The Catholic University of America

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology


The PhD program in clinical psychology trains students toward four main goals: acquiring a broad base of knowledge in the science of psychology, acquiring competence in all aspects of conducting clinical research, acquiring competence in the practice of clinical psychology, and acquiring the professional attitudes and behaviors necessary for successful functioning as a psychologist (for example, knowing how to practice ethically, to work with diverse individuals, to integrate science and practice, to apply critical thinking skills to one’s work, and to develop effective professional relationships). A fifth goal is applicable to students selecting the Concentration in Children, Families, and Cultures: to become competent in knowledge, scholarship, and practice with children and families within their cultural contexts.

The program endeavors to create a diverse and supportive community in which students can develop the skills needed to become excellent clinical psychologists. To be qualified for the program, students must display academic competence and technical qualifications, including the potential to be trained in clinical practice. The objective is to produce clinical psychologists who are knowledgeable regarding the science of psychology and ready to add to its development, proficient in applying this knowledge in a variety of clinical settings, and aware of the interrelationships between the science and practice of clinical psychology. The clinical faculty includes members from a variety of theoretical orientations and clinical skill areas.

Research skills are strongly emphasized as an integral part of the clinical program. All students acquire research competence through participation in a research apprenticeship during the first two years and then through the doctoral dissertation. Clinical skills are equally emphasized, and close clinical supervision is a hallmark of the program. Clinical expertise is acquired through coursework, practica, externship, and internship. Clinical training is broad and offers exposure to a wide range of methods and approaches.

The clinical program is the largest graduate program in the Department of Psychology, and has been continuously accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association since 1948 (see the listing provided by the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002;, 202-336-5979).


Fall 2016 Welcome dinner!