Catalog 2016-2017 
    Jul 22, 2024  
Catalog 2016-2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology: PhD, Fresno

The Clinical Psychology doctoral programs prepare students to function as multifaceted clinical psychologists through curricula based on an integration of psychological theory, research and practice. The Clinical Psychology PhD program is a scholar and practitioner oriented program. The Clinical Psychology curricula have four major areas of study: foundations of psychology, clinical and professional theory and skills, applied clinical research and professional growth. Students can follow their own clinical interests and further their individual career goals by selecting a specialized series of courses, research and field placements related to a particular area.

The Fresno Clinical 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:

Program Goals

GOAL 1: To produce students/graduates who are competent in integrating the foundations of scientific psychology in all of their work as clinical psychologists.

Objective for Goal 1:

  • Students/graduates will link core scientific theories and contemporary thought in the field of clinical psychology, as discussed in research and in practice.

GOAL 2: To produce students/graduates who are competent in research and evaluation

Objectives for Goal 2: Students/graduates will

  • Scholarly evaluate and integrate research literature, critically evaluate research design and statistical methods, and identify issues of ethical research and the protection of human subjects.
  • Conduct independent research and submit empirical work for dissemination
  • Collaborate with a community agency, develop/write a grant proposal

GOAL 3: To produce students/graduates competent in developing and maintaining constructive professional relationships.

Objectives for Goal 3: Students/graduates will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and engage in ethical and professional behavior
  • Engage in self-reflection to promote and develop a strong sense of self, and maintain appropriate self-other boundaries as is appropriate to the multicultural context in which they are operating
  • Understand and engage in appropriate meta-communication with clients, so as to establish and maintain rapport

GOAL 4: To produce students/graduates who demonstrate competence in understanding and engaging in diversity.

Objectives for Goal 4: Students/graduates will:

  • Show an understanding of culture as defined to include but not limited to an individual’s nationality, race, age, ethnicity, ability, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic background, and religiosity/spirituality
  • Show an understanding of their own culture and the culture(s) of others, and articulate how these might mediate one’s world views, and moral codes
  • Show an understanding of how research, clinical practice and teaching processes are affected by cultural and personal world views
  • Identify and seek out culture specific knowledge and consultation as needed

GOAL 5: To produce students/graduates competent in assessment skills as an ongoing process that informs and guides professional practice

Objectives for Goal 5: Students/graduates will:

  • Show competency in completing all phases of the assessment process in a competent and ethical manner
  • Show competency in selecting instruments appropriate to the client’s culture, background, and developmental level
  • Show competency in using assessment as an inherent part of doing evidence based work of any kind
  • Engage in ongoing informal and formal evaluation to inform and guide professional practice

GOAL 6: To produce students/graduates competent in intervention skills.

Objectives for Goal 6: Students/graduates will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of different theoretical and research bases of interventions in professional psychology
  • Show competency in completing all phases of the intervention process in an ethical manner
  • Show competency in evaluating the efficacy of interventions, and use this information to continuously assess and modify treatment plans
  • Engage in culturally appropriate interventions tailored to the individual and diverse needs of clients, using current clinical research evidence and standards of practice to inform interventions

GOAL 7: To train students/graduates who will engage in lifelong learning and ongoing professional development.

Objectives for Goal 7: Students/graduates will:

  • Use self-evaluation and consultation as a basis for professional growth and development.
  • Demonstrate their willingness to engage in self-learning, and commit to ongoing professional   development
  • Achieve relevant professional goals and career milestones in a timely manner
  • Engage with and support their professional community, so as to contribute to their own development

GOAL 8: To prepare students/graduates to be competent supervisors and consultants

Objectives for Goal 8: Students/graduates will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of one or more theoretical models of supervision and associated research and applications
  • Engage as a supervisor in the supervision process, in a competent and ethical manner
  • Demonstrate analytic and self-reflective skills in the evaluation of the supervision process as well as in the evaluation of the supervisee
  • Understand and identify power and diversity issues impacting on the supervision process
  • Engage competently in collaboration and consultation roles with a variety of potential client and professional populations in a variety of settings.

GOAL 9: To produce students/graduates competent in being teachers of psychology at the university level.

Objectives for Goal 9: Students/graduates will:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of theories and methods for effective educational instruction of adult learners and associated research on learning outcomes
  • Develop, design and teach a course, using varied instructional methods

Training Model

Field Training

The PhD program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical, research, and teaching practice. In order to integrate appropriate skills with material learned in the classroom, students participate in professional training experiences beginning in the second year. The professional training experiences completed prior to the full-time predoctoral internship are known as practicum experiences. Both the practica and internship constitute the professional clinical training component of the program.

Students complete their professional training in community mental health centers, clinics, inpatient mental health facilities, medical settings, specialized service centers, rehabilitation programs, residential or day programs, forensic/correctional facilities, and educational programs. Students are required to train in a different setting each year, gaining experience in with different populations, modalities, and settings. Second-year clinical PhD students spend 15-20 hours per week in a practicum at the Psychological Services Center in Fresno or at a CSPP-approved second year placement. Third-year clinical PhD students are required to participate in a 15-20 hours-per-week practicum. Fourth year clinical PhD students may opt to take an advanced elective practicum. Students typically receive a minimum of 1600 hours of clinical training prior to internship.

Supervision requirements for all practicum students are a minimum of 1 hour a week for individual supervision; and a minimum of 1 hour a week for group supervision with the primary on-site supervisor.  Feedback from practicum supervisors is collated by the Office of Professional Training; and used to inform the student of areas of strengths and weaknesses in competencies.

Assignments to the practica are accomplished with guidance from the Office of Professional Training. Each practicum agency is screened prior to being presented to the student as a placement. The student and the Professional Training Liaison make the final placement decisions jointly.

Fifth year students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate APA, APPIC, or CAPIC full year internship (2080 hours) and are assisted in this process by the Office of Professional Training. For many students, the internship stipend covers the costs of tuition and living expenses in the fifth year. During Phase 1 of APPIC match, students may only apply to APA-accredited internships. During Phase II of APPIC match, students may apply to both APA-accredited and APPIC (non-APA accredited) internships. PhD students who do not match in APPIC match Phase I or Phase II may apply for APA, APPIC, or CAPIC post-match vacancies.

Clinical PhD students usually enter teaching practica in their fourth year of their program. All of these practica involve teaching psychology to undergraduate students either through the university or at local community colleges or universities.

Research Training

Clinical PhD students begin their 2-year research practicum during their first year under the direct mentorship of PhD Program faculty members. They must present at a professional conference and be a co-author on a paper submitted for publication as part of the requirements for graduation. These requirements are usually completed during the research practicum experience.

Specialized Admissions Requirements: Credit for Previous Graduate Work

Students applying to the Fresno clinical PhD program may be eligible to receive credit for previous graduate work. Students transferring from another Alliant CSPP program should refer to PhD Student Handbook for transfer policies and procedures. All applicants must meet the graduate level requirements for preparation in psychology. While an applicant may not have completed the graduate level requirements at the time of application to CSPP, these requirements must be satisfied before the admitted student can enroll.

Any single course can only be used to fulfill one course requirement.

  1. The Fresno clinical PhD program allows a maximum of 30 units of graduate level transfer credit into the program. These credits must be completed with a grade of a B or better and must be from an accredited institution.
  2. Transfer credits reduce the total number of units a student must complete in order to obtain the degree. Therefore, it is sometimes possible for a student to reduce a five-year program to four years. Students should consult with their academic advisor immediately if they believe they can reduce their time to completion, as specific course sequences are necessary for this to occur.
  3. Graduate level transfer credits meeting our requirements are allowed even if the master’s degree has not been awarded.
  4. Regardless of the number of transfer units allowed, a student must complete any and all requirements remaining in both the core and emphasis areas for which transfer credit was not allowed.
  5. Listed below are courses that are NOT eligible for transfer credit. Please note that transfer units are credit units and do not require replacement.
  • PSY 6507 Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice: I (3 units)*
  • PSY 6508 Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice: II (3 units)*
  • PSY XXXX Any required ethics course
  • PSY XXXX Any clinical practicum
  • Any assessment course**
  • Two of the four required intervention courses
  • PSY 6035 - 6037 Three required Research Practica***
  • Any course over seven years old

* To apply for a waiver of Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice, students should submit 1) syllabi of graduate level coursework in psychopathology/diagnosis, basic counseling skills, and theories of psychotherapy and 2) a brief videotaped role play or actual therapy session so the student’s basic counseling skills can be assessed. This material should be submitted to the Program Director no later than mid-August. The materials will be submitted to the instructor of Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice for review and for a decision. The student must sign up for the course during registration, and if the waiver is granted the course may be dropped. If the course is not approved for waiver, the student remains in the course. A decision will be made prior to the Add/Drop deadline. If the course is waived, the units must be replaced with elective units. If sufficient elective units have been transferred into the program, an additional course may not have to be completed. Because this is a year-long class, students will receive a waiver for the entire year, if granted, rather than just one semester.

** In order to waive this requirement, the student must contact the Program Director for referral to a faculty member designated to determine waiver requirements.

*** Students may transfer in the first semester of the four semester Research Practicum sequence if they have completed a Master’s thesis in a previous program.


Curriculum and Degree Requirements

The PhD Program requires a minimum of 120 academic units and 30 internship units. Requirements for advancement to candidacy include 1) successful completion of 60 units of graduate study at the Fresno location; 2) successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Examination; 3) passing the Research Competency Examination; 4) passing the Diversity Competency Examination, and 5) passing the Clinical Competency Examination. The Research Competency exam is intended to be taken after completing the first year research courses (PSY 6055 , PSY 6056  & PSY 6060 ). The Clinical Competency and Diversity Competency exams are intended to be taken after completing the first year of clinical coursework (PSY 6501 , PSY 6505 , PSY 6506 , PSY 6507 , PSY 6508 , PSY 6530A  ), the cultural diversity training experiences (PSY 6127 , PSY 7127A , PSY 7127B , PSY 8127 ), as well as the second and third year clinical practica and at least two required intervention courses. Students may not apply for internship until they have been advanced to candidacy by the faculty.

Prior to graduation, students must complete a PhD portfolio containing the following:

  1. at least one presentation from a professional conference, including sample of poster/powerpoint, dates, titles, and conference details. Two or more (2+) presentations/posters can also be used to fulfill requirement #2 below.
  2. at least one article or book chapter submitted for publication, including title, journal or book, date submitted, current status.  Two or more (2+) presentations/posters can be used in lieu of this requirement.
  3. dates of completion of preliminary oral defense, final oral defense, and advancement to candidacy.
  4. syllabus from teaching practicum.
  5. dates of completion for all required exams (Research Competency, Multi-cultural Assessment of Practice-Revised, Clinical Proficiency Progress Review).  If taken multiple times, each date must be entered.
  6. evidence of campus involvement in diversity issues, e.g., Student Government Association, I-MERIT. Students must be involved for a minimum of two terms prior to graduation.
  7. evidence of participating in a minimum of 15 hours of peer supervision.
  8. evidence of completing 30 hours of personal therapy prior to graduation.

Students must complete all requirements for the program within eight years.

Curriculum Plan

Courses are 3 units, unless otherwise indicated.

First Year

  • PSY #### - Elective (2 units)

Second Year

  • 1 of the Core Theory Courses*
  • 2 of the Core Therapy Courses**
  • 1 of the Advanced Research Methods Courses***
  • PSY #### - Elective (3 units)

Third Year

  • 1 of the Core Theory Courses*
  • 1 of the Core Therapy Courses**
  • 1 of the Advanced Teaching Methods Courses***
  • 1 of the Advanced Research Methods Courses****
  • PSY #### - Elective (5 units)

Fourth Year

  • 2 of the Core Theory Courses*
  • 1 of the Core Therapy Courses**
  • PSY #### - Elective (4 units)

* Core Theory Courses

(Please note that these classes are offered online and face-to-face.)

Students must take all of these core theory courses:

** Core Therapy Courses (formerly called Intervention Courses)

Students must take 4 of 5 core individual therapy courses (PSY 7546, PSY 7547, PSY7548, PSY7549, PSY 7580). Each course is 2 units.

*** Advanced Research Methods Courses

Students must take two of these advanced research methods courses. Each course is 2 units.

**** Teaching Courses


***** Second year students participate in a reciprocal learning experience with a 4th year student, who has been assigned by the Supervision Seminar instructor. The 2nd year student meets with the faculty instructors of the Supervision Seminar class during the fall semester to accomplish the match of 2nd and 4th year students. During the second semester, the matched supervisor-supervisee meet weekly to examine clinical material as an adjunct to the supervision provided by the 2nd year student’s field placement agency.

Some courses may be taken online. These include foundational science/theory courses, ethics, and certain electives. Students may complete only one of the ethics courses online and no more than 20% of the program (30 units total) online. The CSPP section on Online Coursework describes the equipment and software needed for full participation in these courses.

Emphasis Areas

In order to obtain an emphasis in any one of the following areas, students must complete 12 units of coursework as designated by the emphasis area, complete the requirements for clinical training (including internship) as defined by the emphasis area, and complete a dissertation with a topic that focuses on that emphasis area. It may be possible to complete more than one emphasis area because of the overlap between the areas.

In addition to formal emphasis areas, students may, with program director approval, create a program of study emphasizing their own area(s) of interest.

Ecosystemic Child Emphasis

The Ecosystemic Child Emphasis refers to the integration of the biological, developmental, intrapsychic, systemic, sociocultural, and historical variables that must be taken into account when addressing a child or adolescent’s functioning in the world, at both the case conceptualization and the intervention levels. Psychological interventions are planned within the context of the client’s familial, peer, educational, medical, legal, cultural, and historical systems, as well as the intrapsychic perceptions and developmental level of the client. The Ecosystemic Child Emphasis has a close working relationship with the Association for Play Therapy (APT), an international organization that promotes play therapy training and clinical work. The CSPP clinical psychology programs in Fresno are usually able to offer all the coursework required by APT to become a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).

All students must take Play Therapy (2 units) as one of their required psychotherapy courses. Elective course offerings may consist of some of the following: Pediatric Neuropsychology, Cross-Cultural Families, Family Therapy, Play Therapy Interventions, Play Diagnosis, Attachment Play Therapy, Teaching Parents Parenting Skills, Custody Evaluationsand any of the Infant-Preschooler Mental Health courses (see the Certificates section for a description of this and other certificate programs available to students).

All students must complete 1,000 hours of clinical training with children, adolescents, and families and a dissertation on a topic with a child or adolescent focus.

Health Psychology Emphasis

Students who complete the emphasis will be prepared to function in health care environments including hospices, hospitals, and clinics and to handle the psychological aspects of medical issues that arise in a general practice setting. Health psychologists also work with clients on prevention of illness.

All students will take Introduction to Health Psychology in Multiple Settings (2 units) and Interventions in Health Psychology (2 units) as well as 8 additional elective units, which may include: Consultation and Liaison in Behavioral Medicine, Psychology of Women’s Health, Hypnotherapy, Pediatric Psychology, Pediatric Neuropsychology, Eating Disorders, Alternative Approaches to Health, HIV-AIDS, Medicine and Psychology, Clinical Seminar in Health.

Students must complete a practicum (500 hours) in a health psychology setting; a full pre-doctoral internship in a health psychology setting is strongly recommended as well. A dissertation must be completed in a health psychology related area.

Clinical Forensic Psychology Emphasis

Most often the term forensic is associated with work involving criminal populations. However, the field of forensic psychology also includes a number of clinical services provided to clients who have non-criminal contact with the legal system. These include divorce, custody mediation, worker’s compensation evaluations, disability evaluations, child abuse, adoption, and many others.

All students will take Introduction to Clinical Forensics (2 units). Elective offerings may include such courses as Child Custody Evaluation and Mediation, Seminar in Psycho-legal Evaluation, Seminar in Psycho-legal Consultation, Clinical Psychology and Law, Juvenile Delinquency and Forensic Psychology, Forensic Mediation and Dispute Resolution, and Substance Abuse Theory and Treatment.

Students must complete a practicum (500 hours) in a forensic psychology setting; a full pre-doctoral internship in a forensic psychology setting is strongly recommended as well. A dissertation must be completed in a forensic psychology related area.


All psychologists who offer direct services to the public for a fee must be licensed or certified by the state in which they practice. Applicants for licensure in the state of California must hold an earned doctoral degree in psychology, educational psychology, education with a specialization in counseling psychology, or education with a specialization in educational psychology from an approved or accredited educational institution. They also must have completed 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience (of which at least 1,500 must be postdoctoral) and have taken and passed the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). In addition, they must submit evidence of having completed coursework in human sexuality, child abuse, substance abuse, spousal abuse, and aging and long-term care. Continuing education is required to maintain the license. CSPP doctoral course requirements are designed to fulfill the programmatic requirements for licensure in California, and in some cases they exceed the requirements.

Every state has its own requirements for licensure. Therefore, it is essential that all CSPP Clinical PsyD and PhD students who plan to apply for licensure in states other than California contact the licensing board in those states for information on state requirements (e.g., coursework, practicum and internship hours, supervision, or nature of the doctoral project or dissertation). Students seeking licensure in other states should plan ahead to ensure they meet all of those states’ requirements.

For further information on licensure in California or other states contact:

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards
PO Box 241245
Montgomery, AL 36124-1245
(334) 832-4580,


California Board of Psychology
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 263-2699,


Practice Directorate American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979,

APA Education and Training Outcomes

The CSPP Fresno 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

Clinical PhD Program Faculty: Fresno

Debra Bekerian, PhD, Professor and Program Director

Merle Canfield, PhD, Professor

Kevin O’Connor, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Arrie Smith, PhD, Assistant 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.