Degree Description

The Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) Program emphasizes a broad and general training in psychology, through which students will develop the essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills for a successful career as a Clinical Psychologist. Because the Clinical Psychology Program is at a healthcare university, students have the opportunity to interact with many healthcare professionals. As part of an interprofessional approach, training provides opportunities for professional interaction and collaboration with other health care professionals through various formal and informal activities such as research forums and community outreach and involvement activities.

The Midwestern University Clinical Psychology Program's central purpose is to train students using a Practitioner-Scholar model of training through an academic curriculum designed to integrate discipline- specific knowledge in psychology and theory with the practice and delivery of evidenced-based psychological interventions, diagnostics, assessments, and scholarship. Training and education within the program emphasizes the application of psychological knowledge and skills and the integration between science and practice in a manner that is respectful and appreciative of diversity and contextual factors.

Program Aim

To provide broad and general training in clinical psychology that is empirically-based and diversity- informed to be able to practice as health service psychologists who deliver psychological services in intervention and assessment in a manner consistent with accepted ethical and legal practices; account for appropriate diversity and contextual factors in application; and incorporate scientific and evidentiary knowledge in practice using accepted profession wide competencies and discipline specific knowledge.

Program Competencies

The Program assesses student competency using a portfolio-based system (the Comprehensive Assessment Method in Psychology [CAMP]) to evaluate work samples throughout the Program for demonstrations of competency. The CAMP serves as the Program’s focal point for information regarding its effectiveness in training students on the nine Health Service Psychology Profession-wide Competencies outlined in the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology approved by the American Psychological Association in 2015. These areas include:

  • Research
  • Ethical and legal standards
  • Individual and cultural diversity
  • Professional values, attitudes, and behaviors
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills.

The profession-wide competencies demonstrate functional abilities and skills essential to the professional practice of health service psychology. CAMP was developed to evaluate competency through portfolios of student work samples, such as literature reviews, intervention tapes, and testing reports. Many of the CAMP assignments are included in course requirements and are therefore reflected in course grades. Course grades provide a general measure of developmental progress, knowledge, and skills, while CAMP assignments provide assessment of student achievement of competency. In addition to gauging how students are progressing along Program competencies, the CAMP system provides a concrete method for students to assess and monitor their own unique strengths and weaknesses as they progress in a sequential, and increasingly complex manner through the curriculum.

The profession-wide competencies are predicated on the acquisition of discipline specific knowledge that serves as the foundation for the identity and orientation to health service psychology. These core areas of knowledge base and foundation are acquired through the Program’s curriculum and include: History and Systems of Psychology, Basic Content Areas (Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social Aspects of Behavior), Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics.

The foundational courses expose students to knowledge through learning experiences with primary source materials, critical thinking and communication at an advanced level, and integration of discipline- specific knowledge with practice. Diversity and culture as well as scientific and evidence bases of psychology are incorporated throughout the foundational classes through primary source articles and class activities. The student’s knowledge is assessed by course grades as well as a capstone project or specific class assignment in the competency areas identified above.

The Program views self-reflection as a critical element in adopting a commitment to life-long learning and interest in scholarly activity. The developmental nature of competency achievement in a cumulative progression from basic- to intermediate-level tasks allows students first to acquire knowledge and skills in distinct areas of competency, followed by opportunities to demonstrate competency through integration and application of knowledge and skills on more complex tasks required within the profession.

Program Requirements

The Psy.D. Program is designed to be completed in four years. Full-time students will take three years of coursework, during which they will complete in succession a one-year clerkship, two years of practicum training, and a year-long predoctoral internship. In addition to coursework and clinical training requirements, students are required to pass all competency assignments, including the Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation. Five year and neuropsychology curricula (each of which requires an additional year of practicum training) are also offered.


Students benefit from early exposure to clinical and professional roles. Students participate in an observational learning field training experience called Clerkship beginning in the Winter quarter of their first year, after successfully completing Professional Development (PSYCG 1581) in Fall quarter of the first year. Clerkship students shadow, interact, assist and collaborate with health and mental health professionals in a clinical setting during their first year in the program. This introduction to clinical practice provides opportunities to observe the delivery of healthcare services with clients in a variety of mental health settings.


Practicum is a 16-20 hour/week clinical training experience in which second and third year students are placed at a Program-approved field placement

site. Students learn to deliver psychological services under the supervision of a licensed psychologist in a variety of settings with diverse clinical

populations. Each 12-month field experience is coupled with an on-campus seminar course to process and reflect on clinical training experiences, and to integrate science and theory with their applied experiences.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination (CAMP 3-0), Intake and Analysis of Psycho-Diagnostic Interview, Case Conceptualization, and Intervention Strategy, is comprised of two parts. Part 1 consists of viewing of a psycho-diagnostic interview and compiling a summary and analysis. Part 2 of the exam includes discussion of a chosen theoretical orientation, case conceptualization, and an intervention strategy.


Successful completion of the doctoral internship experience is an essential Program requirement toward degree attainment. The predoctoral internship is a 2,000-hour requirement at an approved site over a 12- month (full-time) or 24-month (part-time) period. The internship is designed to provide intensive advanced 

clinical training that builds upon the coursework and practicum experiences. Students are eligible to apply for an internship after successfully passing the Qualifying Examination, the Comprehensive Exam, and Dissertation Proposal, by the dates specified in program materials.


A Dissertation is required for graduation. This is intended as a scholarly work that permits the student an opportunity to enhance their knowledge about a particular clinical area. Under the guidance of a faculty committee, students are required to pass the dissertation proposal defense before the project is implemented. The student then completes data collection and analysis required for the project and completes the dissertation document. Each student must present an oral defense of the project upon its completion. Following the defense, and after all revisions are completed, the student must provide the program with a bound copy in order to graduate from the Program. With the Program Director's approval, students needing additional time to complete the Dissertation following completion of their internship must register for PSYCG1820 Dissertation Continuation, a 1 credit course.

Qualifying Exam

The Qualifying Examination (CAMP 2-4), provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their skills in analysis and synthesis of information, self-evaluation and reflective thinking, self-direction in their own learning, professional identity, commitment to growth, creativity, ownership of their own work, and understanding of strengths and areas in need of development. Successful completion of the Qualifying Exam signals the official acceptance of the student into doctoral candidacy, provided that they have completed all other program requirements, including successful completion of coursework and practicum experiences, up to that point in the Program. Failure of the Qualifying Exam has implications for M.A. degree conferral - students must successfully complete the CAMP 2-4 in order to graduate with their M.A degree.