Clinical Psychology Ph.D. - Program Overview
The Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Brigham Young University is a well-established, nationally visible training program. Our program has enjoyed continuous accreditation1 by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1971. Training focuses on academic, research, and clinical competence. Adhering to the scientist-practitioner training philosophy, our goal is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills to be excellent clinical psychologists, equipped to pursue academic, research, or clinical careers. Students may elect optional Major Areas of Study in (1) Clinical Child, Adolescent, and Family Psychology, (2) Clinical Neuropsychology, or (3) Clinical Health Psychology. Not all students choose to complete a Major Area of Study.
The program is designed to take five years, with four years of coursework, research, and clinical training, followed by a one-year full-time paid internship at an approved site, generally outside of Utah. The focus is on developing the broad set of competencies expected of clinical psychologists, and program activities are designed to develop those skills.
Course work is designed around two major themes: (1) Discipline-Specific Knowledge--which includes training in the history of psychology and the affective, biological, cognitive, developmental, and social basis of behavior. This area also includes integration of the bases of behavior and training in research methods, statistical analysis, and psychometrics. (2) Profession-Wide Competencies--which include training in research; ethical and legal standards; individual and cultural diversity; professional values, attitudes, and behaviors, communication and interpersonal skills; assessment, intervention, and supervision; and consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.
Clinical skills training begins in the first year with students completing assessments in BYU’s Comprehensive Clinic, and it continues in the second and third years as students see psychotherapy cases in the clinic with continued work in assessment. After the first year, students also have the opportunity to pursue clinical practice in over 20 local clinics, hospitals, and other clinical practice locations.
In keeping with the scientist-practitioner model, our students undergo rigorous training in statistics, research design, and methodology. A master’s thesis is defended during the second year in the program, and an M.S. is awarded. (The M.S. is embedded within the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and is not a terminal degree.) The primary focus of the fourth year is the completion of the dissertation and engagement in advanced clinical and research opportunities. Thus we expect our students to have completed all their academic requirements prior to leaving for an internship in the fifth year.
The training program prepares students to compete successfully for some of the top internships throughout the nation, such as Baylor University Medical School, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, DuPont Hospital for Children, Oregon Health and Science University, Ann Arbor VA Health System, University of Washington Medical School, and the Alpert Medical School at Brown University. Similarly, graduates compete successfully for clinical, research, and academic positions across the country. Graduates from the program are found in many geographic regions and in a variety of settings. While the majority, about 80%, work in clinical settings, a number are employed in academic positions. The curriculum has been designed to prepare students for licensure.
The University is sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is the largest private religiously-affiliated university in the country. We value diversity among our students and faculty and you need not be a member of the sponsoring institution to receive an offer of admission.
The University expects that all students, regardless of religion, will maintain the behavioral standards of the school, including the Honor Code. The Honor Code Statement is found here.
Notes: Information on accreditation can be obtained from the Commission on Accreditation, 202-336-5979, or Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242, or at www.apa.org/ed/accreditation.