The primary purpose of the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology degree program is to educate and train students in the major aspects of clinical practice. To help to ensure that students are prepared adequately, the curriculum integrates theory, training, research, and practice, preparing students to work with a wide range of populations in need of psychological services and in a broad range of roles. Students who complete the clinical psychology program earn a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. The awarding of this degree indicates that the recipient has mastered the fundamental academic and experiential elements of clinical psychology.
In contrast to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, which is primarily a research degree attainable in a variety of academic disciplines, the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree program combines relevant research, applied theory, and field experience and is designed to prepare the graduate to apply psychological knowledge in a variety of settings and roles.
The program accepts students who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Although prior degrees need not be in psychology, some psychology courses are required (as foundation courses), and some experience in psychological services is desirable.
The program employs the practitioner-scholar model for training and evaluation. In addition to the prescribed coursework, the required curriculum for all students includes practicum field experiences and an internship. To complete the doctoral program successfully, students must demonstrate competency in a number of specific clinical and conceptual skills, and must complete a dissertation in the area of applied clinical psychology.
Graduates are trained in the science and practice of psychology, and are able to apply the clinical skills of observation, assessment, intervention, and evaluation to help different segments of our ever-changing society. The areas of competency are modeled, in part, after those specified by the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology and the standards of the American Psychological Association.
Included among the basic objectives of the program are the following:
Preparing practitioners to deliver basic diagnostic and therapeutic services to diverse populations, whether on an individual, family, or group basis
Enabling practitioners to integrate biological, psychological, and sociocultural aspects of human functioning into their clinical approach
Assisting practitioners to assume leadership positions within the healthcare delivery system
Training psychologists to work with professionals from other disciplines as part of an effectively functioning healthcare team
Preparing practitioners to evaluate and use clinical research applications of psychology
The Clinical Psy.D. Program at Irvine Campus is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). However, The Chicago School has received the designated status “accredited, inactive” for this program, which applies only to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine Campus/Argosy Teach-Out program. Students included in this group are those who have been admitted to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine Campus/Argosy Teach-Out program and who were previously enrolled in an APA Accredited Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology Program at any Argosy University campus. This status does not apply to any other students who are accepted into, matriculated in, or successfully complete (i.e., graduate from) the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine Campus, who did not transfer from an APA accredited program at Argosy University.
Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
The American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242
The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at the Irvine campus aligns with degree requirements for licensure as a Psychologist in California. In order to meet the coursework requirements for eligibility to become a licensed psychologist in California, students must complete the following in addition to the Psy.D. program requirements:
- Human Sexuality (10 contact hours)
- Substance Ause (15 contact hours)
- Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting (7 contact hours)
- Spousal/Partner Abuse (15 contact hours)
- Aging/Long Term Care (10 contact hours)
This coursework may be completed either while enrolled in the Psy.D. program or post-degree completion. More information about these requirements can be found at the California Board of Psychology’s application information webpage.
Prior to applying for licensure, students must complete a minimum number of hours of post-doctoral supervised professional experience. Candidates for licensure are required to apply for and pass the National Examination of Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Law and Ethics Examination (CPLEE). All candidates must complete the licensure application process, which includes fees and/or background check. For further information about licensure, please visit the California Board of Psychology.
The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program may meet some or all of the requirements of other states, but additional coursework and/or training hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements. Some state licensing requirements include the following: post-graduate field work, additional didactic training, examination, and application for license. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements of states not listed above. Students should contact the specific state licensing board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure. A list of state board contact information is available via the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.
Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program, in Irvine, is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. The program admits students whom it judges to possess sufficient academic aptitude, as well as the emotional and social maturity to function effectively as future professional psychologists. Applicants will be evaluated on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors considered are: undergraduate performance, relevant work history (i.e., volunteer and professional experience, including, but not limited to, clinical, research, teaching and related experience), the content of essays describing applicants rationale for wanting to become a clinical psychologist and what the applicant would contribute to interactions with people form diverse backgrounds, writing skills, admission interviews, and recommendations from academic professors or supervisors from professional or volunteer experiences. An undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission to the Program. Applicants not meeting this requirement will not be considered. Applicants must submit the following:
- Personal/professional goal statement with a self-appraisal of qualifications for the profession
- Current Curriculum Vitae or résumé
- Three letters of recommendation
- Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended where transfer credit is being requested
The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program, Irvine Campus, requires 15 semester hours of psychology credit, including three specific courses (at the undergraduate or graduate level) that must be completed with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better prior to enrollment:
- Introduction to Psychology or General Psychology (waived if the applicant has an undergraduate or graduate degree in Psychology)
- Abnormal Psychology, Psychopathology, or Maladaptive Behavior
- Two additional psychology courses
Based on the evaluation of these materials, selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation. Applications must be submitted with a $50 (US) non-refundable fee in order to be evaluated. This fee may be waived for TCSPP alumni, McNair Scholars and military personnel.
If, after initial review of all application materials the Admission Committee so recommends, the applicant will be invited for an interview day with members of the Department faculty. Interviews are by invitation only and mandatory for full consideration.
Post interview, the applicant will be notified of the Admission Committee’s decision regarding his or her application. The Chicago School does not share information or provide any feedback regarding admission decisions.
If a student is offered admission and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $250 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment.
The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program’s aim is to educate and train students employing a practitioner-scholar model so that they will be able to function effectively as clinical psychologists. This model provides an integration of psychological theory, scientific inquiry, and evidence-based practice into the core clinical practice domains of assessment, diagnostics, intervention, supervision, and consultation; with awareness of multicultural and diversity factors. The program emphasizes the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential in the development of independently functioning professional health service psychologists. Considerable focus is also given to the ethical and legal parameters of practice.
The program competencies are consistent with the APA Standards of Accreditation, the clinical psychology doctoral program prepares students to acquire the necessary discipline-specific knowledge and profession-wide competencies as follows:
1. Students will demonstrate competency in (i) the application of research and statistical methods in psychology to generate knowledge and to evaluate the effectiveness of research methods, and (ii) in psychometric science.
a. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of research methods.
b. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of quantitative/qualitative methods.
c. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of psychometrics.
d. Students will demonstrate the ability to independently formulate, conduct, and disseminate scholarship.
2. Students will understand and apply ethical principles and professional legal standards that guide the practice of clinical psychology.
a. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of the current APA Code of Ethics and the general ethical principles that serve as the foundation for this code.
b. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of a model of ethical decision-making to resolve ethical issues or dilemmas.
c. Students will demonstrate knowledge and application of the general legal parameters that govern professional practice.
3. Students will demonstrate competency in individual and cultural diversity by demonstrating knowledge of the major theoretical models and empirical findings, and will apply knowledge about human diversity to clinical practice.
a. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major theoretical models and empirical findings, including an awareness of social, political, economic, and cultural factors that impact individuals, institutions, systems, and communities.
b. Students will demonstrate an awareness of their own personal values, biases, and cultural identities that inform perceptions of self, others, and engagement with others.
c. Students will utilize cross-cultural skills and appropriate APA multicultural guidelines to provide services to persons with diverse cultural values and lifestyles.
4. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the requisite values, attitudes, and behaviors that exemplify their identities as professional psychologists.
a. Students will demonstrate self-reflection, and openness to supervision and feedback.
b. Students are encouraged to engage in life-long learning by attending educational and professional meetings, life-long learning events, subscribing to professional journals, or presenting scholarly work.
5. Students will demonstrate effective communication competencies and interpersonal skills.
a. Students will demonstrate clear, articulate, and integrative written communication skills.
b. Students will demonstrate clear, articulate, and integrative oral communication skills.
c. Students will demonstrate effective interpersonal skills in professional interactions.
6. Students will demonstrate competency in using assessment instruments and incorporating knowledge of psychopathology in the assessment process.
a. Students will demonstrate competency in selecting, administering, scoring, interpreting, and reporting psychological tests and measures.
b. Students will demonstrate competency in integrating interview data, psychological testing results, behavioral observations, and information from other sources to formulate an understanding of presenting concerns and to make recommendations.
c. Students will demonstrate competency in identifying relevant DSM criteria and utilizing other clinical information to generate diagnostic formulations.
d. Students will demonstrate competency in applying knowledge of psychopathology to case formulation and treatment planning.
7. Students will demonstrate competency in clinical interventions that are grounded in conceptual models of treatment and evidence-based practices.
a. Students will demonstrate knowledge of and apply evidence based clinical practices.
b. Students will demonstrate an ability to establish and maintain an effective working relationship and/or treatment alliance.
c. Students will demonstrate knowledge and competency in evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.
8. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the models and processes of supervision.
a. Students will evidence knowledge of supervision models and practices.
9. Students will demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices, and demonstrate interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.
a. Students will evidence knowledge of consultation models and the role of a consultant.
b. Students will demonstrate competency in applying consultation practices―assessment and intervention―to specific referral questions from other professionals.
10. Students will demonstrate foundational knowledge underlying the science of psychology in the following areas: biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of human behavior; and lifespan development and history and systems of psychology.
11. Students will demonstrate advanced skills in integrating knowledge in scientific psychology.
Clinical Training Overview
Clinical training is the supervised out-of-class contact of students with a clinical population. Through this contact, students have the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge, implement clinical techniques based on this knowledge, and develop the professional and personal attitudes important to the identity of a professional psychologist. By the end of clinical training, students should possess effective assessment and intervention skills, and practice in an ethical manner.
During clinical training, students advance through progressively more challenging levels of training. At each level, multiple faculty members and field supervisors assess a student’s progress in multiple ways. In order to advance to the next level of clinical training, the student must complete practicum and internship, and demonstrate competency in specific clinical tasks.
TCSPP requires applicants to successfully complete, with a “C” or better, five undergraduate courses that serve as a basic foundation for course work in clinical psychology. Several of these courses serve as direct prerequisites to the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology courses. The following three courses are required:
- *Introduction to psychology or general psychology
- Abnormal psychology, psychopathology, or maladaptive behavior
Two additional courses in the field of psychology must also be completed.
Students must complete foundation courses before they matriculate in the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program
* This course may be waived if the applicant has completed a Bachelors or Masters degree in Psychology.
In order to complete the training segment of the program in a timely fashion, fall-entering students are expected to maintain a full-time course load (13 credit hours for fall and spring semesters, and 6 credit hours for summer session I) during the first full academic year. Students unable to do so must petition the department chair for a reduced course load in either semester. Subsequent academic years in the five-year program require no more than 25 credit hours.
Additional Requirements for Academic Progress
Students must make satisfactory progress toward a degree by maintaining a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on a scale of 4.0, and completing the program within seven years after matriculation. All coursework and practicum (for clinical psychology programs) must be completed by the end of the fifth year after matriculation. Comprehensive Examinations must be completed successfully no later than the end of the fifth year after matriculation. Students who have temporarily withdrawn from TCSPP will have seven years plus the length of time that they were not enrolled, not to exceed one year, to complete the program.
Students who are admitted into the program will be responsible for completing the program requirements that are in effect at the time of their admission. The school retains the right to modify these requirements in accordance with the demands of the profession of psychology. The courses will be completed in the order recommended by the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program.
To be eligible for graduation in the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program, students must meet the following requirements:
- 98 credit hours, all of which must be completed by the end of the seventh year of matriculation. The total credit hours must include:
- 69 credit hours of core course requirements*
- 9 credit hours of elective course requirements
- 2 credit hours of professionalization group requirements
- 15 credit hours of practicum and practicum seminar requirements
- 3 credit hours of clinical dissertation requirements
- Successful completion of the Clinical and Research Comprehensive Examination and Basic Science Comprehensive Examination
- Successful completion of all sections of the Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE)
- Successful completion of a one year, full-time internship or its equivalent
- Successful completion of the dissertation, including final signatures of the department chair, dissertation chair, and committee member
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least “B” (3.0 on a 4.0 scale), with no grades lower than “B-” or better in all courses
- Completion of Professionalization Group I and Professionalization Group II
- Completion of these requirements within seven years of matriculation into the program
- A completed Petition to Graduate submitted to campus administration
Students enrolled in the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at Irvine are required to successfully complete 98 credit hours distributed as follows: scientific foundations requirements, 21 credit hours; statistics and research methodology requirements, 6 credit hours; ethics requirements, 3 credit hours; psychopathology requirements, 9 credit hours; diversity requirements, 3 credit hours; consultation and supervision requirements, 3 credit hours; assessment requirements, 9 credit hours; interventions requirements, 15 credit hours; professionalization group requirements, 2 credit hours; practicum requirements, 15 credit hours; elective requirements, 9 credit hours; dissertation requirements, 3 credit hours; internship requirements, 0 credit hours. Students who receive a grade below “B-” in any course must retake the course during the next academic year or sooner.
Professionalization Group Requirements
These discussion groups for first-year students are led by a full-time faculty member and meet once a week for one hour. Students discuss topics related to professional psychology and the development of a professional identity. The faculty member leading the group will help students with academic and field training planning, general consultation on the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program, and questions emerging during the student’s first-year academic experience. The Professionalization Group carries 1 academic credit hour for each semester (PP7110 and PP7111).
The objectives for these two courses are as follows:
- To assist and support students in developing identities as clinical psychology trainees and evolving clinical psychology professionals through readings, discussion, role play and classroom presentation.
- To introduce students to the ethical practice of psychology and contemporary issues in clinical psychology
- To orient students to the roles, norms, and expectations of graduate studies and professional practice
- To provide academic advisement and student advocacy
Practicum and Practicum Seminar Requirements
The practicum is the first opportunity provided to TCSPP students for clinical field training. Within the series of practicum courses, the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program provides students with the opportunity of working under supervision with a clinical population within a mental health delivery system. The practicum is an essential part of clinical training and all students are required to participate in the practicum experience. Liability insurance is included in the cost of the practicum.
Full-time students will normally be placed in a Diagnostic Practicum and Seminar during their second year of study, in a Therapy Practicum and Seminar during their third year of study, and an Advanced Practicum during their fourth year of study. For registration purposes, the practicum and seminar are treated like a course. The practicum/seminar carries 3 credit hours per semester and 6 credit hours per academic year. Advanced Practicum (PP8310 and PP8311) carries 1.5 credit hours per semester over two semesters for 3 credit hours per academic year. Practicum usually begins in September and concludes in June. However, a limited number of practicum programs may begin in July or August, and finish in June. For each of the Diagnostic, Therapy, and Advanced Practicum years, the student will be required to spend a minimum of 600 hours in the practicum training experience.
A practicum may not be done in a student’s place of employment, nor is any student transferred from the practicum requirements. Students who come to the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program with extensive clinical backgrounds are placed in practicum sites in areas where they have an interest and do not have previous experience.
All students who enter the practicum application process must be in good academic standing, and have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0). Students must have completed the academic planning which will allow for all the practicum prerequisite courses to be completed prior to the beginning of the practicum. No student may begin a practicum without being in attendance for a minimum of two and one-half semesters.
To be eligible for a Practicum, a student must have successfully completed or transferred the following courses:
Diagnostic Practicum Prerequisites
|PP7110 - Professionalization Group I (1)
|PP7111 - Professionalization Group II (1)
|PP7230 - Psychometric Theory (3)
|PP7300 - Psychopathology I (3)
|PP7301 - Psychopathology II (3)
|PP7330 - Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (3)
|PP7365 - Clinical Interviewing (3)
|PP7370 - Cognitive Assessment (3)
|PP7373 - Integrative Assessment (2)
|PP7520 - Personality Assessment (4)
|PP8039 - Interventions II (3)
Requirements for the Therapy Practicum include:
- Successful completion of the Diagnostic Practicum and Diagnostic CCE
- Good academic standing
- Successful completion of courses designated as Diagnostic Practicum prerequisites
- Successful completion of courses designated as Therapy practicum prerequisites
To be eligible for Therapy Practicum, in addition to the Diagnostic Practicum prerequisites, a student must have successfully completed the following courses:
Therapy Practicum Prerequisites
|PP7100 - Professional Issues: Ethics, Conduct, and Law (3)
|PP7340 - Issues in the Assessment and Treatment of Diverse Populations (3)
|PP8010 - Cognitive Behavioral Theory and Therapy (3)
|PP8040 - Psychoanalytic Theory and Therapy (3)
|PP8050 - Family and Couples Therapy (3)
|PP8201 - Practicum I (3)
|PP8202 - Practicum II (3)
The director of Clinical Training also has the discretion to make decisions on any probationary student who is beyond the first year of attendance. This would include both looking for practicum and participating in practicum.
If a first-year student is placed on probation based on fall semester grades, the student may not look for a practicum during the spring semester. If the student has achieved a GPA of 3.0 when the spring grades are available, the student may, at the discretion of the director of Clinical Training, look for a practicum.
If a first-year student who has accepted a practicum is placed on probation after spring grades are received, the student may not attend the practicum if the GPA is below a 3.0 after the spring grades are received. The Training Committee may make exceptions only after a thorough review of the student’s academic and clinical suitability. If the GPA is at or above 3.0 after the spring grades are received, the student may, at the discretion of the director of Clinical Training, begin the practicum.
Advanced Practicum Prerequisites
Requirements for the Advanced Practicum include:
- Successful completion of the Diagnostic Practicum and Diagnostic CCE
- Successful completion of the Therapy Practicum and Therapy CCE
- Good academic standing
Practicum Seminar Requirements
All students enrolled in a practicum must also concurrently enroll in a practicum seminar. The seminar meets weekly throughout the fall (15 weeks) and spring (15 weeks) semesters. These meetings allow the student to reflect on practicum experiences and to acquire additional skills and attitudes useful in field training. The specific content and emphasis of the seminar varies according to the practicum setting and focus of the enrolled students and the professional expertise of the faculty member.
Types of Practicum
Emphasizes the clinical observation and diagnostic interviewing of clients and provides gradual exposure to psychological testing procedures.
Emphasizes therapeutic intervention. Time is allocated to direct therapeutic contact, seminars and meetings, and supervision.
Provides the opportunity for students to gain further experience in either testing, therapy, or a combination of both.
Clinical Competency Examination Requirements
The Clinical Competency Examination (CCE) is a series of competency-based examinations, which are designed to evaluate students’ mastery of major clinical assessment and therapeutic skills.
Students should be prepared to demonstrate clinical competence both conceptually and in application. It is also expected that students, having learned theoretical and applied bases in classroom courses, will have made use of out-of-class clinical contacts (i.e., practicum, seminar groups, supplementary supervision, visiting lecturers) to refine and extend the skills to be evaluated by the CCE. Therefore successful completion of coursework and practicum do not guarantee passing the CCE.
Comprehensive Examinations Requirements
All doctoral degree program students are required to successfully complete Comprehensive Examinations. The material covered in the Comprehensive Examinations covers the courses and material required of students during the first three years of study in the Psy. D. Clinical Psychology program. The examinations require students to be able to integrate the material from those years into a form demonstrating both mastery of the material and ability to organize what they have learned in a coherent and logical manner.
Students who are unable to pass the Comprehensive Examinations will receive information concerning their performance on the examinations and assistance in constructing additional experiences and instruction aimed at enabling them to pass these program requirements.
Comprehensive Examination Prerequisites: Clinical and Research Exam
To be able to sit for the Comprehensive Examination, the student must have completed successfully all first and second-year courses, excluding the practicum. Courses that are transferred are considered successfully completed.
Comprehensive Examination Prerequisites: Scientific Foundations Exam
To be able to sit for the Comprehensive Examination (Scientific Foundations Exam), the student must have successfully completed all first, second, and third-year courses. Courses that are transferred are considered successfully completed.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Irvine dissertation manual (published as a separate document) is designed as a guide to the Dissertation process. The student should consult the manual as the primary resource for information about the process from start to finish. Students are required to read and follow the dissertation guidelines in the dissertation manual in their entirety as they begin to develop their topics. The dissertation manual was also written as a resource for dissertation chair and committee members. The APA Publication Manual (6th edition, revised, 2009) should be used as the guide to editorial style and typing instructions.
The Dissertation is a training experience designed to provide students with a guided opportunity for producing a scholarly paper in which students build upon and consolidate research skills learned in the statistics and research methods course sequence and prior empirical observations and components of courses in the basic curriculum. A broad range of quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry is permitted in the dissertation.
Internship Application Requirements
All students are required to complete a one-year (12-month) internship, or a two-year (24-month) half-time internship (see course listing above) as a condition for graduation. This intensive and supervised contact with clients is essential for giving greater breadth and depth to the student’s overall academic experience. Typically, full-time students will begin the internship during their fourth or fifth year of enrollment.
In order to be eligible to apply for internships, the student must have completed the following requirements:
- Be in good academic standing (i.e. must not be on academic/financial aid probation)
- Successfully pass the doctoral Comprehensive Examination (Part One and Part Two)
- Successfully pass the entire set of CCE tasks
- Resolved all grades of incomplete by October 1 of the year they apply
- Obtain dissertation proposal approval from all committee members, and the Institutional Review Board (if applicable)
Any student who does not meet one or more of these requirements, must petition the Training Committee in order to obtain permission to apply for internships.
Granting of the MA in Clinical Psychology Degree en route to the PsyD in Clinical Psychology Degree
Upon successful completion of the first two years of coursework in the PsyD in Clinical Psychology degree program, the Diagnostic Practicum in year two, and the Clinical and Research Comprehensive Examination, students will be granted the Master of Arts (MA) degree in Clinical Psychology. This degree does not fulfill the coursework requirements for eligibility as a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the state of California.