Clinical Psychology & the Practitioner Model of Training
The School of Professional Psychology (SOPP) at Wright State University was among the first doctoral programs in the country to develop a practitioner model program and to grant the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. The SOPP was founded in 1978 and accepted its first students in 1979 and has been fully accredited by the American Psychological Association since the graduation of its charter class in 1982.
As a practitioner model program, the SOPP focuses on training students for professional practice. The SOPP's educational and training goals are summarized in its Mission Statement, which was revised and expanded by the SOPP faculty in 2011.
The Psy.D. Degree
The Doctoral of Psychology degree is designed for individuals who have been educated for the professional practice of psychology. It is the degree awarded by most doctoral programs nationwide that emphasize training for practice. Today, approximately half of all professionals in the United States trained in clinical psychology are trained in programs that follow a practitioner training model. In the 1970s when the SOPP was founded, the Psy.D. degree was still somewhat new. Now, however, the degree is well established, and the Psy.D degree is accepted by all state and federal regulatory bodies and by virtually all employers. It is widely regarded as the appropriate degree for practitioner model doctoral programs.
A focus on generalist training
The SOPP's educational and training philosophy explicitly emphasizes generalist training at the doctoral level. Accordingly, we've designed our coursework, clinical practica, and other educational experiences to give you broad exposure to theoretical models, clinical skills, and professional roles fundamental to the present and future. The SOPP faculty believe generalist education and training at the doctoral level best prepare you to meet the current and future challenges posed by changes in health care delivery, while capitalizing on practice opportunities in the rapidly changing world of professional practice.
Within the school's generalist model of training you will also find opportunities to pursue interests and achieve some added depth in selected areas of practice that will allow you to pursue specialty training in your internship or postdoctoral training programs. You may elect to pursue added depth in child psychology, health psychology, or forensic psychology. You can also gain experience working with faculty in special service programs addressing issues of violence prevention, domestic violence, and anxiety and depression in children.
A competency-based curriculum
The curriculum of the SOPP is organized around competency areas fundamental to the practice of psychology: relationship, assessment, intervention, basic science/research and evaluation, consultation/education, and management/supervision.
SOPP students demonstrate mastery of the six core competencies as they proceed through coursework and clinical practicum training. To be approved for internship, SOPP students must demonstrate their competence in each of the areas in the Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCE). The CCE is discussed in more detail below.
Diversity & the educational and social context
Students with disabilities
Wright State University offers a number of support services and a highly accessible campus for students with disabilities. On the main campus, most buildings are connected via a system of underground tunnels to help all students navigate the campus, particularly in inclement weather. SOPP's facilities are fully accessible as well as the school's clinical training facilities at the Ellis Human Development Institute, in Dayton, and Counseling and Wellness Services on the university campus both have computers with adaptive software for use by students with visual disabilities.
A university-based program
The SOPP is a university-based doctoral program, and students have access to all university facilities and activities. In addition, the school maintains computer stations at each of its three facilities outfitted with software for psychological test scoring and interpretation, and statistical analyses.
As part of a university-based program, you may also participate in numerous sports hosted by the students and faculty. You can also take advantage of the university's physical fitness center, indoor swimming pool, sauna facilities, and a gym equipped with free weights and the latest in cardiovascular fitness machines.
Tuition, fees, & financial support
Because Wright State is a state-supported university, tuition and fees for SOPP are modest when compared to those of many other similar doctoral and professional programs in psychology. In addition, the SOPP provides more student support to its students than do most other programs in the country. In recent years, the SOPP has provided assistance to its students in the form of scholarships of various kinds and stipends from practicum sites.
Preparation for Careers in Today's World of Practice
The Wright State School of Professional Psychology has the resources, programs, and curricula to meet these needs, including:
Training in Multiprofessional Health Care
The SOPP offers you opportunities for learning to collaborate with members of other health professions in multiprofessional health care. Through the Center for Healthy Communities, a unique, grant-supported collaboration between the SOPP and the university's School of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health, you can take advantage of courses, clinical practica, and other educational experiences with students and faculty from other programs. In addition, efforts are under way to develop collaborative training experiences at the Counseling and Wellness Services, one of the school's two in-house training facilities, housed in an ambulatory health care center on the university campus.
Applied Research, Program Development, & Program Evaluation
All practicing psychologists must be skilled "consumers" of applied and clinically relevant research and scholarship. Skilled "consumers" of research must know how to access clinical research databases and to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and applicability of clinical and applied research and outcome studies. In addition, clinical psychologists are increasingly called upon to design and/or evaluate the efficacy of clinical interventions or treatment programs addressing a range of psychological and health-related issues.
At SOPP, your needs for training in research, program development, and program evaluation are met in a number of ways. Our course work covers statistics and experimental design, program evaluation, and grant writing. Clinical practicum experiences allow you to design innovative treatment programs or assist with outcome evaluation in existing programs. Many students devote their dissertations to researching and developing innovative treatment programs. Finally, many SOPP faculty engaged in applied research and scholarship have developed innovative clinical intervention programs that give you opportunities to collaborate in applied research focused on program design, refinement, or outcome.
Training in Business & Management
The SOPP, as part of a major university, has developed collaborative arrangements with Wright State's Raj Soin College of Business so that interested SOPP students may enroll in selected courses in business administration, including courses in healthcare finance, marketing, personnel law, human resource management, and accounting, among other areas. In addition, the SOPP curriculum includes course work in the management/supervision competency area and course work addressing issues related to managed care and current trends in service delivery systems.
Experience in Applying New Technology
As a part of a university-based program, SOPP students have access to the latest in computing facilities, as well as computer-assisted programs and other resources important for professional practice. SOPP students are consistently updated on advances in applied research technology, professional resources via the internet, and the use of technology in professional presentations, psychological test scoring and interpretation, and technology for client billing and practice management.
The curriculum includes course work, training laboratories associated with some courses, supervised clinical practica, advanced elective seminars, a professional dissertation, and the predoctoral internship. Most students attend on a full-time basis, but provisions may be made for part-time study during a portion of the program.
The school's curriculum is organized around a five-year plan that includes four years of coursework and clinical practica followed by a year-long predoctoral internship. If you have a master's or doctoral-level education, you may be eligible for an accelerated, four-year plan, as described below. The curriculum is designed to give you a breadth of course work and clinical training experience while also providing time and opportunities for you to pursue special interests. The curriculum begins with basic science courses and a foundation in theory and practice, followed by more advanced work in specialized areas of theory or practice.
Throughout the first year, lab experiences and Practice Tutorial seminars link classroom training and practice experiences. In the second year, you will spend a minimum of two days per week (or an average of 800 hours per year) in supervised clinical practice. Supervised clinical practicum continues at this level through years three and four of the program. Overall, SOPP students enroll in a minimum of 72 quarter hours of supervised clinical experience and accumulate on average 2,200 - 2,400 clock hours of supervised clinical practicum experience.
Most students spend one year of their practicum work in one of the school's two training centers, the Counseling and Wellness Services in the Student Union on the WSU campus or at the Ellis Human Development Institute, located just west of downtown Dayton.
Other practicum placements will be in one or more of the school's affiliated training sites in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, or other locations in southwestern Ohio. All supervision in the school's two training sites is provided by the school's faculty and supervision at affiliated training sites is provided by doctoral-level psychologists who are members of the school's clinical faculty. Over the years, the school has been able to provide a stipend for training activities in most clinical practicum sites.
All doctoral programs in clinical psychology require a predoctoral internship in year five of the program. To apply for an internship, you must pass the school's Comprehensive Clinical Examination (CCE) and have a dissertation prospectus approved by the dissertation committee.
In the past few years the internship selection process nationwide has become increasingly competitive with many students not receiving accredited internship positions. You can increase your chances of getting the internship of your choice by developing both depth and breadth of training in practica, by developing special areas of interest and/or expertise within clinical psychology, and by completing your dissertation prior to the internship. The school's curriculum will give you these opportunities and more. In addition, the curriculum is designed to allow you to pursue areas of special interest. Our students have been very successful in obtaining accredited internships, nationwide, even as the competition for accredited internships has increased.
Applicants with prior graduate education
The school welcomes applications from individuals who have completed master's degrees in psychology or related areas (e.g., counseling, social work, business administration) as well as those who have earned doctoral degrees in psychology or related professional fields (e.g., medicine, nursing, law, business). Over the years, approximately one-third of the entering class has had advanced degrees in psychology or related fields.
If you have completed graduate coursework and clinical field work, you may request course credit transfer after you have been accepted for admission to the school. Credit transfers are based on how closely the content of a course, clinical practicum, or other training experiences matches that offered by the school. In most instances, only course work or supervised practica taken within five years of admission to the SOPP are considered for credit transfer. A maximum of 36 quarter hours of course credits and a maximum of 24 credit hours of supervised clinical practica may be transferred from other graduate or professional programs.
You may be able to transfer enough credit to be considered for an accelerated, four-year curricular plan. Approval for an accelerated plan is based on the specifics of your prior education. In general, to be approved for an accelerated curricular plan you must be able to transfer approximately one year of course work and supervised practicum or fieldwork from another program. At minimum, you must demonstrate knowledge and skills in the areas of psychopathology, psychological assessment, and intervention (along with transfer credits for corresponding graduate course work) that will allow you to be placed in one of the school's clinical practicum sites in your first year in the program. In recent years, approximately half the students who enter the program with prior graduate training are approved for an accelerated curricular plan. Even if approval for an accelerated program is not granted, you may be able to transfer enough credits to allow you to explore additional areas of personal or professional interest or to get involved in faculty research or service programs.
Semester Model Curriculum
Theories of Personality & Psychotherapy
Cognitive Assessment & Lab
Research Methods & Experimental Design
Objective Personality Assess
Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies
Child Assessment (elective)
Neuropsych of Affect & Behavior
Child Therapy (elective)
History & Systems
Practicum (starts July 1; T/FR)
Diversity Integration I
Dynamic & Interpersonal Therapies
Dev. Beh. Peds I (elective)
Health Psychology (elective)
Forensic Psychology (elective)
Dev. Beh. Peds II (elective)
Feminist Therapy (elective)
Advanced Group (elective)
Brief Therapy (elective)
Practicum (transitions on July 1; M/TR)
Professional Ethics & Issues
Intro to Sex Therapy (elective)
Program Evaluation (elective)
Feminist Therapy (elective)
Family Therapy (elective)
Brief Therapy (elective)
Diversity Integration II
Intro to Sex Therapy (elective)
Feminist Therapy (elective)
Family Therapy (elective)
Exit for Internship
Note: Electives are shown in italics. Electives are shown here only if taught by core faculty members in recent years, with the exception of those in the Child Concentration, which are electives for everyone and required for students in that concentration. Other electives by core faculty members may be added at any time, contingent on workloads and schedules, of course. Electives also are taught by adjunct faculty members as funds permit.
Features of the Curriculum
The professional dissertation
The professional dissertation is a scholarly or creative work produced by the student with limited technical guidance from the faculty. It will exemplify your ability to critically evaluate research, theory, or practice and to communicate clearly both in writing and orally. While the dissertation in science-oriented doctoral programs in clinical psychology can be considered a capstone research experience that will help to launch the student into a career as a scholar, the professional dissertation in a practitioner model program is typically designed to demonstrate critical thinking and an ability to formulate solutions to problems of a clinical or applied nature.
The Professional Dissertation may take many forms, such as an empirical research study, a needs analysis, a program evaluation, a program proposal, a unique case study, or an innovative treatment protocol. Regardless of the form, the student must demonstrate a synthesis and integration of theory, research, and practice.
The Comprehensive Clinical Examination
The Comprehensive Clinical Examination is administered to all students before they may apply for internships. The exam evaluates your ability to integrate and apply knowledge gained in classwork and clinical practica to the domain of professional practice. The format is similar to the profession's advanced clinical practice exam (the ABPP exam in clinical psychology). Students submit work samples in assessment and intervention along with position statements about their clinical practice to a three-person review panel. The panel evaluates the quality of this prepared work and examines students orally on their knowledge across a broad range of clinical practice issues. Rather than a traditional comprehensive exam over purely academic knowledge, the school finds an exam focused on the application of this knowledge to clinical practice is a more appropriate measure of a practitioner degree candidate. Passing this exam is one of several prerequisites for applying for the final phase of clinical training, the predoctoral internship. For more information about the Comprehensive Clinical Exam, please visit the CCE section of our website.
Practice Tutorial Seminar
A group of six to eight students representing various year levels in the program and a faculty member meet each week over three quarters of the year for a case-focused, or issue-focused learning added as a support group for new students.
Our program is a pioneer in many aspects of supervision. The SOPP takes pride in its formal training in supervision and its use of extensive video and in vivo feedback. The integration of academic and field practice is a major strength of the program, with core faculty providing a major percentage of supervision.
Training at All Levels
Because the school operates an APA-approved predoctoral internship program, you will associate with trainees at multiples levels in the school.
The Child Emphasis provides specialized training which brings together the basic tenets of clinical psychology with a thorough background in child and adolescent development, and family, developmental, and behavioral psychology. The concentration prepares students to conduct research; understand, prevent, diagnose, and treat psychological needs of children and adolescents; and how the family and other social contexts influence social-emotional adjustment, cognitive development, behavioral adaptation, and health status of children, adolescents, and their families.
SOPP provides two in-house training facilities, plus many off-campus training sites that together offer you a comprehensive array of opportunities. SOPP's training sites include the general practice clinic at the Ellis Human Development Institute and the Counseling and Wellness Services.
The Ellis Human Development Institute is located about 20 minutes away from campus just west of downtown Dayton. The building housing the institute has won numerous architectural awards and incorporates classroom and seminar space, office space for both faculty and the General Practice Clinic, a community-based, psychological services center and SOPP in-house practicum training site. The General Practice Clinic and programs at the Ellis Human Development Institute provide a broad array of services to a diverse client population, especially African American and Appalachian individuals and families. Programs at the Ellis Institute include several special grant- and contract-funded projects addressing such issues as violence prevention, treatment of batterers, adolescent male development, and identification and treatment of anxiety and depression in children.
Our second in-house training center is the university counseling center, Counseling and Wellness Services. The center is managed by SOPP and provides a full range of psychological services to the campus community. It is located in an ambulatory health care center, and plans call for further collaboration with the College of Nursing and Health and Campus Recreation in an integrated university center.
All students spend at least one year of clinical training in one of our in-house practicum centers and at least one year in off-campus practicum sites.