Emphasis Areas

All Clinical PhD program students obtain solid generalist education and training in preparation for professional practice. The PhD Clinical program provides advanced doctoral students with the opportunity to concentrate their elective choices in an area of special interest, if they wish to do so. There is no requirement to select an emphasis area, and students are allowed their choice of offered electives to suit their personal interests and aspirations. The Track and Emphasis options prepare one to pursue further specialization at the postdoctoral level. Emphasis elective courses are routinely offered at least once a year for all emphasis areas. Descriptions and examples of emphasis options are listed below. Refer to the catalog for more detailed curriculum information.

Health Track

Health Psychology is concerned with biopsychosocial factors related to health and illness, the individuals affected, and the health care providers and institutions that serve them. Students who elect the Health Psychology Track develop knowledge and skills that integrate the medical/biological domains and the psychological/social domains in order to provide a theoretical and practical foundation for the roles that clinical psychologists play in a variety of health care settings. Three courses are required to complete the Health Track.

Family/Child Psychology Emphasis

The Family/Child Psychology Emphasis is designed for students who are interested in developing proficiency in evaluation, treatment, and research with children and families. Courses are presented from various theoretical viewpoints including family-systems, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and lifespan development. You can expect your courses to include the study of ethnic and cultural issues as they affect the individual and the family. Faculty research interests include family violence, child abuse and neglect, adolescent development, childhood social competence and peer relationships

Forensic Psychology Emphasis

The Forensic Psychology emphasis focuses on the relationship and interdependency of law, social science, and clinical practice. It provides the basic foundation for post-graduate training for a career in forensic clinical psychology. The emphasis requires the completion of an introductory course in forensics, which acquaints the student with the nature of the legal system and the varied roles of psychologists within it. This introduction also includes training in the basics of testimony the preparation of a defensible report; the appropriate presentation of one’s qualifications; the persuasive presentation of psychological science to a judge, jury, or within an amicus brief; and the increased ability to withstand cross-examination. Additional courses address psychological assessment, violence, and antisocial behavior and other clinical topics. Students also have the option of taking an organizational psychology advanced seminar addressing conflict management or dispute resolution. Students are expected to address an issue in forensic psychology in their dissertation. They are also encouraged, but not required, to procure forensic training in their practicum or internship.

Psychodynamic Emphasis

The Psychodynamic Emphasis provides students with a coherent practical and theoretical framework to practice general psychology in a variety of settings with children and adults. The psychodynamic emphasis curriculum gives students exposure to coursework and supervision integrating object relations, self-psychology, analytic psychology, existential psychology, and cognitive, science-based approaches to unconscious processes. Coursework and supervision prepare students for further professional development and specialization beyond the doctorate.

Students in the Psychodynamic Emphasis area are required to complete at least three courses among the psychodynamic offerings, complete at least one practicum with psychodynamic supervision, complete a dissertation in an area pertinent to psychodynamic theory, research or application.