Help Move Clinical Psychology Forward

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


The Ph.D. Program has adopted a series of three aims, nine competencies and related elements designed to implement its philosophy and meet the overall program aims. 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 attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program and perceptions, feelings, and professional achievements alumni are expected to report as they pursue their profession. The elements are the expected specific outcomes for each of the respective competencies.

AIM 1: To educate students to conduct applied research and to be grounded in, and contribute to, the knowledge base of psychology.

AIM 2: To prepare students to be effective professional psychologists skilled at evaluating theoretical and scientific knowledge, psychological functioning and providing efficacious interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings. We define diversity in keeping with Principle E of the 2010 amended version of the 2002 “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct”, as reflecting individual, role, and cultural differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, socioeconomic status, and other differences.

: To prepare ethical and responsible professional psychologists who are able to work collaboratively with other professionals, as well as take on multiple roles, in varied settings and develop attitudes and skills essential for lifelong learning and productivity.

Competency 1: Research

1a: Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities that are of sufficient quality and rigor to contribute to the scientific, psychological or professional knowledge base.
1b: Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
1c: Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activities via professional presentations and publications at the local, regional, and national level.

Competency 2: Ethical and Legal Standards

2a: Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with the current version of APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.
2b: Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, state, regional, and federal levels.
2c: Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with relevant professional standards and guidelines.
2d: Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

Competency 3: Individual and Cultural Diversity

3a: An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
3b: Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity, including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.
3c: 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).

Competency 4: Professional Values and Attitudes

4a: 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.
4b: Engage in self-reflection; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being and professional effectiveness.
4c: Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
4d: Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with an increasingly greater degree of independence as they progress through levels of training.

Competency 5: Communication and Interpersonal Skills

5a: Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, and those receiving professional services.
5b: Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications; demonstrate a grasp of professional language and concepts.
5c: Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

Competency 6: Assessment

6a: Select and apply assessment methods that draw from empirical literature; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods.
6b: Interpret assessment results to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations.
6c: Communicate, orally and in written documentation, the findings and implications of an assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a diverse range of clients and audiences.

Competency 7: Intervention

7a: Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
7b: Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.
7c: Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature.
7d: Apply the relevant research literature to critical decision-making.
7e: Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.
7f: Evaluate intervention effectiveness.

Competency 8: Supervision

8a: Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.
8b: Demonstrate the ability to integrate supervisor feedback into professional practice

Competency 9: Consultation, Interprofessional Interdisciplinary skills

9a: Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
9b: Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices.

In addition to specific aims, competencies, and elements, the program also aims to instruct all students on discipline-specific knowledge, that is the basic content areas that comprise the field of clinical psychology. Consistent with APA Accreditation standards, the program considers it critically important to train and evaluate student effectiveness in the following areas:

Discipline-Specific Knowledge

Category 1: History & Systems of Psychology and Basic Content Areas in Scientific Psychology

1a: History & Systems of Psychology
1b: Affective Aspects of Behavior
1c: Biological Aspects of Behavior
1d: Cognitive Aspects of Behavior
1e: Developmental Aspects of Behavior
1f: Social Aspects of Behavior

Category 2: Research and Quantitative Methods and Advanced Integrative Knowledge in Scientific Psychology

2a: Advanced Integrative Knowledge of Basic Discipline-Specific Content Issues
2b: Research Methods
2c: Quantitative Methods
2e: 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. We are currently developing more research opportunities with VA Facilities that should be formalized by Fall of 2016.

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.


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 Learn More

An exciting career awaits you as a scholarly practitioner of clinical psychology. Explore the San Francisco Clinical Psychology PhD program in more detail by contacting an Admissions Counselor today at 866-825-5426.