PsyD in Clinical Psychology

APU’s Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program trains practitioner-scholars to serve the psychological and emotional needs of a broad range of clients.

APU’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology is a professional doctorate that identifies as a practitioner-scholar program. The curriculum provides the courses and training necessary to meet the educational requirements in the state of California for licensure as a psychologist.

Program Aim

The PsyD program at Azusa Pacific University has developed a unifying aim to guide the mission of the program: Cultivate culturally competent practitioner-scholars who are equipped to serve a wide range of clients with a special emphasis in systems thinking, diversity, and the integration of faith/spirituality and practice.

Profession-wide Competencies in Health Service Psychology1

In alignment with accreditation standards from the American Psychological Association, APU’s PsyD program and curriculum focus on profession-wide competencies in health service psychology. See Program Learning Outcomes for more details.

1Adapted from APA (Am. Psychol. Assoc.). 2015. Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. Washington, DC: APA

APU PsyD Program’s Special Emphases

In addition to the profession-wide competencies (Program Learning Outcomes), the PsyD program at APU has three areas of special emphasis:

  1. Systems Approach (Family Psychology)
  2. Diversity and Justice
  3. Integration of Faith/Spirituality and Practice

Systems Approach (Family Psychology)

Based on systems theory, the discipline of family psychology recognizes the dynamic interaction between persons and environments without detracting from an awareness of individual, intrapsychic issues. The PsyD program’s emphasis in family psychology incorporates numerous elements from several disciplines within psychology (e.g., clinical psychology, developmental psychology, personality theory, environmental psychology, neuropsychology, psychobiology, and social psychology). All the disciplines are related by the theoretical understanding of the dynamic, reciprocal relationship between these factors as they impact human behavior. This theoretical foundation undergirds the program courses at APU. In courses that have traditionally had an individual focus, systemic aspects relevant to the content area are incorporated. The PsyD program strives to equip students to think systemically and apply systemic analysis to clinical situations.

Diversity and Justice

The PsyD program has a strong commitment to individual and cultural diversity and is committed to creating an inclusive and positive environment for diverse students and faculty, and the development of competency in serving diverse populations. Diversity competence is interwoven throughout every course; additionally, there are specific courses that focus on developing diversity competency. The program is also committed to addressing disparity and encouraging social action and advocacy. In addition to coursework, the PsyD program supports student-run diversity committees that are focused on addressing diversity issues in the program through forums, guest speakers, and trainings.

Integration of Faith/Spirituality and Practice (Interdisciplinary Integration)

Azusa Pacific University has a strong Christian heritage and commitment to integrating evangelical Christian thought into university programs. The PsyD expresses this heritage and commitment through an emphasis on the integration of psychology with theological anthropology, ethics, and spiritual formation. Students explore how their own cultural, philosophical, theological, and/or spiritual foundations and tradition(s), implicit or explicit, inform and/or influence their understanding of human nature, development, illness, health, and change. This self-exploration and awareness of, reflection on, and interaction with theological and spiritual traditions forms a foundation for understanding the self in context—embodied and embedded culturally, ethnically, religiously—and provides a source of personal and professional identity.

The PsyD program also has a strong commitment to open enrollment. As such, individuals from any religious or nonreligious tradition may be admitted to the PsyD program. However, it is important for prospective students to recognize that coursework and training are structured using Christian values and principles. Students are asked to learn and thoughtfully interact with the content of courses, as well as to reflect on their own beliefs and values as they relate to preparation for professional practice. In addition to providing students with an interdisciplinary framework from which to understand psychological theory and practice, the emphasis also facilitates and enhances the development of competency with respect to addressing religious and spiritual diversity in clinical practice.


University graduate admission and program-specific requirements must be met before an application is complete (see Admission to the University). Program-specific application requirements are available online.

International students should contact Graduate and Professional Admissions for application procedures.

Application Deadline

Priority Deadline: December 1. Students who apply prior to this date will be given priority consideration for admission.

General Deadline: January 15. Students who apply prior to this date will be given consideration for admission after the priority applications are reviewed.

Interview Process, Acceptance, and Deposit

Upon invitation, PsyD applicants complete an interview with the PsyD faculty. The purpose of the interview is to determine the applicant’s potential for success in the PsyD program. Applicants who are accepted into the PsyD program are notified after the interview process. Upon notification of admission, applicants must confirm intent to attend in writing to the department by April 15. A $500 deposit is also required by April 15. Please note that the deposit is nonrefundable, but 100% of the deposit is applied toward tuition.


Scholarship for Integrated Psychology

The Department of Clinical Psychology has been awarded scholarship money from an external foundation for students interested in the integration of Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Christian theology. First-year students who have been nominated by a faculty member are invited to apply. The grant funds up to three PsyD students per year who meet program criteria, which include goals for clinical practice and research that integrate psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Christian theology and spirituality. In addition to maintaining a 3.7 GPA, scholarship students participate in a monthly mentoring group and complete a sequence of courses focused on integrating religion and spirituality into clinical practice, as well as a sequence of courses to develop clinical competencies in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Through the scholarship program, students develop vocational and professional goals that apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have learned through the scholarship program to their chosen area of research and professional practice.

For more information, contact Theresa Clement Tisdale, PhD, PsyD, Scholarship for Integrated Psychology program coordinator, at or (626) 815-6000, Ext. 5205.

Project Expand Scholarship

The Department of Clinical Psychology has been given a three-year, $1.4M award from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) focused on further equipping psychology doctoral students with high-quality interdisciplinary, integrated behavioral health training and practicum experiences specific to addressing co-occurring disorders (CODs—a mental health condition and a substance use disorder) in community care settings, including school wellness centers, in high-need and high-demand areas for clinical psychology services. The goal of the grant, named Project Expand, is to provide up to ten (10) students each academic year with one-year training and practicum opportunities in settings that serve adults with CODs and adolescent youth at risk for the development of CODs. Interested students who are in the second year or above within the PsyD program can apply. Awarded students receive a $25,000 scholarship stipend to defray living expenses during doctoral training.

For more information, contact Rachel Castaneda, PhD, MPH, and PI, at or Samuel Girguis, PsyD and co-PI, at

PsyD Doctoral Assistantships (TRAs)

Funds are allocated to provide teaching-research assistantships (TRAs) for each academic cohort. Recipients of the assistantships receive $9,000 tuition remission per year for the first four years of the program for a scholarship total of $36,000. TRAs provide 8 hours of service per week in the Department of Clinical Psychology during September through June of the academic year. The department chair (or designee) determines the roles and responsibilities of the TRAs. Students may apply for the assistantship during the first semester of the first year of their PsyD program. Preference is given to applicants who evidence strong academic credentials (high GPA and GRE scores, in particular), financial need, cultural knowledge and language skills that facilitate the provision of psychological services in an underserved community, and commitment to provide psychological services in an underserved community following graduation. Applications for the assistantships and criteria for evaluation of applications are available in the Department of Clinical Psychology.

TRAs will be reviewed annually and must meet minimum standards to continue the assistantship. This review is intended to guarantee that persons awarded an assistantship will continue to evidence the qualities that led to their original selection. Minimum standards for continuation include maintaining good standing throughout all aspects of the program, including maintenance of a 3.5 GPA; sufficient progress on dissertation; positive evaluations from clinical training sites; willingness to receive constructive criticism regarding performance of tasks; demonstrated remediation of performance deficits that have been formally identified to the student by the PsyD program, department chair, and/or the designated supervisor; and continued ability to be available on a schedule that meets the needs of the department.

Any student who has been awarded an assistantship and who has received tuition remission is responsible to repay the amount equal to the tuition remission if the student withdraws from the PsyD program prior to graduation. Such students may work with Student Financial Services to arrange a repayment plan for the loan balance.


The PsyD curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of the APA for health service psychology. Courses stress the importance of critical thinking in the discipline of psychology, and the curriculum provides a breadth of knowledge regarding scientific psychology. Since this is a professional degree, clinical education and application of scientific knowledge to clinical domains are stressed throughout the curriculum, as well as in the clinical practicum experience. Cultural and individual diversity perspectives are woven into courses across the curriculum. In addition, all of the courses incorporate a systemic perspective on psychology. The coursework also includes interdisciplinary courses that integrate ethics, theology, and psychology—issues relevant to Christian faith—where appropriate.

The PsyD curriculum is composed of 125 units of required courses plus 8 units of elective courses for a total of 133 units. PsyD students may apply for a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology en route to the PsyD, after completing 57 units in the PsyD and attendance at a child abuse workshop. Note: The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology is a nonlicensable degree. 

Certain courses or mandatory seminars may be scheduled for Saturdays. Attendance at these courses or seminars is required to fulfill degree requirements.

Introduction to Clinical Practice: Basic Skills
Legal and Ethical Competence for Psychologists
Research Design I
Advanced Developmental Psychology I: Infancy through Adolescence
Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior
Research Design II
Introduction to Clinical Skills: Advanced Skills
Diversity I: Multiculturally Responsive Attitudes and Knowledge
Psychology and Systems Theory
Dissertation Development
Advanced Developmental Psychology II: Early Adulthood through Late Adulthood
Social Psychology
History and Systems of Psychology
Integration I: Traditioning and Contextualizing the Self
Assessment I
Child and Adolescent Psychology
Introduction to Clinical Practicum and Professional Practice
Psychological Theories: Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic
Dissertation I
Integration II: Christian Spiritual Formation and Psychotherapy
Clinical Practicum and Professional Practice
Assessment II: Personality
Diversity II: Historical and Current Causes of Systemic Differences and Oppression
Systems II: Family Therapy
Dissertation II
Integration III: World Religions/Spirituality and Psychotherapy
Cognitive Assessment Lab
Psychological Theories: Cognitive and Behavioral
Dissertation III
Psychological Theories: Group
Assessment III: Cognitive Assessment
Diversity III: Responsiveness in Clinical Practice
Consultation in Clinical Psychology
Clinical and Professional Consultation
Dissertation IV
Elective, if needed (see below)
Family Psychology
Integration IV: Vocation and Social Action as a Psychologist
Clinical and Professional Consultation
Dissertation V
Assessment IV: Integrated Report Writing
Must complete 2 of the 4 Clinical Interventions courses:
Clinical Interventions: Psychodynamic
Clinical Interventions: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Clinical Interventions: Group
Elective (if needed)
Psychological Theories: Postmodern
Dissertation VI
Clinical and Professional Consultation
Elective (if needed)
Diversity IV: Global Psychology
Integrated Health Psychology
Clinical and Professional Consultation
Clinical Interventions: Postmodern (Must complete 2 of the 4 Clinical Interventions courses)
Dissertation Continuation 1
Systems IV: Couples Theory and Therapy
Supervision in Clinical Psychology
Clinical and Professional Consultation
Dissertation Continuation 1
Must complete 2 of the 4 Clinical Interventions courses
Clinical Interventions: Psychodynamic
Clinical Interventions: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Clinical Interventions: Group
Dissertation Continuation 1
Clinical and Professional Consultation
Elective (if needed)
Predoctoral Internship (required to take 3 times)
Dissertation Continuation 1
Predoctoral Internship
Dissertation Continuation 1
Predoctoral Internship
Dissertation Continuation 1
Elective Courses 2
Choose 8 units from the following:
Forensic Psychology Concentration
Introduction to Forensic Psychology
Forensic Assessment
Family Forensic Psychology I
Family Forensic Psychology II
Psychodynamic Systems Concentration
Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy I
Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy II
Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy III
Other Elective Courses
Adolescent Psychology
Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy
Global Psychology
Special Topics

PPSY 787 is required if a student has not successfully defended their dissertation by the beginning of their fourth year in the program (and after having enrolled in Dissertation I-VI during their first three years in the program). Continuous enrollment is required from that point until the student has successfully defended their dissertation.


All students must take 8 units of electives. Students may choose to take electives grouped in the listed concentrations; students need to complete only 4 units within a concentration to complete it, but may choose to take more if desired.

See below for more information regarding the five-year academic plan versus the six-year academic plan.

Academic Probation and Disqualification

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 throughout the period of their enrollment. Students will be placed on academic probation if a cumulative 3.0 GPA is not maintained, or when they receive a NC (No Credit) or a grade below a B- in their coursework. Students may be disqualified from further graduate work if a cumulative 3.0 GPA is not maintained or if they obtain a total of two grades below a B- or NC (No Credit) in their coursework.


Students are required to take 8 units of elective courses. Students may take miscellaneous electives in psychotherapy, assessment, or other courses related to clinical psychology; or they may complete one of the elective concentrations described below.

Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy Concentration

The psychodynamic systems of psychotherapy elective concentration provides an opportunity for students to learn a comprehensive model of personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy that reflects the systemic epistemology of the doctoral program. This course sequence provides a historical overview of major psychodynamic systems of theory and therapy (from origins to the present). Each course focuses on key theorists, theoretical constructs, conceptualization and treatment planning, supporting research, and clinical demonstration and application. Students seeking a Certificate of Completion in the Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy elective concentration must complete three semesters of PPSY 720 Clinical and Professional Consultation, with Theresa Clement Tisdale, PhD, PsyD, as the instructor, alongside a yearlong clinical practicum placement (in which students are permitted to provide psychodynamic psychotherapy to clients) and the following two-course sequence of electives:

PPSY 763Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy I2
PPSY 764Psychodynamic Systems of Psychotherapy II2

For more information, contact Tisdale at

Forensic Psychology Concentration

The forensic psychology elective concentration provides an opportunity for students to pursue more focused training in the specialty area of forensic psychology. This concentration prepares PsyD students for competitive forensic psychology internships and postdoctoral training experiences. While completion of the certificate program does not guarantee placement in supervised training sites, it enhances the student’s educational foundation in preparation for advanced training in forensic psychology. Students seeking the Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology must complete a unique section (specifically for students in the forensic psychology concentration) of PPSY 775 Assessment IV: Integrated Report Writing and the following two-course sequence of electives:

PPSY 771Forensic Assessment2
PPSY 773Family Forensic Psychology II2

For more information, contact Marjorie Graham-Howard, PhD, at

Computer and Email Access Required

Students are required to own or have ready access to a computer during their tenure in the PsyD program, and required to maintain and utilize a student email address. Students are also responsible for the information sent to them by the program or department via email, and for responding to email in a consistent and timely manner.

Academic Advising

In addition to the advisement by the program director and the directors of clinical training, each student selects a dissertation committee chair during their first year in the program who also serves as the student’s academic advisor throughout the program.

Progress Review and Annual Evaluation

Department faculty review the progress of all students in the PsyD program each semester in order to encourage professional development and successful completion of the program. Since personal characteristics are important to competency in clinical psychology, students are evaluated regularly on categories determined to be professional standards in the field of clinical psychology. The evaluation form, noting the dimensions for evaluation, is provided to students upon entrance to the program (or earlier by request). Student behavior that does not reflect the professional standards in the field of clinical psychology will be documented on the evaluations form and the student will receive a written notice. Furthermore, the student will be required to meet with their faculty advisor, the program director, and/or the Clinical Training Committee to determine a personal development plan. Students who fail to improve according to their development plan may be dismissed from the program. Students who receive more than one written notice during a semester may be dismissed from the program. Students who receive more than three written notices while in the program may be dismissed from the program.  

An annual student progress evaluation is conducted in July, following the summer term. All aspects of student progress in the program are reviewed and a letter is sent to students informing them of the results of the review, noting strengths or completion of particular requirements and areas for improvement or remediation needed in order to remain current in the program.

The program evaluates multiple domains of student training beyond that of academic success. Other areas of evaluation that are expected competencies of health service psychologists include intrapersonal, interpersonal, and professional development and functioning. In addition to policies outlined in the catalog, other sources of program policy include the clinical training manual, the program manual, and the dissertation manual.

Student Grievance and Due Process Procedures

Students’ rights to due process are clearly outlined in the Academic Policies and Procedures section of this catalog. Additional information may be found in the program manual and the clinical training manual. 

Five- and Six-Year Academic Plans and Time to Degree Completion

Five-Year Program

Participation in the full-time plan requires attending classes during the day or evening at least two days per week, plus occasional Saturday courses (usually four Saturdays in a year). An additional 15-20 hours per week minimum for practicum is required throughout the program.

Six-Year Program

Starting in the third year of the program, participation in a reduced-load-per-semester, six-year plan requires attending classes during the day or evening at least two days per week plus occasional Saturday courses (usually four Saturdays in a year). An additional 15-20 hours per week minimum for practicum is required in the first three years of the program or more, depending upon student progress.

Time to Degree Completion

PsyD students are permitted 8 years from the date of initial enrollment to complete all requirements. Extensions beyond the 8-year limit may be granted for students experiencing unusual circumstances, at the discretion of the department with approval from the dean of the School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences. 

Other Degree Requirements for the PsyD program

Clinical Training

Clinical training is central to the practitioner-scholar (PsyD) model for educating clinical psychologists. Azusa Pacific’s program is committed to assisting students in developing the essential knowledge base, attitudes, and therapeutic skills necessary to function as clinical psychologists. In their clinical placements (practicum sites), students gain experience in a variety of clinical settings including outpatient, inpatient/residential, child/adolescent, older adult, brief/managed care, and settings utilizing psychological assessment. Supervision is provided by the field placement sites while APU faculty concurrently provide students with clinical and professional consultation. Students entering the program with existing clinical training or licensure must still complete the program’s clinical training sequence. Clinical training involves three years of practicum and a full-time, yearlong predoctoral internship (a limited number of two-year, half-time internships are available in some settings). 

Practicum training is taken along with coursework as a means of enriching the academic experience, and is designed to provide the student with exposure to assessment and clinical treatment. A minimum of 1,500 practicum hours are required. Some students may elect to obtain an additional year of practicum experience in their fifth year and complete their internship during a sixth year. Concurrent with their supervised external practicum, students are required to participate in a 1-unit clinical consultation course (PPSY 720) that provides input from faculty on the student’s clinical and professional development. Students are also required to document their practicum hours using the program Time2Track.  

The predoctoral internship is required at the end of the program when coursework and the 1,500 hours (three years) of practicum experience are complete. Internship provides the student with a more in-depth training experience. A minimum of 1,500 hours are required for internship training, though some sites may require 2,000 hours. It is highly recommended that the internship be APA/APPIC-approved, but alternative internships are provided by CAPIC. All placements must be an APA-, APPIC-, or CAPIC-approved site; this is a state law for California licensure. Permission to not seek an APA/APPIC internship must be requested from the director of clinical training and/or the Clinical Training Committee.

For those students who are licensed or registered in mental health professions other than psychology, the Department of Clinical Psychology requires that all practicum training in the PsyD program be entirely separate from any practice under such existing license or registration. For purposes of clinical training in health service psychology, all students are to be identified exclusively as psychology trainees, psychology students, or psychology interns. Practicum students are not allowed to make known in any manner any other status they may hold in other mental health professions. Practicum hours from training in psychology may not be “double counted” toward training required for other mental health professions. If a student conducts a clinical practice or performs mental health services under an existing nonpsychology mental health license while he or she is a student in the PsyD program, the Department of Clinical Psychology officially recommends that these students consider the impact of their education and training in psychology on such practice and that they seek supervision for any services that may be deemed to be part of the profession of psychology.

To facilitate the identification of students with the profession of psychology, all students are required to join the American Psychological Association as student members upon acceptance into the program. APA membership provides many benefits, including subscriptions to the Monitor on Psychology and American Psychologist. Students are also required to maintain liability insurance while in the program. 

Clinical Training Manual

Every fall semester, a clinical training manual is released to students, who are responsible for understanding its contents and being aware of any changes required by the department.

Quality Assurance in Clinical Placements

The directors of clinical training of internship and practicum (DCTs) and the Clinical Training Committee have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that the program’s clinical training standards meet all state licensing and APA requirements. All clinical training is intended to be consistent with the requirements stated in the California Board of Psychology Laws and Regulations. Modifications in state law shall be reflected in program changes to ensure training consistent with the current practice of psychology. Additionally, the clinical training required by the PsyD program is consistent with APA ethical and professional standards and training guidelines.

Evaluation of Clinical Training

The clinical training goals and objectives are integrated into the clinical practicum sequence and coordinated with the clinical courses in the program. Outcomes in the clinical sequence are measured throughout the program and include regular presentations of audio- or videotaped work of students, classroom demonstrations and role plays, assessment reports presented in class, supervisor evaluations, Clinical Competency Exam, internship acceptance and completion, and licensure acquisition.

Formative Evaluation

Formative evaluation consists of feedback given to students by their clinical supervisors, the directors of clinical training and program director, and the faculty. Although primarily verbal and situational, this kind of evaluation is of great importance due to its immediacy to clinical interventions and the issues arising during the students’ clinical placements.

Summative Evaluation

Summative evaluation occurs at the end of each semester of clinical placement. Students are evaluated by their field site supervisor as well as by all faculty members. The site supervisor evaluation is discussed with students prior to its being sent to the DCT and becoming part of the students’ clinical files. Students receiving inadequate evaluations are placed on probation, counseled by their faculty advisor, and, should their clinical performance fail to meet expected standards, dismissed from the program. The Clinical Training Committee (CTC) may require students to complete remediation assignments to meet competency standards. As noted above, students are evaluated at the end of each semester for the achievement of competency in key clinical areas. This helps prepare the student for the Clinical Competency Exam, a cumulative evaluation of readiness for the predoctoral internship.

Students also evaluate their site experience and site supervisor at the end of each semester. These evaluations are submitted to the DCT and are used to ensure the quality of placement sites and on-campus supervision groups.

Clinical Competency Examination

As a final evaluation measure, each student must pass a Clinical Competency Exam (CCE) after completing required coursework and clinical training.

For the CCE, a student submits a sample of their clinical work (case presentation, psychological assessment, and a videotape of a psychotherapy session), along with their clinical portfolio (including supervisor evaluation, verification of practicum hours, list of assessments performed, curriculum vita, and conference presentations or published works), to a two-member faculty committee. In addition, the student must respond to case vignettes illustrating various clinical issues. The purpose of this exam is to ensure that the student has developed the clinical competencies and requisite skills to begin an internship. Therefore, successful completion of the exam is required before applying to internship.

Research Competence and Dissertation

The PsyD program requires the successful proposing, conducting, and defending of a dissertation. Further details are provided in the PsyD Dissertation Handbook. 

Students are required to take the following courses as part of the dissertation process: PPSY 722 Research Design I; PPSY 723 Research Design II; PPSY 731 Dissertation Development, and six 1-unit dissertation courses (PPSY 745, PPSY 746, PPSY 747, PPSY 748, PPSY 755, PPSY 756). If, upon completion of these dissertation courses, a student has not yet defended their dissertation, they must enroll in PPSY 787 Dissertation Continuation every semester until they successfully defend their dissertation and submit it to the APU Libraries for binding and publication. Please note that even though PPSY 787 Dissertation Continuation is 0 units, the student will be charged 1 unit per semester until the dissertation process is complete.

Students are required to consult the APU Doctoral Programs Handbook for Style and Format Requirements for the year of their dissertation defense to determine specific deadlines for May graduation.

Minimum Levels of Acceptable Achievement (MLAs)

In order to successfully complete the PsyD program, the following minimum levels of acceptable achievement are required:

  • Obtaining a grade of B- or better (or a grade of Credit) in all coursework (see academic probation policy for process if a grade below a B- (or a grade of No Credit) is obtained in any class)
  • Completing a minimum of three years of clinical practicum (see clinical training manual for details) and obtaining an overall score of 3 or better on summative supervision evaluations (see clinical training manual for process if the overall score on summative evaluations is below a 3)
  • Successfully passing Parts I-IV of the Clinical Competency Exam (CCE)
  • Successfully proposing a dissertation (see dissertation manual for process if the dissertation is not successfully proposed)
  • Successfully defending a dissertation and submitting it for binding and/or publication through APU Libraries (see dissertation manual for process if the dissertation is not successfully defended)
  • Completing a minimum of 1,500 hours of a predoctoral internship (see clinical training manual for further details)

Personal Psychotherapy Required

All PsyD students must complete 30 hours of psychotherapy with a licensed psychologist of their choice. Additional individual psychotherapy may be recommended or required by the program as part of the degree requirements if deemed necessary by department faculty.

Degree Posting

The doctoral degree is posted after the student has met all program requirements, including verification of the following:

  • Completion of all required coursework (prior to commencing internship)
  • Passing of Clinical Competency Exam
  • Successful dissertation defense
  • Submission of dissertation for binding
  • Verification of completion of personal psychotherapy hours (see above)
  • Verification of completion of the predoctoral internship

Note: Doctoral degree posting dates conform to those published in the catalog.

Academic Psychology Licensure

The APU PsyD program fulfills the graduate education requirements in the state of California for licensure as a psychologist. Students seeking licensure in California may obtain information regarding requirements by contacting:

California Board of Psychology
1625 N. Market Blvd., Ste. N-215
Sacramento, CA 95834
(916) 574-7720

Students seeking licensure in another state should contact the appropriate examining board in that state.

Program Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this program shall be able to:
  1. In the profession-wide competency of Research, students will: •Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities (e.g., critical literature reviews, dissertation, efficacy studies, clinical case studies, theoretical papers, program evaluation projects, program development projects) that are of sufficient quality and rigor to have the potential to contribute to the scientific, psychological, or professional knowledge base. •Conduct research or other scholarly activities. •Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activity via professional publication and presentation at the local (including the host institution), regional, or national level.
  2. In the profession-wide competency of Ethical and Legal Standards, students will: •Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with each of the following: 1. the current version of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct; 2. Relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, local, state, regional, and federal levels; and 3. Relevant professional standards and guidelines. •Recognize ethical dilemmas as they arise, and apply ethical decision-making processes in order to resolve the dilemmas. •Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.
  3. In the profession-wide competency of Individual and Cultural Diversity*, students will: •An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history, attitudes, and biases may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves. •Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity in all professional activities including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service. •The ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities). This includes the ability apply a framework for working effectively with areas of individual and cultural diversity not previously encountered over the course of their careers. Also included is the ability to work effectively with individuals whose group membership, demographic characteristics, or worldviews create conflict with their own. •Demonstrate the requisite knowledge base, ability to articulate an approach to working effectively with diverse individuals and groups, and apply this approach effectively in their professional work. *In addition to being a profession-wide competency, Diversity/Justice is a Special Emphasis in the APU PsyD program.
  4. In the profession-wide competency of Professional Values and Attitudes, students will: •Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others. •Engage in self-reflection regarding one’s personal and professional functioning; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being, and professional effectiveness. •Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision. •Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with a greater degree of independence as they progress across levels of training.
  5. In the profession-wide competency of Communication and Interpersonal Skills, students will: •Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, supervisees, and those receiving professional services. •Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications that are informative and well-integrated; demonstrate a thorough grasp of professional language and concepts. •Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.
  6. In the profession-wide competency of Assessment, students will: •Select and apply assessment methods that draw from the best available empirical literature and that reflect the science of measurement and psychometrics; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods appropriate to the identified goals and questions of the assessment as well as relevant diversity characteristics of the service recipient. •Interpret assessment results, following current research and professional standards and guidelines, to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations, while guarding against decision-making biases, distinguishing the aspects of assessment that are subjective from those that are objective. •Communicate orally and in written documents the findings and implications of the assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a range of audiences.
  7. In the profession-wide competency of Intervention, students will: •Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services. •Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals. •Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature, assessment findings, diversity characteristics, and contextual variables. •Demonstrate the ability to apply the relevant research literature to clinical decision making. •Modify and adapt evidence-based approaches effectively when a clear evidence-base is lacking. •Evaluate intervention effectiveness, and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.
  8. In the profession-wide competency of Supervision, students will: •Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.
  9. In the profession-wide competency of Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills, students will: •Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions. •Demonstrates knowledge of consultation models and practices.
  10. Students will demonstrate the ability to apply systems thinking to professional work (APU PsyD Special Emphasis in Systems / Family Psychology).
  11. Students will demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to integrate faith and spirituality into clinical practice (APU PsyD Special Emphasis in Integration of Faith/Spirituality into Clinical Practice).

Adapted from APA (Am. Psychol. Assoc.). 2015. Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. Washington, DC: APA