Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology

Demonstrating a commitment to improving access to behavioral health services and leadership in health professions education, the School of Nursing and Health Professions at the University of San Francisco offers a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program in Clinical Psychology. The innovative program

  • emphasizes the integration of mental, emotional and physical health in applied settings
  • focuses on cultural competence in meeting the needs of underserved populations
  • As a general concept, behavioral health refers to a field of scientific study, academic education, and clinical healthcare practice that focuses on the integration of psychosocial, behavioral, and biomedical knowledge relevant to health and illness.

    What is behavioral health?

    As a general concept, behavioral health refers to a field of scientific study, academic education, and clinical healthcare practice that focuses on the integration of psychosocial, behavioral, and biomedical knowledge relevant to health and illness.

    What is a PsyD Degree?

    The PsyD degree adheres to the Vail Model of training in Psychology. It is generally termed the "Practitioner-Scholar" model, which emphasizes applied methods of clinical psychology and inquiry, rather than theoretical and scientific research. The Boulder Model of training typically characterizes Ph.D. Programs in Clinical Psychology. The PsyD is a practice doctorate and referred to as a professional degree while the Ph.D. is a research doctorate and often considered an academic degree. Both can engage in the full range of psychological practice, depending upon their specific training and advanced credentials.

    Mission of the Program

    The PsyD in Clinical Psychology is a program that prepares doctoral students to serve in a variety of community heath settings as professional psychologists. Graduates are proficient in the empirical and theoretical underpinnings of integrated, behavioral health interventions while sensitive to contextual, cultural, spiritual, and socioeconomic environments of the individuals and communities. Advancing the Mission of the University of San Francisco, the primary focus is to address disparities in the delivery of physical and mental health services to the underserved and marginalized.

    Program Goals 

    The PsyD in Clinical Psychology will prepare professional psychologist under a pracitioner-scholar model in theoretical and scientific foundations; and to apply evidence-based interventions across a variety of contexts, problems and populations.

    Graduates of the PsyD in Clinical Psychology will:

    Develop a focus in integrated behavioral health that will allow them to work effectively with individuals and organizations across boundaries of economic, physical, psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual issues.

    Be prepared using multidisciplinary approaches through a variety of modalities including consultation, psycho-education, advocacy, and direct clinical care.

    Gain an understanding and sensitivity to providing behavioral health services to those who have been traditionally disadvantaged due to socioeconomic, race/ethnicity, gender, religion, or disability status or sexual orientation and others who are underserved in current health care systems.

    Program Features

    Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program - Course of the Program

    • The program consists of four years of academic study, including four years of practica (1200-2000 hours), a professional project, and a fifth year internship (1500-2000 hours applied toward licensure), typically completed at another institution. The level of complexity and the number of hours of practica increases each year throughout the first four years. Each practicum placement takes place in the community and includes a course on campus.
    • Admission is in the Fall only, with year-round study during Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. One to three week breaks will occur between semesters.
    • Some courses may be taken jointly with students in the Master of Science in Behavioral Health, the Master of Public Health, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs, and occasionally with students in other USF schools and colleges. 
    • Credit will be given for courses taken at other accredited institutions that are substantially equivalent to those offered in the PsyD Program up to a maximum of 24 credit hours; transfer courses are reviewed after the student registers for first semester classes.

    Student Learning Outcomes

    Graduates of the PsyD in Clinical Psychology will acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills to function in diverse settings to provide culturally competent, contextually sensitive, integrated behavioral health consultation to individuals and health professionals.

    Graduates will:

    1. Demonstrate knowledge of the historical and contemporary social and psychological theories of human development and behavior;
    2. Integrate behavioral health knowledge, strategies, and skills that allow them to work effectively with individuals and organizations across boundaries of economic, physical, psychological, sociocultural, and spiritual issues.
    3. Effectively utilize qualitative and quantitative empirical approaches to the understanding and evaluation of human behavior and psychological interventions;
    4. Demonstrate proficiency in practice- and evidence-based approaches to psychological assessment, consultation, intervention, prevention and advocacy;
    5. Demonstrate competence in providing evidence-based behavioral health interventions for diverse individuals, groups, and families experiencing a variety of physical, psychosocial, and mental health problems;
    6. Develop skills that will allow them to engage in and promote community-based interventions that advance the health and well-being of groups and individuals.
    7. Learn to work in a variety of settings serving the underserved, whether in medical centers, community agencies or clinics, or as independent contractors or practitioners offering multiple modalities of behavioral health interventions.
    Admission Requirements
    • Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution
    • Copies of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. WES.org and ECE.org course by course transcript evaluation for all classes/degrees taken at schools outsdie the United States. Official transcripts will be required upon admission.
    • Successful completion within the last seven years, with a grade of B or higher, of the following four undergraduate courses (at least 3 credits each):
      • Abnormal Psychology or Psychopathology
      • Human Development or Lifespan Development
      • Research Design Methods
      • Theories of Personality or Theories of Psychotherapy
    • A personal statement of interest
    • A professional résumé or Curriculum Vitae
    • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be from faculty members
    • Results of GRE General Test and GRE Psychology Test, taken within five years of application.
    • Minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA (in major and overall)
    • TOEFL score of 600 or IELTS score of 100 for international students

    The PsyD Program builds upon the foundation of coursework and experience obtained during undergraduate and any prior graduate education. The PsyD Admissions Committee takes into consideration the breadth and depth of an applicant's background, GPA, and any clinical and research experience. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (including the Psychology Subject Test), in addition to a review of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, provide an assessment of an applicant's general knowledge.