Catalog 2012-2013 
    Apr 24, 2018  
Catalog 2012-2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology: PhD, San Francisco

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The San Francisco PhD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; Phone: 202-336-5979; Email:; Web:

Goals and Objectives

The PhD program has adopted a series of goals and objectives designed to implement its philosophy. The objectives include attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program. The objectives are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences.

Goal 1. To prepare students to be effective professional psychologists who are skilled at evaluating psychological functioning and providing effective interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings

Objective 1: We expect students to develop broad theoretical and scientific knowledge in foundational areas that provide the basis for the effective practice of clinical psychology.

Objective 2: We expect students to learn to integrate research finding and clinical literature with clinical practice.

Objective 3: We expect students to develop an understanding of psychopathology and psychological assessment and to apply such knowledge in the evaluation of psychological functioning in a variety of settings with diverse populations.

Objective 4: We expect students to develop an understanding of the efficacy and modes of application of psychological interventions in a variety of settings with diverse populations.

Goal 2. To educate students to conduct applied research and to contribute to the knowledge base of psychology

Objective 5: We expect students to develop research skills and knowledge and the ability to review, synthesize and evaluate empirical research.

Objective 6: We expect students to develop skills as an independent researcher and the ability to contribute new knowledge to the field of psychology.

Goal 3. To prepare students to be ethical and responsible professional psychologists who are committed to lifelong learning and productivity

Objective 7: We expect students to develop an understanding of the legal, ethical and professional principles of clinical psychology and how to apply these principles in research and practice.

Objective 8: We expect students to develop attitudes and skills essential for lifelong learning and productivity.

Training Model: A Scholar-Practitioner Program

Our program, which is infused with social justice concerns, educates students both to conduct a broad range of psychological research and to become broadly trained practitioners. We provide training for clinical psychologists in all aspects of conducting psychological research such that they are capable of being productive scholars who contribute to the body of psychological literature. We provide students with the knowledge, skills, and professional attitudes necessary to evaluate psychological functioning and provide effective interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings. We infuse multicultural perspectives throughout our curriculum, offer courses focusing on diverse populations, and provide clinical practica (field placements) that offer exposure to a range of client populations.

The program is designed to address all five levels of the biopsychosocial model of human functioning: biological, psychological, familial, community, and sociocultural. We encourage students to develop a personal integration of cognitive-behavioral, family systems, multicultural, and contemporary psychodynamic approaches. Because of the extensive clinical course offerings at CSPP-San Francisco, students are able to develop in-depth expertise in one or more of these orientations by selecting sections of required courses, elective courses, clinical practica (field placements), and supervisors that emphasize a specific theoretical orientation in therapy.

Field Training

Clinical practicum training in community field placements typically begins in the second year (Practicum I) and continues in the third year (Practicum II). Practica offer up to 20 hours per week of training that includes direct clinical service, supervision, and didactic training. San Francisco’s clinical programs’ practicum placement is facilitated and supervised through our Office of Professional Training. Although not required for the degree, some students choose to complete a supplemental practicum in their 4th year while applying for predoctoral internship and completing their dissertation research. An optional and funded research practicum is also available for students in their first or third year in the program. Established in conjunction with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, this one year 8-10 hours per week research and evaluation practicum provides a fundamental understanding of research and evaluation within a public health context.
The selection of professional training (practicum) placements for each student is guided by:

  • CSPP’s requirement for diverse and rigorous professional training experiences,
  • The rules and regulations of the California Board of Psychology, the body charged with the licensing of psychologists in the State of California, and
  • The American Psychological Association’s criteria for practicum and internship training.

The primary criteria used in selection and approval of placements are the quality of the training experience and the supervision provided for the student.

The San Francisco campus places students in agencies throughout Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Solano counties. Additional placements are located in some counties outside the immediate Bay Area, including Napa, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Sonoma, San Benito, and Yolo counties. Because stipends are modest and relatively scarce, particularly at the practicum level, students should not count on them to finance their studies.

Students typically begin the required pre-doctoral internship in the fifth year. Full-time (40 hours per week for 12 months) internship options include APA-accredited or APPIC-member training programs, pursued through the national selection process. We strongly support students in preparing for and applying to APA accredited internships. If circumstances do not allow for a national search for internship, students may apply for California-based internship programs that are members of the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC) and approved by the CSPP faculty. Students also have the option of completing the internship requirement for the PhD program by completing two half-time internships that are APA, CAPIC, or APPIC training programs, and have been approved by the CSPP faculty.

Research Training

The cornerstone of the PhD program’s research training is a series of PhD Research Seminars: small groups that include a member of the program faculty and students at various levels in the program addressing research questions within the faculty member’s areas of research interest and expertise. All students enroll in a research seminar during the second semester of their first year and continue in the seminar at least until they complete a dissertation proposal. In these seminars, students work initially on a First Research Project and subsequently on a PhD Dissertation.

Consent of the instructor is required to enter a research seminar, and matching of new students to research seminars is done during the fall semester. Students have an opportunity to meet research seminar faculty during orientation and may visit seminars and have individual appointments with instructors before making their selections. Assignments are made on the basis of students’ interests and preferences and their match with faculty preferences and expertise. In past years, a majority of students have been placed into their first choice seminar, but we cannot guarantee that this will be the case for all students.

Specialized Admissions Requirements: Credit for Previous Graduate Work

Entering students may be eligible to receive credit for previous graduate work up to a maximum of 30 units.

  1. To be considered for credit in our program students’ graduate coursework:
    (a) Must have been taken from a regionally accredited master’s or doctoral program.
    (b) Must have been completed prior to the student’s entry to our doctoral degree program.
    (c) Must have resulted in grades of B or better and have been completed within the last seven years.
  2. The following graduate level courses offered at CSPP in San Francisco will be considered for credit for previous work: Social Bases of Behavior; Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Behavior; Biological Bases of Behavior and Psychopharmacology; Human Development; History and Systems; Advanced Psychopathology; Observation and Interviewing; Principles of Psychotherapy; Intellectual Assessment, Theory & Technique of Clinical Practice, and elective units.
  3. Students who have completed an empirical master’s thesis in psychology may be able to get credit for the first semester of the Research Seminar and waive the First Research Project. To do so, they must submit a copy of their thesis (in English) to the Program Director so that it can be evaluated by program faculty.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The PhD program requires a minimum of 120 academic units and 30 internship units. A minimum of 60 academic units are required pre-candidacy (first/second years) and a minimum of 60 academic units and 30 internship units are required post-candidacy (third/fourth/fifth years). Core requirements are listed below for each year. In addition, taking courses listed under “other requirements” and completing electives are necessary for a student to meet the minimum overall units for graduation.

The standard PhD curriculum is five years and is designed to give students the opportunity to complete the dissertation before beginning a full-time internship in the fifth year. However, in consultation with their faculty advisor, students may extend their time to take additional courses, complete research work, or spread their internship over two years (usually, the fifth and sixth years). Students must remain in academic good standing, complete a minimum of 60 units including all first and second year courses, finish their First Research Project, and pass all preliminary examination subtests (in assessment, ethics, research methods, and statistics) before advancing to doctoral candidacy.

All students must enroll in a research seminar beginning their second semester in the program and remain continuously enrolled in research seminar, followed by dissertation and extension units, until both the First Research Project and dissertation are complete.

The program faculty believe that for many clinical students, personal psychotherapy can be an extremely valuable tool through which to better understand oneself, become comfortable with asking for and receiving psychological help, learning about one’s emotional vulnerabilities and “triggers,” and understanding the impact of one’s behavior and affect in the clinical encounter. As a general suggestion, we recommend that PhD clinical students consider seeking personal psychotherapy (individual, group, couple, family, or a combination) on a weekly basis at some point in their graduate training.

However, personal psychotherapy is voluntary and not required to complete the program. Students who follow this recommendation arrange and pay for their own therapy, which ideally would be provided by a licensed doctoral-level therapist (psychologist, psychiatrist, doctorate-holding LPCC, LCSW or LMFT). Upon request, the PhD program can provide a list of psychotherapists in the community who offer sliding-scale services.

Other Requirements:

  • Preliminary Examinations (currently in data analysis; article review; ethics; assessment) - given at end of first and second years and required for advancement to candidacy.
  • First Research Project (must be completed before advancement to candidacy)**.
  • Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR) given in Year 3 (a case-focused report and oral exam) - must be passed before graduation.

** Failure to complete First Research Project and/or dissertation proposal orals in timely manner may result in additional cost and time in program.

Non-terminal Masters Degree

Clinical Psychology doctoral students have the option to apply for a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology.

Requirements to qualify for the non-terminal masters degree:

  • Good academic standing and a GPA of 3.0 or above
  • At least 60 units; for transfer students, the student has completed at least 60 units, with at least 51 units out of the 60 being Alliant coursework
  • Completion of first research project
  • Completion of all four preliminary exams (data analysis, article review, ethics, assessment)
  • Passed diagnostic writing assessment or took writing class
  • Completion of G1 and G2 curriculum courses

Curriculum Plan


* Two different 3-unit sections are required. Choose among cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and psychodynamic. A third Theory & Technique course may be taken as an elective.

Fourth Year

Fifth Year

Other Requirements

Special Strengths

All of our PhD clinical students receive generalist training in the foundational areas of psychology and clinical psychology in accordance with the accreditation guidelines of the American Psychological Association. Also, each of our course offerings is infused with multicultural content, and awareness of diversity issues is central to our philosophy of clinical and research training.

In addition, our program has special strengths (3 or more core faculty with high levels of expertise) in each of the following five areas of clinical psychology.

Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology

We provide a wide range of family/child/adolescent (FCA) courses and practica. For treating FCA problems, we emphasize the acquisition of both traditional child-clinical skills (assessment, individual therapy) and family intervention skills (family therapy, couple therapy, child custody evaluation).

For students interested in pursuing FCA careers after graduation, we recommend that they take advantage of specific offerings in our program. The core of these learning experiences includes: (1) basic coursework (child psychopathology, child assessment, child psychotherapy, family therapy); (2) a one-year practicum (field placement) in an FCA setting; (3) PhD Research Seminar with a focus on FCA research; (4) dissertation research on an FCA topic; and (5) an internship focusing on FCA populations. We also offer varying electives. Six of the clinical PhD Research Seminars are led by faculty members with expertise in various FCA psychology topics (Professors Casey, Green, Ja, Morales, Porter, and Samuelson). Students have the option to take as few or as many of these extensive FCA offerings as fit their career goals.

Gender Studies & LGBT Psychology

(Psychology of Women, Men, Gender Roles, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues)

The field of Gender Studies as defined here includes the study of gender role socialization processes and norms for males and females across the lifespan, as well as the topics of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) identity development and relationships. Faculty and students who work in this area are particularly interested in the behavioral and mental health consequences of gender-related socialization experiences (for example, in areas such as eating disorders, depression, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, health-related behaviors, and division of household tasks and childcare between parents in families).

In conjunction with the PsyD program on our campus, courses are offered on topics such as Women’s Lifespan Development, Men in Therapy, Domestic Violence, and Feminist Approaches to Supervision. Also, San Francisco provides unique opportunities for clinical and research projects on these topics.

Students may complete their second or third year clinical practicum at an agency specializing in LGBT issues (for example, the Pacific Center in Berkeley). Students also can enroll in one or as many courses as they wish in the online Rockway Institute Certificate Program in LGBT Human Services & Mental Health. See the sections of this catalog pertaining to the Rockway Institute and to Online Courses for a more complete description of the Certificate Program in LGBT Human Services & Mental Health.

Five of our PhD Research Seminars are led by faculty members whose areas of research expertise include gender studies (Professors Casey, Green, Loewy, Morales and Porter).

Health Psychology

Health psychology is concerned with the interrelationships among psychological factors, health, and illness. It deals with psychologists’ roles in primary care; psychological aspects of prevention and treatment for specific illnesses (such as cancer, HIV, and cardiovascular disease); psychopharmacology; families and health; psychological aspects of immune and endocrine system functioning; recovery and rehabilitation following illness or physical trauma; psychosocial aspects of disability; health at every size; and neuropsychology. San Francisco has a wide range of research and field placement opportunities for students interested in health psychology.

For understanding and treating individuals in medical settings, we recommend that students take sections of required courses (Clinical & Ethical Issues; Advanced Clinical Seminar) that emphasize skills in cognitive-behavioral therapy and family systems therapy. We also recommend that students take electives in Neuropsychological Assessment, Psychopharmacology, Consultation in Primary Care Settings, and Pediatric Consultation and sections of Advanced Clinical Skills that relate to psychology and medicine. To gain clinical experience in medical settings, it is recommended that students take a one year practicum (field placement) in a health psychology setting (such as the San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital, Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, or other medical settings affiliated with CSPP’s field placement office of professional training and BAPIC).

Some PhD faculty members have a strong background in health psychology research and are able to connect our students with opportunities in medical research institutions for the First Research Project and the dissertation. A focus on health psychology research is actualized through signing up for a PhD Research Seminar with one of five faculty members who has expertise in an area of health psychology research (Professors Ja, Loewy, Morales, Samuelson, and Tiet).

Students who complete these recommended courses, as well as a clinical practicum and research projects in health psychology, will be well prepared to pursue internships and postdoctoral work in the field of clinical health psychology.

Multicultural Community Psychology and Program Evaluation

In addition to infusing multiculturalism throughout our entire curriculum, the clinical PhD program provides specialized courses that integrate knowledge, research and intervention skills necessary for working with multicultural groups and community organizations. These include Intercultural Awareness (a first year course) and multiple sections of a course called Sociocultural Diversity, each of which focuses on a different racial/ethnic minority group (e.g., Asian American, African American, and Latino).

In addition, San Francisco has a wealth of multicultural field placements (practicum) and internships, as well as relevant research opportunities that enable students to gain special expertise in working with specific racial/ethnic groups.

Several of our program faculty have special expertise in the areas of program evaluation and consultation in mental health, juvenile justice, substance abuse, HIV prevention, and other types of community settings. Also, we offer advanced clinical courses in Consultation and in Program Evaluation. Much of the focus of our program evaluation course lies in understanding program efficacy and outcomes in a community based context. Critical components include an understanding of the development of logic models and a theory of change in program interventions.

In addition, students in the PhD clinical program are able to take courses in Organizational Psychology, another CSPP program that offers doctoral degrees on the San Francisco campus. These training experiences help prepare students for postdoctoral positions in mental health services administration and related roles as consultants and program evaluators for organizations in community settings. Most importantly, seven of the PhD Research Seminars are led by instructors with research expertise in multicultural, community, and/or program evaluation topics (Professors Casey, Green, Ja, Loewy, Morales, Porter, and Tiet).

Clinical PhD Program Faculty: San Francisco

Core faculty for the PhD program are listed below:

Shannon Casey, PhD, Associate Professor

Dalia Ducker, PhD
, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Robert-Jay Green, PhD
, Distinguished Professor

Davis Ying Ja, PhD
, Professor

Michael I. Loewy, PhD
, Associate Professor and Program Director

Eduardo Morales, PhD
, Distinguished Professor

Natalie Porter, PhD
, Professor

Kristin Samuelson, PhD
, Associate Professor

Quyen Tiet, PhD
, Professor

Steven Tulkin, PhD
, Professor and Postdoctoral Psychopharmacology Program Director

Paul Werner, PhD
, Professor

For a detailed description of program faculty background and research interests, please see the alphabetical listing of faculty  for the California School of Professional Psychology.

APA Education and Training Outcomes

The CSPP San Francisco Clinical Psychology PhD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA) and publishes the following outcome data as required by APA:

  • Time to Completion
  • Program Costs
  • Internship Placement Rates
  • Attrition
  • Licensure

Please visit the “About CSPP Programs” section of our website ( to view these data.

Questions related to the 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

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