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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jun 14, 2024
2022-2023 Student Handbook and Academic Catalog 
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2022-2023 Student Handbook and Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

PsyD Applied Clinical Psychology

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Anaheim - Los Angeles - San Diego

Program Overview

The PsyD Applied Clinical Psychology Post Master’s program is based upon the practitioner-scholar model of education, integrating eight core competencies developed by the educational model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). Applied Clinical Psychology Department faculty are actively engaged in practice and scholarship, and incorporate a wide variety of clinical examples into classroom activities. Students learn through rigorous coursework, challenging practica, an integrative Internship and an innovative, applicable dissertation. The Doctor of Applied Clinical Psychology program is recognized for its excellent training in culturally competent service provision and offers students a remarkably wide variety of training opportunities.

Program Philosophy

The Applied Clinical Psychology Department has adopted the practitioner-scholar model and the NCSPP Core Competency model of training. These models are predicated on the belief that competent practitioners must have both a broad knowledge of scientific and theoretical principles at the core of psychology, which includes a solid understanding of a variety of scholarly work, as well as the ability to apply their knowledge to specific clinical situations. The doctoral department does not advocate any single theoretical orientation. Rather, students learn conceptualization and technique across four general theory areas, and then choose a theoretical orientation in which to specialize. Students are continually challenged to reflect on the art and craft of professional practice, as well as on its scientific basis.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program students will be able to:

Professional Practice

  • Deliver effective and ethical diagnostic and assessment services to a diverse set of clients.
  • Provide a wide range of effective and ethical psychotherapeutic interventions to a diverse group of clients. 


  • Identify and understand issues of racial and cultural diversity and awareness of the richness of human differences in ideas and beliefs.
  • Demonstrate insight into personal attitudes and beliefs as they conduct clinical interviewing of clients, will demonstrate competence in preparation of individual treatment plans, and of setting appropriate psychotherapeutic goals.

Professional Behavior

  • Develop the ability to apply ethical and professional standards to interactions with clients and others (i.e., peers, supervisors, faculty, professionals in other disciplines); be socialized into the profession through advisement, modeling and education; an understanding of legal obligations that may or may not conflict with ethical guidelines; will develop skills in reflective practice and quality control; will demonstrate effective functioning in multiple professional roles; and will hold a commitment to life-long learning.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the business aspects of psychological practice and the laws, standards, and regulations that effect practice; effective use of and openness to supervision and professional review; the development of supervisory skills or skills in mental health administration; effective case management of clients; awareness of contemporary professional issues related to the regulation and practice of the field; and incorporation of scholarship into quality control procedures for professional practice.


  • Demonstrate preparedness to become practitioners of professional psychology who are able to utilize the scientific method for critical evaluation of research examining the practice of clinical psychology.
  • Demonstrate effectiveness in the communication of critical information in the field of clinical psychology to a wide range of individuals and groups.


For information on where The Chicago School of Professional Psychology meets, does not meet, or has not determined if the program meets licensure eligibility requirements for the state in which you wish to be licensed, please visit:

Admission Requirements

For information on where The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval, please visit

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s PsyD Applied Clinical Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a master’s degree in a mental health field from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. The school admits students whom it judges to possess sufficient academic aptitude, as well as the emotional and social maturity to function effectively as professional psychologists. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work.

Factors considered in admission are: GPA from undergraduate and graduate schools, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate and master’s degree, essays, and letters of recommendation from academic professors or supervisors, and professional or volunteer experiences. Generally an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission to the Department. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. It is recommended that transcripts are submitted from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications.

The PsyD Applied Clinical Psychology program requires specific pre-requisite courses that must be completed in a student’s Master’s program or completed as part of the elective options while enrolled in the doctorate program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Graduate coursework used to meet pre-requisite requirements will be considered for transfer or waver on a case-by-case basis. Based upon 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) fee in order to be evaluated.

Applicant Notification

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 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.

Degree Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of 66 credit hour of coursework
  • Successful completion of 800 hour practicum
  • Successful completion of Comprehensive Exam
  • Successful completion of dissertation
  • Successful completion of a 1,500 hour internship


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Academic Calendar, Admissions Requirements, Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Service Learning, and Transfer Credit/Course Waiver. Click the link above for detailed information.

Ethical Guidelines

The Chicago School expects that all Applied Clinical Psychology Department students will be knowledgeable of and adhere to the APA Ethical Guidelines as published by the American Psychological Association. Sound ethical reasoning and accountability to the larger community for adherence to guidelines for ethical behavior are the two things that mark a profession as distinct from a career or job. As a result, several expectations of students are derived from the ethical code.

First, no student shall obtain part-time or full-time employment that is beyond the scope of their cumulative training in the field of psychology.

In accordance with California state law, no student may serve under the title of “psychologist,” “clinical psychologist,” or any closely related title or job function until granted an appropriate license by the state after the awarding of the doctoral degree. Students may, however, work as psychological assistants, researchers, or psychometricians under the supervision of a professional psychologist who is duly licensed or certified by the appropriate state agency.

A student shall not perform any function that exceeds his/her level of training. Students shall ensure that the appropriate malpractice insurance is in effect prior to their commencement of any clinical practice. In addition, a student may not establish or continue psychotherapy with any department or affiliate faculty member under any circumstances or with any adjunct faculty member while registered in his or her course or while under his or her supervision. A student who fails to adhere to this policy or otherwise fails to demonstrate the appropriate ethics required for practice in the field of professional psychology is subject to discipline.

A second derivation of the ethical code is that of integrity. The Chicago School expects that all students demonstrate the highest form of academic integrity. This applies to all of their graduate work and studies ranging from coursework, to general scholarship, to interactions with faculty, staff, and students. Further, given that graduate students as part of their training gain access to extremely sensitive clinical information, The Chicago School expects that students show the highest form of professional integrity in their training settings. These expectations range from client contact, to professional communications, to representation as a student of the school. Integrity is taken very seriously and a violation of academic and professional standards is grounds for remediation, suspension, or expulsion.

A final derivation of the ethical code is that of professional suitability. As a field, our primary responsibility is to the public we serve. As a result, should a student show signs that he or she is likely to cause harm to those we serve, swift action will be taken to mitigate that risk for harm. Such action could range from requiring additional education and remediation for the student to disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion. Should a student demonstrate, over time and despite efforts to remediate, that he or she is not able to assume the responsibilities of the profession, he or she may be dismissed from the school. Professional suitability is defined in part by the school, in part by the field of psychology and in part by the larger society. Should a student’s ability to engage in professional practice change, for example through conviction of a crime that prevents licensure, the department may determine that completion of the program is not possible for the student.

Independent Practice

Consistent with training department goals and the focus on ethical behavior, it is deemed inappropriate for Applied Clinical Psychology Department students to engage in professional activities that may infringe upon a primary commitment to training, negatively affect quality of consumer mental health services, or are inconsistent with ethical and legal standards. Students’ participation in outside work activities should be secondary to training and should also uphold and be consistent with the ethical and legal standards of the profession. Engaging in independent practice in psychology prior to appropriate licensure, as a result, is viewed as inconsistent with these training objectives, and unethical for doctoral-level students.

The California Board of Psychology prohibits independent practice in clinical psychology by non-licensed individuals. Regardless of previous credentials, participation in a psychology training program indicates that the student is committed to developing a professional identity as a psychologist and to developing professional skills within a psychological framework. The development of this identity occurs throughout the course of graduate-level training. It is appropriate for graduate students, whatever their previous experience, to view themselves as psychologists-in-training.

A student may hold a valid license in another profession (e.g., Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor or Licensed Clinical Social Worker) or may obtain such a license during her/his training at The Chicago School. Such students may practice within the scope of their license consistent with the following:

  • The demands of the practice in time or other resources must not jeopardize the student’s primary commitment to training in the department.
  • The manner in which students represent themselves to colleagues, clients and the public (e.g. marketing materials and reports of service) should not create a belief that the practice is under the auspices of or sanctioned by The Chicago School, that the practice is part of the school’s training, or that the practice is that of a trained and licensed clinical psychologist.
  • A student who fails to comply with the requirements of this section will be referred to the department chair for intervention, remediation, or disciplinary action, or for referral to the Student Affairs Committee for disciplinary action and possible dismissal.

Self Disclosure of Personal Information

Self-reflection, introspection, and an ability to examine personal reactions to clinical material are considered critical skills in student development. Students will be required to examine their personal reactions and the impact of their personal histories on the clinical services they are training to provide. Students will not be required to disclose personal information related to sexual history, history of abuse or neglect, personal psychotherapy or in-depth information regarding intimate relationships in course or department related activities. However, students are expected to actively reflect upon and effectively manage their personal reactions to people who are different from themselves along these and other dimensions, especially when such personal reactions negatively impact clinical work, professional interactions, and ethical responsibilities. Such reflection may be required within the context of an advising relationship at School, or a supervising relationship on practicum.


The practicum is an integral component of clinical training. It provides a closely supervised clinical experience in which students use the knowledge obtained in the classroom to understand their clients and to develop skills in assessment, psychotherapy, and other discipline related areas. As such, the practicum serves to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of the professional psychologist. It allows students to become familiar with professional collaboration and consultation in a clinical setting.

Students in the PsyD Applied Clinical Psychology program are required to complete 800 hours in the Practicum. Those students who completed a practicum in their master’s program will be able to apply for a waiver of 200 hours from the current 800-practicum hour requirement. Students who wish to apply for a waiver must do so by the end of their first semester or the deadline for applying to practicum sites, whichever comes first. Students must have been in a practicum experience that lasted at least 600 hours during their master’s program. They must have provided psychotherapy during the practicum. Their psychotherapy work must have been supervised by a licensed professional (MFT, LCSW, or Psychologist). They must offer proof that they met the above requirements to the Applied Clinical Psychology Director of Training who will make the final determination, and process the waiver.

Students registered in this program incur a one-time $195 Experiential Learning Technology Fee.

Comprehensive Exam 

The ACP Comprehensive Exam will focus on the 8 areas of professional psychological practice identified by ASPPB:

  1. Biological Bases of Behavior
  2. Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
  3. Social and Cultural Bases of Behavior
  4. Growth and Lifespan Development
  5. Assessment and Diagnosis
  6. Treatment, Intervention, and Prevention and Supervision
  7. Research Methods and Statistics
  8. Ethical/Legal/Professional Issues

The Comprehensive Exam will be modeled after the EPPP to evaluate the student’s knowledge of the above domains as well as competency to practice at an internship level in an ethical and culturally sensitive manner. Ultimately, the Comprehensive Exam allows the department to assess the student’s abilities as a future clinical psychologist.


The dissertation is an essential aspect of a student’s academic experience and clinical education at the school. The dissertation provides the school with the opportunity to formally evaluate the student’s ability to contribute to the field by applying theory and research to areas of clinical psychology, thinking critically and creatively about professional psychology, and demonstrating self-direction and professional/scholarly writing. The dissertation should clearly and concisely demonstrate the student’s command of the body of knowledge in a chosen area, as well as ability to critically evaluate and synthesize this knowledge. The student’s Dissertation Committee is responsible for assessing the student’s abilities and critical thinking, determining the professional standards the dissertation must meet, and giving final approval to the dissertation.


All students are required to complete a 1,500 hour Internship following the completion of all coursework, practicum, and dissertation requirements. During their internship, students integrate academic knowledge with clinical skills and demonstrate the effective and ethical use of these skills in clinical practice. Through intensive supervised training, students gain direct experience in applying their knowledge with a clinical population.

The Curriculum

Required Core: 60 credit hours

Electives: 6 credit hours

Program Total

Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology: 66 credit hours

Required Core


Extension Courses

  • PP698 Practicum Extension (0 credit hours) (auto half-time)
  • PP699 Internship Extension (0 credit hours) (auto full-time)
  • PP584 Internship I Extension (0.5 credit hours) (auto half-time)
  • PP585 Internship II Extension (0.5 credit hours) (auto half-time)
  • PP586 Internship III Extension (0.5 credit hours) (auto half-time)
  • PP587 Internship IV Extension (0.5 credit hours) (auto half-time)
  • PP588 Internship V Extension (0.5 credit hours) (auto half-time)
  • PP589 Internship VI Extension (0.5 credit hours) (auto half-time)

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