Program accreditation
American Psychological Association

Program goal

The Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology offered by VCU is accredited by the American Psychological Association. The clinical psychology program at VCU is committed to excellence in scholarship and clinical training from the scientist-practitioner model. The doctoral program in clinical psychology is designed to require four to five years of academic work plus one additional year devoted to a full-time APA-accredited predoctoral internship placement. The first three years of graduate school residence concentrate on course work, thesis research and practicum experience, with the fourth and fifth year largely reserved for the completion of off-campus practicum experience and dissertation research. A student entering the program with a master’s degree and extensive clinical experience may petition to reduce the practicum requirements by one year, resulting in three rather than four years of residency. All academic training occurs while the student is in residence at VCU.

The goal of the program is to train clinical psychologists in scientific principles and evidence-based theoretical models to guide the study and treatment of psychopathology for diverse groups of individuals. Accordingly, student learning outcomes include demonstrating competence in scientific research; the delivery of clinical services and related documentation; and cultural competence in science and practice. The clinical program is designed to provide students with foundational clinical and research competencies in two broad specialty areas: behavioral medicine and child and adolescent. The concentration in behavioral medicine emphasizes training in clinical health psychology, prevention, program development, consultation and health promotion. The concentration in clinical child focuses on developmental psychopathology and treatment of underserved youth in schools and community settings. The program also has a strong focus on meeting the needs of underserved populations within these two broad specialty areas. The program prepares students for faculty, staff, administrative and practitioner positions in university departments of psychology, medical schools, community mental health centers, clinics, hospitals, prisons, state departments of mental health and private practice.

The Center for Psychological Services and Development, a campus-based community service agency operated by the department, provides training opportunities for graduate students in all departmental programs, including practicum and research training for graduate students in the clinical psychology program. A wide variety of other on- and off-campus practicum placements also are available.

The department maintains laboratory facilities for research in the areas of behavioral assessment, behavioral medicine, developmental, learning, behavioral pharmacology, psychophysiology, psychotherapy process, social perception, social influence and group dynamics. Opportunities for field research also are available in a variety of settings.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate competence in scientific research.
  2. Students will demonstrate competence in the delivery of clinical services and related documentation.
  3. Students will demonstrate cultural competence in science and practice.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.