Jun 15, 2024  
2023/2024 University Catalog 
2023/2024 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Psychology, Ph.D.

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(Major Code: 20031) (SIMS Code: 778310)

WEBSITE: http://clinpsyc.sdsu.edu

Admission to the Degree Curriculum

To be considered for admission to the SDSU/UCSD joint doctoral program in clinical psychology, students must meet the general requirements for admission to both universities with classified graduate standing as outlined in the respective current catalogs. These include (a) an acceptable baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional accrediting association or equivalent academic preparation, as determined by the graduate deans of the two institutions; (b) a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0; (c) a grade point average of at least 3.25 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted; (d) good standing at the last institution attended; (e) GRE scores at the 55th percentile or above; and (f) a competitive score on the Psychology Subject GRE, which is required to apply to the program. However, given the large number of applicants in the field of clinical psychology, the selection process is designed to identify the best from among many highly qualified applicants. Thus no minimum set of qualifications in any way guarantees admission. Personal interviews will be conducted with the most promising applicants. Admission of any candidate who deviates from the minimum standards can only be granted with special permission of both graduate deans. No faculty member has authority to make an offer of a position in the program to any applicant, implied or otherwise, without final recommendation of the program directors and approval of the graduate deans.

Although an undergraduate psychology major is not mandatory for admission, applicants should have taken upper division courses in the following areas: abnormal psychology, advanced experimental methods, biological bases of behavior or physiological psychology, cognitive bases of behavior, intermediate/advanced statistical methods, life span developmental psychology, psychological testing and measurement, social psychology, and testing and measurement.

An option for Ph.D. students in clinical psychology is to concurrently pursue the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in the School of Public Health. Students jointly enrolled will first be accepted into the psychology program and then be recommended by the psychology program for admission to the MPH program. Students may be recommended at any time prior to receiving their doctoral degree. Following acceptance into the MPH degree, students must complete all required core classes as well as requirements for the concentration in health promotion. A specially designed program of study that incorporates requirements from both degree programs has been developed. Subsequent to coursework, MPH candidates are required to complete a comprehensive examination in their area of study. (For more information, see the section of this bulletin under “Public Health .”)

The joint doctoral program is a year-round program. Students will be admitted to graduate programs in psychology only in the fall semester. All application material for the Ph.D. program must be received by the doctoral program office and the SDSU Office of Graduate Admissions no later than December 1 (unless otherwise stated on the program’s website). Because the research and clinical requirements of the program may involve work with vulnerable populations, all incoming students will complete a background check prior to initial matriculation.

Detailed instructions for applying to the program, along with all necessary forms, are located on the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology Web page, which can be found at http://clinpsyc.sdsu.edu. Please review and follow these instructions carefully. Specific questions not answered by these materials should be e-mailed to PsycJDP@sdsu.edu.

Specific Requirements

The student is guided by requirements for the doctoral degree program given in Requirements for Master’s Degrees . The core curriculum will normally be completed during the first two years. Completion of this core insures that students have a general background in empirical psychology (e.g., physiological, social, cognitive-affective, and individual bases of behavior); knowledge of conceptualizations of personality and psychopathology; an awareness and appreciation of professional ethics, conduct, and multicultural issues in an increasingly diverse society; knowledge of the theory and techniques of psychological assessment; therapeutic interventions, acquisition of therapeutic skills; a minimum of 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experience; and competence in research methods. Specific courses providing this background at SDSU include

Second Year Project

During the second year, students select a research topic for a second year project, which is similar to a master’s thesis. Students are responsible for conducting all phases of this project under the supervision of their joint guidance committee. Students may also elect to obtain a master’s degree in clinical psychology by completing requirements for the Master of Science degree.

After completing the basic two-year core, work in subsequent years will diverge for students in each of the three major areas of study: behavioral medicine, experimental psychopathology, and neuropsychology.

Behavioral Medicine

Students with a program of study in behavioral medicine are required to take

Experimental Psychopathology

Students in experimental psychopathology are required to take


Students in neuropsychology are required to take

  • UCSD Clinical Psychology 294A, 294B, and 294C

Additional Information

In the fourth year, students are expected to submit and defend a dissertation proposal. Many students will also collect the data for and begin writing the dissertation during this year.

The fifth and/or sixth years are reserved for the completion of a doctoral dissertation and a full-time APA/CPA-accredited clinical internship. Prior to or at the time of advancement to candidacy, students will be required to sign a statement of understanding that (1) the doctoral faculty will communicate with the clinical internship agency all information relevant to the student’s academic and professional qualifications for placement and continuation in the internship, and (2) the student understands that the clinical internship must be satisfactorily completed before graduation. While on internship, students must remain registered in PSY 894 - Clinical Internship  and PSY 899 - Doctoral Dissertation .

Students are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic performance with a minimum 3.0 grade point average. According to doctoral program policy, falling below a 3.0 GPA automatically places the student on academic probation. The student may not remain on academic probation for more than one year. In addition, any time a student’s insufficiency to meet program minimum standards comes up twice (e.g., failing two courses, failing comprehensive examinations twice, or failing a course and comprehensive examination or practicum), the program will formally review that student’s progress and make a determination whether the student will be allowed to continue. Three insufficiencies will constitute grounds for dismissal from the program without further qualification, regardless of the student’s overall GPA.

In clinical psychology, adherence to the current APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct is mandatory. Students who knowingly or unknowingly violate any part of the APA Code of Conduct or other ethical and professional principles promulgated by APA may be dismissed from the program without further qualification regardless of coursework, research, or other academic achievement. A copy of the ethical code is made available to students at their initial orientation.


The following faculty members of the cooperating institutions participate in the joint doctoral program in clinical psychology and are available for direction of research and as members of joint doctoral committees.

San Diego State University:
Program Director: Malcarne
Program Members: Amir, Blashill, Carper, Cronan, Fishman, Gallo, Gilbert, Helm, Holcomb, Horvath, Kappenman, Malcarne, Marinkovic, Matt, Mattson, Moore, Müller, Murphy, Price, Riley, Roesch, Sereno, Talavera, M. Taylor, Thoman, Thomas, Vaughn, F. Villodas, M. Villodas, Weersing, Wells, Wiggins, Yeh

University of California, San Diego:
Program Director: Heaton
Program Members: Aarons, Afari, Akshoomoff, Anderson, Angkaw, Ayers, Backhaus, Bagot, Ballantyne, Bangen, Bellugi, Bloss, Bondi, Boutelle, Brookman-Frazee, G. Brown, S.A. Brown, S.J. Brown, Buzzella, Cadenhead, Campbell, Cardenas, Carver, Cherner, Corey-Bloom, Delano-Wood, Delis, Depp, Doran, Edmonds, Eyler, Filoteo, Fiorentino, Gallegos Rodriguez, Giedd, Gollan, Gooding, Granholm, Grant, Groessl, Haist, Haller, Harrington, Heaton, Heppner, Hong, Iudicello, Jacobson, Jacobus, Jak, Jernigan, Jeste, Kangas, Kelsoe, Kremen, Kritchevsky, Kutas, Lang, Light, Marcotte, Marquine, Mausbach, Max, McDonald, Mills, Minassian, Mirzakhanian, D. Moore, R. Moore, Morgan, Morland, Myers, Nguyen, Nichols, M. Norman, S. Norman, Palmer, Parry, Patrick, Patterson, Perivoliotis, Perry, Rutledge, Sadler, Salmon, Saxena, Schiehser, Schuckit, Sieber, Spadoni, Sparta, Stadnick, Stein, Strathdee, Swerdlow, Tapert, C. Taylor, Townsend, Trauner, Trim, Twamley, Wall, Wetherell, Wierenga, Williams, Worley, Zhu, Zisook, Zlatar

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