The curriculum for the PsyD clinical program is designed to provide advanced doctoral students with the opportunity to complete coursework in an area of interest or to take electives to enhance the required course offerings. This study option provides an entry to specialization which can continue at the post-doctoral level. Normally, two to four courses will be offered during the academic year from each of the following emphases.

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, 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. Students are expected to take one Clinical Consultation course focusing on forensic issues.
Three courses are required to complete the emphasis area, one of which is mandatory:

PSY 6631 – Introduction to Clinical Forensics [General Elective]
The student will select one of the following electives (Clinical Practice Course) to complete the emphasis:

PSY 6633 – Psychology and Family Law
PSY 8543 – Family Violence: Child Abuse
PSY 8544 – Interpartner and Spousal Abuse

It is expected that PsyD dissertations will focus on a topic related to forensic psychology.

Students in the Forensic Psychology emphasis need to take an additional 3 units beyond the total curriculum units to complete the emphasis area requirements.

Assessment Emphasis

The assessment emphasis is designed for students who want to go beyond the basic assessment courses required of all PsyD students. The assessment emphasis gives students training in advanced methods of test interpretation and advanced skills in the integration of test materials into comprehensive test reports, as well as psychometric theory. Students are also exposed to the assessment of specific clinical populations, such as children, adolescents, custody litigants, sexual predators, and other forensic populations. Students must complete at least one of their practica in a testing setting, enroll in one Clinical Consultation Group with a testing emphasis, and complete a dissertation in an area related to assessment.

Students in the assessment emphasis complete the first-year intelligence testing course, the second-year personality assessment sequence, and the third year Clinical Inference course required of all PsyD students.
Students also take an extra Clinical Elective course such as:

PSY 6633 – Psychology and Family Law (Custody Evaluations)
PSY 7514 – Advanced Assessment Elective : Clinical Assessment of Children and Adolescents
PSY 7615 – Neuropsychological Assessment (Requires Neuropsychology as a prerequisite)

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 cover the entire life span from infancy through old age and are presented from various theoretical viewpoints, including family-systems, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and lifespan development.

The program supports 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, early childhood psychopathology, aging, child resiliency, divorce, child custody, step families, and process and outcomes of family interventions.

It is required that students take at least one year of professional training placement in a setting that emphasizes interactions with children and families. Dissertations addressing family/child issues are also required and are common at the San Diego campus.

Required courses include PSY7602: Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy-Child [Clinical Practice course], PSY7503: Family Psychotherapy [Advanced Therapy elective], PSY8540: Family Therapy with Ethnic Families [Multicultural Practice Elective], and PSY8545: Developmental Psychopathology [Elective]. Students are expected to take one Clinical Consultation course in a group emphasizing family or child issues. Students may also take electives such as:

PSY 7311 – Couple Therapy
PSY 7514 – Advanced Assessment Elective : Clinical Assessment of Children and Adolescents
PSY 7514 – Advanced Assessment Elective: Clinical Inference – Children
PSY 8543 – Family Violence: Child Abuse

Integrative Psychology Emphasis

This emphasis area exposes students to the basic principles of Integrative Psychology. An integrative, systems approach to health and healing brings multiple ways of knowing into psychological practice, encouraging practitioners to attend not only to cognitive behaviors, but also to cultural and spiritual concerns.

In many ways, integrative psychology refocuses attention on traditional healing practices that are concerned with the complex ways in which social context, body, mind, and emotions continually interact and influence well-being. Integrative psychology includes the study of spirituality, consciousness, imagery, somatic practices, expressive arts, human ecology, postmodern cultural psychologies, and the application of all these in clinical settings. At the same time, the field values mainstream psychological models and emphasizes research based on systems theory and integrated methodologies.

Since a psychologist’s own perceptions profoundly influence outcomes, the courses and credits included in this emphasis area are intended to ensure that professionals-in-training refine their values along with their skills and that they work to achieve educated intentionality and mindfulness in all phases of clinical work. This emphasis addresses a shortage of qualified psychologists with experience in the holistic balancing of health, suffering and death issues, psychospiritual counseling, and conflicting belief systems viewed in their cultural contexts. An integrative approach trains psychologists to provide pathways rather than simply treat symptoms.

Candidates are expected to participate in Center for Integrative Psychology colloquia, workshops, and social events (see Candidates will conduct dissertation research from an integrative perspective.

To complete the emphasis area, the following four courses are required:

PSY 6605 – Introduction to Integrative Psychology
PSY 6526 – Theories of Personality, Pathology and Psychotherapy: Existential [Personality Theory course]
PSY 7501 – Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy: Existential
PSY 8800 – Advanced Seminar : Integrative Psychotherapies – [Required exit course, Clinical Practice elective]

Candidates in the emphasis are required to take one additional Integrative Psychology elective. The following list is subject to change as the program develops.

PSY 6643 – Cross-Cultural Topics (East-West Psychologies, Holocaust, Ritual and Healing, Psychology of Religions)
PSY 6644 – Ecology/Psychology
PSY 6646 – Transpersonal Psychology
PSY 6647 – Dreamwork in Psychotherapy
PSY 7640 – Creativity Theory and Practice
PSY 8800 – Advanced Seminar (Hypnotherapy, Humanistic Psychology, Integrative Psychology)
PSY 7650 – Integrative Psychology Elective
PSY 7650 – Introduction to Jung and Shadow Archetype*
PSY 7650 – Life Story, Journaling, and Narrative Psychology*
PSY 7650 – Mindfulness-Based Therapies*
PSY 7650 – Spirituality and Psychology*
PSY 7650 – The Psychology of Terrorism*


*This elective falls under the course number PSY 7650 as an Integrative Psychology Elective.

It is expected that PsyD dissertations will focus on a topic related to integrative psychology.


Multicultural and International Emphasis Area

The Alliant approach to multiculturalism incorporates diversity in many respects, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and international status, age, social class, religion, and disability. Central to traditional clinical psychology is the examination of factors known to be relevant to mental health/mental illness as western society defines them. The goal of this emphasis area is to go beyond the traditional western, majority cultural viewpoint so that students might have the basic preparation to focus on cultural and international encounters in professional psychology. Whereas traditional psychology focuses primarily on individual psychological activity, multicultural psychology is based on the view that cultural and societal level influences on the individual can be best understood by incorporating societal systemic variables and cultural contexts. The emphasis provides students with opportunities to prepare for clinical licensure, research, teaching, and consulting in the area of cultural diversity.

Students in this emphasis take coursework in these broadly defined multicultural and international areas and complete a dissertation relevant to some aspect of multicultural or international psychology. They must also arrange for at least one of their practicum/internship professional training placements in a setting serving a culturally diverse population. The large majority of our training sites serve such populations. Students are expected to take one of the Clinical Consultation courses in a section emphasizing diversity issues.
In addition to the multicultural psychology courses required of all students, a total of six additional units in the multicultural or international psychology are required. These include:

PSY 6129 – Multicultural Competency Development (Required of all PsyD students)
Emphasis area students must take a Multicultural Practice Course (required of all PsyD students), such as:

PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Clinical Interventions with LGBT Clients
PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Psychology of African Americans
PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Clinical Considerations with Asian and Asian Americans
PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Latino Mental Health
PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Psychology of Women & Feminist Therapy
PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Interpersonal Violence in Multicultural Populations
PSY 7610 – Cultural Seminar: Working with Immigrants and Refugees
PSY 8500 – Clinical Elective : LGBT Couples and Family
PSY 8540 – Family Therapy/Ethnic Families

Students must also take another multicultural elective either from the list above or from other courses, such as:

PSY 6645 – Spanish for the Psychologist
PSY 6654 – Psychology of Ethnic Diversity
PSY 8500 – Foundations of LGBT Mental Health
PSY 8500 – Clinical Elective : Advanced Issues in Lesbian Psychology
PSY 8500 – Advanced Study of Transgendered Issues


It is also expected that students in this emphasis area will complete a dissertation with a multicultural and/or international focus.

Students should note that this emphasis area is under active development and continues to undergo revision. We are developing the international component for possible inclusion (e.g., cultural immersion at campuses in Hong Kong, Japan, and Mexico).

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, developmental 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 a one year practicum with psychodynamic supervision, complete a dissertation in an area pertinent to psychodynamic theory, research or application, and enroll in one PSY 8551 Clinical Consultation section incorporating a psychodynamic emphasis.
Students must complete:

PSY 6524 – Theories of Personality, Pathology and Psychotherapy: Psychoanalytic required of all PsyD students
PSY 7501 – Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy: Individual (Psychodynamic)

Students must also take one elective, which might include:

PSY 8500 – Clinical Elective : Advanced Psychodynamic Interventions
PSY 8500 – Clinical Elective: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Adolescents
PSY 8500 – Clinical Elective: Attachment and Gender
PSY 8800 – Advanced Seminar : Theoretical Psychodynamic Issues
PSY 8800 – Advanced Seminar: Object Relations