Emphasis Areas

In order to obtain an emphasis in any one of the following areas, students must complete 12 units of coursework as designated by the emphasis area, complete the requirements for clinical training as defined by the emphasis area, and complete a dissertation with a topic that focuses on that emphasis area. It may be possible to complete more than one emphasis area because of the overlap between the areas.

In addition to formal emphasis areas, students may create a program of study emphasizing their own area(s) of interest. For example, a student might create a program emphasizing “Family Advocacy” by combining topics such as family therapy, play therapy, juvenile justice, education law as it applies to the rights of emotionally disturbed children, pediatric psychology, child custody evaluation, divorce mediation, and so forth. The Ecosystemic focus of the PsyD program lends itself particularly well to the creation of such individualized programs of study.

Clinical Forensic Psychology Emphasis

The field of clinical forensic psychology includes clinical services provided to clients with criminal and non-criminal contact with the legal system, covering diverse needs related to divorce, custody mediation, worker’s compensation evaluations, disability evaluations, child abuse, and adoption, in addition to work in prisons and jails. The Clinical Forensic Emphasis in Fresno aims to prepare students to work with clients in these diverse settings.

All students must take:

  • Introduction to Forensic Psychology (2 units)

Elective offerings may include some of the following:

  • Advanced Forensic Assessment with Children/Families or Adults (2 units)
  • Forensic Ethics (1 unit)
  • Forensic Report Writing (1 unit)
  • Child Custody Consultation: Evaluation and Mediation (2 units)
  • Disabilities, Law and Families (2 units)

Students must complete 1000 hours of clinical training in at least two different forensic practicum placements. A pre-doctoral internship in a forensic psychology setting is strongly recommended as well. Dissertations must be completed in a forensic psychology related area.

Ecosystemic Child Emphasis

The core focus of the Ecosystemic Clinical Child Psychology Emphasis is the integration of the biological, developmental, intrapsychic, systemic, sociocultural, and historical variables that must be taken into account when addressing a child or adolescent’s functioning. All of these variables must be considered at both the case conceptualization and the intervention levels. Psychological assessments and interventions are then planned within the context of the client’s familial, peer, educational, medical, legal, cultural, and historical systems and, take the intrapsychic perceptions and developmental level of the client into account.

The Ecosystemic Child Emphasis is offered through the Ecosystemic Play Therapy Training Center (EPTTC) on the Fresno campus.  The EPTTC is an Association for Play Therapy (APT) Approved Center of Play Therapy Education. The CSPP clinical psychology programs in Fresno are usually able to offer all the coursework required by APT to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

All students must take Play Therapy (2 units). Elective course offerings may include of some of the following: Pediatric Neuropsychology; Family Therapy; Play Therapy: Advanced Techniques and Special Populations; Teaching Parents Parenting Skills; Custody Evaluations; Interventions in the Schools; and, any of the Infant-Preschooler Mental Health courses (see the Certificates section for a description of this and other certificate programs available to students).

All students must complete 1000 hours of clinical training in at least two different child/adolescent practicum placements with children, adolescents, and families and a dissertation on a topic with a child or adolescent focus.

Health Psychology Emphasis

Psychologists in nearly every setting frequently encounter clients with medical concerns that have psychological components and mental illnesses that express as medical symptoms.  The Health Psychology Emphasis prepares clinicians to work effectively with those issues in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, medical practices, sports teams, corporate wellness programs, private practice and many others.  Health Psychologists also work in the area of prevention, assisting clients to modify lifestyle behaviors such as diet, exercise and stress management to enhance their health and prevent illness.


  1. Introduction to Health Psychology (2 units) and Interventions in Health Psychology (2 units) are required courses, and are to be taken during the first two years of the program.  These courses are offered in alternating years and are described below.
  2. An additional 6 units of electives* complete the emphasis coursework.
  3. In addition, students must complete at least 1000 hours of practicum training in at least two different health psychology settings. A full-time doctoral internship in a health psychology setting such as a medical office or hospital is strongly recommended.
  4. The dissertation must have a health psychology focus.

*Health Psychology Electives include but are not limited to: Hypnotherapy, Eating Disorders, Pediatric Psychology, Pediatric Neuropsychology, Issues/Treatment of Clients with HIV/AIDS, Psychology of Women’s Health, Biopsychosocial Factors in Prenatal and Infant-Preschooler Mental Health, Functional Neuroanatomy/Neuropathology, Advanced Clinical Elective: Grand Rounds-Perspectives in Health Psychology, Minority Health Psychology, Pediatric Neuropsychology, Neuropsychology Foundations, Psychopharmacology, Substance Abuse in Diverse Populations, LGBT Health Issues, LGBT Health Disparities, and Disabilities, Law and Families.


Multicultural Facilitated Learning

In addition to the primary emphases, the Fresno 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. The importance of the cultural system is emphasized throughout students’ academic and clinical training. This focus on cultural issues ensures students will be prepared for professional practice in a pluralistic society.