Ph.D. in Psychology: Clinical curriculum


In addition to the department's general requirements and curriculum for the Ph.D. degree, students in the clinical program must satisfy additional criteria established by the APA for accredited programs in health service psychology. Clinical program students are required to take History and Systems, at least one course in each of four discipline-specific knowledge areas, and an advanced, integrative course.

Clinical students also complete the following series of courses:

  • Psychopathology
  • Psychological Assessment I and II
  • Research Methods in Clinical Psychology
  • Practicum in Psychological Assessment (three semesters)
  • Therapeutic Interventions I and II
  • Practicum in Therapeutic Interventions (three semesters)
  • Ethical Issues in Clinical Psychology (three one-hour seminars)

Research training

At a minimum, all clinical psychology graduate students complete a formal master's thesis (unless transferring in one from another graduate program) and a doctoral dissertation. Yet, our scientist-practitioner program encourages and supports students' efforts to enhance their research skills and productivity by participating in activities beyond those that are required. We have extensive collaborations with many research institutes, hospitals, schools, and community organizations as well as other faculty in the psychology department to provide students with a broad array of opportunities in research.

Supervised clinical training

Clinical training consists of practicum courses, internal and external practicum training, and a predoctoral internship. The internal practicum courses in assessment and psychological intervention operate as part of the Psychology Clinic, which is run by our training program. The Wayne State University Psychology Clinic is used for training purposes throughout students' graduate years. Clinical graduate students learn about the Clinic and how to conduct assessments in their first year. In their second year, they conduct a psychological assessment practicum, and in their third year, an intervention (therapy) practicum. Students often pursue advanced training in dialectical behavior therapy and other approaches and participate in supervision training in their last year on campus. Supervision is provided by our core clinical faculty (rather than outsiders), who maintain many different theoretical orientations to both assessment and intervention. The clinic serves a very ethnically-diverse, socioeconomically-challenged population of children, adults, couples, and families from the community. In September of 2019, we moved into a newly renovated clinic on the main campus (Rands House and Annex), which is equipped with video equipment to facilitate supervision and students' training.

Students' clinical training also is greatly strengthened by a network of approximately 25 external practicum placements. Students are required to conduct at least one such externship but usually conduct at least two, usually in their third and fourth years of the program. These external placements range from one day to three days per week, and some of them pay the student a stipend directly to the student. Many of these placements are noted below. Students apply for these placements in January and usually participate in them for a year, starting in September.

Finally, the required predoctoral internship consists of one year of full-time training in an APA-accredited internship program. Successful completion of the internship is required for the conferral of the doctoral degree.