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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Sep 25, 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 - XULA

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At Xavier University of New Orleans (XULA)

Program Overview

The Doctor of Clinical Psychology Program of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) (the “Program”) offers rigorous training in culturally competent service provision and exposes students to a wide variety of health service training opportunities. The Doc­tor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology is the highest degree for practitioners in the field who wish to apply their knowledge as practicing clinicians. Students will experience extensive clinical training with community partners, including clinics, hospitals, mental health centers, and governmental agencies. The program is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), however, the curricu­lum is aligned with APA standards.

TCSPP’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program at XULA prepares graduates for licensure in Louisiana and may other states and to sit for the psychologist licensing exam administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Licensing Boards. Students will complete foundational coursework in four intervention orientations (Cognitive Behavioral, Psychodynam­ic, Humanistic Existential, and Systems) and have the opportunity to tailor their coursework with focused study to meet particular educational and professional goals.

Admission Requirements

Application to The Chicago School’s Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program is open to any person who has earned a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work. Factors that are considered in admission include GPA from undergraduate schools.  Generally, an undergraduate GPA of a 3.2 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required for admission. 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.  Additional factors that are considering in admission include the following:

  • Completion of 18 credit hours of psychology prerequisite coursework. Of those hours, students must have completed at least one course in Abnormal psychology, Lifespan (human development), and Statistics. The remaining prerequisite credits may include courses like Theories of Personality, Biopsychology, Tests and Measurements, and Research Methods. All coursework must have been completed earning a grade of ‘C’ or better prior to matriculation in the program.
  • Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test within the past five years.
  • Interview with faculty.( Interviews are by invitation only and applicants will be notified by the Office of Admissions should an interview be granted.)
  • Demonstration through written statements and interview of basic interpersonal skills needed to begin training for professional health services work and of interest in such work.

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, 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

The Chicago School reviews applications on a rolling basis. Once review begins, complete applications will be considered by the Admission Committee and applicants will be notified regarding the admission decision. The Chicago School 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 (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 learning outcomes objectives, assessment instruments, course descriptions, and course learning outcomes. 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 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 practitioner- scholars 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. Scholarly productivity should reflect on this integration of science, theory, clinical applicability. The doctoral department does not advocate any single theoretical orientation. Rather, students learn conceptualization and technique across four general theory areas, and then choose either the Cognitive-Behavioral or Systems theoretical orientation in which to specialize. Students are continually challenged to reflect on the art and craft of health service practice, as well as on its theoretical and scientific basis.


Based on respect for and understanding of their personal identities, through curricular and extra-curricular learning and training, students in the TCSPP Clinical Psychology Doctoral program at XULA  will develop a professional identity as a health services psychologist manifested by 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.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will:

  • have the capacity and motivation for life-long learning as they think critically about clinical information, integrate clinical observations with scientific and theoretical knowledge, and appropriately select among different methods of knowledge acquisition.
  • have ability to identify and understand issues of individual and cultural difference, power, privilege and oppression, and appreciate the richness of human differences, ideas, and beliefs.  
  • demonstrate knowledge of and adherence to the APA Ethical Guidelines, exhibit sound ethical reasoning and accountability to the larger community, and comport themselves as maturing health service professionals.
  • employ evidence-based practices in assessment as they validly and reliably evaluate and diagnose clinical and non-clinical psychological conditions in a diverse variety of clients.
  • be able to develop and maintain constructive alliances with clients and others, in the context of reflective practice with awareness and connection to their self-identity and openness to feedback.
  • be able to deliver effective evidence-based clinical interventions to a diverse variety of clients, such as individuals, couples, families, groups, or systems.
  • be able to draw valid inferences from multiple sources of information as they achieve useful and cohesive understandings while communicating their inferences and recommendations effectively to lay audiences, fellow health service professionals, and the community of scholars.
  • be able to identify and promote positive strengths of clients and systems to restore, sustain, and/or enhance positive functioning and a sense of well-being when providing preventive, developmental, and/or tertiary care services.
  • have entry level competencies in supervision and consultation by evaluating, informing, and influencing service provided by mental health practitioners.
  • have entry level competencies in creating and implementing educational interactions between themselves and one or more clients or colleagues, with focus on an identified problem area or program of study. Such education may involve motivational enhancement, skill building, and / or knowledge development.

Ethics 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 health service 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 health service 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,  professional and health service standards is grounds for remediation, suspension, or expulsion.

A final derivation of the ethical code is that of suitability for health services work. 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. 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  health service 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 Clinical Psy.D. Department students to engage in health service 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 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 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. 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 or similar to themselves along these and other dimensions, especially when such personal reactions negatively impact clinical health service work, professional interactions, and ethical responsibilities. Such reflection may be required within the context of an advising relationship or some course assignments in the program, or a supervising relationship on practicum.

Earning a 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 Beginning Practicum (Diagnostic)
  • Successful completion of the following courses:
    • Professional Development Group I and II
    • Basic Psychopathology and Advanced Psychopathology
    • Intellectual Assessment
    • History and Systems of Psychology
    • Clinical and Diagnostic Interviewing
    • Psychology of the Lifespan I
    • Psychology of the Lifespan II
    • Personality Assessment
    • Professional Issues and Ethics
    • Diversity in Clinical Psychology I and II
    • Advanced Assessment
    • Basic Intervention: Psychodynamic
    • Basic Intervention: Cognitive-Behavioral
    • Basic Intervention: Existential-Humanistic
    • Basic Intervention: Systems


TCSPP’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program at XULA prepares graduates to sit for the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (the ‘psychology licensing exam’) administered by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards as required by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and meets all other programmatic eligibility requirements for licensure in the State of Louisiana and most other states. Students will complete foundational coursework in four intervention orientations (Cognitive Behavioral, Psychodynam­ic, Humanistic Existential, and Systems) and have the opportunity to tailor their coursework with focused study in Behavioral Medicine / Health Psychology or in Psychology in a Diverse and Multicultural Context to meet individual students’ educational and professional goals.

Practicum and Internship

The three year-long practicum experiences are an integral component of clinical training. They provide a closely supervised clinical experience in which students apply knowledge from the classroom and combine it with individual independent clinical knowledge seeking as they develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes to assess and diagnose client and systemic problems and to intervene in helpful ways. As such, practicum serves to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of the education of the professional health service psychologist-in-training. Finally, practicum affords students the opportunity to become familiar with case management, multidisciplinary collaboration, and consultation and supervision in a clinical health services setting.

All students are required to take six semester hours each of Basic and Intermediate Practicum (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 psychotherapy. Both practica require individual and group supervision at the practicum site, as well as small group seminars offered by the school.

Advanced practicum gives students the chance to focus more deeply on an area or population of particular interest, such as neuropsychology, children, or incarcerated persons. Advanced practicum students again receive site supervision but are often given more responsibility for cases and at times begin to serve as consultants and supervisors at their practicum sites. The accompanying small group seminars at the school also help develop skills in consultation and supervision as students near the end of their residency in the program. Advanced practicum is four semester hours.

More specific information can be found in the Program Guidebook.

Clinical Qualifying Examination (CQE)

Every student is required to pass the Clinical Qualifying Examination (CQE). The aim of the CQE is to evaluate the student’s knowledge of interviewing, psychopathology, and assessment and the ethical and cultural issues involved in diagnosing and assessing. The CQE has written and oral components and is given in basic seminar at the end of the spring semester in year 2. The CQE focuses on a diagnostic and assessment case from the student’s practicum work. Passing of the CQE is required for progressing to the Intermediate Practicum.

Clinical Competency Examination (CCE)

Every student is required to pass a Clinical Competency Examination (CCE). The CCE has written and oral components and is given in Beginning Practicum Seminar at the end of the spring semester in year three. The aim of the CCE, is to evaluate the student’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to theory, research, and practice in their chosen theory of intervention as practices in it an ethical and culturally sensitive manner. Passing of the CCE is required for progressing to advanced practicum.

More specific information can be found in the Program Guidebook.


All students are required to complete a dissertation. Under guidance of an experienced faculty member and with additional help from a second faculty member, the dissertation affords student’s the opportunity to spend two years to independently research an issue of professional interest they feel personally passionate about. As part of their dissertation, students conduct an exhaustive literature review, formulate hypotheses or questions to be answered, and create and execute a method to investigate, and finally combine empirically derived data with conceptual knowledge to reach conclusions about their hypotheses and answers to their questions. Communication of findings to the community of scholars is integral to this process and helps the student grow into a productive member of the profession and the field at large.

More specific information can be found 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, and culturally sensitive use of these skills in clinical practice. Through intensive supervised training, students gain direct experience in applying their knowledge with clinical populations and systems.

Internship consists of a minimum of 2,000 hours of training over 12-24 month (full or part time, respectively). Appropriate sites for internship are approved by the American Psychological Association (APA), members of the Association of Psychology Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral Internship Centers (APPIC), the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC), or are programs that offer equivalent training. 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 can be found in the Program Guidebook.

The Curriculum

Required Core: 94 credits

Intervention Orientation: 4 credits

Elective: 8 credits

Total Program: 106 credits

Required Core

Intervention Orientation Electives

One way students can individualize their training is through their choice of 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 each of the four Intervention Orientations. They then select either the Cognitive-Behavioral or Systems Intervention Orientation 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 it is through this alignment with one’s own beliefs that a student’s potential as a future health service 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 student may take an Advanced Intervention course from the same Intervention Track.

  • 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 Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention Orientation

Students who choose this intervention begin in the Basic Intervention course studying the basic building blocks of cognitive-behavioral theory, the major empirical findings, and the basics of treatment planning, case conceptualization, and evaluation of treatment efficacy. They then take two of the Advanced Intervention courses from among  the CBT courses below.

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 Advanced Intervention courses from among the Systems courses below.

Focus Area and General Electives:

Another way students can individualize their training is through their choice of Elective Courses. Each student takes 8 semester hours of electives. Students can choose to take freely choose from among all the electives offered including taking additional intervention electives from the list above both from within and outside their Intervention Orientation Area Students who wish to complete the requirements for one of the two Focus Areas (Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology and Psychology in a Diverse and Multicultural context) take all electives in their Focus Area.

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