Program Overview

San Francisco’s APA-accredited PhD in Clinical Psychology program at Alliant International University features a scholar-practitioner model that prepares students both to become broadly trained practitioners and to conduct a wide-range of psychological research. Graduates are equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to contribute to the ever-growing body of psychological literature.

By infusing social justice concerns and multicultural perspectives throughout the curriculum, the San Francisco Clinical Psychology program provides students with the knowledge, skills, and professional attitudes necessary to evaluate psychological functioning and provide effective interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings.

An exciting range of career paths is open to those with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, including:

  • Clinical practice
  • Applied research
  • Teaching
  • Consulting
  • Administration


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Emphasis Areas

Our multicultural program emphasizes research and clinical training equally in cutting-edge areas with special strengths in the following areas:

Multicultural Community Psychology and Program Evaluation

  • Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology
  • Gender Studies & LGBT Psychology
    (Psychology of Women, Men, Gender Roles, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues)

Multicultural Study, LGBT Psychology, Gender Studies

  • Multicultural Study
  • LGBT Psychology

Multicultural Community Psychology, Program Evaluation, Social Justice

  • Multicultural Community Psychology
  • Substance Abuse
  • Advocacy, Public Policy, Social Justice

Trauma, Stress, Resilience, Health Psychology

  • Stress, Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Resilience
  • Health Psychology

Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology

  • Child
  • Adolescent
  • Family

Learn more about these Emphasis Areas here.

Program Information

Program Competencies

All students are expected to acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of and competence in the following nine profession-wide competency 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

The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify knowledge, attitudes, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program.

Discipline-Specific Knowledge

In addition, all students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:

  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior.
  • Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology.
  • Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.

San Francisco Program Features

Our APA-accredited Clinical Psychology program emphasizes research and clinical training equally, with special strengths in:

  • Multicultural Psychology, Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Psychology, and Gender Studies
  • Community Psychology, Substance Abuse, Program Evaluation, and Social Justice
  • Trauma, Stress, Resilience, and Health Psychology
  • Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology

Because of the extensive Clinical Psychology courses offered at the San Francisco PhD in Clinical Psychology program, students are able to develop in-depth expertise in one or more of these orientations by selecting sections of required courses, elective courses, clinical practica (field placements), and supervisors that emphasize a specific theoretical orientation in therapy.

Students in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program at the San Francisco campus also have the unique opportunity to gain real-world experience through a variety of field placements. At the Bay Area Psychological Services Center, Organizational Consulting Center and the CSPP Psychological Assessment Clinic, Clinical Psychology doctoral students can develop practical skills by providing real-world mental health services to under-served populations. For more information, visit the San Francisco Bay Area Community Services and Placements page.

Research Seminars

All students enroll in a research seminar during their first year and continue for at least three years, and until they complete a dissertation proposal. This intimate, small-group setting, with groups comprised of students in all years of the program, gives students a chance to work with faculty members on areas of shared interest and faculty expertise.

Applied Research Fellow Opportunities

We have special applied research Fellowship opportunities with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) allowing students in this special Fellows program to have access and work with the research division of the SFDPH who has a unique integrated database system as well as independently funded projects.

Additionally, there are several core faculty who have their own funded projects where students can engage in the research and program evaluation activities of these projects while being mentored by our core faculty.

Professional Clinical Training

Students begin their professional clinical training in their second year in community mental health centers, clinics, inpatient mental health facilities, medical settings, specialized service centers, rehabilitation programs, residential or day programs, forensic/ correctional facilities, and educational programs. In their third year and often fourth year, students continue clinical training or a clinical research practicum experiences. Students typically receive a minimum of 1600 hours of clinical training prior to internship.

The Bay Area offers an enormous range of training opportunities, in service of individuals representing diverse populations. Students have conducted field placements in many diverse agencies, including: Veteran’s Affairs, Kaiser Permanente, and community mental health clinics.

Unique Research Training

In addition to clinical and teaching practica, students are involved in research practica that are coordinated by our core faculty. Over the course of four years, via two student-led and student-designed research projects students learn how to apply skills they have learned in statistics and research design to actual research projects. These projects involve faculty expertise primarily in the areas of multicultural and community psychology, LGBT psychology, gender studies, program evaluation, social justice, trauma, stress and resilience, and child and family development.


The California School of Professional Psychology’s San Francisco Clinical Psychology PhD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of 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 information. We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (.pdf)

The California School of Professional Psychology’s Clinical Psychology PhD and PsyD programs offered on the Fresno, Sacramento, 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

Our Campus Location

Alliant International University
1 Beach Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
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Why Alliant

At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve the lives of people in diverse cultures and communities around the world. Our Vision is an inclusive world empowered by Alliant alumni.

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The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) is Alliant’s cornerstone school and was built on a legacy of thought leadership, multicultural competence, and quality of care. CSPP’s programs pair hands-on professional practice with academic rigor in order to prepare the next generation of psychologists and mental health care professionals.

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