PhD & PsyD Programs in Clinical Psychology Overview
The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) offers nine APA-accredited doctoral degree programs in clinical psychology. Explore our APA clinical psychology programs in California below.
What To Know about a Clinical Psychology Major
Clinical science is a specialized field within psychology committed to improving public health and well-being by generating and disseminating the best possible knowledge. This can be seen in various subfields of psychology, such as clinical neuropsychology, counseling psychology, and developmental psychology among others. Unlike traditional approaches that view research and intervention as separate entities, clinical science treats them as a single, integrated domain of expertise and action.
As part of the training of aspiring clinical psychologists, students in clinical science programs learn about an empirical, research-based approach to clinical work. By gaining a deep understanding of psychological phenomena and how they relate to clinical practice, students can conduct clinical research grounded in evidence and informed by real-world experience. This method has the possibility of reducing the struggles and improving the outcomes for individuals, families, and communities.
PhD in Clinical Psychology
This clinical psychology doctoral program will expand your knowledge and skills in this critical field. With a focus on mental health and human behavior, you'll learn to understand the psychological science and processes underlying human behavior and the tools used to apply this knowledge in clinical practice, resulting in improving the health and well-being of communities.
PsyD in Clinical Psychology
This clinical psychology doctoral program offers a variety of challenging courses to give you the knowledge needed, not only to master the psychology department, but also to succeed as a health service psychologist. Along with clinical training, evidence-based practice, and professional guidance, you'll get hands-on experience through a number of different learning opportunities with clinical scientists and other professionals in the field.
Explore our clinical psychology program research opportunities, practicum partners, and student communities.
Meet Your Program Directors
More About Clinical Psychology
Both the clinical psychology PhD program and PsyD program are individually accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA). The California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) offers clinical psychology PhD and PsyD programs at its campuses in Fresno, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. The PsyD program is also offered at the Sacramento campus.
APA accreditation ensures that the clinical psychology programs meet the industry standards, follow the best practices, and use industry experts to teach. For most psychologists, APA accreditation is also required for licensure by many states.
*Questions related to each program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation: Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association.
The clinical psychology programs’ emphasis and experience areas include:
- Clinical health psychology
- Family/child and couple
- Multicultural community-clinical psychology
- Forensic psychology
- Clinical health
- Integrative psychology
- Multicultural and international
- Trauma, stress, resilience
Each APA-accredited clinical psychology program is unique, as are its emphasis, specialization, and track offerings. Our clinical psychology program teaches the basic skills needed to work in the field of psychology. In the programs you'll gain clinical practice experience, which helps to prepare you for entering the workforce as a clinical psychologist. Graduate students of the clinical program will be qualified to give psychological assessment in a clinical setting. If you're looking for PhD and PsyD programs in California, please see the doctoral program pages for specifics on emphasis area offerings in the field of psychology to help you become an effective licensed psychologist.
Hands-On Experience and Training
The clinical psychology degree programs at our university are built on a foundation of scholarship paired with hands-on experience in psychological services. As a PhD or PsyD student, you'll have opportunities to get professional practice through hands-on experience and internships. We have partnerships with thousands of practice sites that include hospitals, community mental health organizations, prison and correctional systems, veteran service centers, college counseling centers, nonprofits, and more.
As a doctoral student, you'll participate in required field experiences during most years of your program. The PsyD and PhD clinical psychology graduate programs require participation in practicum experiences, including a range of populations and age groups. This offers extensive practical exposure and continual opportunities to apply research and theory in real-world situations. Breadth and depth are the hallmarks of clinical psychology training, with practice involving:
- Numerous evidence-based treatment modalities
- A broad range of theoretical orientations
- Multiple treatment settings
- A wide, diverse range of patient populations
Practica and internships are generally assigned on a one-year basis. In clinical psychology degrees, you’ll typically assume new field placement positions at the beginning of each academic year so you can gain exposure to a variety of training models. We attempt to match your interests and needs to training site offerings, although procedures for matching vary from campus to campus at our graduate school.
The culminating clinical training component of the clinical psychology doctoral degree is the doctoral internship. Beginning with the first year and continuing throughout the doctoral degree program, CSPP doctoral students are provided with education about the internship process. Faculty and staff provide continuous support as you build your clinical training experiences, and they provide guidance across all phases of the internship application, interview, and acceptance process. Throughout the psychological clinical science degree program, faculty actively work to develop competitive applications for APA-accredited internships and obtain internships that are a good fit for student career goals. For additional information about a graduate program's specific internship application requirements in the psychology major, please refer to the program's webpage.
Our clinical psychology faculty collaborate with their students on various research projects and our students go on to publish their work and present at local, regional, national, and international conferences.
Networking and Mentorship
Aside from taking on the role of life-long mentor, our faculty are preparing their graduate students to become their colleagues. They expect each of their pupils to, one day, stand beside them as leaders in the field. Our clinical psychology students often attend conferences and community events with CSPP and their faculty-whether it is presenting at psychological conventions or connecting with thousands of CSPP alumni, our students begin making connections in the field from the day they first set foot in our classrooms.
The clinical PhD and clinical PsyD programs prepare you for licensure as a psychologist in California and most other states. All CSPP clinical psychology doctoral students graduate with at least 1,500 hours of supervised internship experience to meet the doctoral internship placement requirement for California Board of Psychology licensure. If you plan to seek licensure in California, you must accrue an additional 1,500 post-doctoral hours.
Multicultural Competence Training
Clinical psychology doctoral programs at CSPP have developed multicultural training to embrace consideration of diversity regarding issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, social class, and religion. This is reflected in specific required courses for all clinical students, as well as through the integration of multicultural perspectives in all courses throughout the curriculum.
The diversity of the campus community provides you with the opportunity to interact with the psychology department’s faculty, staff, administrators and other students from many different cultural backgrounds. Increasing self-awareness relevant to multicultural issues, increasing awareness of multicultural dynamics in larger society, and examining their implications for psychotherapy are the primary goals of the specific intercultural awareness and development courses. In these programs you'll be asked to look at your own multicultural identity, as well as at your values, stereotypes, prejudices, and potential blind spots. A willingness to self-evaluate and self-disclose are essential to the courses.
Courses throughout the clinical psychology concentration curriculum include a focus on increasing multicultural knowledge by increasing familiarity with theory, research, and clinical practice and applications relevant to diverse populations. Elective courses and the availability of field training sites that provide experience with diverse groups offer opportunities to develop skills that enhance work with culturally diverse clients.
Alliant offers a variety of different degree programs that are approved with top accreditation. Start your professional psychology career today with Alliant.