2022-2023 Catalog 
    Mar 22, 2023  
2022-2023 Catalog

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (Los Angeles)

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School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground

Calendar(s): Semester

CIP Code: 42.2801

Program Description/Overview

Our clinical psychology doctoral program prepares students to function as multifaceted clinical psychologists through curricula based on an integration of psychological theory, research and evidence-based practice. The program follows a scholar-practitioner model. Students can follow their own clinical and research interests and further their individual career goals by selecting specific courses, research opportunities, and field placements related to a particular area.


Family/Child and Couple Emphasis (FACE)

Designed for students who are dedicated to learning family and couple psychology intervention, the goal of the Family/child and Couple Emphasis (FACE) is to introduce graduate students to the theory, research, and clinical practice of family and couple psychology. This is accomplished through coursework in which students learn about families, couples, adults, and children from diverse backgrounds. Students are taught to work with families, couples, and individuals from a systemic perspective. Through development of skills in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of relationship systems, FACE students learn how to conceptualize, assess, and interview families and couples. The FACE emphasis area assists students in developing their professional identity through coursework, lectures, networking opportunities. FACE also offers clinical training and volunteer opportunities with the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, where trainees provide evidence- and strength-based culturally-sensitive services to children with serious illnesses and their families and receive special training in personal development of the therapist.

Faculty are experts in areas such as couple-based treatments for PTSD, Bowen family systems theory, family-based treatments for veterans and active military service persons, cross-cultural couple and family assessment, therapy process and outcomes for interracial, interfaith, and same sex couples, the person-of-the therapist training model, differentiation-based therapy models, sibling violence and sexual abuse, treatment for families of children with chronic and/or terminal illness, and treatment of marital infidelity. Early career positions for FACE graduates have ranged from post-doctoral fellowships in children’s hospitals, full time positions at private practice and community mental health settings, to working with individuals and couples in a college counseling clinic.

Health Emphasis

Clinical health psychology combines the fields of clinical psychology, behavioral medicine, public health, social psychology, disease prevention and health promotion into an applied discipline that investigates underlying mechanisms that connect the mind and body and explain the dynamic interaction between our physical and mental health. Clinical health psychologists integrate biomedical, psychological, social and spiritual modalities to detect and treat psychological distress, foster behavior change, increase adjustment to acute and chronic illnesses, reduce health and health care disparities, and to promote psychological growth and wellness. Students in the clinical health psychology (CHP) emphasis gain a foundation of theoretical knowledge and skills necessary to serve a number of professional roles across various community-based, medical and behavioral health care settings.

In addition to developing the diagnostic, assessment and treatment skills required of all clinical psychologists, students learn practical techniques in the areas of cognitive-behavioral, existential, and community-based interventions. Faculty have expertise in and enjoy mentoring students in areas such as neuropsychological theory and assessment, child/pediatric psychology, LGBTQ+ health, women’s health, body image issues and disordered eating, racial disparities in health, substance abuse treatment and addictions, disability and chronic illness, HIV/AIDS, biofeedback, chronic pain/pain management, loss, grief and bereavement, and resiliency, strength and wellness. Within and beyond these areas of focus, students learn about the sociocultural, demographic, political, and economic forces that underlie health and healthcare disparities and influence risk-taking and health-promoting behaviors and practices within diverse and often underserved communities.

Training in the areas of behavioral medicine and health psychology prepare students from the clinical health psychology emphasis to explore a variety of opportunities in the rapidly evolving health care system. Early career positions for CHP graduates have ranged from entering post-doctoral fellowships in various behavioral medicine settings to serving as members of interdisciplinary teams of health-care professionals to working in private practice and community mental health settings using a biopsychosocial framework. Regardless of professional role, graduates from our emphasis area remain dedicated to promoting the mind-body health of children, adolescents, adults, families, and communities within a multicultural and international context.

Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology Emphasis (MCCP)

This emphasis area was established at the Los Angeles campus in 1990. A synthesis of the previous ethnic minority mental health and community clinical proficiencies, the Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology emphasis (MCCP) reflects the state-of-the-art in training philosophy, curriculum, and applied experiences relevant to training clinical psychologists with special competence in multicultural and community psychology. The year-long Intercultural Processes/Human Diversity course required of clinical psychology students in all emphasis areas, provides a foundational overview of multicultural issues in applied psychology. The emphasis area provides the additional opportunity for students to develop: (1) more advanced conceptual and intervention skills relevant to psychotherapy with culturally-diverse populations; (2) competence beyond individual psychopathology that includes conceptualization and intervention with community-level distress and social problems; (3) an understanding of sociopolitical and sociocultural influences on psychological functioning and well-being; (4) skills to develop programs and activities focused on the prevention of psychopathology and social problems; and (5) knowledge of community psychology theory and practice.

The mission of the training is to nurture the development of clinical psychologists who will work to understand, prevent, and reduce psychological and community distress, as well as enhance the psychological well-being of historically underserved, stigmatized, and oppressed groups. In doing this, special attention is paid to the cultural and sociopolitical context of the individuals, families, and communities we serve. Faculty members in the emphasis area are committed to fostering a climate of inclusion, respect for differences, and a sense of community both within and outside of CSPP. Ultimately, faculty members strive to empower individuals and communities and to facilitate personal and social healing.

Multi-Interest Option (MIO, Non-Emphasis)

Students who do not opt into an emphasis area at the time of application participate in the Multi-Interest Option (MIO). The MIO faculty includes practitioners and researchers who have multiple professional interests and are involved in various aspects of clinical psychology. Instead of focusing on a particular clinical emphasis or expertise, MIO provides a solid base in the field of clinical psychology as well as flexibility for students who are interested in multiple facets of the profession. From the diversity that it offers, MIO faculty members bring to students a broad spectrum of what clinical psychology offers and the various professional opportunities and potential career goals students can pursue as future psychologists. MIO offers students flexibility in their choice of elective courses and topics for their clinical dissertations and other scholarly and field training interests.

The faculty and students affiliated with MIO provide colloquia and social gatherings that, like those sponsored by the emphasis areas, are open to all members of the Los Angeles campus community. For example, MIO has sponsored presentations that promote awareness of diverse roles in professional psychology by MIO faculty sharing their clinical expertise (as lunch colloquia or formal workshop), enlisting alumni to discuss their career trajectories, an introduction to grant writing and publications, and hosting a panel discussion on professional consultation as a professional activity. The MIO faculty seeks to encourage students’ scholarly and professional growth in a wide range of interest areas.

Program Learning Outcomes/Goals


Through various academic and training activities, including psychology courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences, the program strives to achieve the following aims:

  1. To prepare students to be effective professional psychologists who are skilled at evaluating psychological functioning and providing empirically supported interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings.
  2. To prepare students to evaluate and conduct research in clinical psychology, therefore contributing to the knowledge base in the field.

Program Competencies

All students are expected to acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding of and competence in the following nine profession-wide competency areas:

  1. Research
  2. Ethical and Legal Standards
  3. Individual and Cultural Diversity
  4. Professional Values and Attitudes
  5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  6. Assessment
  7. Intervention
  8. Supervision
  9. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify knowledge, attitudes, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program.

Discipline-Specific Knowledge

In addition, all students are expected to possess discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:

  1. History and Systems of Psychology.
  2. The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior.
  3. Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology.
  4. Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.

Training Model

The scholar-practitioner model guides our competency-based program philosophy. In training our students to be professional psychologists, we support trainees in creating a concurrent and interdependent relationship between their scholarship and practice. We prepare all trainees for key professional activities as emerging psychologists, including research, assessment, and clinical intervention within a multicultural context. Diversity, internationalism, and the relationship between individual and various community systems are appreciated and central to our training program. As such, marginalized populations, underrepresented groups, and psychologists’ work in community and applied settings as researchers and practitioners are given particular attention in this training model. In addition, we encourage students to explore and gain experience with multiple roles that they may have as professional psychologists, including roles in teaching, advocacy, supervision, and consultation.

The scholar-practitioner model builds upon the conviction that scholarship and practice enhance one another and should lead to reflective practice - in which the practitioner draws upon clinical experience to enhance scholarly understanding and upon multiple forms of scholarship in order to understand clinical case material.

Underlying the program are two core principles. The first principle is that psychologists make a commitment to seeing mental health and mental illness in sociocultural and sociopolitical contexts. The second principle is our belief that methods of psychological research and intervention must be relevant to the multiple cultures in which they are conducted.

Students receive advanced training in theoretical issues, techniques of psychological interventions, professional issues, consultation, social justice and advocacy, and ethics and supervision. In addition, they receive advanced training in research applications and complete a dissertation. The program has developed multicultural training to embrace consideration of diversity regarding issues of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, social class, and religion. This is reflected in the required course for all clinical students (Intercultural Processes/Human Diversity), as well as through the integration of multicultural perspectives throughout our curriculum.


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.

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, 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

At the predoctoral stage, students’ professional development occurs within the context of both formal coursework and clinical training experiences supervised by faculty and professionals in the field. Students develop and acquire clinical skills through professional training experiences in a variety of mental health service settings in the community. Such supervised professional training experiences include practica and internships.

Each student works with a professional field training liaison who meets regularly with the student to develop and implement an individualized training plan designed to assure (a) that the student receives a broad base of clinical experiences with a variety of clientele and professional role models and (b) that professional training experiences are chosen with due consideration of the student’s level of skill and longer-term professional goals.

In the second, third and fourth years of the program, students are required to have a practicum experience in a mental health setting. Students begin to assume clinical responsibility for assessment and intervention while being closely supervised at a level appropriate to their training and abilities. This clinical professional training experience varies with respect to the nature of clients served and the mental health setting in which the student serves, as well as with individual students’ skill levels, professional interests, and training needs. The total number of minimum required practicum hours per year is 800. Students typically receive a minimum of 2400 hours of clinical training prior to internship.

At the practicum level, students receive training in agencies that are formally affiliated with the school. All practicum training programs are carefully reviewed and monitored on an ongoing basis to assure consistent and high-quality training. The majority of affiliated practicum training sites exist within a 40-mile radius of the campus.

All students are required to attend APA-accredited internships (exceptions to policy can occur via petition to the Program Director), pursued through the national selection process. We strongly support students in preparing for and applying to APA-accredited internships. Students are encouraged to submit full-time internship applications across the country. Currently, all APA internships offer a stipend.

Face to face individual supervision provided by a licensed supervisor is required on a weekly basis. Should a student fail to attend weekly supervision it is expected that the supervisor will notify the Director of Clinical Training. In addition, students receive evaluations from supervisors twice a year.

Internship Course Enrollment Requirements

The three (3) semester (Fall/Spring/Summer) enrollment requirement for internship is intended to provide students with financial aid over the summer.

  1. If a student’s internship has an end date in May, the student must enroll in a two (2) semester internship unit model for that internship year. Please contact the Academic Affairs Center for information.
  2. If a student’s internship has a start date in summer, the student may request enrollment in a Summer/Fall/Spring internship unit model. Please contact the Academic Affairs Center for information.

Research Training

During the course of their graduate training, students gain proficiency in applied research methods. The program emphasizes training psychologists to be competent as producers of scientific research, and students begin their research training from the start of the program.

In addition to formal coursework, which provides a basic understanding of research methodology and statistics, within the first two years of the program, students complete three sequential semesters of Research Practicum, which emphasizes the planning and conduct of research and culminates in a poster and/or oral presentation of an original piece of empirical research. In the third year of the program, students enroll in Research in Applied Settings and focus on the development of research and consultation skills while investigating problems in practical situations.

In their third year, students enter into formal dissertation work with a faculty mentor to produce a scholarly and methodologically sound dissertation that is to be completed by the end of the fourth year. The mentor becomes the student’s dissertation committee chair when preliminary orals have been successfully completed.

Students must pass preliminary orals by June 1 of their third year, in advance of applying to APA internships at the outset of their fourth year.

Credit Units

Total Credit Units: 150

Total Core Credit Units: 138

Total Elective Credit Units: 12

Total Concentration Credit Units: Varies

Credit for Previous Work

Students may petition for transfer credit for any of the following courses:

No transfer credit will be granted for any of the above courses unless (a) the student files the transfer credit request by the end of their first semester, and (b) a faculty member assigned to review the transfer credit request deems the course in question of sufficient breadth and taught at a high enough level to substitute for a course in the curriculum. Course syllabi and a transcript from the institution offering the course must be submitted with the transfer credit petition. Students must consult the University Catalog to determine whether additional rules apply. In the event of transfer credit awards, the program does not guarantee financial aid eligibility in all semesters.

In addition, the student is able to “challenge” a course by demonstrating proficient competence in one designated content area related to the practice of professional psychology. The student then must take a “challenge exam” to ensure that they have sufficient mastery of the course material. There are four courses (12 units) that can be challenged by passing an examination:

Degree Requirements

  1. Writing Proficiency Assessment: please refer to the Writing Proficiency Assessment  requirement in the Academic Policies section for more information.
  2. Students must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations as partial fulfillment of the requirements for admission to doctoral candidacy.
  3. Sixteen hours of documented individual, couple, or family psychotherapy sessions with a psychologist licensed in the state of California are required. The program faculty believe that for many clinical students, personal psychotherapy can be an extremely valuable tool through which to better understand oneself, become comfortable with asking for and receiving psychological help, learning about one’s emotional vulnerabilities and “triggers,” and understanding the impact of one’s behavior and affect in the clinical encounter.

Emphasis/Concentration/Track Requirements

Clinical Health Psychology Emphasis (15 units)

The following courses are required for all Health emphasis students.

  1. PSY76270 - Psychology of Health and Illness (3 units)  
  2. PSY75290 - Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches to Interventions (3 units)  
  3. PSY75300 - Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches to Interventions (3 units)  
  4. Two 3-unit elective courses offered from the Health emphasis

Family/Child and Couple (FACE) Emphasis (15 units)

The following courses are required for all FACE emphasis students.

  1. PSY66070 - Family Psychology (3 units)  
  2. PSY75430 - Systems Approaches to Intervention (3 units)  
  3. PSY75440 - Systems Approaches to Intervention (3 units)  
  4. Two 3-unit elective courses or one 6-unit elective course offered from the FACE emphasis

Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology (MCCP) Emphasis (9 units)

The following courses are required for all MCCP emphasis students.

  1. PSY66080 - Community Clinical Issues (MCCP Emphasis) (3 units)  
  2. Two 3-unit elective courses offered from the MCCP emphasis

Multi-Interest Option (MIO) (3 units)

The following course is required for all MIO students.

  1. PSY65220 - Introduction to Emphasis Area: (3 units) 

Elective Requirements

12 elective units are required for completion of the program. Please select from the following courses.

  1. PSY76053A-Z Clinical Elective-Practice Seminar (3 units; semester-long course)

      Recent PSY76053A-Z elective courses include:

  1. Geropsychology (Health)
  2. Pediatric Psychology (Health)
  3. Couple Therapy (FACE)
  4. Family Violence (FACE)
  5. Psychology of Immigrants: Trauma and Treatment (MCCP)
  6. Spirituality and Mindfulness
  7. Dissociation in Clinical Practice
  1. PSY95003A-D Advanced Clinical Elective (6 units; year-long course)

      Recent PSY95003A-D elective courses include:

  1. Systemic Group Psychotherapy: Supervision & Training (FACE)
  2. Integrated Approach to Sex, Intimacy, & Relationships (FACE)

Students must complete both Intervention course sequences prior to enrolling in electives. Electives with different course numbers will not count towards the Clinical Elective requirement, unless a Petition for Academic/Administrative Exception clearly stating the rationale for taking a different course numbered elective is approved by the Program Director. Approval must be obtained prior to registration. Emphasis area students will receive priority registration for emphasis area electives. MIO students may take any elective but will not receive priority registration.

Curriculum Plan

Semester Calendar

Academic Year 1 - Semester 1 (15.5 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 3 (5 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 1 (14 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 2 (15 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 1 (12 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 2 (12 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 1 (11 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 2 (11 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 3 (8 units)

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