Immaculata’s Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology, accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), 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, 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.
All course scheduling is done with advisement. As an evening program, the Psy.D. curriculum was developed to address the educational needs and objectives of students who are working, and whose lifestyles do not permit attendance at daytime classes.
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).
Please see the Psy.D. Handbook, the Practicum Handbook, the Internship Handbook, and the Dissertation Handbook, which outline additional aspects of the doctoral program, including goals, competencies, comprehensive examination, practicums, and internships.
Learn more about Psy.D. admissions deadlines and requirements
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.
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
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:
- Ethical and Legal Standards
- Individual and Cultural Diversity
- Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
- Communication and Interpersonal Skills
- Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills
Aim 2: PsyD graduates will acquire discipline specific knowledge to inform their clinical competencies.
- Knowledge of Scientific Foundations
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).
- COUN 601 Counseling Skills and Theories (3)
- COUN 602 Theories of Counseling (3)
- PSYC 608 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 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 (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)
*All students take either PSYC 766 or PSYC 768. The permission of the Chair is required to take both classes.
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
- Sr. Monica Acri, IHM PsyD
- Janet Etzi, PsyD
- Ashley Higgins, PsyD
- Julie Keaveney, PsyD
- Marie McGrath, PhD
- Francien Richardson, PsyD
- Catrina Vitagliano, PsyD
- Jed Yalof, PsyD (Department Chair & Program Director)
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
- 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.”
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.
- Office of Ethnic MInority Affairs quarterly newsletter – March 2013
- Psychological Science Agenda – February 2013
- Congress Halts SGR Cuts – January 2013
- Psychology International Newletter – December 2012
- Spotlight on Disability Newsletter – December 2012
Student Diversity Forum
The Graduate Psychology and Counseling Department Student Diversity Forum is an organization that meets at least quarterly to foster an 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.
Are there assistantships? Yes, there are a designated number of assistantships annually for which clinical students compete. The assistantships provide a stipend as well as generous tuition remission. Students work in a variety of capacities within the University.
Can you work and still take classes? Yes, the program offers evening classes that start at 4:30 so that many of our students can work during the day.
Can you do your practicum where you work? The department has specific guidelines for practical they are done during the day, include a didactic seminar on campus, and cannot be done at your place of employment.
How big are the classes? Some classes are around 18-20, but most are 8-12 depending on the nature of the subject.
Do students get travel grants for attending conferences? Yes, there are grants available. Information is provided by the College of Graduate Studies.
What jobs do your graduates have? Our graduates work in private practices, outpatient mental health facilities, hospitals, and many other job settings consistent with the competency expectations for our program graduates.
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.