PhD in Clinical Psychology Emphasis Areas, San Diego

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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.

Family/Child Psychology Emphasis

  • Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy: Child
  • Family Psychotherapy
  • Family Systems Theory
  • Developmental Psychopathology

Health Psychology Emphasis

  • Clinical Psychophysiology and Biofeedback
  • Introduction to Behavioral Medicine/Health Service Psychology
  • Health Psychology Intervention: Research and Practice Addressing Health Disparities
  • Neuropsychology: Advanced

Military & Veteran Psychology Experience Area

  • Interventions with Military and Veteran Members 
  • Treatment with Military Couples and Families 
  • One field placement focused on military personnel, veterans, and/or their families 
  • (Note: Students will need to apply and go through the regular application process for the related field experience placements, i.e., APPIC/APA internship application process. The program does not guarantee a field placement in the experience area.)

Multicultural/Diversity Emphasis

  • Health Psychology Intervention
  • Substance Abuse in Diverse Populations 
  • Psychology of Ethnic Diversity
  • Advanced Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychotherapy
  • Family Therapy/Ethnic Families  
  • Field Work: Students complete at least one year of professional training placement (practicum or internship) in a setting serving a culturally diverse population. 
  • Research: Students also focus on issues of individual or cultural diversity in their dissertation.

Trauma Focused Forensic Experience

  • Clinical Forensic Psychology 
  • Diversity and Trauma 
  • Family Violence: Child Abuse
  • Neuropsychology: Advanced
  • Clinical Inference
  • Field Work: At least one of the two required practicum placement involves 30% clinical contact with clients who are frequently seen in forensic settings. The program does not guarantee a field placement in the experience area.
  • Research: Students are encouraged but not required to develop a research study or their dissertation in a forensic and/or trauma area.
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