This program is designed primarily for students interested in clinical practice. The program emphasizes clinical skills and the application of research knowledge with diverse populations in a wide range of settings.
The program prepares students to function as multifaceted clinical psychologists through curricula based on an integration of psychological theory, research and practice. This is a practitioner-oriented program. The PsyD curriculum 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 program requires a minimum of 90 academic units and 30 internship units.
In addition to their basic education in clinical psychology, students in the program may focus their study and clinical expertise by selecting either the Forensic Psychology Experience Area or the Self-Designed Emphasis Area.
Forensic Psychology Experience Area
The field of clinical forensic psychology includes clinical services provided to clients with criminal and non-criminal contact with the legal system. In addition to work in prisons and jails, the field covers needs related to divorce, custody mediation, worker’s compensation evaluations, disability evaluations, child abuse, and adoption. The Forensic Psychology Experience Area in Fresno includes courses and a practicum experience designed to prepare students for working with clients in forensic settings. To obtain the Forensic psychology Experience Area, students must complete at least two elective courses designated as Forensic Psychology by the experience area and complete at least one practicum or internship approved as Forensic Psychology by the experience area.
Self-Designed Emphasis Area
In addition to the Forensic Psychology Experience Area, students may create a program of study emphasizing their own area(s) of interest. For example, a student might create a program emphasizing “Family Advocacy” by combining topics such as family therapy, play therapy, juvenile justice, education law as it applies to the rights of emotionally disturbed children, pediatric psychology, child custody evaluation, divorce mediation, and so forth. Students who claim a self-designed emphasis area must complete 12 units of coursework as designated by the emphasis area, complete the requirements for clinical training as defined by the emphasis area, and complete a dissertation with a topic that focuses on that emphasis area.
Multicultural Facilitated Learning
In addition to the primary emphases, the 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. This focus on cultural issues ensures students will be prepared for professional practice in a pluralistic society.
Program Learning Outcomes/Goals
Program Aims and Competencies
Aim 1: Provide students with discipline-specific scientific knowledge to support the effective entry-level practice of clinical psychology.
Aim 2: Train competent health service psychologists (HSPs) to deliver scientifically-informed psychological services to diverse individuals and groups.
Aim 3: Provide students with strong professional identities as licensed psychologists and the clinical skills, professional behaviors, and attitudes that reflect the highest ethical and professional standards in the entry-level practice of clinical psychology.
All students are expected to acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of and competence in the following nine profession-wide competency areas:
- Ethical and Legal Standards
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Professional Values and Attitudes
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
In addition, students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four areas:
- History and Systems of Psychology
- The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior
- Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology
- Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics
A Practitioner-Scholar Program
This program emphasizes clinical skills and the application of research knowledge. The program takes a minimum of four years to complete, with the fourth year typically spent in a full-time internship.
The clinical 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.
In addition to their basic education in clinical psychology, students have the opportunity to select an emphasis area (forensic or self-determined) in which to develop focused study and clinical expertise. During the program students are evaluated on progressive developmental stages of their training. The evaluation includes evaluation of a student’s readiness for practicum training and readiness for internship.
Professional Behavior Expectations/Ethical Guidelines
At matriculation, students are required to sign a form indicating that they have read the Program Handbook and APA code of ethics, and that they agree to abide by all Alliant, CSPP and Program Policies as well as the APA Code of Ethics.
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. 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 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
California Board of Psychology
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1400
Sacramento, CA 95815
This program is a practitioner-scholar program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA), which requires that we provide data on:
- Time to Completion
- Program Costs
- Internship Placement Rates
This data may be reviewed on our website.
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, N.E.,
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Internship, Practicum, and/or Dissertation Information
The program emphasizes the integration of academic coursework with clinical practice. To integrate clinical skills with material learned in the classroom, students participate in a professional training placement beginning in the first year. Clinical training placements completed prior to the full-time predoctoral internship are known as practicum experiences. Students train in diverse settings, gaining experience with different populations to ensure a broad base of training.
Students typically are placed in the Alliant Psychological Services Center for a 10-15 hour/week practicum in the second semester of their first year. Second-year clinical PsyD students spend 20 hours per week in a practicum at the Psychological Services Center on the Fresno campus. PsyD students spend twenty hours per week in a community practicum in their third year. Clinical training coursework is graded on a CR/NC basis.
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 his/her Professional Training Liaison make the final placement decisions jointly. Each site is evaluated annually by the students and the OPT staff.
Fourth year students are responsible for obtaining an appropriate yearlong, full-time internship (2,000 hours) and are assisted in this process by the Office of Professional Training. For many students in the fourth year, the internship stipend covers the costs of tuition and living expenses. The California Psychology Internship Consortium, housed in Fresno provides local APA-Accredited internship sites. All policies and procedures for completing the appropriate field placement/practicum and internship hours are delineated in The Clinical Practicum and Internship Manual available in the Office of Professional Training.
Beginning G1 and G2 Practicums: Faculty must endorse the G1 student as “ready’ to begin practicum and the student must also complete each of the following courses with grades of B- or better to be endorsed to begin the G1 practicum:
- Intellectual Assessment, PSY6501
- Introduction to Ethical Practice and Law, PSY6530A
- Cultural Diversity Training I, PSY6123
- Basic Foundations of Clinical Practice I, PSY6507
To begin the G2 practicum, students must have successfully completed the G1 practicum and the following courses with a grade of B- (CR) or better:
- Basic Foundations II, PSY6508
- Personality assessment: Objective, PSY6505
- Cultural Diversity Training II, PSY6124
- First Year Clinical Practicum, PSY6570
G3 Practicum: G-3 PsyD students will choose their location for practicum in consultation with the Program Director and the Director of the Office of Professional Training.
Internship Application Policy: During Phase I 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. PsyD students who do not match in APPIC match Phase I or II may apply for APA, APPIC or CAPIC post-match vacancies.
Full-Time Internship: It is the faculty’s expectation that the predoctoral internship is a full-time year-long training experience.
One of the unique aspects of the PsyD program is the class format in which the dissertation is completed. During their second and third years in the program, students complete their dissertation while taking the PsyD Dissertation course series. This four semester intensive structure has proven extremely successful in facilitating students completing the program on time.
All procedures for completing a Dissertation are delineated in The Fresno Clinical PsyD Program Dissertation Policies and Procedures Manual available on the PsyD Program Moodle website.
Total Credit Units: 120
Total Core Credit Units: 108
Total Elective Credit Units: 12
Total Concentration Credit Units: 12*
*Experience Area or Emphasis Area units are elective units.
Credit for Previous Work
The syllabi of courses for which a transfer student is seeking credit must be submitted to the Program Director by the end of the fall semester of the G1 year. These are reviewed by the Program Director and an Alliant faculty member who is a content expert regarding the subject matter. In addition, in some cases, the professional qualifications of the instructor are reviewed as well. An Alliant admissions officer can assist students in facilitating this review process. Regardless of the number of transfer units allowed, a student must complete all requirements remaining in both the core and emphasis areas for which transfer credit was not allowed.
Students who wish to transfer into the program from any other Alliant- CSPP program must meet the residency requirement and all program specific training requirements (including passing the Clinical Competency Exam (CPPR) and the Discipline Specific Knowledge Integration Exam.
Given the program is four years in length including a one year internship, students are all in residence for a minimum of three years. Students transferring into the program from any other Alliant school or college or those transferring from another university must apply through the Admissions office.
Transfer credit awards can have implications on students’ financial aid eligibility if they become short of registration units for an academic semester (including summer). The program is not responsible for ensuring financial aid eligibility for students in all semesters.
Courses in ethics, practicum and internship are not eligible for transfer credit. Listed below are courses that are not eligible for transfer credit:
- PSY65300A/PSY6530A - Introduction to Ethical Practice and Law
- PSY75660/PSY7566 - Ethical Foundations of Clinical Practice
- PSY65710/PSY6571 , PSY75710/PSY7571 , PSY75720/PSY7572 , PSY85770/PSY8577 , PSY85780/PSY8578 (Practicum courses)
- PSY95310/PSY9531 , PSY95320/PSY9532 , PSY95330/PSY9533 (Internship)
The following assessment courses are only eligible for transfer credit review if the comparable courses were taken in an APA-accredited doctoral program in clinical psychology:
- PSY65010/PSY6501 - Intellectual Assessment
- PSY65050/PSY6505 - Personality Assessment: Objective
- PSY65060/PSY6506 - Personality Assessment: Projective
Writing Proficiency Assessment
Students enrolled in CSPP Clinical Doctoral programs are required to demonstrate their writing proficiency at the beginning of their graduate studies. Please refer to the Writing Proficiency Assessment requirement in the Academic Policies section for more information.
Professional Development - Personal Psychotherapy Requirement
All students in this program are required to complete 30 hours of personal psychotherapy by the time they graduate. Some of the reasons for this requirement are as follows:
- To reap the benefits of professional modeling provided by the psychotherapist
- To observe how theory is applied to practice,
- To learn about what it is like to be a psychotherapy client,
- To provide the student with a source of support in the face of the stresses graduate school can produce,
- To gain self-knowledge and work on any issues that might be impediments to effective clinical practice,
- As an opportunity for self-growth in which students can determine if they are truly well-suited to the field of clinical psychology and/or to work with certain populations or in certain settings
Personal Psychotherapy Policies
- The therapy must be individual psychotherapy. The psychotherapist must be a licensed doctoral-level psychologist.
- The psychotherapist must not be a faculty member at CSPP or otherwise hold a role that would constitute a dual relationship.
- All 30 hours must be completed with one psychologist.
Students may begin their hours at any time. It is strongly advised students complete these hours during their first two years in the program as these tend to be both the most stressful years and those in which students are learning the most about themselves as clinicians.
Students are solely responsible for submitting documentation indicating they have completed this requirement.
Students are to pass two comprehensive exams as part of the requirement to advance to candidacy:
1. Discipline-Specific Knowledge (DSK) Integration Exam
The Discipline-Specific Knowledge (DSK) Integration Exam is an examination that assesses students’ ability to apply and integrate knowledge from two of these core content areas to a specific set of diagnostic features in an essay format. The exam is administered in April of the G2 years and in August prior to the start of the G3 year. To be eligible to complete this experience, students will be required to have passing grades in at least two Discipline Specific Knowledge courses (Biological Bases of Behavior, Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior, Social Bases of Behavior, Lifespan Developmental Psychology) that they choose to discuss in this exercise.
Students must achieve a passing score in each domain of the DSK Integration Exam. Students who fail the May G2 CPPR exam, will have an opportunity to retake the exam in August at the beginning of the G3 year. The DSK Integration Exams are offered each April and August. Students who fail the exam a third time will be referred to SERC to develop a remediation plan. Students who fail the DSK Integration Exam a fourth time will be dismissed from the program.
2. Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR)
The Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR) is a standardized oral examination of students’ clinical skill that is administered in May of the G2 year and in August prior to the start of the G3 year. Students are rated by two faculty members during an oral examination based on a written case report. Ratings are completed relative to the ‘Ready to Apply to Internship’ level with strengths and weaknesses articulated in six domains (Professional Communication, Assessment, Formulation, Intervention, Relationship and Self-Examination and Diversity Integration). This standardized process serves multiple functions within the program. Results from the CPPR provide the faculty with information about internship readiness and clinical competency as the student begins the final year of practicum training.
Students must achieve a passing score in each domain of the CPPR exam. Students who fail the May G2 CPPR exam, will have an opportunity to retake the exam in August at the beginning of the G3 year. CPPR Exams are offered each May and August. Students who fail the exam a third time will be required to attend case conceptualization training for an additional year to provide further opportunities to develop domain-specific skills. In addition, students who fail the exam a third time will be referred to SERC to develop a remediation plan. Students who fail the CPPR exam a fourth time will be dismissed from the program.
In addition to giving faculty enough information to complete meaningful global evaluations of students, these exams allow students the opportunity for greater self-awareness, assessment and academic planning.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students may not apply for internship until they have met all requirements noted below and have been advanced to candidacy. Requirements for advancement to candidacy include:
- In Good Academic Standing
- No outstanding tuition/fee balances
- Successful completion of 60 units of graduate study
- Completed the academic and practicum requirements for the first two years of the program.
- Successful defense of the dissertation proposal at the Preliminary Oral Examination by September 15th of the third year.
- Successful completion of the Discipline-Specific Knowledge (DSK) integration exam.
- A score of 3 or greater in each domain of the Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR).
- A “Credit” grade for the spring semester practicum of the G2 year.
Students applying to the program who were not undergraduate psychology majors must meet the prerequisite coursework requirements for preparation in the discipline. While an applicant may not have completed these undergraduate course requirements at the time of application, these requirements must be satisfied before the admitted student can enroll.
Forensic Psychology Experience Area
Students who are interested in the Forensic Psychology Experience Area must take at least two forensic psychology related courses and complete at least a forensic practicum placement or an internship in a forensic psychology setting.
The following courses would count toward the Forensic Psychology Experience Area:
The curriculum is designed as a series of sequential courses providing cumulative learning for students.
1. Students may not take more than 16 units in a semester without obtaining permission from their advisor. While taking a larger load may seem like a good idea initially, it often causes students to have too few units left at the end of their program to qualify for financial aid.
2. Students should not take courses out of sequence without consulting with their advisor as doing so may affect their ability to take later courses or qualify to register for practicum units when needed.
Note: First and second year coursework require enrollment for the Fall, Spring and Summer semesters.
Academic Year 1- Semester 1 (11 units)^
Academic Year 1- Semester 2 (15 units)^
Academic Year 1- Semester 3 (6 units)
Academic Year 2- Semester 1 (13 units)
Academic Year 2- Semester 2 (13 units)
Academic Year 2- Semester 3 (5 units)
Academic Year 3- Semester 1 (13 units)
Academic Year 3- Semester 2 (14 units)
Academic Year 4- Semester 1 (11 units)
Academic Year 4- Semester 2 (11 units)
Academic Year 4- Semester 3 (8 units)
^First year students attend a required, non-credit Professional Development seminar on a weekly basis during the fall and spring semesters of the G1 year. These meetings continue the facilitation of professional development with presentations on topics that include academic advisement and course selection, career-relevant activities such as preparing a CV, attending professional conferences, publishing and presenting research, applying for grants, defending dissertation proposals, plagiarism, etc.
*PSY65070/PSY6507 , PSY65080/PSY6508 , PSY65010/PSY6501 , PSY65050/PSY6505 and PSY65060/PSY6506 also require weekly participation in a one to two hour lab (scheduled separately).
First year students participate in a reciprocal learning experience with a third year student, who has been assigned by the Supervision Seminar instructors. The first year student meets with the faculty instructors of the Supervision Seminar class during the fall semester to accomplish the match of first and third 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 first year student’s field placement agency.
** Intervention Courses (students must take four of the following):
Online Course Limits: Several courses are offered online. Students may complete up to ten units of electives that meet program requirements in an online/distributed learning format. No other courses may be taken online.
Course Expectations: The Western Association of Schools and Colleges expects students to engage in at least three hours of work outside of the classroom for every hour they spend in the classroom. This means a faculty member has a right to expect students to engage in at least 12 hours of work per week for each 3-unit course. Students and faculty should also note that an outside assignment is required for all 1-unit courses in order to ensure compliance with WASC standards.