History: Answering a Need. Starting a Movement.

The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) was founded in 1969 to fill a crucial need for quality professional training within the state and became one of the first free-standing professional schools of clinical psychology in the nation.

CSPP’s approach to psychology education was a first too: classroom learning integrated with application of knowledge in a variety of field placements, a radical departure from the prevalent focus on theory and research.

Growth and Growing Acclaim

The new school quickly earned its first accreditation and has gone on to earn further accreditations and accolades over the years. By the mid-1980s, the school had four campuses, all of which earned APA accreditation.


Mental Wellness for Individuals and Society

CSPP’s mission statement has multiple parts:

  • To provide the highest quality education, training, research and service in professional psychology and related human services fields.
  • To improve the quality of life by addressing major contemporary issues in a problem-solving way, by fostering respect for human diversity in a multicultural society and by combating discrimination in all of its forms, especially racism, sexism and heterosexism.
  • To exhibit the highest professional and ethical standards.
  • To address the needs of individuals and organizations.
  • To serve those who are underserved.


A Model of Training to Meet Multicultural Needs

CSPP founders were both visionary and practical. They created a school that gave graduates a strong academic grounding and the hands-on skills a practitioner needs. This model of professional training has been emulated over and over by schools across the country.

Serving Diverse Populations With “I-MERIT”

In demographically diverse California, those skills include the ability to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds. In keeping with our mission-driven commitment to multiculturalism, CSPP founded the Multicultural Education, Research, Intervention and Training (MERIT) Institute in 1991, which takes its current form as the International-Multicultural Education, Research, Intervention and Training (I-MERIT) institute at Alliant.

I-MERIT’s goals are to enhance and support multicultural academic and training activities on Alliant campuses through collaboration and coordination, as well as to promote multicultural research, interventions, educational activities, and the professional development of students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

Spotlight : From a CSPP Alumnus

Courtney Waldorf, alumna of CSPP San Diego, says of CSPP’s tight integration of field placement and academics:

“I chose CSPP because I wanted a close integration of field placement and academics. I think doctoral students at other schools get about 400 hours of field placement, around one third of what we get at CSPP. I have always thought that experience was what would make me successful in this field. And I’m so proud of my skills! I know that after I graduate I will have a huge network of people I can talk to who will help out. If that’s the school’s goal, they certainly accomplished it with me! I have been very happy with my education.”