2017-2018 Catalog 
    Dec 15, 2019  
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Sacramento)

School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground

Calendar(s): Semester

Program Description/Overview

This program prepares students to function as multifaceted clinical psychologists through curricula based on an integration of psychological theory, research and practice. This program is a practitioner oriented program. The 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 elective courses, research and field placements related to a particular area.


This program currently offers a course-based emphasis in Correctional Psychology which is the application of foundational knowledge in clinical psychology to clinical work with offender populations. Correctional psychologists work as members of treatment teams in challenging environments, often assuming leadership and management roles in the mental health programs in these settings. Correctional settings offer a number of APA and APPIC pre-doctoral internships, as well as less formal training opportunities to complete post-doctoral supervised professional experience.

Designed for students whose educational goals include pursuing a professional career in correctional or forensic psychology, this emphasis supplements strong training in clinical psychology with eight units of elective coursework.

Emphasis Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the roles of clinical psychologists in correctional settings. 
  2. An understanding of ethical and legal practice of clinical psychologists in corrections.
  3. An understanding of criminogenic factors and psychopathology in offender populations.
  4. An understanding of goals and strategies of psychological assessment in correctional settings.
  5. Knowledge of evidence-based interventions for multicultural offender populations. 
  6. An understanding of prison culture and development of effective self-care skills in these settings.

Program Learning Outcomes/Goals

This program is designed to train students to be proficient in nine areas of clinical competence.

  1. Research prepares students to generate new knowledge, to critically evaluate the research literature, to use existing knowledge to solve problems, and to disseminate research findings.
  2. Ethical and Legal Standards familiarizes students with legal and ethical principles relevant to their scope of practice and teaches students how to recognize and resolve ethical dilemmas.
  3. Individual and Cultural Diversity informs students of the current theoretical and empirical knowledges bases in dealing with diversity, facilitates understanding of their own personal history/biases, and their own culture and the cultures of others serve as mediators in all professional roles.
  4. Professional Values and Attitudes teaches students to act with integrity, to engage in self-evaluation, be open to feedback and supervision, and pursue life-long learning in the service of ongoing professional development.
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills enable students to develop and maintain constructive and collaborative relationships with clients, colleagues, supervisors, communities, consumers of services, and community organizations.
  6. Assessment enable students to conduct multi-dimensional assessment in a range of contexts including; measure selection, interpretation, and the written and/or oral communication of findings according to the best available empirical literature.
  7. Intervention skills allow students to plan and implement evidence-based interventions according to client needs, to evaluate their therapeutic endeavors, and to adopt their interventions based on their evaluations.
  8. Supervision educates students on supervision models and to provide quality clinical and professional feedback to others.
  9. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary skills teach students how to collaborate with other individuals or groups to resolve a problem, seek or share knowledge, and promote effectiveness with outside professions.

Training Model

This program offers education and training in clinical psychology consistent with a Practitioner-Scholar model. The program, designed primarily for students interested in the professional practice of clinical psychology, emphasizes clinical skills and the application of research knowledge with diverse populations in a wide range of settings.

Systemically oriented, the program trains students to consider the role of diverse systems in creating and/or remedying individual and social problems. While students receive an exceptional grounding in traditional clinical assessment and intervention, they also are taught to consider the potential value of advocacy, consultation, or public policy work in helping both individuals and entire groups of clients with similar problems. The program faculty is committed to offering a broad array of elective courses reflecting theory, assessment, and intervention across a variety of systems, especially across cultural systems. The importance of the cultural system is emphasized throughout students’ academic and clinical training. An integral part of the mission and structure of CSPP, the program’s competencies are well aligned with the University’s mission to prepare “students for professional careers of service and leadership” and to promote “the discovery and application of knowledge to improve the lives of people in diverse cultures and communities around the world.”

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

Students applying to the program 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, these requirements must be satisfied before the admitted student can enroll.

Credit for Previous Work

Graduate coursework taken at an accredited institution can be considered for transfer credit. Transfer credits reduce the total number of units a student must complete to obtain the degree. Although it is sometimes possible for a student to reduce a four-year program to three 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. Regardless of the number of transfer units allowed, a student must complete all requirements remaining in the core areas for which transfer credit was not allowed.

Graduate level transfer credits meeting the requirements are allowed even if the master’s degree has not been awarded. Any single course can only be used to fulfill one course requirement.

For all transfers: Materials for consideration should be submitted no later than mid-August (submission process can be discussed with the admissions counselor). The student must sign up for the course during registration, and if the transfer is granted the course may be dropped. If the course is not approved for transfer, the student remains in the course. A decision will be made prior to the Add/Drop deadline. In special circumstances, the program may grant exception to this transfer policy to students transferring within the University.

Approval of the course syllabus is required for every course requested for transfer. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain this documentation, as well as any additional material requested (e.g., a sample work product). Requests for transfer that require additional material include:

  1. Introduction to Psychotherapy: in order apply for transfer credit, students should submit 1) syllabi of graduate level coursework in basic counseling skills, and 2) a 30-minute videotaped role play therapy session so the student’s basic counseling skills can be assessed. Submitted materials will be reviewed by the instructor of Introduction to Psychotherapy and a recommendation forwarded to the Program Director.
  2. Any required assessment course: to apply for transfer credit, students should submit 1) syllabi of graduate level coursework in assessment and 2) a sample report (with all identifying information removed) reflecting the student’s ability to integrate assessments specific to the course requested for waiver (submission process can be discussed with the admissions counselor). Requests to waive Intellectual Assessment should include documentation of coursework in both cognitive and achievement assessment. Requests to waive Personality Assessment should include documentation of coursework in both self-report and projective assessment. Submitted materials will be reviewed by an assessment instructor and a recommendation forwarded to the Program Director.

The following courses are not eligible for transfer credit:

  1. PSY7911 PsyD Proposal Development
  2. PSY7912 PsyD Proposal Development
  3. PSY8913 PsyD Clinical Dissertation
  4. PSY8914 PsyD Clinical Dissertation
  5. Any required ethics course
  6. Any clinical practicum
  7. Any required intervention course
  8. Any required cultural diversity course


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. Although students are exposed to these topics during their time in the program, specific courses in these areas are not part of the required curriculum. Continuing education is required to maintain the license. The doctoral course requirements are designed to fulfill the programmatic requirements for licensure in California.

Every state has its own requirements for licensure. Therefore, it is essential that all 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, asppb@asppb.org


California Board of Psychology
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 263-2699, bopmail@dca.ca.gov


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

Programmatic Accreditation

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

  1. Time to Completion
  2. Program Costs
  3. Internship Placement Rates
  4. Attrition
  5. Licensure

Please visit our website to view the 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

Email: apaaccred@apa.org

Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Internship, Practicum, and/or Dissertation Information

Field Training

The program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical practice. Skills learned in the classroom are quickly put to practice as students participate in their professional training experiences (or practica). Students receive supervised clinical training through five semesters of practicum and one year of full-time pre-doctoral internship.

Students begin practicum during the 2nd semester of their first year. This first-year practicum requires 15 hours per week for 15 weeks (approximately 200 hours) and draws on the skills learned during the first term in courses designed to prepare students for practice (such as Introduction to Psychotherapy, Advanced Psychopathology, Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law, and Intellectual Assessment). In the second and third years, practica are typically 20 hours per week for 40 weeks (approximately 800 hours each year), utilizing psychotherapy and assessment skills in a variety of settings. Practicum placements are available in agencies with a variety of theoretical approaches and serving demographically and culturally diverse populations. Students are required to train in different settings each year, gaining experience with different populations to ensure a broad base of training. In addition to onsite supervision, students participate in campus-based supervision with core faculty.

The Office of Professional Training (OPT) Liaison assigns students to agencies based how the available training experiences match individual practicum learning plans, developed for each student to provide a breadth of experiences in keeping with the student’s level of experience and career goals. Each practicum agency is screened prior to being presented to the student as a placement and evaluated annually by the student and the OPT staff.


Fourth year students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate 1-year, full-time internship (approximately 2,080 hours) and are strongly encouraged to seek an APA-accredited internship, although APPIC, or CAPIC member internships are permissible. Prior to submitting applications, student will submit the list of sites to which they intend to apply to faculty for review and approval. Students may request an exception to participate in a 2-year, half-time internship (PSY9561-PSY9566) in place of a 1-year, full-time internship, but these requests must be made in advance and approved before students can seek placement at a part-time site. The OPT and faculty advisors assist students as they negotiate the internship placement application process.

Research Training

One of the unique aspects of the program is the design of its dissertation sequence. The 4-semester course sequence begins in the Fall of 2nd year and is completed in the Spring of the 3rd year, before students leave for internship. Utilizing a cohort model, students in the class are integrally involved in each other’s dissertations, supporting each other under the supervision of the instructor, a core faculty member who serves as dissertation chair. The seminar format draws on the expertise of other students to stimulate new ideas and to offer and receive critical feedback as students progress through the dissertation process. This intensive structure has proven extremely successful in facilitating students completing the program on time.

In addition to course offerings, several faculty members lead voluntary research groups, providing opportunity for students to engage in hands on research endeavors including generating hypotheses, literature reviews, data collection/analysis, and scientific writing. Many students involved in a research team often present their work at state and national conferences, and work with the research mentor to publish their findings.

Credit Units

Total Credit Units: 120

Total Core Credit Units: 111

Total Elective Credit Units: 9

Total Concentration Credit Units: 8*

*Counts towards fulfillment of the elective requirement

Degree Requirements

Writing Proficiency Assessment

Please refer to the Writing Proficiency Assessment  requirement in the Academic Policies section for more information.


Thirty (30) hours of individual supervision with a licensed psychologist in California are required for the degree.

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:

  1. 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 1 of the required psychotherapy courses); and law and ethics (Introduction to Ethical Practice & Law);
  2. 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, Developmental, Social Bases of Behavior)
  3. Research competency through successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Examination
  4. 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 Fall term of their second year. The CPPR is offered annually and is intended to be taken as the student completes the 2nd 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.

Emphasis/Concentration/Track Requirements

Correctional Psychology (8 units)

Note: Courses are listed as PSY8500 and are differentiated every semester by the section number.

  • PSY8500 Introduction to Correctional Psychology (2 units)
  • PSY8500 Psychological Assessment in Corrections (2 units)- requires completion of PSY6501, PSY6505 and PSY6506 prior to enrollment
  • PSY8500 Evidence-based Interventions for Offenders (2 units)- requires completion of PSY6520 prior to enrollment
  • PSY8500 Development and Criminal Behavior (2 units)- requires completion of and/or current enrollment in PSY6112, PSY6101, PSY7106, and PSY6140

Curriculum Plan

Several courses are offered through online/distributed learning formats. Students may complete all electives in an online/distributed learning format. Other required courses, including assessment, intervention, and ethics courses must be taken in person.

Semester Calendar

Academic Year 1 - Semester 2 (15 units)

Academic Year 1 - Additional Course(s) (2 units)

The following course(s) can be completed in either semester:

  • Elective(s) (2 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 1 (15 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 2 (11 units)

Academic Year 2 - Additional Courses (5 units)

The following courses can be completed in either semester:

  • Core Therapy Course (3 units)**
  • Elective (2 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 1 (9 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 2 (12 units)

Academic Year 3 - Additional Courses (7 units)

The following courses can be completed in either semester:

  • Core Therapy Course (3 units)**
  • Elective (4 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 1 (11 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 2 (11 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 3 (8 units)


*Discipline-Specific Knowledge Courses

Students are expected to have taken the following five courses (3 units each) by the end of Academic Year 2. All Discipline-Specific Knowledge Courses must be taken on-ground (i.e., not online) and are typically offered only once per academic year.

**Core Therapy Courses

Students are expected to complete two courses (3 units each) from the following. These courses are offered every academic year (usually two per semester).

***Internship Enrollment

Students must remain continuously enrolled in an internship course during their internship year. Many internships have summer start dates so students enroll in PSY9533 prior to the beginning of the Fall semester so the internship course enrollment order is PSY9533 (Summer) - PSY9531 (Fall) - PSY9532 (Spring). However, some internships start close to or during the Fall semester and in these cases the internship course enrollment is PSY9531 (Fall) - PSY9532 (Spring) - PSY9533 (Summer). Once students secure an internship position it is recommended to check with advising to determine the best sequence of internship course enrollment.

Gainful Employment

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program, please visit https://www.alliant.edu/media/gainful-employment-disclosure/Doctor_Psychology_Clinical_Psychology.html.