Clinical Psychology Graduate Program Description
The Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Washington State University (WSU) is located at the WSU-Pullman campus. Pullman, WA is a rural community in southeastern Washington, 8 miles west of the Moscow, ID (University of Idaho), 80 miles south of Spokane, WA, and 290 miles southeast of Seattle, WA. There are approximately 17,000 undergraduate students and 2,000 graduate students at the Pullman campus. In addition to the main campus in Pullman, the Department of Psychology also has clinical faculty at three regional campuses located in Spokane, Tri-Cities (Richland, WA—approximately 150 miles southwest), and Vancouver, WA (approximately 360 miles southwest).
The doctoral program in clinical psychology has been continually accredited since 1956 by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation.
For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association, which can also be reached at:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
The Clinical Psychology Program at Washington State University is based on the scientist-practitioner model of training. The Program is designed to integrate theory, research, and clinical practice in the training of students. Students are involved in research activities each semester in the Program and clinical practica beginning in the second year until the start of the 12-month internship. The aims of the program are to produce graduates who (a) have a broad knowledge of scientific psychology; (b) can provide evidence-based clinical services that are consistent with ethical and professional standards, including knowledge of and sensitivity to issues of diversity; and (c) are capable of contributing to current knowledge in clinical psychology.
To accomplish these aims we expect all students to achieve discipline specific knowledge in 1) the history and systems of psychology, 2) basic knowledge in scientific psychology, 3) integrative knowledge in scientific psychology, and 4) methods of inquiry and research; and to demonstrate profession-wide competencies in the areas of
- Ethical and legal standards
- Individual and cultural diversity
- Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Consultation and Interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills
Given that our graduates can potentially make contributions to clinical psychology in academic, research, medical, clinical, or community settings dependent on their interests and goals, the Program provides broad, general clinical training during the four to five years that students are at the University. Our program requires full-time commitment in pursuit of a Ph.D. and, therefore, we do not have a terminal Master’s degree program. Instead, Master’s degrees are awarded during work toward the Ph.D. The program offers both adult- and child-focused training with opportunities in Neuropsychology, Clinical Health Psychology, and Psychopathology. The program is successful in placing students in top internships nationwide. Clinical Program graduates are employed in a variety of professional settings including university and medical center faculty positions and independent practice.
Science is at the core of health service psychology, and the Clinical Program operates on the proposition that research training is an integral part of the education of clinical psychologists, relying on the most current evidence-base when training students. Although the program admits only persons who expect to receive a Ph.D., each student who enters at the bachelor’s degree level is expected to complete an empirical master’s project while in progress toward the doctoral dissertation. In addition to the master’s project and dissertation, clinical students are expected to be involved in research activity under the direction of a faculty member during each semester in residence. Clinical doctoral students present their research at scientific meetings as well as publish their research. These research endeavors are an important part of graduate training and professional development.
Assessment and psychotherapy with clients begins in the fall semester of the second year of graduate training and continues through the completion of the clinical internship. To provide broad clinical training for students, the Department of Psychology offers a variety of supervised clinical experiences working with diverse individuals who present with a spectrum of symptoms and conditions. The Psychology Clinic in the Department of Psychology is staffed by faculty and clinical graduate students and provides adult and child assessment, diagnostic, and psychotherapy services on a sliding scale to the University and surrounding communities. The University Counseling Services is staffed by clinical psychology graduate students, interns, and faculty psychologists, and provides ongoing counseling and emergency services to students. The Cougar Health Services provide assistance to students through the Behavioral Health unit, which is staffed by clinical graduate students, physicians, and a psychiatrist. Additional clinical externship opportunities are available to more advanced graduate students (e.g., Palouse Psychiatry and Behavioral Health; Marimn Health Center). Providing clinical doctoral students with all of these opportunities ensures that by the time they apply for internship in the final year of the program, each student has attained the requisite level of competency.
The Clinical Psychology Graduate Program enrolls 6 to 8 students each year from approximately 180 applications. In choosing students for admission, we look for individuals whose interests match our training objectives and whose research interests match those of our faculty. The Clinical Psychology Graduate Program utilizes a mentorship model in the selection and training of students. The degree of fit between the applicant’s research interests and the research interests of their potential faculty mentor is an important consideration in admissions. Therefore, it is to your advantage to articulate clearly how your research interests coincide with the research interests of your potential mentor. The Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data Section provides more specific information on the characteristics of students admitted to the program and their progress through the program.
All of our clinical graduate students are fully funded during their first year of study. This funding includes a tuition waiver; partial fee waiver; a half-time assistantship for the academic (9-month) year, which provides a monthly salary in exchange for 20 hours of work per week within the department, under the supervision of a faculty member, or in an instructional capacity; and basic health insurance for a 12-month period. In subsequent years, full support is provided contingent upon sufficient progress toward completion of the degree as judged by the Clinical faculty and continued availability of funding to the department. It is the policy of the department to attempt to provide complete support to students who are in good standing for four years of study. Graduate students in the department may be eligible for additional summer support as, for example, a summer session instructor or research assistant.
The clinical program also awards two fellowships to incoming graduate students, to supplement the assistantship stipend:
The Laura Asbell Graduate Fellowship, awarded to one incoming student, provides $2500 in summer funding for each of the first four years of training. The guidelines for awarding the fellowship state: “Recipients are to be chosen on the basis of commitment to the profession and to serving others, and not simply on the basis of scholarship achievement. Financial need should also be a consideration. Recipients are encouraged to return the benefit they receive through this scholarship, once their career is established, by contributing to the fund or the psychology program to help others enter the field or to make a difference through community service or the offer of counseling to those who otherwise could not afford it.
The Alan W. London Memorial Graduate Fellowship, awarded to at least one incoming student, provides $2500 in summer funding for the first year of training. The guidelines for awarding the fellowship state a “… strong preference for mature students, those individuals who have had significant life experiences before making the commitment to be a clinical psychologist. Recipients will be chosen on the basis of their qualities of intellectual curiosity, personal integrity, and dedication to serving others. Financial need will also be an important consideration.”
Students are invited to apply for the Asbell fellowship when they are invited to campus for interview day during February.
APPLYING TO OUR CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAM
The various links (e.g., Clinical Psychology Program Faculty and Interests; Clinical Curriculum; Clinical Internship Outcomes; Diversity Interests of the Clinical Faculty; Clinical Practica) should answer many of your questions about the Program. I also encourage you to contact the individual clinical faculty if you have questions about their research. Please also feel free to contact me if you have additional questions about the Clinical Psychology Program.
Note to potential applicants: A previous felony conviction could prevent obtaining the predoctoral clinical internship required for a Ph. D. in clinical psychology, as well as future licensure as a psychologist. In addition, drug screenings and a background check may be required prior to the start of clinical practicum placements.