Doctor of Psychology, Clinical Psychology
The Clinical Psychology Doctoral 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). It is a progressive approach to graduate psychology education, which includes social enagagment, multicultural training, and service to the community. 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 Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program has been nationally recognized for its excellent training in culturally competent service provision and offers students a remarkably wide variety of training opportunities.
Application to The Chicago School’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor’s degree 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 any graduate schools, Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, successful work history after completion of the baccalaureate degree, essays, and letters of recommendation from academic professors or supervisors from professional or volunteer experiences. Generally an undergraduate GPA of a 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission to the Program. Students 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 Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program requires 18 semester hours of psychology credit, including three specific courses (Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, and Child/Human Development) that must be completed prior to enrollment with a grade earned of ‘C’ or better (please see the application for admission for detailed requirements). Where an applicant is missing the required undergraduate coursework or hours, graduate coursework or hours may be substituted, provided that the student earned a grade of C or better in the course. Graduate coursework used to meet prerequisites will be considered for graduate transfer or waiver 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) fee in order to be evaluated.
TOEFL or IELTS, International Credentials, and International Students
TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your primary language, you must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application (TOEFL School Code: 7161). International students who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States institution are exempt from his requirement. The minimum scores are: TOEFL - 550 paper based, 213 computer based, 79 internet based; IELTS - 6.5.
ELS Educational Services, Inc.: The Chicago School is a cooperative member of ELS Educational Services, Inc. which provides intensive English language programs. Students who have successfully completed ELS course 112 may be considered for admission in lieu of the TOEFL or IELTS.
International credentials: Applicants with international credentials must obtain and submit an official “course-by-course” evaluation through an evaluation agency such as World Education Services (www.wes.org) or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc (www.ece.org). In addition to the agency evaluation, all official graduate and undergraduate transcripts must be submitted.
International students: International students must submit a completed application by the general consideration deadline. In addition, once accepted, international students must submit the International Student Information form, a copy of their passport, and financial documentation showing sufficient funding for at least one year of study and all living expenses. This documentation must be submitted at least two months prior to the start of the semester in order to allow sufficient time for the school to issue an I-20 for the student to obtain an F-1 visa, if needed. An I-20 visa will not be issued without this documentation.
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, in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $500 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 following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Transfer of Credit, Waiver of Courses, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Grading Scale, Grade Change Requests, Degree Completion, Degree Conferral, Minimum and Maximum Timeframe requirements, and Credit Hours per semester for Financial Aid.
Academic Development Plans
An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the Department in which the student is enrolled when a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior. Academic Development Plans (ADPs) do not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.
Student Learning Assessment
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TSCPP) is committed to offering the highest quality graduate and undergraduate completion programs in applied professional disciplines. In order to meet the TCSPP standard for academic quality, all programs will develop overall program competencies, learning objectives, assessment instruments, course descriptions, and course learning objectives. Each of these curriculum components must align in order for students to understand how their program will prepare them for the profession and how they will learn what TCSPP intends.
All academic programs at TCSPP are required to develop, conduct, and report annual assessments of student learning and program effectiveness in compliance with the processes and procedures established by TCSPP. These assessments provide reliable and valid information to monitor, maintain, and advance the quality of academic programs.
Foundations for Scholarship and Practice
To ensure academic preparedness, a key to success in graduate school, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires new students to complete the program Foundations for Scholarship and Practice (Foundations). This program reinforces the skills new students need to achieve their academic goals. Foundations is an integral part of the first term’s curriculum (first and second terms’ curriculum for the Online-Blended Programs) and all students are required to complete the program successfully and in a timely manner. Failure to complete any element of the program can lead to academic consequences, including dismissal.
Foundations for Scholarship and Practice consists of three elements:
1. Academic Focus Program – Academic Focus is an online, self-paced orientation to graduate academics. Completion of these tutorials is required by Friday of the fourth week of the first term. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element of Foundations.
2. Writing Assessment Process – In this component of Foundations, each student writes an essay in response to an assigned question and submits it for evaluation. Based upon the results of this assessment, , the school may waive the Academic Writing Course requirement (#3, below). Essays are due by Friday of the third week of the first term and essay submission by the given date is considered successful completion of this element of Foundations.
3. Academic Writing Course (AWC) – This online course is taken before or during the first or second term at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. A final grade of “pass” is considered successful completion of this element. Failure to earn a final grade of “pass” may result in an Academic Development Plan or referral to the Student Affairs Committee. All students are required to take the course, unless they place out through the Writing Assessment Process. Students who place out of the Academic Writing Course may elect to take the course. Based on academic performance concerns, instructors may require AWC completion by a student by creating an Academic Development Plan.
Failure to complete any element of Foundations by the required due date may result in Academic Development Plan or referral to the Student Affairs Committee.
Preparing for the Academic Writing Course
It is solely the responsibility of the student to make the necessary adjustments to his/her school, work and personal schedules as required for full participation in this course. The Chicago School is not responsible for ensuring that these adjustments are made. Students failing AWC must retake the course in the subsequent semester. The successful completion of AWC is a graduation requirement.
Fees associated with Foundations for Scholarship and Practice
All students incur a one-time fee for their participation in Foundations for Scholarship and Practice. See Tuition & Fees schedule for a full list of applicable course fees.
The Clinical Psy.D. 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.
Through curricular and extra-curricular learning and training, students in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral 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.
- Students will have the capacity to engage in critical thinking about clinical information; to integrate clinical observations with current knowledge, and to evaluate different research methodologies.
- Students will have ability to identify and understand issues of individual and cultural difference, issues of power, privilege and oppression, and an affirmation of the richness of human differences, ideas, and beliefs.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of and adherence to the APA Ethical Guidelines, sound ethical reasoning and accountability to the larger community, and the acquisition of psychological maturity.
- Students will have capacity to develop and maintain a constructive alliance with clients and others, and awareness and connection to self-identity
- Students will be able to derive inferences from multiple sources of information to achieve a broad and cohesive understanding, and communicating inferences and recommendations clearly.
- Students will utilize activities that promote, restore, sustain, and/or enhance positive functioning and a sense of well-being in clients through preventive, developmental, and/or remedial services.
- Students will utilize activities that direct, organize or control the services of psychologists and others offered to the public. Supervision represents an intervention provided by a more senior member of a profession to a more junior member or members of the same profession.
- Students will create planned collaborative interactions between psychologists and one or more clients or colleagues, in relation to an identified problem area or program, in which the professional psychologist has no direct control of the actual change process. Education involves skill building in facilitating student knowledge acquisition and development.
Ethical and Professional Behavior
The Chicago School expects that all Clinical Psy.D. 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 state laws, 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 Clinical Psy.D. 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.
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 lead faculty 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
A cumulative or semester PPE below 2.7 is considered a serious academic concern and may result in action up to and including placement on “academic watch”, referral to the Student Affairs Committee or the Training and Community Engagement Committee, placement on academic warning/probation, or dismissal. The lead faculty and Academic Advisor will be notified when students receive a cumulative or semester PPE below 2.7.
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 School, or a supervising relationship on practicum.
Earning an Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology
An M.A. in Clinical Psychology can be awarded following the successful completion of required coursework. At the beginning of the semester in which a student expects to be eligible for the master’s degree, he or she is required to submit online a Petition for Program Completion to the Office of Academic Records. The petition is a request to conduct an audit to determine eligibility for the degree. Students who meet the requirements are eligible to participate in the next scheduled commencement. All students who file a Petition for Program Completion will be charged a fee.
The specific requirements for award of a Master of Arts degree for the general Program student are as follows:
- Good academic and professional standing
- Successful completion of practicum (PY 484 , PY 485 , and PY 486 )
- Successful completion of the following courses:
- Professional Development Group I and II (PY 415 and PY 416 )
- Basic Psychopathology and Advanced Psychopathology (PY 423 and PY 424 )
- Intellectual Assessment (PY 425 )
- History and Systems of Psychology (PY 426 )
- Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing (PY 429 )
- Psychology of the Lifespan I (PY 437 )
- Aging and Long-Term Care (PY 739 )
- Personality Assessment (PY 436 )
- Professional Issues and Ethics (PY 437 and PY 445 )
- Diversity in Clinical Psychology I and II (PY 443 and PY 466 )
- Advanced Assessment (PY 453 )
- Basic Intervention: Psychodynamic (PY 462 )
- Basic Intervention: Cognitive-Behavioral (PY 464 )
- Basic Intervention: Existential-Humanistic (PY 466 )
- Basic Intervention: Systems (PY 468 )
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 six semester hours each of Basic and Intermediate Practica (see below). The first three-semester practicum sequence is primarily devoted to training in psychological assessment. The second three-semester sequence is primarily devoted to training in psychotherapy. Both practica require individual and group supervision offered by the practicum site, as well as small group seminars offered by the school.
Advanced practicum is strongly recommended for all students who have limited clinical experience, who are pursuing specialized training (e.g., Neuropsychology), or who require additional supervised training in either assessment and or psychotherapy. Students opting to complete an advanced practicum are required to complete four semester hours of advanced practicum.
More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.
Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE)
Every student is required to pass a Clinical Competency Examination (CCE). The aim of the CCE, 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 CCE allows the department to assess the student’s abilities as a future clinical psychologist.
More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.
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.
More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.
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 experience 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.
More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.