A Practitioner-Scholar Program

The APA-Accredited Clinical PsyD Program in Sacramento offers doctoral education and training in clinical psychology consistent with a practitioner-scholar model. The program, designed primarily for students interested in the professional practice of clinical psychology, emphasizes clinical skills and the application of research knowledge with diverse populations in a wide range of settings.

Clinical PsyD Program in Sacramento train students to become clinical psychologists who will bring critical thinking and active problem solving skills to bear on human problems and who will be able to intervene effectively, using multiple methods of evidence-based assessment and intervention with diverse populations, across many settings, in changing and evolving contexts. Although students receive a thorough grounding in traditional clinical assessment and intervention, they are also trained to consider the role of diverse systems in creating and/or remedying individual and social problems. The Sacramento PsyD faculty is committed to offering a broad array of elective courses reflecting theory, assessment, and intervention across a variety of systems, especially across cultural systems.

Program Competencies and Elements

The Clinical PsyD Program in Sacramento has nine competencies with related elements that form the basis for the practitioner-scholar model. The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, supervised research experiences, and comprehensive examinations. 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.


  • Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.

Ethical and Legal Standards

  • Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following: 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.
  • Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas.
  • Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

Individual and Cultural Diversity

  • An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  • 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.
  • 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).

Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behavior

  • 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
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.

Communications and Interpersonal Skills

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.


  • Demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology.
  • Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal, and cultural).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the assessment and/or diagnostic process.
  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective.
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.


  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking.
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.


    • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.
    • Demonstrate the ability to integrate supervision into professional practice.

Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of consultation models and practices.

Duration and Requirements

During the PsyD in Clinical Psychology program students are evaluated on progressive developmental stages of their training. The evaluation begins prior to admission and includes evaluation of a student’s readiness for practicum training, readiness for internship, and readiness for practice. The PsyD degree program requires a minimum of 90 academic units (3 years, full time), 30 internship units (1 year, full time), and 30 hours of personal therapy completed with a licensed clinical psychologist. Students typically advance to candidacy following their 2nd year and may not apply for internship until they have met all the following requirements for advancement to candidacy.

  1. Successful completion of 60 units of graduate study, including demonstration of the following key areas through the successful completion of the associated courses: assessment [Intellectual Assessment, Personality Assessment I & II]; diagnosis [Advanced Psychopathology], psychological theory [Theories of Personality & Psychotherapy], intervention [Introduction to Psychotherapy and 1 of the required psychotherapy courses]; and law and ethics [Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law].
  2. Competency in Discipline-Specific Knowledge (DSK) integration through successful completion of a written exam synthesizing information from at least two DSK areas (Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior, Biological Foundations, Developmental, Social Bases of Behavior)
  3. Successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Defense; and
  4. Integrated clinical competency demonstrated by the successful completion of the Clinical Competency Progress Review (CPPR)

Earn Emphasis in Correctional Psychology

PsyD students of the Clinical Psychology program in Sacramento may specialize their degrees with an emphasis in correctional psychology. This emphasis prepares students with the specialized knowledge, skills and experience to effectively work as members of treatment teams in often difficult environments and provides a curriculum that incorporates this knowledge, skill set and experiences. In order to complete the emphasis, students are required to take their eight units of elective coursework in this emphasis area, complete at least one year-long practicum in a setting providing treatment to offenders, and focus their dissertation on a topic related to correctional psychology. These elective courses are also available individually for students who wish to include an exposure to this specialty area in their curriculum but do not want to dedicate all of their elective units and/or dissertation topic to this area of clinical practice.

Read the following for more information on how to specialize your degree with an emphasis in correctional psychology.


The California School of Professional Psychology’s PsyD in Clinical Psychology program in Sacramento 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, Sacramento, 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
Email: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

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Explore the Sacramento Clinical Psychology PsyD program in more detail.