Program Overview

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, leading to the Ph.D. degree, consists of four years of full-time course work and related practicum experience, followed by a one-year clinical internship (or equivalent) in an approved setting and completion of a doctoral dissertation. The program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Anchored in the scientist-practitioner model, the program provides students with substantial grounding in the scientific bases of psychology and exposure to the methods, theories and empirical findings of the discipline. Through the scientist-practitioner model of training, students acquire research and clinical competencies as well as sensitivity to the ethical standards of the profession through a balanced curriculum that integrates theory and practice in a structured program of study.

The Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology offers two major areas of study: Adult, a specialty area focusing on education and training with adult clinical populations, and Child and Adolescent, which offers advanced training in child psychology. Students in the Child and Adolescent area must complete an approved internship that has a substantial concentration in clinical work with children, adolescents, or families.

The curriculum involves a logical progression of coursework and related practicum experience. The first two years of study impart basic skills and grounding in such areas of study as psychological assessment, statistics, research methods, foundations of psychology, therapeutic approaches and psychopathology. Training in research methodology and supervised research experience prepare students to conduct research and acquire skills needed to develop a dissertation proposal during the third year of study. A complete listing of required courses and electives is contained in the Graduate Bulletin.

Clinical practicum training begins in the first year with supervised practica held at the St. John’s University Center for Psychological Services, which is a community-based psychological services center that serves as the primary training site for clinical psychology students. At upper levels, students combine on-site clinical training with externship practica in community facilities and receive supervision from both field supervisors and clinical faculty members.

Students have been placed in clinical externships in many of the major clinical facilities in the metropolitan New York area, including Long Island Jewish/Hillside Medical Center, Queens Hospital Center, Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, New York University Medical Center, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Kings County Hospital, North Shore University Hospital, Bronx Children’s Psychiatric Center and Nassau University Medical Center.

Ethical and professional issues involved in professional practice are emphasized in course work and practica. An appreciation of the importance of cultural diversity in psychology is developed through course work and in clinical practica that provide direct training in working with multicultural populations.

Students are encouraged to begin research during the first year of study through development of a master’s thesis project. They are expected to progress to the dissertation stage during the third year of study and to continue to make satisfactory progress each semester toward completing their dissertation requirements. Students must also complete a full-time, year-long internship, or the equivalent, in an approved setting.