Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Overview
The APA-accredited PsyD in clinical psychology program at the San Diego campus of CSPP follows a practitioner-scholar model that emphasizes the applications of theory and research to clinical practice. The program will help your development as a competent and professional clinical psychologist skilled in delivering a variety of clinical services to diverse populations in varied settings.
In the program you’ll have the opportunity to focus your studies on an area of your choosing in such diverse studies as behavioral health, family and child psychology, forensic psychology, integrative psychology, multicultural and international psychology, as well as psychodynamic approaches to clinical practice.
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!
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Emphasis and Experience Areas
The curriculum for the PsyD clinical program is designed to provide advanced doctoral students 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 emphasis areas.
Clinical health gives students the academic, research, and clinical training necessary to prepare students for work within the field of health psychology.
Buddhist psychotherapy provides some exposure to the philosophical and psychotherapeutic aspects in the fundamental teachings of Early Buddhism as found in the Suttapitaka.
Family/child psychology focusing on courses that cover clinical practice with children and their families presented from various theoretical viewpoints.
Forensic psychology focusing on the relationship and interdependency of law, social science, and clinical practice.
Integrative psychology focusing on health and healing that incorporates multiple ways of approaching clinical practice ranging from existential to third wave therapies into psychological practice.
Multicultural and international psychology where you’ll go beyond the traditional western, majority cultural viewpoint and explore cultural and international encounters in psychology.
Psychodynamics integrating various psychodynamic theories and empirically supported treatments with an emphasis on unconscious processes.
The military and veteran psychology experience area is designed to provide students with an understanding of military and veteran culture. This emphasis area will familiarize students with evidence-based interventions and resources available to clinicians treating veterans, military personnel, and their families.
PsyD in Clinical Psychology, San Diego Experience Areas
The program’s most distinctive component is its dual emphasis on clinical practice and clinical scholarship. You’ll have the opportunity to take courses in a wide range of subjects and participate in a dissertation group—an intensive seminar which spans two years and integrates practice and directed reading in small group format in order to prepare you to fulfill your dissertation requirement.
- Theories of personality
- Cultural psychology
- Integrative psychology
The program has three aims, nine competencies, and related elements designed to implement its philosophy and meet the overall program goals. The competencies are met through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum, and internship placements, as well as supervised research experiences. These competencies specify attitudes, knowledge, and skills that you will be expected to achieve by the time you graduate from the program.
Aim 1: To prepare students as effective professional psychologists who are skilled at evaluating psychological functioning and providing empirically-supported interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings.
Aim 2: Train competent health service psychologists (HSPs) to deliver scientifically-informed psychological services to diverse individuals and groups.
Aim 3: Provide students with strong professional identities as licensed psychologists and the clinical skills, professional behaviors, and attitudes that reflect the highest ethical and professional standards in the entry-level practice of clinical psychology.
All students 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.
All students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:
Students are expected to demonstrate competency in each of the following areas:
- 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.
A Practitioner-Scholar Program
Special features of the San Diego program include an emphasis on evidence-based practice, a rich set of opportunities for gaining research and clinical skills in multicultural, child/family, forensic, and integrative psychology, and the integration of clinical practice with coursework.
In the program, you’ll receive four years of practicum and internship experiences, with placement available in more than 75 agencies. Most of these facilities are within a 25-mile radius of the campus, but some are as far as 80 miles away for the benefit of students who live in Orange County.
Assignment to placements results from an application process conducted by year level. Entering students are placed at a practicum agency for ten hours/week during the school year. Practica in the second and third year are chosen by the student from a list of pre-approved sites. The final internship is an APA-accredited full-time internship in the fourth year. All Clinical PsyD students must apply to a minimum of 11 APA internship sites. Students will interview for each position, and the selecting agency makes the final decision.
Students meet with their site supervisor each week for a minimum of ten percent of their time at the site. With the exception of the first year, one of the hours must be individual supervision and the rest can be in individual or group format. Students keep a tally form which is signed each week by the supervisor.
PsyD students participate in proposal development and dissertation groups. These are intensive seminars that integrate practice and directed reading in small group formats and prepare students for the dissertation—an applied scholarly work in the chosen area of advanced competency, and in line with the requirements of their chosen emphasis area as applicable. The student defends both the proposal for their dissertation, as well as the final research project, to a committee composed of faculty members.
San Diego Program Features
Doctoral students in the San Diego clinical psychology program have the opportunity to pursue an emphasis program as outlined above, and to refine their skills by providing supervised mental health services at a variety of locations in the San Diego community.
San Diego Community Services and Placements
The clinical psychology PsyD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of 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 information. We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study in higher education.
Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (.pdf)
The California School of Professional Psychology or CSPP clinical psychology PsyD program is offered on the Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco Bay Area campuses. Each is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (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 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Our Campus Location
Alliant International University
10455 Pomerado Rd.
San Diego, CA 92131
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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.