Curriculum

Ph.D. Concentration in Clinical Psychology

The clinical psychology concentration requires a minimum of three years full-time graduate study. At least two years must take place at UConn. The concentration also requires a year-long internship, or an equivalent two-year part-time sequence.

The course of study also requires:

  • A research MA thesis or its equivalent
  • A research doctoral dissertation or a three-paper thesis
  • A written general examination
  • Multiple years of clinical practice through the Psychological Services Clinic and various hospital, VA, school, and/or practice settings
  • A one-year block internship

Students who enter the Ph.D. program with an MA that did not require a research thesis will be expected to meet an equivalent research requirement.

Learn more about these requirements below.


Academic Milestones

To receive a Ph.D. in psychological sciences with a concentration in clinical psychology, students must successfully defend their dissertation and demonstrate clinical competence in training experiences in our training clinic and in off-site clinical placements, as well as a full-year internship.

Master’s Defense

The Plan of Study is typically submitted during the second semester.

Preliminary Proposal & Examination

It is expected that most students will take the General Exam in the summer after their second year, although there can be exceptions under individual circumstances.

Milestones required before the General Exam:

  • Completion of all core clinical courses
  • No standing Incompletes in any classes
  • Successful progress towards completing the master’s thesis

View the full Ph.D. program sequence.


Coursework

The clinical psychology course sequence exposes students to psychological theory, research methods, and practical clinical skills. It is designed to provide students with flexibility to pursue specialized areas of interest while meeting the following criteria:

  1. Fulfilling APA discipline-specific knowledge requirements (i.e., coverage in history and systems of psychology, affective, biological, cognitive, developmental and social bases of behavior) and profession wide competencies (i.e., research skills, assessment, treatment, cultural competency, supervision and consultation, and ethics).
  2. Ensuring that every student obtains enough clinical experiences to be competitive for internships (our students obtain, on average, about 700 hours although many accrue 1,000 hours).
  3. Providing exposure to multiple aspects of diversity.

The curriculum anticipates that students will complete a one-year internship. Many complete a one-year post-doctoral fellowship following completion of their dissertations. The course sequence permits students to accrue knowledge of and experience with specialized assessments and empirically validated methods of psychotherapy, as well as the chance to supervise less advanced students.

Overview of Typical Course Sequence

Year One

During their first year, students take two courses in statistics and courses in developmental psychopathology, adult psychopathology, personality theory, and empirically validated methods of psychotherapy. These didactic courses are complemented by a yearlong sequence that provides supervised experience in clinical interviewing, intellectual assessment (emphasized in the first semester), and personality assessment (emphasized during the second semester). As soon as initial skills are mastered, students administer, score, and interpret intellectual and personality tests on varied populations of children and adults in the Psychological Services Clinic. In addition, first-year students are assigned to vertical psychotherapy teams in which they observe the psychotherapeutic activities of more advanced students during their first semester.

Year Two

During the second year, students take Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology, covering relationships among law, ethics, and psychological practice and gain exposure to models of clinical supervision and consultation. They also take Research Methods and Test Construction along with Psychology of Ethnic Minorities. This “diversity” course examines processes of prejudice, discrimination, identity development, and majority privilege as well as the mental health needs of underserved populations. Students may elect to take Methods of Child and Family Psychotherapy. Didactic psychotherapy courses in both the first and second year include demonstrations and practical experiences, which complement exposure to relevant theoretical and empirical underpinnings. Our students also complete courses designed to ensure that they acquire requisite discipline specific knowledge. Completion of Foundations of Neuropsychology, for example, fulfills an APA requirement in the biological bases of behavior and in advanced integrative areas, and provides a foundation for more specialized courses in neuropsychological assessment.

Additionally, during the second year, psychotherapeutic skills are taught and sharpened through participation in one of two practica — either Adult Psychotherapy or Child and Family Psychotherapy. Both practica run throughout the year under the administrative umbrella of the Psychological Services Clinic. Each practicum is organized as a vertical clinical team, which is composed of students from the second and third years of training as well as fourth- or fifth-year student supervisors, and first year observers. The vertical clinical team is supervised by core clinical faculty (or experienced psychologists who serve as adjunct faculty), with the assistance of advanced graduate students who themselves receive didactic and practical training in clinical supervision. Second-and third-year students on vertical clinical teams treat clients coming to the Psychological Services Clinic. In these practica, students are challenged to apply what they have learned from their didactic courses in developing efficacious interventions.

Students also must pass a comprehensive general examination that qualifies them officially for doctoral study. This examination takes the form of a review paper that is completed during the summer following the second year. Students are encouraged to complete their Master’s thesis by the end of the second year and must do so by the end of the first semester of the third year.

Year Three

During the third year, students are expected to complete another year-long practicum in Adult or Child/Family Psychotherapy. The Adult Psychotherapy Practicum is required of all students while the Child and Family Psychotherapy Practicum is optional. Thus, students will complete either two years of Adult Practica or one year of Adult and one year of Child/Family Practicum. The Program also offers specialized training in neuropsychology and in child clinical psychology, which require additional specialized coursework and practicum experiences. The Graduate School offers specialized certificate programs that span multiple areas of psychological science and other disciplines, which require additional coursework. Clinical students often complete certificates in Quantitative Research Methods and Health Psychology, among others.

Year Four

During the fourth year, students enroll in a Clerkship in Clinical Psychology. Clerkships are mini-internships, where students work as psychological assessors and psychotherapists in local hospitals, clinics, schools and social service agencies for 16-20 hours weekly. Supervision of a student’s activities in a clerkship is shared by agency-affiliated psychologists and core clinical faculty. All students must complete at least one clerkship.

Year Five

In the fifth year, students may elect to complete a second clerkship or enroll in a two-course package including Didactics of Supervision as well as Consultation and Practicum in Clinical Supervision. The didactic course introduces advanced students to theories and empirical findings relevant to providing clinical supervision and expert consultation. Students who serve as supervisors on vertical clinical teams enroll in this course as well as a year-long Practicum in Clinical Supervision. In this practicum, students work as beginning supervisors of less advanced students, guided and evaluated by core faculty.

Internship

The final clinical requirement for the Ph.D. concentration in clinical psychology is completion of a yearlong block internship away from campus. Our students routinely apply to internship sites all around the country. While competition for internship slots is strong, our students have compiled a highly successful track record in attaining their preferred internships.

Background checks and safety training

As described here, the clinical psychology concentration requires completion of several clinical experiences, both on-site and off-site. Please note that placement in these clinical settings requires state and federal criminal background checks before a student can begin interacting with clients. Placement in The Psychological Services Clinic also requires that students complete the University’s Training on the Protection of Minors. Positive reports related to criminal records may preclude placement in required clinical experiences and therefore completion of the Clinical Psychology training program.

Course schedule

First year

Fall

  • GRAD 5950. Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5104. Foundations of Research I (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5301. Practicum in Interviewing (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5305. Psychodynamics (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5302. Adult Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6301/6302. Practicum in Adult/Child Psychotherapy (observe only) (1 credit)
  • PSYC 5399. Clinical Psychology Research Group (1 credit)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)

Spring

  • GRAD 5950. Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5303. Developmental Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5105. Foundations of Research II (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5304. Practicum in Personality Assessment (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5303. Developmental Psychopathology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5307. Empirically Validated Methods (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5399. Clinical Psychology Research Group (1 credit)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)
Second Year

Fall

  • GRAD 5950. Master’s Thesis Research (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5332. Research Design & Test Construction (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5306. Prof. Issues in Clinical Psychology (3 credits)
  • Breadth (e.g. PSYC 5140.) Foundations of Neuropsychology
  • PSYC 6301/6302. Practicum in Adult or Child Psychotherapy* (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5399. Clinical Psychology Research Group (1 credit)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)

Spring

  • GRAD 6950. Doctoral Dissertation Research (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5170. Ethnic & Racial Diversity (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5141. Neuropsychology Assessment** or Breadth (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5120. Health Psychology or 5309. Methods of Child Therapy or
  • Dept/Breadth Requirement
  • PSYC 6301/6302. Practicum in Adult or Child Psychotherapy* (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5399. Clinical Psychology Research Group (1 credit)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)
Third Year

Fall

  • GRAD 6950. Doctoral Dissertation Research (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6301/6302. Practicum in Adult or Child Psychotherapy* (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)
  • PSYC 6141. Practicum in Neuropsychology Assessment and/or Social Psychology or Breadth Requirement

Spring

  • GRAD 6950. Doctoral Dissertation Research (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5170. History and Systems of Psychology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6301/6302. Practicum in Adult or Child Psychotherapy* (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)
  • PSYC 6141. Practicum in Neuropsychology Assessment and/or Social Psychology or Breadth Requirement
Fourth and Fifth Year

Fall

  • GRAD 6950. Doctoral Dissertation Research*** (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)
  • Dept/APA Breadth Requirement (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6300. Clerkship in Clinical Methodology**** and/or PSYC 6303. Didactics of Supervision & Consult.**** (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6304. Practicum in Clinical Supervision

Spring

  • GRAD 6950. Doctoral Dissertation Research*** (3 credits)
  • PSYC 5300. Research Seminar in Clinical Psychology (1 credit)
  • Dept/APA Breadth Requirement (3 credits)
  • PSYC 6300. Clerkship in Clinical Methodology**** and/or PSYC 6303. Didactics of Supervision & Consult. ****(3 credits)
  • PSYC 6304. Practicum in Clinical Supervision
Sixth Year

Fall

  • PSYC 6310. Internship in Clinical Psychology**** (0 credits)
  • GRAD 6930. Full-time Doctoral Studies***** (3 credits)

Spring

  • PSYC 6310. Internship in Clinical Psychology**** (0 credits)
  • GRAD 6930. Full-time Doctoral Studies***** (3 credits)

*PSYC 6301/6302 – Whichever course students take in the Fall, they will also take in the Spring semester

**PSYC 5140. Foundations of Neuropsychology is a pre-requisite for PSYC 5141. Neuropsychological Assessment

***A total of 15 credits of GRAD 6950 are required. It is recommended that students only take 15 credits unless they need the credits to meet full-time status requirements for a Graduate Assistantship or federal financial assistance/deferments. Students who take too many overall credits during the course of their program may lose their eligibility for federal financial assistance.

****Masters will be required for Internship, Teaching, Clerkship, and Supervision unless Advisor exception is granted.

*****GRAD 6930 is not required during the internship year unless the student needs to maintain full-time status


Advanced Training and Certification

Students who are accepted into the Ph.D. concentration in clinical psychology at UConn may pursue a supplementary specialization in clinical neuropsychology or child clinical psychology. Participating students must satisfy all clinical psychology requirements in addition to the specialization requirements.

Clinical Neuropsychology

Clinical neuropsychology is both a basic and an applied psychological specialty that involves the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of brain functioning in adults and children.

Students in the clinical neuropsychology specialization complete a variety of courses in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neuroscience, neuropsychologic assessment procedures, and ethical issues in clinical practice. These courses are offered in the Department of Psychological Sciences, the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology, and the School of Medicine.

Students also participate in a variety of research projects that involve healthy and neurologically compromised people. Current research sites include the UConn Department of Psychological Sciences at the Storrs Campus, the UConn Department of Psychiatry at UConn Health, and several collaborating universities, medical centers, schools, and laboratories.

Furthermore, students will enroll in clinical neuropsychology practica at regional medical centers and in independent clinical practices.

Program Overview

The activities of the neuropsychologist build upon the competencies of the general clinical psychologist, and include:

  1. Examining patients with known or suspected cerebral disease.
  2. Developing and implementing interventions that target cognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits.
  3. Consulting with healthcare colleagues, families, and service agencies.
  4. Conducting research that addresses basic and applied neuroscientific topics.
  5. Teaching and supervising students

Because these diverse activities require proficiency in knowledge from a variety of disciplines (e.g., neurology, psychiatry, and cognitive science), training is a lengthy and challenging process that involves not only completion of the usual clinical five-year doctoral curriculum but also a one-year predoctoral neuropsychology internship (or major rotation in neuropsychology) and a two-year postdoctoral fellowship focused on clinical neuropsychology research and/or practice.

The structure and contents of this concentration have been shaped by the “Houston guidelines,” a set of recommendations that identify essential skills that a neuropsychologist should have acquired by the end of their training and that offer suggestions for doing so across the three primary phases of professional education (graduate school, internship, and residency).

It is expected that students who complete the clinical neuropsychology specialization will be able to successfully compete for INS/Division 40 neuropsychology internships and for APPCN neuropsychology residencies. After obtaining such training, students should be well qualified to function as neuropsychologic clinicians and/or researchers and, if they are so inclined, to complete the American Board of Professional Psychology/American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABPP-CN) board certification process.

Coursework

The courses below are required or strongly recommended for students in the clinical neuropsychology specialization. Note that all neuropsychology courses are open to any graduate students who have completed the prerequisites.

Required Courses

Students are required to take all of the following courses:

  • PSYC 5140. Foundations of Neuropsychology (Drs. Fein and Salamone): Introduction to neuropsychology, including functional neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and pharmacology, along with cognitive and emotional functions. Offered every Fall.
  • PSYC 5141. Neuropsychological Assessment (Dr. Fein and Dr. Yantz) Overview of neuropsychological assessment, including neuropsychological functions, common syndromes, test instruments, and professional issues. Offered every Spring.
  • PSYC 6141. Practicum in Neuropsychological Assessment (Dr. Yantz): PSYC 5141 is a prerequisite. Field placements in regional hospitals, independent neuropsychology practices, and rehabilitation settings. Students conduct supervised neuropsychological evaluations and occasionally provide intervention services. Must be taken for at least two semesters (e.g., fall and spring or spring and summer). May be taken multiple times. Students planning to pursue a career in neuropsychology should complete at least two years and preferably three, starting in year three of the clinical program.
  • BIOB 5228. Neuropsychopharmacology (Dr. Salamone): Exploration of basic principles of neuropharmacology, with an emphasis on neurochemical mechanisms and the actions of psychotherapeutic drugs. Offered every Spring.

They are also required to take one of the following courses:

  • PSYC5370. Case Based Neuroanatomy (adjunct TBD): An exploration of neuroanatomy through examination of classic syndromic cases. Offered in alternate years.
  • MEDS5384. Mammalian Neuroanatomy (Drs. Oliver and Zecevic): Examination of the mammalian spinal cord and brain, including the relationship between structure and function in the nervous system. Offered at the UConn School of Medicine.
  • PSYC 5270. Microcircuits and macrocircuits underlying perception, action and decision-making in the mammalian forebrain. (Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience; Dr. Chrobak).

Finally, students must take one of the following courses:

  • PSYC 5370. Child Neuropsychology (Dr. Carr). Overview of child neuropsychology, including brain development; developmental and acquired syndromes; and child neuropsychological assessment. Offered in alternate years.
  • PSYC 5285. Neurobiology of Aging (Dr. Markus). An overview of the neuroanatomy, physiology and chemistry of human aging. Offered in alternate years.
  • PSYC 5470/5445/COGS 5140. Language Acquisition and Cognitive Development in Language Pathologies (Drs. Eigsti and Naigles): Current research on language acquisition in clinical populations. We examine what the language delays & deficits reveal about each disorder, the processes of language acquisition, the representation & organization of language, and the neurobiology and genetics of language. Offered in alternate years.
  • PSYC 5567. Cognition (Dr. Tabor): An introduction to theories of human cognition. Offered every two to three years.
  • PSYC 5515. Connectionist Models (Dr. Rueckl): Surveys connectionist models in psychology and computational neuroscience, including models for learning, memory, and language processes in intact and damaged networks. Offered in alternate years.
  • PSYC 5513. Memory (Dr. Rueckl): Contrasts associationist, cognitive, connectionist, and cognitive neuroscientific approaches to short-term memory, long-term memory, and the representation of knowledge. Offered in alternate years.
  • PSYC 5251. Neural Foundations of Learning and Memory (Dr. Markus): Explore neuronal mechanisms underlying a wide variety of learning and memory phenomena, with a special emphasis on system information processing. We will examine what is known on the neuroanatomical and physiological substrates proposed for these learning processes and look for general principles underlying neuronal and behavioral plasticity. Offered in alternate years.
  • MEDS 5371. Systems Neuroscience (Dr. Eric Levine): Examines functional organization of neural systems underlying movement, sensation, language, learning/plasticity, and emotion/arousal. Offered at the UConn School of Medicine every Spring.

Child Clinical Specialization

This specialization area is designed for students interested in an academic and clinical career focusing on children and families. It is both a basic and an applied psychological specialty that involves the study, diagnosis, and treatment of children and their families.

Students who pursue the concentration complete academic courses in child development, developmental psychopathology, child psychopathology; child and family interaction; and interventions with children and families. These courses are offered in the by clinical psychology and developmental psychology faculty in the Department of Psychological Sciences, as well as in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. In addition, students will complete at least two years of clinical experience specifically related to children and/or families. Finally, it is expected that most students will become involved in research projects that relate to developmental psychopathology, normative child development, or family functioning.

Program Overview

The activities of the child clinical psychologist build upon the competencies of the general clinical psychologist, and include:

  1. Conducting research that addresses basic and applied topics in child development, developmental psychopathology, and family functioning.
  2. Developing and implementing interventions that target cognitive, behavioral, emotional, and relational problems in children and families.
  3. Providing assessments and evaluations of children with suspected developmental delays, learning disabilities, neurodevelopmental disorders, and social-emotional difficulties.
  4. Consulting with families, schools, health care providers, and service agencies.
  5. Teaching and supervising students.

Because these diverse activities require specialty training, students who anticipate pursuing a career in child clinical psychology are encouraged to complete the concentration.

Coursework

Core Requirements

Students are required to take four courses, which must include:

  • PSYC 5410. Advanced Developmental Psychology: This course undertakes, at an advanced level, a developmental treatment of child behavior on the basis of experimental findings and psychological theory.
  • PSYC 5303. Child Psychopathology: An examination of diagnosis, etiology, and prognosis in child psychopathology.
  • PSYC 5322. Methods of Child and Family Intervention: An overview of multiple intervention models for therapy with children and families.

As well as one elective class from the following list:

  • Any graduate-level Developmental Class (e.g., PSYC 5450. Infancy and the Effects of Early Experience; PSYC 5424. Cognitive Neuroscience of Language Across the Lifespan)
  • Faculty-approved graduate-level HDFS Class (e.g., HDFS 5115. Cultural Issues in Child Development; HDFS 510. Adolescent Development)
  • Faculty approved clinical psychology class (e.g., PSYC 5370. Current Topics in Clinical Psychology)

Clinical Experience Requirements

Students are required to complete at least two years of clinical work specifically related to children and families. This should be accomplished through:

  • Practicum in Child Psychotherapy (i.e., v-team; PSYC 6302)
  • An additional year of child and family clinical experience
  • Clerkship at a setting focusing on Child or Family Therapy Assessment
  • Or an alternative experience approved by the Child Clinical Faculty (e.g., assessment team, PSYC 6141. Practicum in Pediatric Neuropsychological Assessment, supervision of child v-teams, etc.)

Graduate Certificates

Ph.D. students concentrating in clinical psychology can also take advantage of three interdisciplinary graduate certificate programs offered by the Department of Psychological Sciences:

These 15 credit programs allow students to gain specialized training that will complement their existing degrees and lead to professional development opportunities. Compare certificate programs and view more options.