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    The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  Mar 26, 2023
2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2017-2018 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [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 Accreditation

The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at the Washington DC Campus is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

The American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002-4242


The 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.

Program Learning Outcomes

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

Professional Practice

  • Demonstrate competency in conducting evidence-based assessment consistent with the scope of Health Service Psychology.
  • Provide effective interventions derived from a variety of theoretical orientations or approaches. The level of intervention includes those directed at an individual, a family, a group, an organization, a community, a population or other systems.
  • Intentionally collaborate with other individuals or groups to address a problem, seek or share knowledge, or promote effectiveness in professional activities.
  • Understand how to act as role models, provide mentoring and monitoring of trainees and others in the development of competence and skill in professional practice, provide effective evaluation of those skills, and maintain responsibility for the activities they oversee.


  • Develop the ability to conduct all professional activities with sensitivity to human diversity, including the ability to deliver high quality services to an increasingly diverse population, and demonstrate knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and skills when working with diverse individuals and communities who embody a variety of cultural and personal background and characteristics

Professional Behavior

  • Understand principles of ethical legal behavior; integrate and adhere to the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, as well as relevant laws, regulations, rules and policies through the application of sound ethical reasoning.
  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, engage in self-reflection regarding their personal and professional functioning, actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback, and progressively respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence.
  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, demonstrate proficiency at expressive and receptive communication, and demonstrate effective interpersonal skills.


  • Demonstrate knowledge, skills, and competence sufficient to produce new knowledge, to critically evaluate and use existing knowledge to solve problems, and to disseminate research.”


The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program at the Washington D.C. campus aligns with degree, coursework, and supervised clinical experience requirements for eligibility for clinical psychologist licensure in Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland. Prior to applying for licensure in these jurisdictions, students must complete a minimum number of hours of post-doctoral supervised professional experience. Candidates for licensure must apply for and pass the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), and in Maryland, the state jurisprudence examination is also required. All candidates must complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check.   

For further information about licensure please visit the Washington D.C. Department of Health.  

For further information about licensure in Virginia, please visit the Virginia Board of Psychology.   

For further information about license in Maryland, please visit the Maryland Board of Examiners of Psychologists

The Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program may meet some or all of the requirements of other states, but additional coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements. Some state licensing requirements include the following: post-graduate field work, additional didactic training, examination, and application for license. It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements of states not listed above. Students should contact the specific state licensing board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure. A list of state board contact information is available via the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

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. However, the GPA of students who have successfully completed a Master’s degree will also be considered at the program’s discretion. 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 transfer on a case-by-case basis. Based on the evaluation of these materials selected candidates may be invited to interview for further consideration of their application. Please see the application for detailed instructions and information regarding application requirements, application deadlines, and letters of recommendation. Applications must be submitted with a $50 (US) fee in order to be evaluated.

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 and in order to secure a place in the incoming class, a non-refundable tuition deposit of $250 will be required by the deposit deadline indicated in the offer of admission. The non-refundable deposit will be applied in full toward the student’s tuition upon enrollment

Degree Completion Requirements

  • Successful completion of 106 credit hours of coursework
  • Successful completion of Year 2 600-hour basic practicum
  • Successful completion of Year 3 600-hour intermediate practicum
  • Successful completion of Year 4 600-hour advanced practicum
  • Successful completion of Clinical Competency Evaluation
  • Successful completion of Dissertation
  • Successful completion of 2,000 hour internship


The following policies are located under Academic Policies and Procedures : Academic Calendar, Admissions Requirements, Attendance, Satisfactory Academic Progress, Service Learning, and Transfer Credit/Course Waiver. Click the link above for detailed information.

Ethical Guidelines

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.

Students shall not perform any function that exceed their level of training. Students shall ensure that the appropriate malpractice insurance is in effect prior to their commencement of any clinical practice. In addition,  students 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

A student in the Psy.D. Clinical Psychology program may earn an M.A. Clinical Psychology following the successful completion of required coursework and specific program requirements.  At the beginning of the semester in which a student expects to be eligible for the master’s degree, they are required to submit a Petition for Degree Conferral to the Office of the Registrar. The petition is a request to conduct an audit to determine eligibility for the degree. A student who meets the requirements is eligible to participate in the next scheduled commencement. A student who files a Petition for Degree Conferral is charged a fee.

The specific requirements for award of a Master of Arts degree for the general Program student are as follows:

Academic and Financial Aid Good Standing

Successful completion of practicum (PY 478D ,

 , and  )

Successful completion of the following courses:

  • Professional Development Group I and II (  and  )
  • Psychopathology I and Psychopathology II (PY 420D  and PY 421D )
  • Cognitive Assessment (PY 432D )
  • 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 ( )


Students participate in three years of organized, sequential, and well-supervised practicum experiences that increasingly expose them to the range of roles and responsibilities of a clinical psychologist.  All practicum experiences are an extension of the students’ academic coursework, and are defined by an annual training agreement that details such things as supervisory contact information, duration of training experience, available clinical activities, and methods of evaluating the students’ performance and the site’s training program.

Situated in the nation’s capital, students in the Program have access to a diverse selection of practicum sites that offer experiences consistent with the Program’s values and training goals.  Sample placement sites include hospitals, community mental health clinics, college counseling centers, and forensic settings.  The Practicum requirements include:

  • Year 2: 600-hour basic practicum
  • Year 3: 600-hour intermediate practicum
  • Year 4: 600-hour advanced practicum

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.  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.  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.

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, practica, 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

On average, a student who progresses successfully through the academic program should expect to complete the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology degree in five academic years. The recommended plan is for four years of coursework followed by a full-time internship. A student must complete all degree requirements within seven academic years. For information on program extension, please see the Program Guidebook.

Required Core: 92 credit hours

Intervention Orientation: 4 credit hours

Electives: 10 credit hours

Program Total

Psy.D. Clinical Psychology, Washington D.C.: 106 credit hours

Required Core

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 Area of Study

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

Forensic Area of Study

The Forensic area of study 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.

Extension Courses

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