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Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Overview
The APA-accredited clinical PsyD program in Sacramento offers you a doctoral education in clinical psychology consistent with a practitioner-scholar model. The program emphasizes clinical skills and the application of research knowledge with diverse populations in a wide range of settings.
The clinical PsyD program in Sacramento has two primary aims:
- Aim 1: To train you as a clinical psychologist who will use critical thinking and active problem-solving skills to address a wide range of mental and behavioral health concerns. The program emphasizes multiple methods of evidence-based assessment and intervention with diverse populations, in changing and evolving contexts.
- Aim 2: To educate and prepare you to evaluate and conduct applied research and be able to effectively communicate this knowledge to others.
In the program you’ll receive a comprehensive foundation in clinical assessment and intervention which integrates an understanding that various structures and systems play a role in creating and/or remedying individual and social problems. The Sacramento PsyD faculty also offers a broad array of elective courses reflecting theory, assessment, and intervention across a variety of diverse cultural systems.
Learn About Admissions Requirements
Get to Know Our Diverse Faculty
Mindfulness and meditation-based practices have increased steadily over the past decades, even as scholars such as Jon Kabat-Zinn have noted the independence of these practices from the original teachings and theoretical origins from which these practices have derived. The Buddhist psychotherapy experience area aims to address this void in the field of psychology.
Learn more about this experience area here
The PsyD in clinical psychology, Sacramento has nine competencies with related elements that form the basis for the practitioner-scholar model:
- Ethical and legal standards
- Individual and cultural diversity
- Professional values, attitudes, and behavior
- Communications 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, supervised research experiences, and comprehensive examinations. Multiple methods are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These nine competencies specify attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program, as well as the cultural humility, emotional insight, and professional demeanor that are critical to professional practice.
Advancement to Candidacy
In order to advance to candidacy and be eligible to apply for internship, students must be in good academic standing and demonstrate:
- Successful completion of 60 units of graduate study, including demonstration of the following key competencies through the successful completion of the associated courses: assessment (Intellectual Assessment, Personality Assessment I & II); diagnosis (Advanced Psychopathology), psychological theory (Theories of Personality & Psychotherapy), intervention (Introduction to Psychotherapy and one of the required psychotherapy courses); and law and ethics (Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law)
- Competency in discipline-specific knowledge (DSK) integration through successful completion of a written exam synthesizing information from at least two DSK areas (Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior, Biological Foundations, Lifespan Development, and Social Basis of Behavior)*
- Research competency through successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Examination
- Integrated clinical competency by successful completion of the clinical competency progress review (CPPR)**
*The DSK Integration exam is offered to students at the end of the spring term of their second year.
**The CPPR is offered annually and is intended to be taken as the student completes the second year of study. Failure to pass these exams will lead to remediation. Repeated failure may lead to dismissal. Students may not apply for internship until they have met all requirements for advancement to candidacy.
Duration and Requirements
During the PsyD in clinical psychology program, students are evaluated on progressive developmental stages of their training. The evaluation begins upon admission and includes evaluation of a student’s readiness in three areas: practicum training, internship, and professional clinical practice. The PsyD degree program requires a minimum of 90 academic units (three years, full time), 30 internship units (one year, full time), and 30 hours of personal therapy completed with a licensed clinical psychologist. Students typically advance to candidacy following their second year and may not apply for internship until they have met all the following requirements for advancement to candidacy.
The clinical psychology PsyD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA), which requires that data is provided on time to completion, program costs, internships, attrition, and licensure. Please follow the link below to view a PDF of this information. We hope this data will help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study in higher education.
Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (.pdf)
*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 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Our Campus Location
Alliant International University
2030 W. El Camino Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95833.
Links and Downloads
The clinical PsyD program in Sacramento is designed for students interested in the professional practice of clinical psychology. Recognizing that this practice must be grounded in the most current literature and research knowledge, we strive to teach students to be competent consumers of research and confident in their ability to apply this knowledge to diverse populations across various settings.
One of the unique aspects of the clinical PsyD program is the design of its dissertation sequence. The four-semester course sequence begins in the second year and is completed in the third year. During the second year, students work on the development of their dissertation proposal that they typically defend at the end of the second year. During the third year, students collect their data and complete the writing of their dissertation, which they typically defend at the end of their third year before students leave for internship. During these dissertation classes, students support each other under the supervision of the dissertation section instructor, a core faculty member who serves as dissertation chair. The seminar format draws on the skill of other students in the class to stimulate new ideas. In addition, this model allows the dissertation chair to provide ongoing helpful feedback as each student progresses through the dissertation process. This intensive structure has proven extremely successful in facilitating students completing dissertation prior to leaving for internship and in turn, completing the program on time.
In addition to course offerings, several faculty members lead voluntary research labs, providing opportunities for students to engage in hands-on research endeavors to present at state and national conferences, and to publish their findings. Below, please find a description of some of the current research initiatives involving students.
Education and Training Research Lab
Emil Rodolfa, PhD
Throughout my career, I have been committed to enhancing the education and training of the next generation of psychologists. From the time I was a student in my doctoral program at Texas A&M where I was learning to supervise, to the time I became the founding editor of the APA/APPIC journal, Training and Education in Professional Psychology, until today, I am fascinated by the process of professional development. It gives me great pleasure and a sense of personal and professional fulfillment to contribute to student learning and competency development.
My research lab has been developed to give students a chance to examine variables that contribute to the process of doctoral education in psychology. Each year, I take a small group of first year students and over their three years in the program we investigate a topic of interest to them in the broad area of psychology education and training.
|2014||Factors influencing whether a student submitted their dissertation for publication|
|2015||Telesupervision training for doctoral interns|
|2016||Variables that influence the impostor syndrome in doctoral psychology students|
|2017||Suicide training at psychology doctoral programs and internships|
|2019||The impact of COVID-19 on psychology doctoral education|
|2020||Social media and psychology doctoral students|
These research opportunities have given students a chance to connect with each other and work together towards a common goal. They offer students the chance to collaborate in developing the research protocol, to apply to the University institution review board, to conduct the study, analyze the data collected, develop presentations, and write and submit papers describing the research. In addition, these projects give me a chance to get to know students; to work closely with them, to mentor, and to support them. As a result, it gives me a chance to learn more about our students and their interests, to watch how they work as a member of our research team, and how they commit to an additional project in the face of all the other demands of our program.
I look forward each year to welcoming new students into my lab and helping them develop a project that they will feel excited about working on to its completion.
Eunie Jung, PhD
I was first drawn to the field of clinical psychology by my love of research and scholarly investigation. Initially intrigued by trying to understand what makes therapy work. As a graduate student at UCLA, I conducted research on depression and anxiety treatment outcomes. It was at UCLA that I also first became interested in the area of multicultural and diversity issues, a passion that continues to this day. For my master’s thesis, I investigated the impact of culture and ethnicity on parent and child perceptions of treatment outcomes and received an honorable mention from the APA Ethnic Minority Fellowship Program for my work in this area.
Since graduate school, my areas of research interest have spanned a broad range, from exploring the impact of mindfulness approaches in the treatment of PTSD to developing a group treatment protocol for functional neurological disorders. Though my interests have been varied, an overarching theme has continued to be a deep curiosity in the process of things—from dismantling common factors in therapy to developing a deeper understanding of how multicultural and diversity learning occurs. I am currently working on a pilot study that aims to evaluate the impact of integrating functional analytic psychotherapy into the learning of diversity and multicultural awareness in psychology graduate students.
One of the greatest joys in my privileged role as a member of the Alliant faculty is to mentor and guide students in their own research work and scholarly pursuits. Every year I am excited to both learn from and support emerging psychologists as they explore important questions in the field of clinical psychology.
Jacqueline Fahey, PsyD
While still early in my career, I have had the privilege of being a part of many amazing research teams. In particular, I have greatly enjoyed my participation on research teams exploring topics that fall in the realm of health psychology. During my undergraduate experience, I was a member of a team which evaluated the correlation between narcissism, biological sex, mood, and exercise exertion, which was published in the International Journal of Exercise Science in 2014.
In 2016, I traveled with some fellow graduate students to rural villages in Vietnam to examine the impact of introducing health behavior change on the rates of parasitic disease.
Since health psychology is a relatively new subset within the field of psychology, there is still a great deal that has yet to be explored. Regarding future research, I am particularly interested in exploring themes of motivation, perceived self-worth, and mood as it relates to an individual’s health behaviors. While these are topics that I am interested in, I find it to be an integral part of the process for students to discuss and identify topics that make them excited to work on a project.
Therefore, in the future when I open my lab to students, we will collaborate as we explore each student’s unique interests so they may gain invaluable research experience as a part of their professional development journey.
The clinical PsyD program in Sacramento emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical practice. Students receive supervised clinical training during five semesters of practicum and one year of full-time pre-doctoral internship. Practicum students are placed through an extensive network of agencies throughout Central and Northern California. Potential sites include hospitals and other medical settings, schools, correctional facilities, group homes, clinics, universities, and state and county programs. Placements are available in agencies utilizing a variety of theoretical approaches and serving demographically and culturally diverse populations.
Skills learned in the classroom are quickly put to practice as students participate in their professional training experiences. Students begin practicum during the second semester of their first year. This first-year practicum requires 12 hours per week for 17 weeks (approximately 200 hours) and draws on the skills learned during the first term in courses designed to prepare students for practice (such as Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice, Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law, and Intellectual Assessment). In the second and third years, practica are 16–20 hours per week for 50 weeks (approximately 800 hours each year) and use psychotherapy and assessment skills in a variety of settings. The director of clinical training facilitates a match process between students and agencies based on how the available training experiences match individual practicum learning plans. These are developed for each student to provide a breadth of experiences in keeping with the student’s level of experience and career goals.
In their final year of study, students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate one-year, full-time internship (approximately 2,000 hours). Students are required to seek an APA-accredited internship during phase 1 of the match, and then during phase 2 (if needed) they may apply to APPIC or CAPIC member internships if desired. The Office of Professional Training and all of the faculty provide extensive support to students as they negotiate the internship application process.
In addition to courses and field training, students also have opportunities to get more involved on campus, both with the program and the university as a whole. One such opportunity is the Student Government Association (SGA)—considered the “voice of the students” at Alliant. The purpose of SGA is to promote and facilitate effective communication between faculty and administration by serving as the voice of the student body. This is done to strive for the highest quality of educational and professional engagement for the student body. SGA also works to promote social interactions and cohesion among all students and be a positive catalyst for change at all levels of the Alliant community.
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.