Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Overview
The Los Angeles APA-accredited PhD in clinical psychology program at the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) follows a scholar-practitioner model, an integrative framework that builds upon the philosophy that scholarship and practice must occur concurrently and interdependently.
Underlying the graduate program for a clinical psychologist are two core principles:
- A commitment to seeing mental health and mental illness in sociocultural and sociopolitical contexts. Our belief is that methods of psychological research and intervention must be relevant to the cultures in which they are conducted.
- The clinical psychology PhD program in Los Angeles prides itself on the diversity of its learning community. The location of our graduate school is in one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in California and a hub in the Pacific Rim, offering a rich environment full of unique opportunities for research, practice, and advocacy efforts.
An exciting range of career paths working with these populations are open to graduates of the Los Angeles clinical psychology PhD program, including:
- Clinical and forensic therapy practice
- Applied clinical research
- Teaching undergraduate and graduate courses
- Clinical supervision
- Advocacy and social justice work in a variety of sociocultural and political contexts
To learn more about this program and other offerings, visit our CSPP-dedicated microsite. You’ll find videos featuring our university president, dean of CSPP, and faculty, along with numerous interactive features!
Learn About Admissions Requirements
Get to Know Our Diverse Faculty
Applicants to the CSPP Los Angeles clinical PhD program will select one of three emphasis areas:
- Clinical Health Psychology Emphasis (CHP)
- Family/Child and Couple Emphasis (FACE)
- Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology Emphasis (MCCP)
Students can also choose to opt-out of emphasis area specializations; these students are Multi-Interest Option (MIO). All students receive a general education in clinical psychology.
Learn more about these Emphasis Areas here
All students of the Clinical Psychology program in Los Angeles are expected to acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of and competence in the following nine, profession-wide competency areas:
- Ethical and legal standards
- Individual and cultural diversity
- Professional values and attitudes
- Communication and Interpersonal skills
- Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills
The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify knowledge, attitudes, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program.
Students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:
- History and systems of psychology
- The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior
- Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology
- Research methods, statistical analysis, and psychometrics
Doctoral students in the LA clinical PhD program have the opportunity to complete three separate, year-long practicum training experiences in therapy and diagnostic assessment. Los Angeles provides the backdrop for CSPP students to work with diverse populations at over 100 clinical placements, spanning community mental health centers to veterans’ hospitals, substance-use treatment facilities, and inpatient psychiatric units. Students receive mentoring and guidance to pursue an APA-accredited internship in the fifth year of the program.
The CSPP Los Angeles PhD in clinical psychology program is accredited by 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 data to help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study.
Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (.pdf)
The California School of Professional Psychology’s clinical psychology PhD programs offered on the Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco campuses are individually accredited by the 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 20002Phone: (202) 336-5979
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Alhambra, CA 91803
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Through various academic and training activities, including psychology courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences, the program strives to achieve the following aims:
- To prepare students to be effective professional psychologists who are skilled at evaluating psychological functioning and providing empirically supported interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings.
- To prepare students to evaluate and conduct research in clinical psychology, contributing to the knowledge base in the field.
Students’ professional development occurs within the context of both formal coursework and professional clinical training experiences supervised by licensed clinical psychologists in a variety of mental health service settings. The clinical PhD program requires students to complete three clinical practica and a full-time doctoral internship.
Our program has doctoral-level, field training experts who work closely with students throughout the placement process to assist students in securing placements in the field that allow them a diverse set of clinical training experiences that are aligned with their individual training goals.
Students complete at least 2,400 hours of practicum training over the course of three years working with adults, children, couples, and families in a variety of community settings such as:
- Academic medical centers
- Veterans’ Affairs hospitals
- Inpatient psychiatric facilities
- University counseling centers
- Drug and alcohol treatment programs
- Community mental health centers
Our staff in the office of professional training have long-standing relationships with over 100 sites within the Los Angeles and surrounding metro areas in southern California. Each site is carefully reviewed and monitored by our field training staff to ensure the quality of training. As students enter these sites, they assume a greater degree of clinical responsibility for assessment and intervention each year while being closely supervised at a level appropriate to the students’ training and abilities.
In the fourth year of the program, all students are required to apply for a full-time APA-accredited internship by participating in phases I and II of the APPIC Match process. Every student receives extensive guidance and mentoring prior to and throughout the application process from the field training staff and their faculty advisors.
All APA-accredited internships are a full year in length and offer a stipend. Many students leave the Los Angeles area during the internship year to pursue specialized training experiences. The internship is a culminating experience that integrates the student's academic and clinical experiences and prepares them for their professional role as a licensed clinical psychologist.
Office of Professional Training (Clinical Doctoral Programs, Los Angeles)
Shawndeeia Drinkard, PhD
Director of Clinical Training
In the clinical psychology PhD program in Los Angeles, designing, implementing and evaluating research are core skills that are taught to make our students thrive in their respective professional communities. Beginning in their first year of the program, students choose their own topic of scholarship for a research practicum course sequence. This practicum allows them to be mentored in a small group of students (usually six to eight) that are assigned to one faculty member based on common content and/or methodological interests.
Working with their faculty and student-colleagues, students learn the basic parts to designing and evaluating their own research project, including presenting at a school-wide poster session and sharing their results with various communities through local and national presentations. In the beginning of their third year, students undergo a year-long course in conducting research in applied settings in which they learn skills necessary for research consultation and program evaluation, crucial skills that allow them to aid mental health systems serving diverse cultural and professional communities.
During their third year, students apply skills they have learned in research methods and design to develop their dissertation with the help of a faculty dissertation chairperson. These projects involve faculty expertise in areas such as (but not limited to): cultural diversity, health, family dynamics, sibling relationships, child maltreatment, group psychotherapy, pediatric neuropsychology, gender identity, women’s issues, neurodevelopmental conditions, ecopsychology, community psychology, intimacy and sex, cultural resilience, and acculturation.
The development of the dissertation is usually a two-year project, providing the knowledge and skills to conduct independent, ethical, and culturally competent psychological research independently upon graduation.
As a result of collaborative work, students and faculty have presented their scholarship at a number of professional conferences, including the meetings and annual conventions of the following professional associations:
- American Psychological Association
- Western Psychological Association
- National Multicultural Conference and Summit
- Los Angeles County Psychological Association
- United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Conference
- Association of Women in Psychology
- National Conference of Child and Adolescent Psychology
- American Psychology-Law Society Conference
- Annual Conference of the Southwestern Social Science AssociationInternational Conference on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma
- International Society for Traumatic Stress StudiesInternational Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
- Asian American Psychological Association
- National Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, Office on Child Abuse and NeglectInternational Family Therapy Association
- American Group Psychotherapy Association
- International Congress of Psychology
- National Summit on Interpersonal Violence & Abuse Across the Lifespan
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- Chadwick Center Conference on Responding to Child MaltreatmentBoston College Diversity Challenge
- Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted National Conference
- New England Conference for the Gifted and Talented
Take the next step in your career
At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve lives. We offer an education that is accredited, focused on practical knowledge and skills, connected with diverse faculty and alumni, and aimed at the student experience.
Founded in 1969, CSPP was one of the nation’s first independent schools of professional psychology. Today, CSPP continues its commitment to preparing the next generation of mental health professionals through graduate-level degree programs in clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, clinical counseling, organizational psychology, psychopharmacology, and more.