The Program in Clinical Psychology consists of a minimum of five years of full-time study. Please feel free to consult the Doctoral Student Resources Page for more detailed information on all of these points. The requirements are as follows:
- Completion of 72 credits
There are 24 (3-credit) courses and 2 required labs to be completed within the first three years of the program for full-time students. A full-time course load is 12 credits.
- Completion of practicum experiences
Two years of practicum experience are required of our doctoral students beginning in their second academic year; a third year is optional, but recommended. Students receive weekly supervision by professionals at their practicum sites and attend a weekly practicum seminar at Suffolk where they are able to integrate their practical experiences and educational training within the program. Students receive extensive individual supervision that is consistent with the student’s level of training, contact hours, and case load.
- Completion of teaching assistantships
The curriculum requires all students to participate as Teaching Apprentices (TA) for the first 4 semesters of their graduate study. TAs are paired with advanced graduate student lecturers and professors to receive mentorship and experience in a broad-range of teaching-related skills. Students are not paid to serve as TAs; the responsibilities associated with the position are designed to prepare students for potential careers as instructors/professors or other forms of scholarship. In addition, there are orientation and teaching training seminars offered during the first 4 semesters of graduate studies which all TAs must attend. The seminars are designed to provide instrumental and interpersonal support for students as they build teaching and presentation skills.
- Early Research Project
Students are not admitted into the Clinical Psychology Program for a terminal master’s degree. A master’s degree is granted, however, usually after the second year, once the student has completed 48 credits of course work and the Early Research Project. These projects provide students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in research and statistics courses by pursuing research under the supervision of a faculty member who serves as the major advisor; on the recommendation of this advisor, students will deliver an oral presentation to the department and submit a written report on their research project.
- Comprehensive examination
All students are expected to complete the department’s clinical comprehensive examination following the successful completion of Prac II and during the third academic year. The examination consists of a written case report (students choose a therapy case, a psychological assessment case, or a neuropsych assessment case) and an oral defense of the report and work with the client. The comprehensive examination must be satisfactorily completed for the students to participate in the APPIC pre-doctoral internship match. The director of clinical training will not approve any internship placement nor complete any forms related to internship application of placement until the comprehensive examination has been passed.
- A doctoral dissertation
The dissertation is conceptualized as an original empirical project that makes a substantive contribution to the knowledge base of clinical psychology. A major advisor and a doctoral committee that consists of two other members of the research faculty supervise the dissertation. The committee is responsible for approving the proposal, overseeing data collection and analysis, and reviewing the final written draft. The doctoral committee must approve the formal dissertation and a departmental oral defense must also be completed. The oral proposal defense must be successfully completed for students to receive permission to apply for internship.
- An internship
Doctoral students shall complete an APA and APPIC approved pre-doctoral internship. These are typically one year of full time training (at least 1600 hours). In order to apply for a pre-doctoral internship, students must have successfully completed the Early Research Project, submitted the dissertation literature review, passed the clinical comprehensive examination, and successfully completed the dissertation proposal. Additionally, a minimum of 72 credits must have been completed with satisfactory grades before the student may apply for a pre-doctoral internship, including PSYCH: 711, 716, 717, 718, 719, 721, 722, 723, 738, 739, 740, 741, 764, and 792, the additional intervention, diversity, and developmental requirements. The pre-doctoral internship may take place at an APA-approved site or at a site that has written approval of the Director of Clinical Training and meets all of the requirements as defined in the Program Manual.
For psychologists to competently serve all members of the public now and in the future, professional psychology training programs strive to ensure that psychology trainees demonstrate acceptable levels of knowledge, skills, and awareness to work effectively with diverse individuals. An important component of psychology training to explore is when and how trainees’ world views, beliefs or religious values interact with and even impede the provision of competent professional services to members of the public. It is essential that potential conflicts be acknowledged and addressed during training so that psychologists are prepared to beneficially and non-injuriously interact with all clients/patients. For more information, please see the APA statement on preparation to serve a diverse public, linked in our Clinical Training Resources section.