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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Sep 30, 2023
2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook 
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2015-2016 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook [Archived Catalog]

Psy.D. Clinical Psychology - Washington D.C.

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Washington D.C.

Program Overview

The Psy.D. 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) and the Cube model (Rodolfa et al., 2005). It is a progressive approach to graduate psychology education, which includes social engagement, 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 strives to provide excellent training in culturally competent service provision and offers students a remarkably wide variety of training opportunities. 

Program’s Training Goals

Goal 1:  Professional Practice:   To prepare students for entry level practice in clinical psychology

Goal 2:  Diversity:  To prepare graduates who are able to apply theoretical and practical knowledge about individual and cultural diversity in their professional work with an emphasis on social justice. 

Goal 3:  Professional Behavior:  To prepare clinical psychologists, who can competently apply the ethical, legal and professional standards of the discipline.    

Goal 4:  Scholarship:  To produce graduates who can effectively apply a broad and general scientific and theoretical knowledge base to their professional practice as well as prepare scholarly work. 

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School’s Psy.D Clinical Psychology 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. Applicants must submit official transcripts from all schools where a degree was earned. Applicants are encouraged to submit transcripts from all schools where credit was received to enhance their applications.

The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology 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 ( 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 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.  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 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 (TCSPP) 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. 


The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program has adopted the practitioner-scholar model, which is informed by the NCSPP Core Competency model and the Cube model (Rodolfa et al., 2005).  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.


The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, D.C. campus is committed to the preparation of professional psychologists, who are trained to ethically provide a broad range of psychological services to diverse and underserved populations. Through the guidance of supportive mentoring relationships, students will be able to effectively utilize research, deliver evidence based practices, and promote social justice.

Ethical and Professional Behavior

The Chicago School expects that all Psy.D. 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 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.

Independent Practice

Consistent with training department goals and the focus on ethical behavior, it is deemed inappropriate for Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program 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

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, , placement on academic warning/probation, or dismissal. The Department Chair 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 and will be assigned an academic advisor in their first year. Students are expected to meet with their advisor at least once in the Fall and Spring semesters. After their first year, students may request a new academic advisor.  Generally, the student’s Dissertation Chair becomes their academic advisor, unless the student requests otherwise.

Student Disclosure of Personal Information

In accordance with the American Psychological Association (APA, 2002) Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct Standard 7.04, students should be aware that some Clinical PsyD courses may require disclosure of certain personal information related to the student’s ability to understand the purposes of these courses and their application to the effective practice of clinical psychology.  Students may be required to participate in learning activities that involve different levels of self-disclosure. Students may be evaluated in areas that include, but are not limited to, demonstration of sufficient: a) interpersonal and professional competence; b) self-awareness, self-reflection and self-evaluation; c) openness to processes of supervision; and d) resolution of problems or issues that interfere with professional development or functioning in a satisfactory manner.  Such reflection may be also required within the context of an advising relationship or a supervising relationship on practicum.

Earning a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology

An M.A. 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 (

  ,  , and  )

Successful completion of the following courses:

  • Professional Development Group I and II (  and  )
  • Basic Psychopathology and Advanced Psychopathology (PY 4231  and  )
  • Intellectual Assessment ( )
  • History and Systems of Psychology ( )
  • Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing (PY 422D )
  • Psychology of the Lifespan I (PY 440D )
  • Psychology of the Lifespan II(PY 442D )
  • Personality Assessment ( )
  • Professional Issues and Ethics ( )
  • Diversity in Clinical Psychology I and II (  and  )
  • Advanced Assessment ( )
  • Basic Intervention: Psychodynamic ( )
  • Basic Intervention: Cognitive-Behavioral ( )
  • Basic Intervention: Existential-Humanistic ( )
  • Basic Intervention: Systems ( )


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.

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. All practica require individual supervision offered by the practicum site, which can be complimented with group supervision. Students must be simultaneously enrolled in small group seminars offered by the school. They must complete six semester hours of seminar during their Basic and Intermediate Practica and four semester hours of seminar during their Advanced Practicum.

The Advanced practicum is designed to offer students advanced experience in a particular area of interest (e.g., neuropsychology) or help them secure additional experience in assessment or treatment. Advanced practicum also has an emphasis on consultation and supervision.   

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). An independent internship may also be created and approved through the Clinical Psy.D. Department within The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, D.C. All internships must meet and/or exceed the APPIC Membership criteria, as well as meet the hour requirements noted above. 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.

The Curriculum

Required Core: 92 credits

Intervention Orientation: 4 credits

Electives:  10 credits

Total Psy.D. Clinical Psychology Credits: 106

Required Core Courses

Intervention Orientation

The first way that students can individualize their training is through their choice of an Intervention Orientation. The Clinical Psy.D. Department does not advocate any single theoretical intervention. Rather, all Clinical Psy.D. students receive an excellent generalist base in theory, conceptualization and technique by completing a Basic Intervention course in four Intervention Orientations. They then select one Intervention Orientation out of three in which to specialize, and take Advanced Intervention course work in that theory. The department assists students in identifying the Intervention theory that most closely aligns with their own beliefs regarding what creates, maintains, and alters psychological distress and health. Department faculty believe that it is through this alignment with one’s own beliefs that a student’s potential as a future professional psychologist is best actualized.The Clinical Competency Examination (explained above) requires a thorough understanding of a client’s presenting condition, the choice of treatment approach, and the understanding of change using both basic and advanced theory and technique from the student’s chosen Intervention Course Stream. The resulting conceptualization is presented to the seminar leaders and faculty aligned with the same or a related theory. Students who receive a grade of “C” or “F” in an Advanced Intervention course are still required to replace these grades, but have two options to do so:

  • The student may take an Advanced Intervention course from the same Intervention Track; or The student may take an Advanced Intervention course from a different Intervention Track.

However, to sit for the Clinical Competency Exam and to meet graduation requirements, the student must have received passing grades in two Advanced Intervention courses from the same Intervention Track.

 The Psychodynamic Intervention Orientation

Students who choose this intervention begin in the Basic Intervention course studying the development of major psychodynamic theories from historical, clinical, and conceptual perspectives. Through readings and case studies, students learn about the nature of the psychotherapeutic relationship, and the connection between theory and practice. They then progress to:

  • Advanced Intervention: Intrapsychic and study contemporary versions of intervention models that focus on intrapsychic dynamics in psychopathology and treatment process, and the role of culture, race, and gender in therapy: as well as
  • Advanced Intervention: Interpersonal and study contemporary models of interpersonal dynamics in psychopathology and treatment.

The Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Orientation

Students who choose this intervention begin in the Basic Intervention course studying the basic assumptions of cognitive-behavioral theory, the major theorists, and the basics of treatment planning, case conceptualization, and evaluation of treatment efficacy. They then progress to:

  • Advanced Intervention: Behavioral and study contemporary behavioral models of assessment and intervention, as well as their theoretical and research foundations: as well as
  • Advanced Intervention: Cognitive and develop skills in contemporary cognitive therapy models and techniques, as well as study their theoretical and research foundations

The Systems Intervention Orientation

Students who choose this Intervention begin in the Basic Intervention course studying basic conceptualization and intervention skills to recognize and counter forces in a system, differentiate problematic and normal functioning in a context, and deliver culturally sensitive treatment. They then take two of the following three Advanced Intervention courses:

  • Advanced Intervention: Couples in which students learn concepts, assumptions, and techniques of four major models of couples therapy, and the ethical and culturally sensitive application of these theories; or
  • Advanced Intervention: Family in which students learn concepts, assumptions and techniques of four major models of family therapy in ethical and culturally sensitive work with diverse families, in part through personal study of their own family of origin structure; or
  • Advanced Intervention: Community Psychology in which students learn about the promotion of wellness at the personal, interpersonal, organizational and community levels, using a preventive and strength-based philosophy, as well as class discussion, lecture, readings, and field experiences.

Students choose two courses from the same Intervention Orientation:

Generalist Concentration

The Generalist concentration requires ten credit hours. Courses will be selected in consultation with the student’s advisor

Child, Adolescent, and Family Concentration

The Child, Adolescent, and Family concentration requires ten credit hours from the courses listed below.

Forensic Concentration

The Forensic concentration requires eight credit hours from the courses listed below.  Students have one additional elective they can choose to complete the ten credit hours of electives.

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