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

Clinical Psychology: PsyD, San Diego

The APA-accredited Clinical Psychology PsyD Program at the San Diego campus of Alliant International University follows a Practitioner-Scholar model that emphasizes the applications of theory and research to clinical practice. The program develops competent professional clinical psychologists skilled in delivering a variety of clinical services to diverse populations in varied settings. The San Diego Clinical Psychology PsyD program’s most distinctive component is its dual emphasis on clinical expertise and clinical scholarship. Our students take courses in a wide range of subjects, including statistics, theories of personality, psychopathology, psychological assessment, multicultural issues, and psychological practice. The Clinical Psychology curricula has 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 San Diego PsyD 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 graduates who have mastered the scientific foundations of clinical psychology and who apply this knowledge to their work.

Objectives for Goal 1: Students will:

  1. Acquire knowledge of psychology as a scientific discipline that serves as the basis for professional practice.
  2. Integrate, synthesize, and critique scientific knowledge from multiple sources, taking into account and weighing the significance of multiple determinates of human behavior.
  3. Apply scientific knowledge to the practice of clinical psychology.

GOAL 2: To develop graduates who understand research methods and skillfully apply them to significant human problems.

Objectives for Goal 2: Students will:

  1. Be knowledgeable about test construction, quantitative and qualitative research methods.
  2. Be able to critically evaluate literature in terms of its scientific rigor and attention to diversity issues.
  3. Understand that research informs effective practice and that useful research often arises from clinical work.
  4. Master the scientific literature on a clinical topic, identify lacunae and then design and execute a scholarly, applied empirical study.
  5. Communicate research findings to a professional audience.

GOAL 3: To produce graduates who identify as clinical practitioners and who use ethical and legal principles to guide professional practice, self-evaluation, and professional growth.

Objectives for Goal 3: Students will:

  1. Acquire knowledge of and adopt values and ethical principles of professional practices as outlined in the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.
  2. Understand legal and state regulations pertaining to psychological practice and research.
  3. Apply ethical principles of practice in the various roles of a clinical psychologist (therapist, researcher, manager, consultant, educator, supervisor).
  4. Take responsibility for their own professional behavior and actively seek supervision when appropriate.

GOAL 4: To train students to understand clinical phenomena within social and cultural contexts in order to apply this understanding in evaluation/assessment, consultation/education, and supervision/management.

Objectives for Goal 4: Students will:

  1. Possess an in-depth and integrative understanding of clinical phenomena (i.e., psychopathology, therapeutic processes, and associated phenomena).
  2. Identify assessment tools appropriate to the clinical questions and be able to administer an assessment battery, interpret results, and complete a psychological report in an objective, accurate manner.
  3. Understanding that assessment is not a discrete event, but is an ongoing process informing practice and research.
  4. Understand the role of the psychologist in complex systems and the general principles of consultation, education, supervision, and management.

GOAL 5: To develop graduates who are able to intervene using multiple methods, with diverse populations, across many settings and in changing and evolving contexts.

Objectives for Goal 5: Students will:

  1. Achieve knowledge of the theoretical and research bases of interventions in professional psychology.
  2. Establish and maintain productive and respectful working relationships with clients, colleagues, and supervisors from diverse social and cultural contexts.
  3. Understand the needs of clients on individual and systems levels and within social and cultural contexts.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to create treatment plans that are culturally appropriate and informed by current clinical research and utilize multiple intervention strategies consistent with these treatment plans and with standards of practice.
  5. Understand the needs of clients on individual and systems levels and within social and cultural contexts.
  6. Evaluate the efficacy of their interventions and use this information to continuously assess the treatment plan and intervention methods.

GOAL 6: To graduate students with the attitudes, knowledge, and skills to work professionally in a multicultural society.

Objectives for Goal 6: Students will:

  1. Understand the presuppositions of their own culture and attitudes towards diverse others as mediators of their worldview.
  2. Develop knowledge of themselves as cultural beings in assessment, treatment, consultation, and all other professional activities.
  3. Integrate knowledge, sensitivity, and relevant skills regarding individual and cultural differences into all aspects of their work.
  4. Possess the ability to articulate an integrative conceptualization of diversity as it impacts self, clients, colleagues, and larger systems and an ability to engage in effective dialogue about multicultural issues.

GOAL 7: To train students who engage in lifelong learning and Professional Development.

Objectives for Goal 7: Students will:

  1. Develop positive attitudes about lifelong, self-directed learning, and take responsibility for their ongoing development as professionals.
  2. Be able to identify challenges and problems in clinical practice and to undertake self-directed education to resolve these challenges and problems.
  3. Present the results of self-directed education in educational presentations both verbally and through written documents, incorporating scholarly integration of practice, theory, and research findings.
  4. Inform clinical practice with the results of self-education and using both traditional tools and contemporary technologies.

Training Model: A Practitioner-Scholar Program

Special features of the San Diego program include a particular 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.

Field Training

Students receive four years of practicum and internship experiences. Placements are 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 10 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, and an option exists for students to do two half-time internship placements in the fourth and fifth years. However, unless an exemption is granted, all Clinical PsyD students must apply for a minimum of 11 APA internships. Students will interview for each position, and the selecting agency makes the final decision.

Students meet with their site supervisor each week a minimum of 10% of their time at the site. One of the hours must be individual supervision and the rest can be individual or group. Students keep a tally form which is signed each week by the supervisor.

Research Training

PsyD students participate in the Proposal Development and Clinical Dissertation Group. These are intensive seminars that integrate practice and directed reading in small group formats and prepare students for the clinical dissertation - an applied scholarly work in the chosen area of advanced competency. The student defends the dissertation plan to a faculty committee at the Proposal Meeting.

Specialized Admissions Requirements: Credit for Previous Graduate Work

Applicants admitted will be able to receive credit for some graduate coursework completed prior to entry that is comparable to the curriculum for the doctoral program at the San Diego campus. Applicants may be granted credit for up to 30 units of graduate coursework at the discretion of the Clinical PsyD Faculty..

Applicants may submit coursework with a grade of B or better. This coursework must be accompanied by a course syllabus or a detailed letter from the instructor.

Curriculum and Degree Requirements

Doctoral degree requirements total 120 units. Students must pass a preliminary writing examination and competency examinations as partial fulfillment of the requirements for admission to doctoral candidacy. They must also take a Preliminary Examination in Psychological Assessment at the end of their second year in the program and a Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE) at the end of their third year in the program.

Additionally, 40 hours of individual psychotherapy with a psychologist licensed in California (for a minimum of three years) are required prior to graduation. Students who progress successfully should expect to complete the PsyD program in four to five years (unless they enter the program with substantial credit for previous graduate work). Timely completion of all requirements is necessary to complete the program in four years.

The recommended plan is for three years of coursework followed by a full-time APA-accredited internship.

Curriculum Plan

Courses are 3 units, unless otherwise indicated.


All PsyD students must take both PSY6524 and PSY6525, in addition to either PSY6605 or PSY6540. Students in the Integrative Emphasis Area should take PSY6526 in addition to the above as an elective.


* May be taken Summer, Fall or Spring


* May be taken Summer, Fall or Spring


* May be taken Summer, Fall or Spring
** May be taken Fall or Spring

Third Year - Spring


* May be taken Summer, Fall or Spring


Students in the Assessment Emphasis need to take an additional 3 units beyond the total curriculum units to complete the emphasis area requirements.

Half-Time Internship Option

Other Requirements

  • Writing Proficiency Examination (At the beginning of first year)
  • Continuing Education Requirements (12 hours each year)
  • Preliminary Examination in Psychological Assessment (End of second year)
  • Comprehensive Examinations in Research Methods and one TBD (second year)
  • Clinical Proficiency Examination (Oral and written examination at the end of the third year)
  • 40 hours of Psychotherapy with a Psychologist licensed in California for at least three years.
  • Clinical Dissertation

Emphasis Areas

The curriculum for the PsyD clinical program is designed to provide advanced doctoral students with 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 emphases.

Assessment Emphasis

The assessment emphasis is designed for students who want to go beyond the basic assessment courses required of all PsyD students. The assessment emphasis gives students training in advanced methods of test interpretation and advanced skills in the integration of test materials into comprehensive test reports, as well as psychometric theory. Students are also exposed to the assessment of specific clinical populations, such as children, adolescents, custody litigants, sexual predators, and other forensic populations. Students must complete at least one of their practica in a testing setting, enroll in one Clinical Consultation Group with a testing emphasis, and complete a dissertation in an area related to assessment.

Students in the assessment emphasis complete the first-year intelligence testing course, the second-year personality assessment sequence, and the third year Clinical Inference course required of all PsyD students.

Students also take an extra Clinical Elective course such as:

Family/Child Psychology Emphasis

The family/child psychology emphasis is designed for students who are interested in developing proficiency in evaluation, treatment and research with children and families. Courses cover the entire life span from infancy through old age and are presented from various theoretical viewpoints, including family-systems, psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral and lifespan development.

The program supports the study of ethnic and cultural issues as they affect the individual and the family. Faculty research interests include family violence, child abuse and neglect, adolescent development, childhood social competence and peer relationships, early childhood psychopathology, aging, child resiliency, divorce, child custody, step families, and process and outcomes of family interventions.

It is required that students take at least one year of professional training placement in a setting that emphasizes interactions with children and families. Dissertations addressing family/child issues are also required and are common at the San Diego campus.

Required courses include PSY7602: Theory and Practice of Psychotherapy-Child [Clinical Practice course], PSY7503: Family Psychotherapy [Advanced Therapy elective], PSY8540: Family Therapy with Ethnic Families [Multicultural Practice Elective], and PSY8545: Developmental Psychopathology [Elective]. Students are expected to take one Clinical Consultation course in a group emphasizing family or child issues. Students may also take electives such as:

Forensic Psychology Emphasis

The forensic psychology emphasis focuses on the relationship and interdependency of law, social science, and clinical practice. It provides the basic foundation for post-graduate training for a career in forensic clinical psychology. The emphasis requires the completion of an introductory course in forensics, which acquaints the student with the nature of the legal system and the varied roles of psychologists within it. This introduction also includes training in the basics of testimony – the preparation of a defensible report; the appropriate presentation of one’s qualifications; the persuasive presentation of psychological science to a judge, jury, or within an amicus brief; and the increased ability to withstand cross-examination. Additional courses address psychological assessment, violence, antisocial behavior, and other clinical topics. Students also have the option of taking an organizational psychology advanced seminar addressing conflict management or dispute resolution. Students are expected to address an issue in forensic psychology in their dissertation. They are also encouraged, but not required, to procure forensic training in their practicum or internship. Students are expected to take one Clinical Consultation course focusing on forensic issues.

Three courses are required to complete the emphasis area, one of which is mandatory:

The student will select two of the following electives (Clinical Practice Course) to complete the emphasis:


It is expected that PsyD dissertations will focus on a topic related to forensic psychology.

Students in the Forensic Psychology emphasis need to take an additional 3 units beyond the total curriculum units to complete the emphasis area requirements.

Integrative Psychology Emphasis

This emphasis area exposes students to the basic principles of Integrative Psychology. An integrative, systems approach to health and healing brings multiple ways of knowing into psychological practice, encouraging practitioners to attend not only to cognitive behaviors, but also to cultural and spiritual concerns.

In many ways, integrative psychology refocuses attention on traditional healing practices that are concerned with the complex ways in which social context, body, mind, and emotions continually interact and influence well-being. Integrative psychology includes the study of spirituality, consciousness, imagery, somatic practices, expressive arts, human ecology, postmodern cultural psychologies, and the application of all these in clinical settings. At the same time, the field values mainstream psychological models and emphasizes research based on systems theory and integrated methodologies.

Since a psychologist’s own perceptions profoundly influence outcomes, the courses and credits included in this emphasis area are intended to ensure that professionals-in-training refine their values along with their skills and that they work to achieve educated intentionality and mindfulness in all phases of clinical work. This emphasis addresses a shortage of qualified psychologists with experience in the holistic balancing of health, suffering and death issues, psychospiritual counseling, and conflicting belief systems viewed in their cultural contexts. An integrative approach trains psychologists to provide pathways rather than simply treat symptoms.

Candidates are expected to participate in Center for Integrative Psychology colloquia, workshops, and social events (see Candidates will conduct dissertation research from an integrative perspective.

To complete the emphasis area, the following four courses are required:

Candidates in the emphasis are required to take one additional Integrative Psychology elective. The following list is subject to change as the program develops.


*This elective falls under the course number PSY 7650 as an Integrative Psychology Elective.

It is expected that PsyD dissertations will focus on a topic related to integrative psychology.

Multicultural and International Emphasis Area

The Alliant approach to multiculturalism incorporates diversity in many respects, including race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, national origin and international status, age, social class, religion, and disability. Central to traditional clinical psychology is the examination of factors known to be relevant to mental health/mental illness as western society defines them. The goal of this emphasis area is to go beyond the traditional western, majority cultural viewpoint so that students might have the basic preparation to focus on cultural and international encounters in professional psychology. Whereas traditional psychology focuses primarily on individual psychological activity, multicultural psychology is based on the view that cultural and societal level influences on the individual can be best understood by incorporating societal systemic variables and cultural contexts. The emphasis provides students with opportunities to prepare for clinical licensure, research, teaching, and consulting in the area of cultural diversity.

Students in this emphasis take coursework in these broadly defined multicultural and international areas and complete a dissertation relevant to some aspect of multicultural or international psychology. They must also arrange for at least one of their practicum/internship professional training placements in a setting serving a culturally diverse population. The large majority of our training sites serve such populations. Students are expected to take one of the Clinical Consultation courses in a section emphasizing diversity issues.

In addition to the multicultural psychology courses required of all students, a total of six additional units in the multicultural or international psychology are required. These include:

Emphasis area students must take a Multicultural Practice Course (required of all PsyD students), such as:

  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Clinical Interventions with LGBT Clients
  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Psychology of African Americans
  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Clinical Considerations with Asian and Asian Americans
  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Latino Mental Health
  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Psychology of Women & Feminist Therapy
  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Interpersonal Violence in Multicultural Populations
  • PSY 7610 - Cultural Seminar: Working with Immigrants and Refugees
  • : LGBT Couples and Family

Students must also take another multicultural elective either from the list above or from other courses, such as:


It is also expected that students in this emphasis area will complete a dissertation with a multicultural and/or international focus.

Students should note that this emphasis area is under active development and continues to undergo revision. We are developing the international component for possible inclusion (e.g., cultural immersion at campuses in Hong Kong, Japan, and Mexico).

Psychodynamic Emphasis

The psychodynamic emphasis provides students with a coherent practical and theoretical framework to practice general psychology in a variety of settings with children and adults. The psychodynamic emphasis curriculum gives students exposure to coursework and supervision integrating object relations, self-psychology, developmental psychology, existential psychology, and cognitive, science-based approaches to unconscious processes. Coursework and supervision prepare students for further professional development and specialization beyond the doctorate.

Students in the psychodynamic emphasis area are required to complete at least three courses among the psychodynamic offerings, complete at least a one year practicum with psychodynamic supervision, complete a dissertation in an area pertinent to psychodynamic theory, research or application, and enroll in one PSY 8551 Clinical Consultation section incorporating a psychodynamic emphasis.

Students must complete:

Students must also take one elective, which might include:

  • : Advanced Psychodynamic Interventions
  • PSY 8500 - Clinical Elective: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with Adolescents
  • PSY 8500 - Clinical Elective: Attachment and Gender
  • : Theoretical Psychodynamic Issues
  • PSY 8800 - Advanced Seminar: Object Relations


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 San Diego Clinical Psychology PsyD 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 PsyD Program Faculty: San Diego

Liana Abascal, PhD, Assistant Professor

Steven F. Bucky, PhD, Distinguished Professor

Joanne Callan, PhD, Distinguished Professor

David Diamond, PhD, Associate Professor

Marina Dorian, PhD, Associate Professor

Julii Green, PhD, Assistant Professor

Debra Kawahara, PhD, Professor

Mojgan Khademi, PsyD, Associate Professor

James Madero, PhD, Professor

Matthew Porter, PhD, Associate Professor

Neil Ribner, PhD, Professor and Program Director

Skultip Sirikantraporn, PsyD, Assistant Professor

Jill Stoddard, PhD, Associate Professor

Ronald Stolberg, PhD, Associate Professor

Steven R. Thorp, PhD, ABPP, Associate 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.