Aims of the PhD Program

The Fresno PhD in Clinical Psychology focuses on students achieving nine specific aims through the development of clinical, research, and teaching competencies. The aims are as follows:

  • To produce students/graduates who are competent in integrating the foundations of scientific psychology in all of their work as clinical psychologists.
  • To produce students/graduates who are competent in research and evaluation.
  • To produce students/graduates competent in developing and maintaining constructive professional relationships.
  • To produce students/graduates who demonstrate competence in understanding and engaging in diversity.
  • To produce students/graduates competent in assessment skills as an ongoing process that informs and guides professional practice.
  • To produce students/graduates competent in intervention skills.
  • To train students/graduates who will engage in lifelong learning and ongoing professional development.
  • To prepare students/graduates to be competent supervisors and consultants.
  • To produce students/graduates competent in being teachers of psychology at the university level.

Profession-Wide Competencies

There are specific profession-wide competency areas in which students must acquire and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills. These competencies identify knowledge, attitudes, and skills students must achieve to graduate from the program. These include the following areas:

  • Research
  • Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional Values and Attitudes
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

Students demonstrate their competencies in these areas through the academic and training components of coursework, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research and teaching experiences. Student progress in achieving these competencies is monitored regularly throughout the year across all these components.

Program-Specific Competencies

Students are also expected to demonstrate competency in the area of teaching.

Discipline-Specific Knowledge

Students must also acquire discipline-specific knowledge and demonstrate understanding in these areas:

  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • Foundational science domains of Psychology including biological, cognitive-affective, development, and social aspects of behavior
  • Advanced integrative knowledge across foundational domains of psychology
  • Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.

Highly Developed Skills to Serve Highly Multicultural Populations

The Fresno Clinical PhD program introduces students to the ethical values and orientation of the professional psychologist and provides a background in the psychological, biological and sociocultural factors that influence human behavior. Students develop clinical, research and teaching competencies and build the technical skills to work effectively with diverse populations in clinical settings.

Treating Human Beings, Seeing Human Systems

Our program takes a systemic approach to analysis and intervention, examining the role of ecosystemic contributions such as family, ethnicity, religious practice, medical and legal issues and access to social privileges amongst others.  In addition to training students in the role of clinical psychologist, we emphasize the important role of psychologists as consultants, community advocates and contributors of social change.

Special Fresno Program Features

Students in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program in Fresno can choose between three areas of emphasis to direct their studies:

Doctoral students in the Fresno Clinical Psychology program also have the opportunity to gain practical skills by providing mental health services through the W. Gary Cannon Psychology Service Center, as well as through local psychology internships. For more information, visit the Fresno Area Community Services and Placements page.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Our Ecosystemic Play Therapy Training Center was approved (2012) as an Association for Play Therapy Approved Center of Play Therapy Education Program. Ours is one of only 15 such centers in the country and the only one housed in a clinical psychology doctoral program
  • Dr. Kevin O’Connor received a Lifetime’s Achievement award from the Association of Play Therapy, for his outstanding contribution to the field of child and adolescent therapy


The California School of Professional Psychology’s Fresno Clinical Psychology PhD program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), which requires that we provide data on time to completion, program costs, internships, attrition, and licensure. Please follow the link below for that data. We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study.


The California School of Professional Psychology’s Clinical Psychology PhD and PsyD programs offered on the Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco campuses are individually accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA).
*Questions related to a 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

Ready to Take the Next Step?

As you can see, our PhD Clinical Psychology program in Fresno possesses many aims for our students to best prepare them for their futures as clinical psychologists. For more information about these aims or for answers to any of your questions, please contact a CSPP admission’s counselor today at 866.825.5426.