The PsyD Clinical Psychology program bases its training on the practitioner-scholar model of education, integrating core competencies informed by the educational model of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). Department faculty are actively engaged in practice and scholarship, and incorporate a wide variety of clinical examples into classroom activities. Students learn through rigorous course work, challenging practica, an integrative Internship and an innovative, applicable dissertation. The PsyD Clinical Psychology program is recognized for its excellent training in culturally competent service provision and offers students a remarkably wide variety of training opportunities.
The PsyD Clinical Psychology program at the Los Angeles Campus is accredited by the American Psychological Association.
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 PsyD Clinical Psychology program 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.
Through curricular and extra-curricular learning and training, students in the PsyD Clinical Psychology program at The Chicago School will experience a transformation in personal and professional identity manifested in a commitment to life-long learning and scholarship, sophisticated cultural awareness and competence, integrity and personal responsibility, psychological-mindedness, and a demonstrated investment in both the profession and the various communities in which they are engaged through their practices and lives.
The Program aims to prepare graduates for entry-level practice in health service psychology.
Program Learning Outcomes
- Research: Students will demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competence sufficient to produce new knowledge, to critically evaluate and use existing knowledge to solve problems, and to disseminate research.
- Individual and Cultural Diversity: Students will demonstrate the ability to conduct all professional activities with sensitivity to human diversity, including the ability to deliver high quality services to an increasingly diverse population. Students will demonstrate knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and skills when working with diverse individuals and communities who embody a variety of cultural and personal background and characteristics.
- Ethical and Legal Standards: Students will understand principles of ethical and legal behavior; integrate and adhere to the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, as well as relevant laws, regulations, rules and policies through the application of sound ethical reasoning.
- Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors: Students will behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, engage in self-reflection regarding their personal and professional functioning, actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback, and progressively respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence.
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Students will develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, demonstrate proficiency at expressive and receptive communication, and demonstrate effective interpersonal skills.
- Assessment: Students will demonstrate competency in conducting evidence-based assessment consistent with the scope of Health Service Psychology.
- Intervention: Students will provide effective interventions derived from a variety of theoretical orientations or approaches. The level of intervention includes those directed at an individual, a family, a group, an organization, a community, a population or other systems.
- Supervision: Students will understand how to act as role models, provide mentoring and monitoring of trainees and others in the development of competence and skill in professional practice, provide effective evaluation of those skills, and maintain responsibility for the activities they oversee.
- Consultation and Interprofessional/ Interdisciplinary Skills: Students will intentionally collaborate with other individuals or groups to address a problem, seek or share knowledge, or promote effectiveness in professional activities.
For information on where The Chicago School 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: https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/admissions/licensure-disclosures/.
For information on where The Chicago School is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval, please visit https://www.thechicagoschool.edu/why-us/state-authorization/
Application to The Chicago School’s PsyD Clinical Psychology program, in Los Angeles, 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:
- official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned,
- curriculum vitae or resume,
- three letters of recommendation, and
- two essays.
The program faculty scores each of the above items, along with the interview. The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program requires 18 semester hours of psychology credit, including three specific courses (e.g., Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, and Child/Human Development) that must be completed with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better prior to enrollment (please see the application for admission for detailed requirements). An applicant missing the required undergraduate coursework or hours may substitute graduate coursework or hours, provided a grade of ‘C’ or better was earned in the course(s). Graduate coursework used to meet prerequisites will be considered for transfer on a case-by-case basis.
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 The Chicago School 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.
Degree Completion Requirements
- Successful completion of 106 credit hours of coursework
- Successful completion of Year 2 600-hour basic practicum
- Successful completion of Year 3 600-hour intermediate practicum
- Successful completion of Year 4 600-hour advanced practicum
- Successful completion of Comprehensive Examination
- Successful completion of dissertation
- Successful completion of 2,000 hour internship
- Successful completion of eight assessment batteries and reports
- Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher
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.
Ethical and Professional Behavior
The Chicago School expects that all PsyD Clinical Psychology 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 characteristics 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 Illinois and 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 course work, 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.
Consistent with training department goals and the focus on ethical behavior, it is deemed inappropriate for PsyD Clinical Psychology 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.
A student may hold a valid license in another profession (e.g., Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or Marriage and Family Therapist) 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.
Professional Performance Evaluation (PPE) Requirements
PPEs are completed at the end of the Summer semester for all first-year students, reflecting the faculty’s consensus regarding each student’s performance throughout their first year in the Clinical PsyD Program. It may also be completed for any students for whom a faculty member has grade/performance related comments related to attainment of competencies, progress and comportment that should be included in the academic file for consideration in student advising and review. PPEs may be submitted at any time concerns arise. The recording of PPEs is an important way that faculty and others assist in the comprehensive evaluation of the students’ progress towards the degree requirements. PPEs also provide essential feedback to students and advisors about areas for attention and focus in advising and remediation. Any PPE score below 3 is cause for concern and may result in action up to and including a referral to the Student Affairs Committee, placement on academic warning/probation, or dismissal. The department chair and Academic Advisor will be notified when students receive a PPE score below 3.
Professional Development Group and Academic Advisor Assignment
All students are required to enroll in a Professional Development Group during their first two semesters in the program. A student’s Professional Development Group instructor automatically becomes her/his academic advisor. Students maintain the same academic advisor during their first year in the program, but may request a new academic advisor after that time. Generally, the student’s Dissertation Chair becomes their academic advisor, unless the student requests otherwise.
Student 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 or some course assignments at The Chicago 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.
All students are required to take four semester hours each of Basic and Advanced Practica, and six semester hours of Intermediate Practicum (see below). The first three-semester (Basic) practicum sequence is focused on developing rapport with clients, developing proficiency with diagnostic interviewing, differential diagnoses, developing case formulations and beginning to understand how to implement treatment and evaluate its outcome. The second three-semester (Intermediate) sequence is primarily focused on strengthening case formulation skills, understanding how to identify, implement, and appropriately modify evidence-based interventions, understanding how to evaluate treatment outcome and implementing relapse-prevention strategies. The third three-semester (Advanced) sequence enables students to work with specialized populations and begin to develop a specialization. All practica require individual and group supervision offered by the practicum site, as well as small group seminars offered by the school.
Students registered in this program incur a one-time $195 Experiential Learning Technology Fee.
Comprehensive Examination (CE)
Every student is required to pass a comprehensive exam. The aim of the comprehensive exam, broadly stated, is to evaluate the student’s knowledge of the theory, research, and practice of a chosen theory of intervention, as well as competency to practice that theory 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.
All students are required to complete a dissertation. The dissertation is an essential aspect of a student’s academic experience and clinical education at the school. 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.
All students are required to complete an Internship following the completion of all course work, practicum, and dissertation requirements. On 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 internship experience consists of a minimum of 2,000 hours of training over a 12-24 month (full or part time, respectively) period. Appropriate sites for internship training include programs that are approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) and programs that are members of the Association of Psychology Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Internship Centers (APPIC) or The California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC). The internship is a vital component of the educational department and is never waived or transferred. Students are required to register for Internship during each semester they are on internship. Registration for Internship automatically assigns full-time student status.