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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Jun 21, 2021
2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology

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Irvine - Los Angeles

Program Overview

The Psy.D. 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 Learning Outcomes

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

  1. 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.
  2. have the capacity to identify and understand issues of racial and cultural diversity and awareness of the richness of human differences in ideas and beliefs
  3. apply ethical and professional standards to interactions with clients and others (peers, supervisors, faculty, professionals in other disciplines, etc); be socialized into the into the profession through advisement, modeling and education; an understanding of legal obligations that may or may not conflict with ethical guidelines; will develop of skills in reflective practice and quality control; will demonstrate effective functioning in multiple professional roles; and will hold a commitment to life-long learning
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. demonstrate effectiveness in the communication of critical information in the field of clinical psychology to a wide range of individuals and groups
  7. capable of delivering effective and ethical diagnostic and assessment services to a diverse set of clients.
  8. competent to provide a wide range of effective and ethical psychotherapeutic interventions to a diverse group of clients

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Psy.D. 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 Psy.D. 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.

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 this 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 ( or Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. ( 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.

Applicant Notification

If, after initial review of all application materials and the Admission Committee so recommends, the applicant will be invited for interviews with members of the Applied Clinical Psychology 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.  Information on the Academic Success Program is located under Student Life.   

Academic Development Plans

An Academic Development Plan (ADP) is initiated and created by the program in which the student is enrolled. When a student demonstrates deficiencies in competencies that interfere with academic performance, training competence, and/or professional behavior, the ADP is initiated. The completion of an ADP does not constitute disciplinary action, but failure to complete the plan may lead to disciplinary action.

Student Learning Assessment

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is committed to offering the highest quality undergraduate completion program and graduate programs in applied professional disciplines. To meet TCSPP’s standard for academic quality, program learning outcomes are aligned with course learning outcomes and guide assessment.   Data collected from the results of student assessment and the aggregation of these data will inform how students are progressing towards achieving program outcomes.  

All academic programs report annual assessments of student learning and other indicators of program effectiveness as part of the Academic Program Review process.


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.

Ethical and Professional Behavior

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.

Professional Development Group and Academic Advisor Assignment

All students are required to enroll in the Advanced Professional Development during their first semester in the program.  Academic Advisors are assigned by location and last name of the student.

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 Psy.D. 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.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

Oral Comprehensive Exam (OCE)

Every student is required to pass an Oral Comprehensive Exam (OCE). The aim of the OCE, 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 OCE allows the department to assess the student’s abilities as a future clinical psychologist.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.


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.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.


All students are required to complete an 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.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

Program Requirements

The Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology Department is a 66 credit program (54 core plus 12 electives/concentrations courses) that includes two years of intensive coursework, one year of required practica, an oral comprehensive exam, a dissertation, and a year of clinical internship. Students are able to individualize their clinical training to address their own professional and developmental interests, however, through the choices they make in several areas, each of which is described below. 

Required Core Courses: 54 Credits

Elective Courses or Concentration Courses:  12 Credits

Total Program

Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology: 66 credits

Elective Courses


Child Play Therapy and Adolescent Psychotherapy Concentration

The Child Play Therapy and Adolescent Psychotherapy Concentration is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of child and adolescent psychotherapy through studying developmentally appropriate theoretical models, interventions, and techniques used in practice with children and adolescents in individual, family, and group treatments within clinical and community settings. This program will expose students to a broad theoretical base encompassing non-directive, directive, and systemic approaches to child play therapy and adolescent psychotherapy. Students will gain a working knowledge of the large variety of child play therapy and adolescent psychotherapy principles and approaches and will practice the techniques and modalities used in clinical practice with children, adolescents, and their families. Students completing this concentration will exceed the current academic standards established by the Association for Play Therapy (APT) for credentialing as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

Psychodynamic Concentration

Psychoanalysis and the work of Sigmund Freud serves as the foundation upon which all other models of psychotherapy have developed, both more recent conceptualizations in psychodynamic psychotherapy and the earliest models of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The Psychodynamic Concentration offers doctoral students the opportunity to study the in-depth interplay between unconscious and conscious processes, and the effect of those inner forces exert on observable behaviors and subconscious mental functioning. Psychodynamic psychology rests upon the idea that an individual’s earliest life experiences influence their unconscious and conscious adult beliefs, motivations, and their sense of their own self. Psychologists trained in psychodynamic approaches assist their clients in understanding the verbal and non-verbal relationship that occurs between themselves and others, thus helping improve interpersonal skills and relational satisfaction. Each psychodynamic practitioner may take a slightly different approach to treatment and employ different techniques, from traditional psychoanalysis, to talk therapy, to dream analysis, to hypnosis, all to assist the client uncover unconscious feelings or beliefs that may be impacting their decisions, behaviors, and overall quality of life. They may work in private practice, community mental health centers, psychiatric settings, nonprofit agencies.

Student taking the Psychodynamic Concentration are required to take the following six courses during the second year of their doctoral program:

Generalist Concentration

The hallmark of the Psy.D. Applied Clincial Psychology Department is the Generalist Concentration. This concentration offers students the opportunity to develop a broader base of knowledge regarding alternative theories and interventions, clinical work with diverse populations, and professional responsibilities. Students best suited to the Generalist Concentration seek to:

  • Broaden their areas of professional interest to develop greater preparation for entry-level clinical practice
  • Sample from a variety of courses in an effort to explore possible areas of professional interest
  • Prepare for broad-based professional work; for example, in a rural practice or in community mental health systems
  • Build additional skills to apply in multidisciplinary clinical settings such as hospitals, wellness centers, and community centers
  • Prepare for clinical work with underserved populations
  • Build additional skills to support their plans for current and future scholarship

Through the Generalist Concentration, students can gain additional expertise in teaching, supervision, and administration; learn applied behavior analysis; take a series of courses in trauma, loss, or expressive therapies; develop an additional theoretical area of specialty; or design a unique area of independent study.

There are no specific required courses for the Generalist Concentration and any of the electives listed in the elective section of the Psy.D. Applied Clinical Psychology catalog can be used to meet the Concentration requirement of twelve credit hours. Generalist students may also take any of the courses offered as part of the Psychodynamic Concentration requirements and count these toward their Generalist Concentration elective requirements.

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