Clinical Psychology, Psy.D.
Graduate Studies
Section Menu

Our APA-accredited Doctor of Clinical Psychology program is grounded in the practitioner-scholar model of professional psychology.

The Psy.D. program is committed to the education and training objectives for doctoral programs set forth by the APA and has been influenced by the values of the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology (NCSPP).

As a Psy.D. student, you will be instructed intensively in psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and in other areas pertinent to the practice of clinical psychology. The Psy.D. program, approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Higher Education in 1991 and accredited by the APA since 1999, fosters the development of your research skills through coursework, independent projects under faculty direction, and dissertation. After you graduate from the program, you will be prepared to practice at the doctoral level, make scholarly contributions to the professional community, and take leadership positions in the mental health field.

Program Highlights

  • Our faculty are approachable experts who serve as student-focused role models in clinical psychology. They specialize in a variety of areas, such as addictions and recovery, neuropsychology, therapeutic assessment, psychology and spirituality, trauma, and multicultural counseling.
  • Evening, on-campus courses start at 4:30 and allow you to work during the day, until you begin your practicum, which generally takes place during weekday hours. At that time, you will need flexible work hours.
  • You may compete for one of a designated number of assistantships annually, which provide tuition remission and a stipend for working in a variety of capacities at Immaculata.
  • Students and faculty have presented at conferences including the Society for Personality Assessment, the American Psychological Association, the Pennsylvania Psychology Association and the International Rorschach Congress. Some travel grants are available for attending conferences.
  • Most of our students complete their degree in about six years.
  • Our students report that the Psy.D. program helps them gain not only knowledge, but also confidence in their abilities, increased self-awareness and a sense of professional competence.
  • Our graduates work in private practices, outpatient mental health facilities, hospitals, and other settings. Some alumni work at university counseling centers, veterans’ hospitals, or for the military. Some have opened their own private practices, and others teach as adjuncts at universities.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Clinical Psychology is embedded within the Psy.D. curriculum. This degree is open to doctoral students admitted into the Psy.D. program who enter with a bachelor’s degree or with a master’s degree in an unrelated field.

The Immaculata University Psychology Internship Consortium is an APA-accredited internship, organized and monitored by the Immaculata’s Psychology and Counseling Department. The Consortium provides doctoral internships for Immaculata’s Psy.D. clinical doctoral candidates. A limited number of placements are offered for intern applicants from other APA-accredited doctoral programs through APPIC’s Match II and Post Match Vacancy Service (see additional information about the Consortium on the IU Psychology Internship Consortium page).

Learn more about Psy.D. admissions deadlines and requirements as well as graduate tuition.

Course Preview

Advanced Psychopathology

This course first reviews and sharpens skills in diagnostic reasoning using the DSM-5 and critically reviews the DSM-5 categorical approach to psychopathology. A more science-based, in-depth approach to psychopathology will be explored through recent theoretical and empirical advances in developmental psychopathology and affect neuroscience, and through a dimensional and therapeutic approach to assessing personality functioning. Psychopathology is addressed as based in the individual’s context including gender, ethnicity, race, socio-economic and community factors. Implications for the psychotherapy process are also addressed.

Client-Centered Theories and Therapies

Course reviews basic concepts and applications of the foundations of Client-Centered theories and therapies. Models include Rogerian, Existential-Humanistic, and recent developments in psychotherapy that build on a client-centered foundation (e.g., Motivational Interviewing). Implications for different client problems, human diversity, ethical psychotherapy practice, and understanding the therapy process and client-therapist relationship are reviewed. The course is taught using different instructional approaches, including lectures, experiential skills practice, discussions, and group activities. Course also includes reading literature that provides empirical support for these models in ways consistent with foundational concepts.

Psychology of Human Diversity

Examination of the major historical and contemporary social and cultural issues associated with all aspects of diverse populations, and of clinical strategies for addressing mental health needs of these groups. Emphasis on the role and impact of culture on structure, delivery and management of care systems; review of cultural influences and meaning of contextualization.

Psychoanalytic Theories and Therapies

Study of past and current major theoretical issues and treatment strategies in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The goal of the course is to teach students to apply psychoanalytic formulations and intervention strategies in practice settings. The course discusses major constructs in theory. A developmentally-sensitive model of diagnosis and intervention is presented. The continuum of contemporary models and traditional approaches (e.g., drive theory, ego psychology, object relations theory, self-psychology) is discussed from a historical perspective and in relation to each other. Emphasis is placed on the integration of theory, listening skills, clinical formulations, and flexible technical application of supportive-expressive to different clients and settings, including time-limited therapy environments. Therapy process research is reviewed. Implications of psychoanalytic applications to diverse client populations, including ethnic/racial, head trauma, and learning disabled, are also reviewed. Therapy process research is reviewed.

Practicum and Seminar I

250 hrs. minimum in one-semester with academic seminar that includes readings, case conference presentations of assessment and intervention cases.

Assessment IV: Advanced Skills

Examines contemporary assessment issues related to research and practice; assessment competencies in diversity and professional ethics, test selection, scoring and interpretation, report writing and feedback; review of objective and personality measures through discussion and critique. Emphasis on the relationship between assessment and treatment implications for different diagnostic groups and clinical settings.

Accreditation

Immaculata University’s Psy.D. program in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). Questions related to the program’s accreditation 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
(202) 336-5979
apaaccred@apa.org
www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Psy.D. Program Philosophy

The Psy.D. program educates and trains students to be competent practitioners of clinical psychology by providing a strong foundation in core areas relevant to practice, including theory, psychopathology-diagnosis, intervention, assessment, multiculturalism and human diversity, professional ethics, scientific foundations, and research.

The program provides a unique interpersonal experience that stems from the dedication to service that defines the spiritual mission of the University. Earning your Psy.D. from Immaculata will give you not only a solid foundation of clinical skills that are applicable to a wide range of settings, but also an ethical and spiritual base communicated through the nurturing qualities of administrators and program faculty. Dedicated full-time and adjunct faculty provide an education steeped richly and broadly in the traditions of theory, assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. With teaching styles that are empathic, human, supportive, and restorative, faculty are committed fully to the training and socialization of professional psychologists into careers of service, scholarship, and leadership.

This unique blend of academic rigor with respect for students as whole people characterizes the entirety of the learning environment and facilitates students’ emergent sense of competency as professional psychologists.

With attentiveness to the educational needs of their students, faculty members are outstanding professional role models, committed to each other as people and professionals, who work as a unified team to bring their training, skill and character into the heart and soul of the classroom. This is the quality of the interpersonal atmosphere that surrounds Immaculata’s Psy.D. students and demonstrates the depth and maturity of the program’s character.

Program Aims and Competencies and Related Evaluation Mechanisms

Immaculata’s Psy.D. program has aims related to the acquisition and attainment of competencies in the following areas.

Aim 1: PsyD graduates will be competent practitioners of clinical psychology and will acquire the following profession-wide competencies:

  • Research
  • Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills

Aim 2: PsyD graduates will acquire discipline specific knowledge to inform their clinical competencies.

  • Knowledge of Scientific Foundations

View the full Aims and Competencies Grid here.

Curriculum

All course scheduling is done with advisement. Class sizes are small, often 8-12 students, with some around 18-20, depending on the nature of the subject.

Prerequisites

Required for students admitted with a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree in a field unrelated to psychology, (or at the department’s recommendation).

  • PSYC 689 Counseling Skills and Theories (3)
  • PSYC 690 Theories of Counseling (3)

REQUIRED CONCENTRATION

  • PSYC 675* Psychopathology (3)
  • PSYC 698 Professional Development Series (0)
  • PSYC 700 Biological Bases of Behavior (3)
  • PSYC 701 Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior (3)
  • PSYC 702 Professional Issues and Ethics (3)
  • PSYC 703 Tests & Measurements (3)
  • PSYC 704 Pre-Practicum Seminar (0)
  • PSYC 705 Human Development (3)
  • PSYC 706 Research & Statistics I (3)
  • PSYC 707 Research & Statistics II (3)
  • PSYC 708 Advanced Psychopathology (3)
  • PSYC 709 Group Dynamics (3)
  • PSYC 710 Cognitive and Behavioral Theories and Therapies (3)
  • PSYC 711 Psychoanalytic Theories and Therapies (3)
  • PSYC 712 Client-Centered and Relationship Theories and Therapies (3)
  • PSYC 713 History and Systems in Psychology (3)
  • PSYC 714 Practicum and Seminar I (3)**
  • PSYC 715 Practicum and Seminar II (3)
  • PSYC 716 Practicum and Seminar III (3)
  • PSYC 717 Practicum and Seminar IV (3)
  • PSYC 721 Psychology of Human Diversity (3)
  • PSYC 724 Practicum and Seminar V (3)
  • PSYC 725 Practicum and Seminar VI (3)
  • PSYC 726 Practicum and Seminar VII (3)
  • PSYC 727 Practicum and Seminar VIII (3)
  • PSYC 728 Cognitive Clinical Assessment (3)
  • PSYC 729 Assessment II: Personality (3)
  • PSYC 730 Assessment IV: Advanced Skills (3)
  • PSYC 731 Assessment V: Neuropsychological (3)
  • PSYC 734 Aging and Mental Health*** (3)
  • PSYC 735 Human Sexuality*** (3)
  • PSYC 740 Clinical Psychopharmacology (3)
  • PSYC 741 Clinical Supervision, Consultation, and Management (3)
  • PSYC 745 Social Psychology (3)
  • PSYC 766 Advanced Neuropsychology*** (3)
  • PSYC 768 Forensic Psychology*** (3)
  • PSYC 786 Internship in Clinical Psychology I (1.5)
  • PSYC 787 Internship in Clinical Psychology II (1.5)
  • PSYC 788 Internship in Clinical Psychology III (1.5)
  • PSYC 790 Dissertation Seminar I (3)
  • PSYC 791 Internship in Clinical Psychology IV (1.5)
  • PSYC 792 Internship in Clinical Psychology V (1.5)
  • PSYC 793 Internship in Clinical Psychology VI (1.5)
  • PSYC 795 Professional Practice Preparation (3)
  • PSYC 797 Comprehensive Examination (0)
  • PSYC 798 Doctoral Dissertation I (3)
  • PSYC 799 Doctoral Dissertation II (3)
  • PSYC 800 Doctoral Dissertation III (3)
  • PSYC 000 Dissertation Continuation (0)

*PSYC 675 is the only class from a master’s degree program that is considered for transfer, at three credits.

**The department has specific guidelines for practica. Most practicum work is scheduled during weekday hours and includes a didactic seminar on campus. Supervised practica cannot be done at your place of employment.

***B.A. admits and M.A. admits in a field other than psychology are required to take one elective. M.A. admits are required to take two electives. Students are free to take more than the specified number of electives at the additional fee of a three-credit course.

GPA Minimums

The minimum level of achievement for Psy.D. students in any course for which there is a letter grade is a B, which equates to a 3.0. Psy.D. students must carry a 3.3 minimum cumulative GPA; if the cumulative GPA drops below 3.3, students will be placed on academic probation. Thus, while the minimum course expectation is B, the overall cumulative GPA for the program must be maintained at a 3.3 or higher. Permission to move forward on dissertation or internship requires a 3.3 GPA or higher.

If students earn less than a B grade, they must retake the course. Program dismissal may occur, following departmental review, if a student also earns less than a B grade on the retake. Program dismissal will occur if the student earns less than a B grade twice in two separate courses (e.g., C+ in PSYC 702 twice, and C+ in PSYC 710 twice).

Full-Time and Residency Requirements

Psy.D. students are required to meet the University’s full-time requirement, which has been defined as two consecutive semesters of at least three classes each semester at the start of the program, and the American Psychological Association’s three-year full-time residency requirement. Internship year does not count toward residency.

To meet these requirements, Psy.D. students must take at least three classes for at least two consecutive semesters at the start of the program. Students may meet the remaining two years of required full-time study by completing either:

  • Two consecutive semesters of at least three classes each semester, or
  • Three consecutive semesters of at least two classes each semester

Clinical Faculty Staff

Clinical Psychology Program Faculty

Department of Psychology and Counseling Staff

Certificates of Emphasis

Certificates of Emphasis may be earned in one of the following areas through course work, practicum, and research that has a concentrated focus:

  • Psychological Testing
  • Integrative Psychotherapy
  • Human and Cultural Diversity
  • Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Neuropsychology
  • Forensic Psychology

Please note: the Graduate Catalog currently lists these certificates as “Certificates of Advanced Proficiency,” but the name has changed to “Certificates of Emphasis.”

APAGS membership

The American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) provides a voice for graduate students’ concerns with the APA. It is the largest group of graduate psychology students worldwide and provides information to students about relevant education and training issues, legislative positions and developments, and future directions or changes in the field.

Diversity and Inclusion

Student Diversity Forum

The Graduate Psychology and Counseling Department Student Diversity Forum fosters appreciation, knowledge, and understanding of other cultures. Students can choose to work with faculty to generate publications relating to human diversity, to engage in community outreach in culturally diverse neighborhoods, and to socialize with others interested in diversity. The Forum provides an environment of unity, advancement and success for students by offering peer networking and mentorship as well as academic and spiritual leadership.

State-by State-Licensure Requirements

The ASPPB (Association of State and Provincial Psychology Board) lists state-by-state requirements for licensure (as of July, 2020). Please note that at this time the list is incomplete. ASPPB will continue to update the information.

After conducting my research for APA-accredited programs, Immaculata University was truly the best program for me, considering my life circumstances (parent and working full-time). During the interview process, I got to experience the culture of Immaculata, which seemed to be inviting, challenging, and supportive. The curriculum is set up so that you are not forced to choose a theoretical orientation; however, you receive baseline information about some of the most used theories in the field. Between my field experience and the classroom, I was able to identify my dream job, which is working with veterans who are struggling with mental health and substance addiction-related concerns, and now they are reintegrating back into society. The support and education received from Immaculata has helped me to build the confidence to be a competent and passionate practitioner.

Jonathan Harold ’21 Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Sarah Maver: Drawing Professional Direction from Classic Literature

Even from a young age, Sarah knew she wanted to pursue a career that would allow her to help people. With several relatives working as clinical psychologists, she leaned toward that field––plus, she is an attentive listener, which is at the crux of being a great psychologist. Maver entered the Psy.D. program at Immaculata immediately after earning her undergraduate degree and is on track to graduate in 2021.

Learn more about Sarah’s story.

My faculty advisor’s compassion and prioritization of best practices constructed the foundation of my psychological practice. My dissertation chair exposed me to local opportunities in my area of clinical interest. The confidence I had during the dissertation defense was a direct result of the close, expert support I received throughout the entire writing process. The internship training year through the APA-accredited Immaculata University Predoctoral Internship Consortium (IUPIC) connected me with competent and skilled supervisors and clinicians. A thoughtful balance of academically and clinically advanced development experiences were woven into the training year. The relationships I fostered at Immaculata University’s Psy.D. program have been an invaluable resource.

Brian Esposito, Psy.D.

Psychologist , Circle Counseling

Just the facts

94%

of students obtained APA accredited internships

100%

of students obtained paid internships

8

Full-Time Faculty

Discover Immaculata

Grounded in IHM tradition and charism since 1920.

Find out what an IU education can do for your mind, your character and your future.

Discover Immaculata