2022-2023 Catalog 
    Apr 25, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Sacramento)

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School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground

Calendar(s): Semester

CIP Code: 42.2801

Program Description/Overview

The APA-Accredited Clinical PsyD Program in Sacramento offers doctoral 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.


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 has adopted a series of three aims, nine competencies and related elements designed to implement its philosophy and meet the overall program aims. 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 attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the program and perceptions, feelings, and professional achievements alumni are expected to report as they pursue their profession. The elements are the expected specific outcomes for each of the respective competencies. Although students receive a thorough grounding in traditional clinical assessment and intervention, they are also trained to consider the role of diverse systems in creating and/or remedying individual and social problems. The Sacramento PsyD faculty is committed to offering a broad education and training reflecting theory, assessment, and intervention across a variety of systems, especially across cultural systems.

The Clinical PsyD Program in Sacramento has two aims:

Aim 1: To train students to become clinical psychologists who will bring critical thinking and active problem-solving skills to bear on human problems and who will be able to intervene effectively, using multiple methods of evidence-based assessment and intervention with diverse populations, across many settings, in changing and evolving contexts.

Aim 2: To educate professionals who will evaluate and conduct applied research and be able to effectively communicate their knowledge to others.

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

1. Research

  • Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base.
  • Conduct research or other scholarly activities.
  • Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.

2. Ethical and Legal Standards

  • Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following: the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and relevant professional standards and guidelines.
  •  Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas.
  •  Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

3. Individual and Cultural Diversity

  • An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.
  • Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.
  • The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities).

4. Professional Values and Attitudes

  • Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.
  • Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness.
  • Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.
  • Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.

5. Communication and Interpersonal Skills

  • Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services.
  • Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts.
  • Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

6. Assessment

  • Demonstrate current knowledge of diagnostic classification systems, functional and dysfunctional behaviors, including consideration of client strengths and psychopathology.
  • Demonstrate understanding of human behavior within its context (e.g., family, social, societal, and cultural).
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge of functional and dysfunctional behaviors including context to the assessment and/or diagnostic process.
  • Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient.
  • Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective.
  • Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.

7. Intervention

  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.
  • Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.
  • Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables.
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making.
  • Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking.
  • Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.

8. Supervision

  • Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.
  • Demonstrate the ability to integrate supervision into professional practice.

9. Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

  • Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices.

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

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. Students have access to 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.”


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, aging and long-term care, and suicide risk assessment and treatment. 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. Students typically use elective units to take courses in these areas while in the program or complete Continuing Education courses after degree completion. Continuing education is also a required component to maintain a 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 by contacting the appropriate Board of Psychology.

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
1625 N. Market Blvd. # N-215
Sacramento, CA  95834


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 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.


Students who pass all academic requirements including comprehensive examinations, and successfully defend their dissertation proposal (typically third year students) are responsible for obtaining an appropriate 1-year, full-time internship (approximately 2,080 hours) that is typically completed during their fourth year. Students are required to only apply for APA-accredited internship during Phase I and Phase II of the APPIC Match. 

Prior to submitting internship applications, students are required to: 1) attend all preparatory workshops, 2) submit their application materials to the program’s Training Director for review and approval, 3) submit the list of sites to which they intend to apply to the program’s Training Director for review and approval, and 4) participate in at least one mock interview with a member of the faculty. If these requirements are not completed, the DCT verification of a student’s application will not be submitted.

In order to participate in a 2-year, half-time internship (PSY95610 -PSY95660 ) in place of a 1-year, full-time internship, students must receive approval from the Training Director. 

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: 112

Total Elective Credit Units: 8

Total Concentration Credit Units: 8*

*Counts towards fulfillment of the elective requirement

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.

To be considered for transfer credit, the student’s graduate coursework:

  1. Must have been taken in a regionally-accredited master’s or doctoral program.
  2. Must have been completed prior to entering our doctoral program.
  3. Must have resulted in a grade of B or better and have been completed within the last 7 years.
  4. Must have been completed on ground or in a hybrid course in which at least 50% of class meetings were on ground.

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 an 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. PSY79113 - PsyD Proposal Development (3 units)  
  2. PSY79123 - PsyD Proposal Development (3 units)  
  3. PSY89130 - PsyD Clinical Dissertation (3 units)  
  4. PSY89142 - PsyD Clinical Dissertation (2 units)  
  5. Any required ethics course
  6. Any clinical practicum
  7. Any required intervention course
  8. Any required cultural diversity course

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, Lifespan Development, and Social Basis 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 Spring 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.

Curriculum Plan

Several courses are offered through online/distributed learning formats. Students may complete electives in an online/distributed learning format. All other required courses must be taken in person; exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Program Director.

Semester Calendar

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 (12 units)

Academic Year 2 - Additional Courses (2 units)

The following course can be completed in either semester:

  • Elective (2 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 1 (13 units)

Academic Year 3 - Additional Courses (4 units)

The following courses can be completed in either semester:

  • Electives (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 required to have passed at least two Discipline-Specific Knowledge courses before being eligible to take the DSK-Integration Exam (typically PSY61050  and PSY61013 ). 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 required to complete two Core Therapy courses (3 units each) which are taken in the Fall and Spring of Academic Year 2. One Core Therapy course is offered each term.

***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 PSY95330  prior to the beginning of the Fall semester so the internship course enrollment order is PSY95330  (Summer) - PSY95310  (Fall) - PSY95320  (Spring). However, some internships start close to or during the Fall semester and in these cases the internship course enrollment is PSY95310  (Fall) - PSY95320  (Spring) - PSY95330  (Summer). Once students secure an internship position it is recommended to check with advising to determine the best sequence of internship course enrollment.

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