PhD in Clinical Psychology

Suffolk’s APA accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology provides systematic and cumulative training in the core competencies students need to pursue careers in practice, research, or academic settings.

Our program requirements reflect our adherence to the scientist-practitioner model and emphasize the value we place on evidence-based clinical work and practice-informed research. We are committed to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our program and in the broader community and we strive to prepare students to respectfully and effectively work with diverse individuals and groups.

View the curriculum

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

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org

Program Information

Our Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program manual [PDF] is available for download and contains detailed information regarding our program and faculty.

For details on application deadlines, application materials, tuition and program costs, and faculty mentors, please see our Admission page.

Licensure is required for independent practice as a clinical psychologist/ health service provider. Although completion of an APA accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology may assist students in the pursuit of licensure, program completion does not lead to licensure upon graduation. States and countries vary in licensure requirements and state laws, regulations, and policies may change at any time. Depending on where you reside, in addition to completion of an accredited educational program, applicants for licensure may be required to obtain additional supervised experience (e.g., a post-doctoral fellowship), complete an exam (e.g., The Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP), the MA Board of Registration of Psychologists Jurisprudence Exam), receive endorsements by other licensed professionals, or complete additional requirements.

We advise all applicants to contact the applicable state credentialing authority in the state you intend to reside in order to familiarize yourself with its specific requirements and determine if our program meets its eligibility criteria. Another potentially helpful resource is the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. Students currently in the doctoral program in clinical psychology are welcome to discuss questions you have about career planning with your research mentor and the DCT.

State Licensure

Suffolk University’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology currently meets the educational requirements qualifying graduates to be licensed to practice as a clinical psychologist in the following states, subject to satisfactorily meeting all other requirements for licensure in each state:

  • Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Connecticut; District of Columbia; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Louisiana, Maine, Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Mexico; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; and Wyoming

Suffolk’s program does not meet the educational requirements for licensure in the State of California. Students interested in obtaining a license to practice as a clinical psychologist in California should contact the California Board of Psychology to determine what additional educational requirements will need to be completed in order to obtain a license to practice as a clinical psychologist in California, subject to satisfactorily meeting all other requirements for licensure in that state.

Suffolk has not made a determination whether or not its program meets the educational requirements for licensure in the following states:

  • Kentucky; Michigan; New Jersey; New York; West Virginia; and Wisconsin

Students interested in obtaining a license to practice as a clinical psychologist in any of these states should contact the licensure body for that state to determine whether or not they need to complete any other educational requirements necessary to obtain a license to practice, in addition to satisfactorily meeting all other requirements for licensure in that state.

The overarching aim of our program is to prepare students for entry-level practice in clinical psychology. We draw from a scientist-practitioner model that emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between science and practice and underscores the value of practice that is evidence-based, and evidence that is practice-informed.

In pursuit of this aim, we have developed measurable goals that students in our program must meet in order to successfully complete the program. The required coursework, training, and experiential activities we offer to help students meet these learning goals as well as their relationship to the American Psychological Association’s Profession Wide Competencies are outlined in Appendix A of Clinical Program Student Manual.

Our aims/goals are that students will:

Aim (Learning Goal) 1: Acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of, and competence in, the provision of clinical service. 

Graduates from our program will be able to meet the following learning objectives:

  1. Evaluate, select, administer, interpret, and communicate psychological assessments in a manner that is informed by knowledge of the psychometric and empirical underpinnings of different methods and relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
  2. Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
  3. Develop, evaluate, and implement treatment plans that reflect both knowledge of empirically-based principles and an appreciation for individual client characteristics and contextual factors
  4. Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of models and methods of clinical supervision and consultation.
  6. Demonstrate ability to apply supervision models to practice and reflect and self-evaluate experience.

Aim (Learning Goal) 2: Acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of, and competence in, research.

Graduates from our program will be able to meet the following learning objectives:

  1. Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
  2. Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
  3. Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local, regional, or national level.

Aim (Learning Goal) 3: Acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding, knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and skill when working with diverse individuals and communities who embody a variety of cultural and personal backgrounds and characteristics across all professional roles and activities.

Graduates from our program will have developed the skills needed to meet the following learning objectives:

  1. Understand how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities), including the ability to apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own.
  4. Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base and ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups and apply this approach effectively in their professional work.

Aim (Learning Goal) 4: Acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of, and competence in, ethical and legal standards applicable to the science and practice of clinical psychology

Graduates from our program will have developed the skills needed to meet the following learning objectives:

  1. Be knowledgeable of, and act in accordance with, the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and relevant professional standards and guidelines.
  2. Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas.
  3. Conduct themselves in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

Aim (Learning Goal) 5: Acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of, and competence in, the professional values, attitudes and skills required of clinical psychologists.  

Graduates from our program will have developed the skills needed to meet the following learning objectives:

  1. Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.
  2. Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning and activities aimed at maintaining and improving performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
  3. Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  4. Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions
  6. Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
  7. Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

Please visit the Academic Catalog to view Program Requirements.

Focus Your Experience

The graduate psychology program at Suffolk University offers experiences in two specialty areas: Clinical Child Psychology and Neuropsychology. As defined by APA in their policy on Taxonomy for Health Service Psychology Specialties, experiences at the doctoral level include at least one or two specialized classes along with the opportunity to pursue practicum training in the area. See APA Education and Training Guidelines for more information about taxonomy in education and training.

Child-relevant training experiences occur in the context of primary mentoring relationships with faculty members whose research focuses on clinical child, required and elective coursework, and clinical training/practicum experiences.

Clinical Child Psychology

Clinical child is an area within in clinical psychology focused on the development and application of scientific knowledge to the delivery of clinical services to infants, toddlers, children and adolescents within their social context.

Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Gary Fireman
Dr. Amy Marks
Dr. Sarah Schwartz
Dr. David Langer

Examples of Recent Clinical Practica

Please note that practicum training opportunities may change from year to year. Application to advanced practicum training sites is competitive and placements are not guaranteed.

Practicum I and II Sites
Newton Public Schools

Students provide services to school-aged children with behavioral and emotional issues, issues related to academic performance, autism-spectrum disorders as well as children in need of assessment for learning disabilities. Depending on the site, students conduct some mix of individual assessment, individual psychotherapy and/or implement group/classroom intervention and prevention programs aimed at topics such as relational and physical aggression and acceptance of diversity.

New England Center for OCD and Anxiety (NECOA)

Students receive training and experience providing evidence-based care and consultation services for children, adolescents and adults struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders in an outpatient treatment. Students may also have the opportunity to conduct assessments, run groups, and conduct co-therapy with experienced therapists.

Bradley Hospital – Child and Adolescent Inpatient Units

Students conduct brief intakes, provide short-term, skills-focused psychotherapy, and run groups as part of a multidisciplinary team on an inpatient psychiatric unit treating high-risk children ages 3-12 or adolescents ages 13-18. There are opportunities to engage with a wide range of issues, including depression, PTSD, substance abuse, aggression, eating disorders, and psychosis, providing a diverse experience in conceptualization and treatment.

Recent Advanced Elective Practicum Placements
Boston Child Study Center

Students are provided with opportunities to provide evidence-based assessment (intake interviews, structured diagnostic clinical interviews, writing reports, giving feedback to clients), individual, family and group psychotherapy to children, adolescents, young adults, and their families.

Pediatric Psychology Training at Hasbro Children’s Hospital

Students gain training in pediatric psychology with children and adolescents with comorbid medical and psychological diagnoses. Training rotations include: Sibling Group Rotation, Pediatric Weight Management, Pediatric GI Disorders Rotation, Child and Adolescent Forensics, Hasbro 6 inpatient psychiatric medical unit, and the Hasbro Partial Hospital Program.

The Manville School at Judge Baker Children’s Center, Center for Effective Child Therapy

Students are trained in using evidence-based treatments for anxiety, depression, traumatic stress, and disruptive behavior in an outpatient mental health service program that serves children and adolescents ages 2-19.

Boston University CARD, Child and Adolescent Program

Students conduct diagnostic interviews and provide individual and group therapy with children, adolescents, and their parents.

Cambridge Health Alliance, Child and Adolescent Inpatient Program

As part of an interdisciplinary team, students provide assessment, individual, group, and family psychotherapy in an inpatient setting for acutely distressed children and adolescents with diagnoses including PTSD, attachment, mood, anxiety, autism spectrum, and psychotic disorders.

McLean 3 East Outpatient DBT Program for Adolescents and Young Adults

Students conduct assessments and deliver psychotherapy to suicidal teens and their families. Client population is varied by age, identified gender, SES, and comorbid diagnoses.

Sampling of Elective Courses

PSYCH 705 - Assessment I

The seminar aims to introduce you to the theory and practice of evidence-based social, emotional and behavioral assessment. To this end, specific issues we will cover include psychometric theory, cognitive abilities/intelligence testing, some classic assessment controversies, strengths and weaknesses of various assessment approaches, ethical and cultural issues, and the psychological assessment of children.

PSYCH 774 – Child Therapy

Examines the principles and practice of psychotherapy with children and adolescents. Delineates the similarities and differences between evidence based intervention approaches with youth as well as the various theoretical perspectives to which they are related.

PSYCH 784 – Seminar: the Development of Infants & Children in Poverty

Introduces students to the special issues that children growing up in poverty face. Theory and empirical research will be explored as well as specific contexts common to disadvantaged children (e.g., homelessness and abuse). In addition, we will examine individual resilience and the impact of environmental support in mitigating deleterious effects.

Links

APA's Division 7: Developmental Psychology
APA's Division 53: Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Mitch Prinstein's Advice for Applying to Graduate School in Child Clinical and Adolescent Psychology

The graduate psychology program at Suffolk University offers experiences in two specialty areas: Clinical Child Psychology and Neuropsychology. As defined by APA in their policy on Taxonomy for Health Service Psychology Specialties, experiences at the doctoral level include at least one or two specialized classes along with the opportunity to pursue practicum training in the area. See APA Education and Training Guidelines for more information about taxonomy in education and training.

The neuropsychology experience offers elements of the Houston conference guidelines for training students in neuropsychology. It also contributes to course requirements for board certification in clinical neuropsychology (i.e., ABPP-CN).

Clinical Neuropsychology 

Clinical neuropsychology is the science of brain-behavior relationships, and clinical neuropsychologists specialize in the assessment and treatment of individuals of all ages with dysfunction of the central nervous system. Biological bases of behavior is one of the most productive research areas with applications in education, vocational, rehabilitation, medical, psychiatric, and forensic settings.

Clinical Practica in Neuropsychology

Practicum I and II Sites 
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry

Practicum students are placed in the Department of Psychiatry at this major Boston teaching hospital. Trainees develop and refine skills in neuropsychological assessment of adult outpatients. Trainees get experience assessing a range of psychiatric and neurological conditions, including dementia, degenerative disorders, ADHD, learning disabilities, development disorders and traumatic brain injury. The practicum students gain skills in all areas of neuropsychological evaluation, including interviewing, testing, scoring, report writing, and giving feedback to patients. In addition to individual supervision, training occurs through didactic seminars.

Recent Advanced Practicum Placements
VA Boston Healthcare Center, Neuropsychology Rotation

Practicum students typically see 1 patient per week for neuropsychological evaluation and gain experience in interviewing, test administration, scoring, interpretation, report preparation and feedback to patients, patient families and referral source. The primary clinical setting is the neuropsychology consultation service. Students attend weekly case conferences, monthly Neurobehavioral Rounds, and Neuropsychology didactics.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Psychology Assessment Center

This advanced clinical neuropsychology practicum is a one-year program designed to provide extensive clinical training in neuropsychology. Students are provided with supervised training in neuropsychological test administration and scoring and provides an opportunity for students to formulate cases and participate in report writing, and provide feedback to clients within the context of working within multidisciplinary teams within the hospital. The population includes adult and pediatric populations with a variety of neurological, psychological, developmental and medical conditions.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Behavioral Neurology Unit

Practicum students are involved in the neuropsychological evaluation of adult patients with a variety of neurological problems including learning and attention disorders, head injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative disorders. The practicum students will gain skills in all areas of neuropsychological evaluation, including interviewing, testing, scoring, report writing, and feedback to patients. Additional experience may be obtained in running cognitive remediation groups, presenting patients at weekly rounds, and participation in didactic seminars.

Neurobehavioral Clinic at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

As part of an interdisciplinary team, neuropsychology practicum students gain experience conducting intake interviews, cognitive assessments, and neuropsychological assessments with adults who have moderate to severe acquired brain injury. Students also gain experience writing reports and giving feedback to clients. Weekly didactics are offered through the neurobehavioral clinic.

Neuropsychology Division, Edith Nourse Rogers, Memorial VAMC

Practicum students work with veterans who present with suspected memory disorders. Students learn to administer and interpret the results of a wide variety of neuropsychological instruments over the course of the year. The neuropsychology service utilizes a flexible battery approach and, as such, students have the opportunity to learn which instruments are appropriate for answering a variety of referral questions. Students will also participate in patient feedback with the aid of their supervisor.

Research

All students in the doctoral program at Suffolk University are required to complete both an Early Research Project (similar to a master's thesis) and doctoral dissertation. For those students in the neuropsychology concentration, both thesis and dissertation are expected to be on a topic in neuropsychology under the mentorship of one of the two Suffolk faculty focused in neuropsychology:

David Gansler, Ph.D., ABPP/ABCN
Dr. Matthew Jerram, Ph.D. 

Curriculum

PSYCH 706 - Assessment II

The goal of this course is to serve as a foundation for clinical practice and research activity in the important area of clinical neuropsychological assessment and psychological assessment. It serves to introduce the student to the techniques, methods and theories relevant to the practice of neuropsychological and psychological assessment.

PSYCH 792 - Introduction to Neuropsychology and the Clinical Neurosciences

Basic introduction to the specialty of neuropsychology. The scope of neuropsychology, the difference between neuropsychology and related difference and subspecialties, different historical and theoretical approaches to neuropsychology, as well as credential requirements for the practice of neuropsychology. Introduction to research techniques used to investigate brain-behavior relationships, ethical issues, and the role of the neuropsychologist in clinical and rehabilitation settings. By the end of the course, students will demonstrate a basic knowledge of the nervous system, the role of neurotransmitters, brain structures and associated functions, an understanding of how different instruments are used to assess those functions, and how neuropsychological interventions are formulated and implemented. 

Useful Links in Neuropsychology

Neuropsychology Central
APA Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology)
International Neuropsychological Society (INS)
National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN)
Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society (MNS)
Houston Guidelines for Eligibility for Special Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology
Association of Neuropsychology Students in Training (ANST)

Courses & Requirements

Learn more about the classes, requirements, and different options available to complete the program.

Clinical Psychology
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