scores, if applicable
  • $40 application fee

International Students

  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for those for whom English is not the native language. Minimum score information is available from the Office of Admissions.
  • If you attended a non-US or non-Canadian college, university, or graduate school, a course-by-course evaluation of your international college and university transcripts is required. Several third party organizations provide this service to international students, but we prefer WES (World Education Services). The credentials evaluation must be received in our Admissions office by the application deadline to ensure consideration of your application.

Degree Requirements

This degree requires five to six years of full-time study and clinical work, plus a full-time, 1-year Doctoral Internship. Students must pass a prescribed academic curriculum, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and complete a Master’s Research Project and a doctoral dissertation that involve empirical data collection and analysis. The PhD typically can be completed in five years of full-time study (four years in residence plus 1 year doctoral internship).  Students may transfer a maximum of 15 semester credits of graduate coursework, an additional 3 credits of a history of psychology course (undergraduate [waiver] or graduate), and up to 12 credits of thesis.

Students who have not completed a master’s degree that required an empirical thesis must complete a Master’s Research Project as part of the PhD requirements. If the master’s degree required an empirical thesis, and the following criteria are met, the Pacific Master’s Research Project requirement may be waived:

  • The thesis was part of a master’s degree in psychology or a closely related field.
  • The project utilized rigorous quantitative or qualitative research methodology (as opposed to a literature review or term paper).
  • The student’s major advisor and the PhD Program Director determine that the thesis is comparable to the PhD program’s Master’s Research Project requirement.

Students entering the PhD program without an approved master’s degree should complete requirements for the Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Psychology within two to three years of starting the PhD program.

It is possible, but not guaranteed, that a student who enters the program with an approved thesis, completed relevant coursework, and clinical training hours supervised by a licensed psychologist  could complete requirements for the PhD in four years of full-time study (three years in residence plus one year doctoral internship). Upon matriculation, such a course of study would require approval of the PhD faculty.

Other requirements include the following:

  • Successful proposal and defense of thesis research
  • Successful proposal and defense of dissertation research
  • Successful completion of the Comprehensive Competency portfolio
  • Successful completion of a 1,500 hour pre-doctoral internship

Required Coursework

*Courses required for the Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

Please note that students enrolled in the PhD program have a number of potential elective courses to choose from; however, PhD students do not concentrate their training in one of the five tracks outlined in the PsyD program.

The following are required courses:

Discipline Specific Knowledge DSK: 9 Credits

Research Methods and Data Analysis: A minimum of 36 Credits

Practice of Psychology: 49 Credits

Individual Differences/Human Diversity: 4 Credits


Student Advisement

Upon enrollment in the PhD program an academic advisor is assigned to each student. This person, a member of the full-time faculty, works closely with the student to provide continuity and coherence throughout the student’s program. The advisor provides guidance on the educational plan and general coursework and program requirements. PhD students work with advisors throughout the program, including thesis, dissertation, clinical proficiency, and internship. Advising may encompass academic and professional concerns and opportunities, career questions, and other topics. Students may request a different advisor than the one assigned.

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