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Degree Requirements, Psy.D. Programs

Effective Date Mar 22, 2018

(Graduate Policy 3.2)

To receive the doctoral degree, the candidate must have been a matriculated student at the school for a minimum of four calendar years, determined by the date of first registration.

Other requirements include:

  1. A minimum of 123 semester credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree. (For a student entering with a master’s degree or post-baccalaureate courses, see graduate policy “Transfer Credit”).
  2. A minimum of four years in full-time residency: eight semesters and three summer terms. Full-time status is defined as nine or more semester credit hours.
  3. Admission to doctoral candidacy. (see graduate policy “Admission to Doctoral Candidacy”)
  4. Written comprehensive examination. During the summer after the third year of study, all students are required to take and pass a written comprehensive examination. The examination will be conducted on campus and will cover the core academic and clinical areas of psychology.
  5. Completion of the doctoral research project. A minimum of 12 semester credit hours of doctoral research project PSY 6998 is required.
  6. Internship. Two thousand clock hours of supervised experience under an approved doctoral-level psychologist in an approved internship setting. The internship must be full-time for one year or half-time for two years. The student’s internship performance is evaluated in each term of registration, and grades of S (Satisfactory) or U (Unsatisfactory) are assigned. These grades do not affect the student’s grade point average.

Students admitted to the doctoral program will be awarded the Master of Science in Psychology when the following have been successfully completed:

  1. Appropriate coursework
  2. The Clinical Proficiency Exam (CPE)

Prior to receiving the master’s degree, the student should demonstrate competence in biological bases of behavior, cognitive/affective bases of behavior, social bases of behavior, individual differences, scientific and professional ethics and standards, statistics and research design, and methodology. Awarding of the degree of Master of Science in Psychology requires an overall grade point average of at least 3.2, and is subject to graduate policies.


(Graduate Policy 3.2.1)

The Doctor of Psychology program course requirements are specified in the University Catalog in effect at the time of the student’s first attendance. Modification of the course requirements may only be made in written agreement between the student and the director of clinical training.

Program Examinations

(Graduate Policy 3.2.2)

The following two examinations must be successfully completed during the course of graduate training:

  1. Clinical Proficiency Examination (CPE): At the completion of nine practice-related credits, an assessment of student progress in clinical skill development will be made by the clinical faculty of the school of psychology. The student is required to pass all components of the CPE.
  2. Written Comprehensive Examination: During the summer after the third year of study, all students will be required to take and pass a written comprehensive examination. The examination will be conducted on campus and will cover the core academic and clinical areas of psychology.

Students will have two opportunities to retake failed components of the CPE and Written Comprehensive Examination. If a second retake is failed, the student will be denied admission to candidacy and thereby dismissed.

Research Requirement

(Graduate Policy 3.2.3)

All students must complete a doctoral research project to fulfill the research requirement for the Doctor of Psychology degree.

Once students begin to register for the doctoral research project, they must register for at least three hours of doctoral research project each semester until it is successfully defended and the doctoral research project manuscript is accepted by the Office of Graduate Programs. A written waiver of the requirement for continuous registration is required and is granted only if the student is not making use of university facilities or personnel. Such waivers must be approved in advance by the major advisor and academic unit head, with policy compliance indicated by the director of graduate programs.

Students may register for fewer than three semester credit hours of doctoral research project in the semester of graduation only. See graduate policy “Thesis/Design Project/Dissertation Registration in the Semester of Graduation” for limitations.

Establishment and Composition of Committee

At least 90 days prior to the comprehensive examination, the student selects a major advisor, with the concurrence of the individual selected and the student's academic unit head. The major advisor serves as both research supervisor and chair of the doctoral committee and need not be the same person who served as academic advisor while the student was taking courses, referred to in graduate policy “Program of Study” for doctoral students.

At least 60 days prior to the comprehensive examination, the major advisor formally establishes a doctoral committee for approval/review by:

  • The academic unit head
  • The director of graduate programs

The committee consists of a minimum of three graduate faculty members, at least two of whom, including the major advisor, must be approved for doctoral-level advising. The committee must include:

  • A chair who is a doctoral-level member of the graduate faculty and who normally is the student’s major advisor for the doctoral research project
  • At least two full-time graduate faculty members from the student’s home academic unit
  • At least one outside member who must be a full-time member of the graduate faculty and selected from a program that is administratively independent of the student’s and the major advisor’s academic program, i.e., from another department

The primary functions of the outside member(s) are to ensure uniformity of academic standards, ensure fairness to the student and serve as a representative of the dean of the graduate school. The outside member need not have specific expertise in the area of the doctoral research project, although it is desirable that this member have as much knowledge as feasible of the general subject matter. The outside member cannot be:

  • A relative or spouse of the student, advisor or committee chair, or
  • A dean for committees within his or her college or school.

The appointment of additional committee members is strongly recommended if they have expertise relevant to the area of the doctoral research project. The additional member(s) may be either full-time or part-time member(s) of the graduate faculty or, with the approval of the dean of the appropriate college or school, non-members of the graduate faculty.

Changes in Committee (see Graduate Policies 2.3.2-2.3.4)

Admission to Doctoral Candidacy

(Graduate Policy 3.2.4)

Admission to candidacy will depend upon the successful completion of the following four components by the end of the fall semester preceding the internship year:

  1. Passing the CPE
  2. Passing the second year student review
  3. Maintaining satisfactory academic performance (see graduate policy “Academic Dismissal for Psy.D. Students”). An overall grade point average of a minimum of 3.2 is required for admission to candidacy.
  4. Passing the written comprehensive examination
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