Ph.D. in Psychology: Clinical
Ever since its initial accreditation by the APA in 1960, the Wayne State University Ph.D. program in clinical psychology has been widely recognized as a leader in the scientist-practitioner tradition. We proudly follow that model, as we educate highly skilled psychologists who competently provide a broad range of professional services, contribute to scientific development by conducting research, and disseminate knowledge effectively by educating and training others.
Our graduates routinely take positions of leadership and innovation in dealing with clinical problems within the context of the individual, the family, and the community. Our urban setting and commitment to addressing the needs of the underserved allow us to offer clinical training and research opportunities in numerous clinical settings with a wide variety of health problems across a broad spectrum of socioeconomic, ethnic, and cultural populations.
It is important to note that our students are prepared first as psychologists, second as clinical psychologists, and third as clinical psychologists with specific expertise. Thus, all students receive: a) discipline-specific knowledge in the broad areas of psychology; b) didactic and clinical training in psychopathology, ethics, assessment, and intervention across the age range and with diverse populations; and c) focused training in a specific minor area or concentration.
Our program currently offers intensive training in clinical neuropsychology and child/adolescent clinical psychology, with additional opportunities in clinical health psychology, clinical/community psychology, substance abuse/dependence, and trauma psychology. Our extensive network of affiliated faculty and facilities provides research and clinical training in many other areas, including infant mental health, gerontology, rehabilitation, forensics, and primary care.
Fall 2021 incoming class
We expect to recruit six to seven new students into the clinical psychology program. The following clinical faculty are open to recruiting students to mentor in research: Emily Grekin, Peter Lichtenberg, Mark Lumley, Lisa Rapport, Valerie Simon, Paul Toro, Christopher Trentacosta, and John Woodard.
Interviews for admission for the fall 2021 class will be conducted remotely this year, near the end of February 2021. We are not inviting applicants to our campus to interview for admission. Those applicants who receive offers of admission will be able to visit, if they wish, to help them decide whether or not to accept an offer.
Concentrations in clinical psychology
- Clinical neuropsychology
Our program has long been a national leader in clinical neuropsychology training. We are affiliated with APA Division 40 (neuropsychology) and provide education that is consistent with the Houston conference guidelines for training in clinical neuropsychology. Our program collaborates with Wayne State's Institute of Gerontology and is a member of the Council of Professional Gerontology Training Programs.
Students interested in this concentration are expected to complete courses in the biological basis of behavior, clinical neuropsychology, and neuropsychological assessment, and may take other courses such as Neuroscience and Neuroanatomy. These students receive clinical neuropsychology training at various placements in the Detroit area, such as the Rehabilitation Institute of Medicine, Ann Arbor VA, the University of Michigan Medical Center, Beaumont Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, and Children's Hospital, where they are supervised by neuropsychologists. Research related to neuropsychology is usually mentored by Drs. Lisa Rapport or John Woodard (and occasionally by Peter Lichtenberg), and for those interested in child/pediatric neuropsychology, by Dr. Sarah Raz.
- Child clinical psychology
Our program is a member of the Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Training Council (CCaPPTC). Students who wish to pursue a career working with children or adolescents typically complete advanced courses in child psychopathology and various courses related to developmental psychology.
A dual-title Ph.D. in infant mental health is also available. Students receive clinical training at the Children's Center, General Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (GPAM), Project Challenge at Children's Hospital, Hawthorn Center, The Guidance Center, and several private or group practices run by our alumni. Student research in child clinical psychology is usually mentored by Drs. Douglas Barnett, Christopher Trentacosta, Valerie Simon, or Rita Casey, as well as developmental psychologist, Marjorie Beeghly.
Other training foci
- Health psychology
Our program is a member of the Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs (CCHPTP). Students who wish to pursue careers in medically-oriented settings or health-related problems typically will take Health Psychology I and II and Biological Bases of Health Psychology. These students receive clinical training (and often conduct outside research) at Beaumont Family Medicine, Henry Ford Hospital, Beaumont Pain Clinic, and Wayne State Life Stress Center. Student research in health psychology is usually mentored by Dr. Mark Lumley as well as social health psychologist Dr. Samuele Zilioli.
- Community psychology
Students wishing to focus on community-based problems such as homelessness, poverty, serious mental illness, and related issues will usually complete Community Psychology or Theories and Methods of Program Evaluation, as well as courses outside the department (e.g., public health). These students receive clinical training in setting such as the Michigan Forensic Center, the Wayne State Counseling and Psychological Services center, and local community mental health organizations. Student research is usually mentored by Dr. Paul Toro.
- Substance abuse/dependence psychology
Students interested in this topic usually conduct research with Dr. Emily Grekin and possibly with other departmental faculty such as social psychologists Antonia Abbey, Catalina Kopetz, or Tim Bogg. Clinical training is typically conducted at Wayne State's Tolan Park Substance Abuse Program, which usually includes clinical research opportunities. Coursework in addictions can be taken in the psychiatry department.
- Trauma psychology
Trauma is the central focus of the research of Dr. Jennifer Gómez, who focuses particularly on her theory of cultural betrayal trauma. Dr. Mark Lumley also studies the health effects of stress and trauma. Clinical training opportunities include the Life Stress Center at Detroit Receiving Hospital, and the Trauma service at Henry Ford Hospital.
- Majoring in clinical psychology encompasses
- Discipline-specific knowledge about the biological, social, cognitive, affective, and developmental bases of behavior, along with the history of psychology
- Profession-wide competencies, including professional ethics, psychopathology, psychological assessment, psychological interventions, supervision and consultation, and research methods and statistics
- Clinical training at our in-house Psychology Clinic, external placements, and an accredited predoctoral internship
- Research training in faculty laboratories and sometimes at external training sites
- All of the above are conducted with substantial exposure to and training in individual and cultural diversity, ethical and legal standards, and communication and interpersonal skills
- About the program
Admission to our clinical psychology Ph.D. program is competitive. Each year, we receive about 200 to 250 applications, interview about 35 applicants, and admit about 10 to 14 applicants to obtain an incoming class of seven or eight students. Admitted applicants' undergraduate (or master's program) GPAs are always above 3.0 (and usually much higher), and they show evidence of strong language and writing skills as well as quantitative abilities (e.g., good grades in statistics or other math courses or evidence or statistical skill in their research).
Although we are a scientist-practitioner program, we are more research-oriented than many programs that follow this model; thus, experience in conducting research and interest in continuing to do so are vital and weighed heavily in admissions. Student match with our program's philosophy and with specific faculty research areas are also very important considerations. Potential applicants should consider the interests and expertise of our faculty, compare them to their own educational goals, and discuss this in their personal statement as well as identify potential mentors of interest on the application portal. Three letters of recommendation should provide us with valuable information about applicants' past level of achievement, their potential for excellence in academic, research, and clinical settings, and their emotional and interpersonal maturity to become a clinician.
It is important to note that we review applicants' entire portfolio to obtain a holistic picture of their backgrounds and unique characteristics. We seek applicants who demonstrate not only strong academic, research, and clinical potential, but also initiative, resilience, and leadership characteristics. We seek a diverse student body, and we give strong consideration to applicants whose backgrounds are under-represented in clinical psychology. We also seek applicants who are committed to improving the lives of urban populations, including ethnic/racial minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.
The program is year-round, intensive, and full-time; students often spend 60+ hours per week in program-related activities. Most of our students spend five years in residence before conducting a year-long internship in their sixth year, at the end of which they graduate. Students entering with a master's degree in psychology may spend one year less in the program (i.e., four years in residence and one year on internship). The department strives to ensure that all students who are making good progress are funded (a stipend plus almost all of their tuition) for the first four years, and students are routinely funded in their fifth year as well.
The Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Handbook provides extensive information about our program. We invite you to review this to learn more about our program. Applicants who are made an offer of admission to our program are expected to read this handbook and to endorse its content (including ethics policies) as a condition of admission.
As a member of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Training (CUDCP), our program adheres to CUDCP's policies and guidelines for graduate school admissions, offers and acceptance. For additional information about these policies, see the summary of CUDCP policy. More information about clinical psychology and application tips also can be found at clinicalpsychgradschool.org, offered by CUDCP.
The Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at Wayne State University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association through 2028. Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Questions about Wayne State's clinical psychology Ph.D. program should be directed first to our graduate officer, Alia Allen, and then if needed, to the program director of clinical training, Mark Lumley, Ph.D.