PsyD Program Components Coursework

Students will enroll for 11-13 units per quarter over 9-12 quarters (depending on whether enrollment is at the post-bachelor’s level or post-master’s level) and a 1-unit, year-long full-time internship (this can be carried out as two years of half-time internship training) for a total of 108-144 quarter units. Coursework taken during the first two years in the program include scientific foundations, clinical intervention and assessment courses. In addition, fourth-year students take 12 units of courses in Family Forensic Psychology to attain a concentration in this area. Fifteen units of professional coursework, 18 units of practicum and clinical application courses, and 6 units of Clinical Dissertation complete the degree program. The Clinical Dissertation proposal is initiated in Year 3 and completed during Year 4 prior to beginning the

Clinical Dissertation
The Clinical Dissertation is intended to demonstrate that students have integrated the material they have learned during the doctoral program. Early in their program, students will select an appropriate project. The Research Methods sequence will prepare students for this important project. Beginning in Year 3, students will register for 6 units of Dissertation in order to complete the proposal. It is expected that students will complete the proposal prior to applying for their internship. Students who have not completed the clinical dissertation during Year 4 will be required to enroll in Dissertation Continuation.

We are interested in stimulating student creativity; therefore, the options for completion of this project vary. The PsyD is an applied degree, thus the Clinical Dissertation will involve the investigation of a practical application, either through empirical (quantitative or qualitative), theoretical or clinical evaluation strategies. Unlike the PhD dissertation, the clinical dissertation has an immediate practical application. Students will be guided in their work by their dissertation advisor, a second faculty member, and an outside expert. The dissertation process culminates in a professional presentation of the student’s work to the community.

Clinical Hours
It is expected that students will acquire a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical experience (practicum) prior to beginning the doctoral internship. We expect that most students will seek out clinical placements early in their program and will take advantage of summers to accumulate the requisite hours. During enrollment in the Practicum sequence, students will be required to be in Practicum Training (clinical placement). Students are required to register for continuation credits during summers that they are accruing clinical hours through practicum.

Professional Competency Evaluation (PCE)
During Practicum IV, students begin to identify and conceptualize a clinical case that might be developed for presentation as part of the PCE. The PCE is a formal oral presentation intended to demonstrate students’ skill and knowledge in the field of clinical psychology and to integrate their academic and clinical learning. The PCE is to be completed at the end of Year 3. A passing evaluation is one of the requirements that must be met before applying for internship.

Comprehensive Examination
Students are required to complete a written comprehensive examination at the end of Year 3. This examination measures knowledge of multiple content areas in clinical psychology. Students failing any section of the comprehensive evaluation must submit revisions. A passing evaluation on the exam is required for students to be eligible to apply for internship. Students failing any portion of the comprehensive exams are given an opportunity to remediate. Students retaking the exam have only one attempt for remediation. Failing any portion of the exam after the first remediation on this retake may result in dismissal from the program.

Advancement to Candidacy
Candidacy refers to the formal designation of a student’s readiness for advanced clinical training. In order for a student to advance to candidacy, they must successfully complete all courses through the third year of training and 1000 hours of practicum experience, pass the Professional Competency Evaluation (PCE) and the Comprehensive Examination, and have their dissertation proposals approved. Additionally, the student must be in good academic standing and not be on any type of probation. Only when students have advanced to candidacy may they refer to themselves as “doctoral candidates.”

Students are required to complete a doctoral internship following the completion of all curricular and practicum requirements (as a doctoral candidate). For information about internship sites specific to the state of California for which our incoming students are eligible, please see the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC) website.  The AUSB Director of Clinical Training (DCT) will help students with the identification of appropriate internships. Students will earn one unit of academic credit during the internship year. Advancement to candidacy is required to apply for internship.



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