School: California School of Professional Psychology
CIP Code: 42.2801
Training within the clinical PhD program is based on a scholar-practitioner model, which requires the integration of core theory, research, and practice. Because clinical psychology is an applied field, research regarding treatment effectiveness across different mental health issues and different populations is critical in informing not only clinical practice but also theoretical explanations of health behavior. To this end, the Fresno program educates and trains professionals to apply current theoretical knowledge to best practice in an effort to address significant social problems, and to use research to better inform clinical practice through the examination of factors such as age, gender identification, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, health issue, acculturation, and treatment intervention. The overall aim of clinical training is to foster professional competence with diverse client populations, diagnostic presentations, assessment experiences, and therapeutic interventions. In addition, student training emphasizes professionalism and critical self-reflection (see Office of Professional Training Field Training Manual).
The coursework is focused primarily on clinical training, with a strong secondary research emphasis and a tertiary focus on training students as teachers of psychology. Students complete extensive clinical and research practica, as well as a teaching practicum designed to prepare them to teach at the university level. The coursework and practicum experiences are interwoven, with the foundational science of psychology informing research and clinical practice, and experience providing deepened understanding of the scientific principles. A traditional, independent, quantitative or qualitative dissertation and a year-long full-time internship are required.
Training in the Fresno program is sequential, cumulative, and graded in complexity. Each successive year of training prepares students for the next steps in their professional development. Each year of the program is made up of coursework that lays the groundwork for more advanced coursework and practical training. Research, clinical, and teaching competencies are developed together, complementing each other. Knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences related to diversity and multi-culturalism are interwoven consistently throughout the coursework and practicum experiences across all years of training. Training further prepares students for their roles as clinical interns and professional psychologists by offering more advanced training in therapeutic approaches in the later stages, including advanced therapy courses, theory courses, and more in-depth clinical experience with clients.
In addition to clinical training, the Fresno program has extensive research requirements. Research practicum are designed to ensure students get comprehensive practical training in research relevant to clinical psychology, including program evaluations and archival data analyses. The program has research partnerships with county agencies, and non-profit organizations, affording students exceptional opportunities to engage in important community-based research projects that impact on policy, services, and the discipline of clinical psychology.
A unique feature of the Fresno program is its focus on teaching requirements. Students are required to take core courses in introductory and advanced teaching methods. In the fourth year, students are expected to engage in teaching psychology to adult learners. The program has exceptional relationships with community hospitals and clinics that offer dynamic and challenging teaching practicum; and students are also allowed to act as teaching assistants for courses offered by core faculty.
Buddhist Psychotherapy Experience Area
Mindfulness and meditation-based practices have increased steadily over the past decades. However, scholars such as Jon Kabat-Zinn have commented on the independence of these practices from the original teachings and theoretical origins from which these practices have derived. The Buddhist Psychotherapy Experience Area aims to address this void currently in the field of psychology.
This experience area provides some exposure to the philosophical and psychotherapeutic aspects in the fundamental teachings of Early Buddhism as found in the Suttapitaka. Students will also be introduced to early Buddhist meditation practice and are required to participate in a 3-day silent mediation retreat at one of our CSPP campuses as part of their skill development. The goal of this experience area is to give students a practical and coherent framework to practice psychotherapy where secular early Buddhist theory of the mind and the theoretical bases of mindfulness are at the core and Western psychological principles and practice are integrated into it. Coursework and case consultation prepare students for further professional development and specialization beyond the doctorate.
Program Learning Outcomes/Goals
The program focuses on students achieving nine specific aims through the development of clinical, research, and teaching competencies. The aims are as follows:
- To produce students/graduates who are competent in integrating the foundations of scientific psychology in all of their work as clinical psychologists
- To produce students/graduates who are competent in research and evaluation
- To produce students/graduates competent in developing and maintaining constructive professional relationships
- To produce students/graduates who demonstrate competence in understanding and engaging in diversity
- To produce students/graduates competent in assessment skills as an ongoing process that informs and guides professional practice
- To produce students/graduates competent in intervention skills
- To train students/graduates who will engage in lifelong learning and ongoing professional development
- To prepare students/graduates to be competent supervisors and consultants
- To produce students/graduates competent in being teachers of psychology at the university level
There are specific profession-wide competency areas in which students must acquire and demonstrate knowledge, understanding and skills. These competencies identify knowledge, attitudes, and skills students must achieve to graduate from the program. These include the following areas:
- Ethical and Legal Standards
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Professional Values and Attitudes
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
Students demonstrate their competencies in these areas through the academic and training components of coursework, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research and teaching experiences. Student progress in achieving these competencies is monitored regularly throughout the year across all these components.
Students must also acquire discipline-specific knowledge and demonstrate understanding in these areas:
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Foundational science domains of Psychology including biological, cognitive-affective, development and social aspects of behavior
- Advanced integrative knowledge across foundational domains of psychology
- Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.
This program adopts a scholar-practitioner model. The scholar-practitioner model requires students to integrate core psychological theory and research literature with therapeutic approaches and clinical practice. Students are trained to be consumers and producers of empirical evidence regarding the practice of clinical psychology. The program has adapted an ecosystemic focus as its training framework. We seek to train students to consider the role of diverse systems in creating and/or remedying individual and social problems. Students are asked to consider all factors when reviewing the causes of mental health issues and potential interventions, such as the role of individual, family, ethnicity, religion, dominant culture, legal and medical systems and well as historical time. Students receive an exceptional grounding in assessment and intervention, while also learning to consider the value of advocacy, consultation or public policy work in helping individuals and groups of clients with similar problems.
Professional Behavior Expectations/Ethical Guidelines
Public Professionalism - Websites, Blogs, Email, and Voicemail
Students are advised to use any social media with caution. Websites, blogs, email signature lines, and voicemail/answering machine messages often reflect highly personal characteristics of the individual. The type of information being revealed may have potential consequences on the views of other professionals, colleagues, clients and potential employers. Use of private telephones, emails, websites, or blogs for professional purposes should be avoided. Students should also be aware that any information about them which is available on the internet can be reviewed by clients, graduate programs, internship sites, and potential employers. Similarly, legal bodies (e.g., licensing boards) are also able to review information on social media for the purposes of determining suitability and personal/professional character.
Students must also remember they are representing the program and the University. As such, any information linking them to the program or University-such as in email signatures, voicemail messages, or websites–can be used by the program to assess and evaluate the student. For example, if a student violates confidentiality on Facebook or Instagram by discussing any issues about a client, the student should expect the program to weigh such information in light of any decisions about probation or termination. For these reasons, students are urged to be conservative in what they chose to reveal about themselves on any public or social media forum; and are encouraged to take steps to ensure their private information remains secure.
All states have legal codes that regulate the practice of Clinical Psychology and clinical psychologists. In addition, the American Psychological Association (APA) similarly proscribes good practice and requires psychologists conform to the current ethical principles of psychologists. All students and trainees in clinical psychology are expected to comply with the ethical guidelines and legal codes.
Problematic Professional Behavior
All students are assessed for academic rigor and demonstrations of integrity in their interpersonal and professional behavior. While the program considers it essential to maintain high academic performance, the faculty is also highly concerned with training professionals who show self-reflection and personal understanding and can adopt effective interpersonal styles within a variety of professional contexts. A Report of Problematic Professional Behavior (RPPB) will be completed whenever a student has shown unprofessional or unethical behavior. An RPPB is reviewed by an instructor, program director, supervisor, etc. and the student; and a copy is given to the student and the program director. Depending on the severity of the report, the student may be asked to meet with the program director and/or with the Student Evaluation and Review Committee (SERC). All RPPBs are documented formally in the student’s academic files. Any RPPB will be used to evaluate and assess the student’s performance.
If the RPPB outlines minor issues, the program director will decide the best remediation strategy. This plan may involve the student meeting with the instructor, advisor, etc. to agree upon a way to address the issue. Students’ views are always regarded as important; and collaborative efforts are encouraged to resolve specifics regarding remediation and the timeline for any further actions/activities. Once a remediation agreement is reached, the student is expected to comply with all requirements. The consequences of the student failing to remediate are clearly identified for the student, e.g., academic warning, academic probation or termination.
When the RPPB identifies more serious issues (e.g., ethical violations, plagiarism), the program director will refer the student to the Student Evaluation and Review Committee (SERC). SERC will then determine the remediation plan and timeline. Should the RPPB include an allegation of serious misconduct (e.g., violation of APA Ethical Standards), SERC will investigate the legitimacy of the allegation and make suggestions for remediation. Remediation for serious allegations may include academic warning, probation or termination from the program.
If psychologists wish to charge money for clinical services to the public, they must be licensed or certified to do so in the state. CSPP doctoral course requirements are designed to provide students with all necessary requirements for licensure in California. These specific licensure requirements include:
- 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.
- documented completion of 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience, with a minimum of 1,500 hours of postdoctoral clinical experience
- passing the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE).
- 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.
As licensure requirements vary from state to state, students who plan to work professional in states other than California are urged to seek information about requirements from state licensing boards, including information about required coursework, practicum and internship hours, supervision, and doctoral dissertation. Students who will be working professionally as a clinical psychologist in other states should plan ahead to ensure they meet all of those states’ requirements and are encouraged to work closely with the program director and Director/Liaison of the Office of Professional Training at the outset of their training.
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
Practice Directorate American Psychological Association
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA). The CoA stipulates the program provides information on:
- Average Time to Completion
- Average Program Costs
- Internship Placement Rates
- Average and Yearly Attrition Rates
- Licensure Rates
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
Internship, Practicum, and/or Dissertation Information
All policies and procedures for completing the appropriate field placement/practicum and internship hours are delineated in The Office of Professional Training Field Training Manual available in the Office of Professional Training or on the CSPP PhD Program site.
All students complete a sequenced clinical training program that includes an 800-hour 2nd year (G2) at the on-site W. Gary Cannon Psychological Services Center (PSC), 800-hour 3rd year (G3) practicum community practicum, and full-time internship (2000+ hours) in the 5th year. Each year of practicum training promotes and extends student skills. There is no requirement for clinical practicum in the G4 year; however, the additional clinical experience from an elective practicum is likely to make a student more competitive for acquiring an APA accredited internship. Students are consequently encouraged to take an optional elective practicum (in G4 years). Performance in clinical practicum is evaluated with the G2 & G3 Clinical Practicum Evaluations, which are scaled in complexity by year level so that scores are equivalent across evaluations. Students who are California residents and are in good academic standing and reside 100 miles (or more) from the Fresno campus may be eligible to do their G3 practicum at a community site closer to their residence that has been approved by the Office of Professional Training and the Program Director. The site must demonstrate that they are in compliance with the PSC training model in terms of required supervision, access to diverse clients, testing and assessment experience, didactics (such as grand rounds etc.) and exposure to empirically based treatment interventions utilized to assess the efficacy of ongoing treatment. Please see the Program Director for more details.
In order to apply to internship, all students must be in Good Standing and complete Advancement to Candidacy.
Students may only apply to APA accredited internship sites in round 1; APA and APPIC accredited sites in round 2; and APA, APPIC and CAPPIC accredited sites in round 3.
All procedures for completing a Dissertation are delineated in The Fresno Clinical PhD Program Dissertation Policies and Procedures Manual available in the Program Office or on the CSPP PhD Program Moodle site. Students are expected to complete their dissertations within the 15 units required by the program (1 unit PhD Proposal Development; 14 units PhD Dissertation). In most circumstances, students must complete their Preliminary Oral Defense in order to receive a passing grade for the first 6 dissertation units. Further, in most circumstances, students must complete their Final Oral Defense in order to receive a passing grade for the last 8 dissertation units. Preliminary defenses need to be completed at the end of the G3 year by the last week of Spring term.
Total Credit Units: 150
Total Core Credit Units: 137
Total Elective Credit Units: 13
Total Concentration Credit Units: N/A
Writing Proficiency Assessment
Please refer to the Writing Proficiency Assessment requirement in the Academic Policies section for more information.
In addition to 150 units of coursework and clinical practicum/internship, all students must pass three competency examinations: Research Competency Exam, 2nd year; Multicultural Assessment of Practice-Revised, 3rd year; Clinical Proficiency Performance Review, 3rd/4th year.
- Formal examination, Research Competency Exam (RCE): Core knowledge and competency in research is assessed at the beginning of the 2nd year through a Research Competency Exam (RCE) that addresses statistics, research design, and measurement. Students are required to show competency on the exam before being allowed to Advance to Candidacy. Essay questions in two sections assess students’ ability to utilize conceptual knowledge of design, statistical analyses and interpretation, given specific hypothetical research and empirical questions. [Rubric: 80%+ on both sections]
- Formal examination, Clinical Proficiency Progress Review (CPPR): The CPPR is a clinical proficiency examination that has been demonstrated to be useful in identifying student weaknesses. For this reason, the program has used the exam to guide the program in modifying curriculum and practicum training. The examination offers the program opportunities to assess whether the student is competent to Advance to Candidacy at the beginning of the 4th year. Core areas of competency are evaluated: Assessment, formulation, intervention, relationship, diversity, self-evaluation, professional communication skills. Students are expected to demonstrate a scholarly approach to the case and include any references from theory or therapeutic findings that might be pertinent either to the particular client, diagnoses, or treatment issues. Students must achieve a score of 3 or higher on each section and overall sections in order to pass (“generally meets expectations”). [Rubric: Students are rated from 1 (significantly below expectations), 2 (below expectations), 3 (generally meets expectations), 4 (clearly meets expectations, 5 (exceeds expectations). Students must achieve an overall score of 3 or higher, and no lower than a score of 3 on any of the dimensions in order to pass]
- Formal examination, Multicultural Assessment of Practice-Revised (MAP-R): Each student also takes the MAP-R which requires the student to address complex issues regarding ethical and legal standards, e.g., interventions to reduce potential power differentials in the therapeutic relationship introduced by different racial dyads or racial identities. [Rubric: Students are expected to achieve an overall average of 2 or higher, “ready for internship”].
Professional Milestones (PhD Portfolio)
The following requirements are also necessary to graduate from the program. Accomplishments and achievements should be documented by the student in the student’s e-portfolio.
- Samples of at least one presentation from a professional conference, including sample of poster/PowerPoint, dates, titles, and conference details. Two or more (2 or higher) presentations/posters can also be used to fulfill requirement #2 below.
- Samples of at least one article or book chapter submitted for publication, including title, journal or book, date submitted, current status. Two or more (2 or higher) presentations/posters can be used in lieu of this requirement.
- Syllabus from teaching practicum.
- 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.
- Evidence of participating in a minimum of 15 hours of peer supervision, e.g., peer supervision contract.
- Evidence of completing 30 hours of personal therapy.
Advancement to Candidacy
Students are Advanced to Candidacy by the faculty when:
- They are in Good Academic Standing
- They have no outstanding tuition/fee balances
- They have completed 60 units of coursework at Alliant International University (6 units may be met by transfer credit).
- They have met the requirements listed above for a Master’s Degree
- They have passed the three Competency Exams
- They have passed their Preliminary Oral Examination (dissertation proposal defense)
Students may not apply for internship until they have been advanced to candidacy.
Buddhist Psychotherapy Experience Area
Buddhist Psychotherapy Experience Area Requirements (6 units):
Academic Year 1- Semester 1 (12 units)
Academic Year 1- Semester 2 (13 units)
Academic Year 1- Semester 3 (3 units)
Academic Year 1- Additional Course (2 units)
Academic Year 2- Semester 1 (8 units)
Academic Year 2- Semester 2 (5 units)
Academic Year 2- Additional Courses (15 units)
Academic Year 3- Semester 1 (9 units)
Academic Year 3- Semester 2 (7 units)
Academic Year 3- Additional Courses (14 units)
- Elective (5 units)
- 1 of the Core Theory Courses* (3 units)
- 1 of the Core Therapy Courses** (2 units)
- 1 of the Advanced Research Methods Courses*** (2 units)
- 1 of the Teaching Methods Courses**** (2 units)
Academic Year 4- Semester 1 (5 units)
Academic Year 4- Semester 2 (8 units)
Academic Year 4- Additional Courses (17 units)
Academic Year 5- Semester 1 (12 units)
Academic Year 5- Semester 2 (12 units)
Academic Year 5- Semester 3 (8 units)
*Core Theory Courses
Students must take all of these core theory courses:
**Core Therapy Courses
Students must take 4 of these 5 core therapy courses:
***Advanced Research Methods Courses
Students must take 2 of these advanced research methods courses (4 units minimum):
Students must take 1 of these teaching methods courses:
Some of the coursework may be taken as CSPP approved distance learning (online) classes. These include one ethics course, 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. If a student wishes to take any core curriculum courses online, the student must receive prior permission from the Program Director.