PCOM's APA-accredited Clinical PsyD program trains practitioner-scholar psychologists to offer assessment, therapeutic interventions and follow-up which are firmly rooted in methods of scientific inquiry. We offer specialized training in cognitive-behavioral therapy. At PCOM, we train psychologists to work in primary care settings or in collaboration with the primary care physician to treat the whole person. Our focus on advocacy and emphasis on the underserved also set us apart. Our students have the unique opportunity to demonstrate their acquisition of these skills through annual STEPPS exercises, during which students conduct intake evaluation sessions with standardized mental health patients. "SPs" are individuals who are trained to realistically simulate mental health conditions in a standardized way.
The Clinical PsyD program must be completed on a full-time basis according to the prescribed course sequence in order to maintain cohesion and support within a cohort, to fully benefit from the developmentally progressive and sequential curriculum, and to allow students to fulfill the program residency requirements established by the American Psychological Association.
No, however all incoming students may seek to have two graduate courses (6 credits) applied toward their doctoral coursework by taking a waiver exam for Lifespan Development, Social Psychology, and/or Psychopathology. Students may take an exam for one, two, or all three of these courses. Those who pass the exam(s) will receive credits for up to two of the courses as credit toward the PsyD core curriculum requirements. This means that if students are successful on the exam(s) they will not be responsible for taking, and paying tuition for, up to two PsyD courses to earn their degree. Students will receive credit for these courses and do not have to make up the credits later in the program. There is no cost to take the exams.
Courses are held on weekday evenings from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. A few courses are offered on weekends (typically electives and ethics courses). We utilize a quarter term system: fall term is August-November, winter term is November-February, spring term is March-June, and summer term is June-August. There is typically a one-week break between terms. Practicum is required for a minimum of 16 hours per week during the daytime, Monday through Friday.
The comprehensive examination is a 3-part exam. The objective (200 multiple-choice questions) and take-home essay portions are taken following the completion of the first two years of required coursework. The STEPPS portion of the exam is administered in three parts, one each in the spring/summer following completion of years one, two, and three. Students are given 3 attempts at successfully completing each portion of the comprehensive exam. The exams must be taken upon eligibility according to the prescribed course sequence. Upon the successful completion of all three portions, doctoral candidacy is achieved and students are awarded the MS in Clinical Psychology degree.
To learn more about how our Clinical PsyD students are integrated into comprehensive medical care settings, watch this video from the American Psychological Association, which features Mark D. Cassano, MS/Psy '12 (PsyD '17):