Clinical Psychology Psy.D.
Degree Requirements: 114-124 Credit Hours
114 Credits beyond Bachelor’s degree including dissertation; 98 credits of coursework
The Psy.D. program in clinical psychology at Georgia Southern University offers a course of study leading to the Doctor of Psychology degree. The Program's curriculum prepares graduates to practice psychology in rural areas.
Model and Goals
Critical to the program is high quality graduate education and training in clinical psychology with an emphasis on psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation in clinical practice. To this end, the Psy.D. program has a clear and coherent curriculum. The training for practice is lock-step, sequential, cumulative, and graduated in complexity. The program follows the practitioner-scholar model. In the first year, students take didactic courses concurrently with experiential skill-building courses. The psychological assessment sequence is also offered in the first year. In the second year, students begin the Practicum experience. The third and fourth years include practica focused on rural practice (3rd year) and professional development (4th year). Other clinical courses are interspersed among years one through four.
The program trains students to become generalists who practice psychotherapy, conduct psychological assessment, and provide consultation services. The program has an integrative orientation, emphasizing behavioral, cognitive, existential, family systems, humanistic, and psychodynamic orientations.
The following goals and objectives are consistent with APA standards and have been adapted from the recommendations of the NCSPP model for clinical training:
Education and Training Goals and Objectives
- The foremost goal of this program is to offer high quality graduate education and training in clinical psychology with an emphasis on psychotherapy and assessment in clinical practice.
- Objective 1.1: Relationship competence: Students will develop the ability to form productive professional relationships.
- Objective 1.2: Assessment competence: Students will acquire knowledge and demonstrate skill in psychological assessment.
- Objective 1.3: Intervention competence: Students will demonstrate knowledge and competence in the delivery of psychotherapeutic services associated with treatment of a diverse range of presenting problems.
- Objective 1.4: Consultation and education competence: Students will acquire foundational knowledge regarding consultative aspects of professional practice.
- Objective 1.5: Management and supervision competence: Students will acquire foundational knowledge regarding supervisory aspects of professional practice.
- Objective 1.6: Legal and ethical competence: Students will utilize the ethical code outlined by the American Psychological Association and relevant statutes and laws of the state of Georgia to guide practice in clinical and other professional experiences.
- The second goal is for the clinical training of students to be well grounded in the breadth of scientific psychology.
- Objective 2.1: Knowledge of theory and science competence: Students will acquire knowledge in the primary areas of scientific and theoretical principles in psychology.
- Objective 2.2: Research and evaluation competence: Students will demonstrate skill in
- critically evaluating scientific inquiries,
- creating and conducting empirical research, and
- integrating empirical research to foster integrity in their clinical interventions.
- The third goal is to promote in students an understanding of rurality, diversity, and culture and their impact on clinical practice.
- Objective 3.1: Cultural and diversity competence: Students are expected to understand the impact of culture and diversity on clinical practice and to take such into consideration when working with diverse individuals.
- Objective 3.2: Rural culture competence: Students are expected to develop an appreciation for the dynamics of a rural culture and how these forces influence individual development and community functioning.
- Objective 3.3: Based on the research that indicates that students who come from rural areas and who receive their professional training in rural settings are more likely to practice in such settings, preference will be given to applicants to this program who come from or reside in rural parts of Georgia.
- Objective 3.4: Vigorous efforts have been made, and continue, to locate and develop working relationships with rural mental health facilities where students may be placed for practicum.
- Objective 3.5: Both faculty and students are encouraged to engage in research that furthers understanding of the impact of the rural culture of Georgia.
- Objective 3.6: Both faculty and students are encouraged to present their research and knowledge of rural practice at professional conferences.
Note: These goals and objectives are consistent with APA standards and have been adapted from the recommendations of the NCSPP model for clinical training.
Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Clinical Psychology Psy.D. is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).
Applying to the Psy. D. program
Although academic background, intellectual potential and professional experience and skills will be key selection criteria, we intend to recruit students who are committed to providing service to our region. Therefore, students should carefully consider their interest in rural and under-served populations before applying to the program. Applicants will only be considered for the Psy.D. program (i.e., students will not be admitted for a terminal masters degree in clinical psychology).
Credit hours for previously taken Courses: Students may be able to substitute credit hours received for taking graduate courses at a regionally-accredited institution during the last five years. A maximum of 18 credits of graduate level coursework is allowed. All decisions on substituted courses lie with the clinical training committee, and course equivalencies will be determined on a case-by-case basis and only after a student has been admitted to the program. In all cases, documentation (syllabi, tests, grades) from the previous course will be required and reviewed by the appropriate program faculty who will document action taken. Transfer credit will not be given for any clinical courses (i.e., courses where clinical theory and/or skills are taught), with the exceptions of Assessment I: Psychometric Theory (PSYC 7231) and Assessment II: Intellectual Assessment (PSYC 7234).
Specific admissions procedures are as follows:
- Applications will be evaluated once per year for Fall admissions. The deadline for applications is December 31.
- Applicants will submit an application packet electronically which will consist of all material listed in the Application Checklist. This application can be found at http://cogs.georgiasouthern.edu/gradadmin/applytogradschool.
- A successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students' academic record will be evaluated based on official transcripts from all previous enrollments in higher education.
- The minimum GPA required for consideration is 3.3 (out of 4.0).
- A minimum grade of "B" in the following undergraduate courses: Psychological Statistics, Research Design, Abnormal Psychology.
- Record of having taken at least two of the following courses: Personality, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning and/or Cognition, Health Psychology, Tests and Measurement, Theories of Psychotherapy, Psychology of Substance Abuse.
- Record of taking the GRE test within the past 5 years. Average GRE scores for previous successful applicants are available at http://class.georgiasouthern.edu/psychology/psyd/. The GRE Psychology (subject) test is required only for those students who did not earn either a Bachelor's or a Master's degree in psychology.
- Three letters of recommendation from former professors or appropriate employers/advisors.
- A written statement of professional goals and a rationale for how the Psy.D. program will further the students' career objectives. The written statement should discuss the fit of previous experiences and/or career goals with the mission of the Psy.D. program to train psychologists to work with rural and under-served populations. Please also include up to three clinical faculty with whom you would be most interested in speaking if invited for an interview.
- A curriculum vitae.
- An interview is required.
Part-time Admission and Part-time Status
The Psy.D. program is designed to be a full-time program that can be completed in five years. However, we realize some students may desire to do a portion of the program part-time. To this end, students may be admitted to the program with part-time status. If they wish to do this, the following criteria must be met:
- Students must apply via the same admission procedures as full-time students.
- Students can only begin the program in the Fall semester.
- Students must be admitted with a 18 credits in non-clinical courses (i.e., they must come into the program with the maximum amount of transfer credit).
Once admitted, part-time students must
- Enroll in a minimum of six (6) credits of coursework each semester.
- Be enrolled in the program every semester, unless a Leave of Absence is granted (see below).
- Enroll in necessary co-requisite courses when they are required.
- Enroll in Foundations of Psychotherapy I (PSYC 7232), Foundations & Skills II (PSYC 7433), and Group & Family Therapy (PSYC 7235) in consecutive semesters.
- Switch to full-time enrollment (minimum nine (9) credits per semester) for at least one full year to meet the residency requirement (see program manual for details).
- Complete the Psy.D. program within the 8-year time limit allowed for all students.
Part-time students may switch to full-time status at any point in their training. If a student desires to return to part-time status after being full-time, they must petition the program director.
The program is designed to be a five-year, full-time program for those entering with a bachelor's degree. The first four years will include coursework and graded practicum experiences. A minimum of one year (12 continuous months) of full-time coursework must be done in residency at Georgia Southern. The fifth year will consist of a full-time (2000 hour) approved internship.
Students are expected to pass all courses with a grade of "A" or "B". Should a student earn less than a B in any course, he or she is immediately put on probation and must retake the course (and earn an "A" or "B") the next time the course is offered. Earning a second grade below "B" will result in dismissal from the program.
- Annual Evaluations:
Once a year, students will have an individual meeting with their academic advisor for an evaluation of their progress. The evaluation will assess ongoing development of academic performance and professional skills, ethical judgment and sensitivity, as well as personal attributes or behaviors related to suitability for career in professional psychology. Documented poor performance in any of these areas will be the basis of efforts by the advisor and program faculty to assist the student in forming and completing a plan for improvement; continued poor performance within specified time frames will be the basis for terminating a student's enrollment in the program.
- Clinical Qualifying Examination; and Dissertation:
Students must successfully complete a Clinical Qualifying Examination at the time specified in their Handbook. This examination requires the student to demonstrate satisfactory skills in assessment, diagnosis, case conceptualization, tracking therapeutic progress, and treatment planning. In keeping with the practitioner-scholar model, the program aims to train practitioners who are grounded in the scholarly inquiry of scientific psychology. By the beginning of the fourth year, it is expected that students have drafted a doctoral dissertation proposal. The project should be conducted during the fourth year. At a minimum, the dissertation proposal is to be written, defended, and approved before applying for the pre-doctoral internship. At an aspirational level, it is highly desirable that students will successfully defend the dissertation project before leaving campus for internship.
An indispensible component of clinical training is to gain experience providing psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation. To this end, students are required to participate in a graduated series of practicum experiences beginning in the second year. All students are expected to conform to the APA Code of Ethics, Georgia state law, and to the rules of the practicum site. In the second year, students will be placed at internal practicum sites where their progress can be closely monitored. Internal practicum sites consist of the Psychology Clinic, Georgia Southern University Counseling and Career Development Center, and the Regents Center for Learning Disorders. In the third year, all students will be engaged in practicum experiences in rural agencies and/or at agencies that serve predominantly rural clientele. The fourth year of practicum can be at any site, but with a focus on professional development and developing knowledge about clinical supervision and consultation services. Failure to complete practicum successfully will result in remediation or dismissal, depending on the circumstances for the failure, as described in the Psy.D. Program Handbook.
- Personal Therapy Requirement:
In our clinical training, we emphasize the development of the clinician as a person in parity with the acquisition of clinical skills and theoretical knowledge. To this end, we require all students to complete a minimum of 15 sessions of personal psychotherapy with a licensed therapist during their time in the program.
State licensing boards for doctoral level psychologists require candidates for licensure to have completed a one-year, full-time (2,000 hour) pre-doctoral internship. The Georgia Southern University Psy.D. program is designed for the Internship to be completed in the fifth year. Students will follow the application process outlined by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC; www.appic.org).
Leave of Absence
Leaves of Absence are discouraged. They can lead to scheduling difficulties because of the sequencing of courses and experiences. However, leaves of absences may be granted to students on petition to do so with the DCT and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences or his/her designee. Students who have been granted a leave of absence are responsible for notifying the DCT and the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences when ready to resume full-time graduate study. Leaves of absence cannot extend beyond one calendar year. Students who do not return after one year of absence will be dismissed from the program.
Program of Study
Below are the courses required for the Psy.D. program. A curriculum by year can be found by visiting the Psychology Department’s web site at http://class.georgiasouthern.edu/psychology/psyd/files/
|PSYC 7232||Foundations of Psychotherapy I||3|
|PSYC 7237||Psychotherapy Skills I||3|
|PSYC 7433||Foundations & Skills II||3|
|PSYC 7633||Psychotherapy Skills III: Child and Family Interventions||3|
|PSYC 7231||Assessment I: Psychometric Theory||3|
|PSYC 7234||Assessment II: Intellectual Assessment||3|
|PSYC 7335||Assessment III: Personality Assessment||3|
|Biological Bases of Behavior|
|PSYC 7134||Physiological Psychology||3|
|Cognitive and Affective Aspects of Behavior|
|PSYC 7133||Affective and Cognitive Psychology||3|
|History and Systems of Behavior|
|PSYC 9235||History and Systems of Psychology||3|
|Research Methodology and Data Analysis|
|PSYC 7130||Statistics for Psychology||3|
|PSYC 7131||Research Design||3|
|Human Development and Individual Differences|
|PSYC 7331||Advanced Developmental Psychology||3|
|Professional Standards and Ethics|
|PSYC 7233||Ethics and Professional Issues||3|
|Social Aspects of Behavior|
|PSYC 7332||Advanced Social Psychology||3|
|Cultural and Individual Diversity|
|PSYC 9230||Diversity Issues in Psychology||3|
|PSYC 9330||Rural Mental Health||3|
|PSYC 7235||Group & Family Therapy||3|
|PSYC 7238||Child Psychotherapy||3|
|Consultation and Supervision|
|PSYC 7111||Supervision (must take a minimum of 8 times (maximum 9 times))||1|
|PSYC 9130||Professional Development||3|
|PSYC 9131||Supervision and Consultation||3|
|PSYC 7730||Practicum I||3|
|PSYC 7731||Practicum II||3|
|PSYC 7733||Combined Group Practicum (must take a minimum of 2 times (maximum 5 times))||3|
|PSYC 9731||Rural Practicum (must take a minimum of 2 times)||3|
|PSYC 9711||Pre-Doctoral Internship I||1|
|PSYC 9712||Pre-Doctoral Internship II||1|
|PSYC 9713||Pre-Doctoral Internship III||1|
|Total Credit Hours||114-124|