Psy.D. Degree

Curriculum

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Overview

Our curriculum includes course work, supervised clinical practica, a professional dissertation, and the doctoral internship. Most students attend on a full-time basis, but provisions may be made for part-time study during a portion of the program.

Our school's curriculum is organized around a five-year plan that includes four years of coursework and clinical practica followed by a year-long doctoral internship. Students who have a master's or doctoral-level education may be eligible for an accelerated four-year plan, as described below. Our curriculum offers a breadth of course work and clinical training experiences while also providing time and opportunities 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, classroom training and practice experiences are linked. In the second year, students will spend a minimum of two days per week (or a minimum of 700 hours per year) in supervised clinical practice. Supervised clinical practicum continues through years three and four of the program. Overall, School of Professional Psychology students enroll in a minimum of three years of supervised clinical experience and accumulate a minimum of 2100 total hours.


The Internship

Our program requires a doctoral internship in the final year of the program. To apply for an internship, you must pass the school's Comprehensive Clinical Examinations (CCE)s and have a dissertation prospectus approved by the dissertation committee. All students must complete their dissertations before going on internship. Our students have been very successful in obtaining accredited internships, even as the competition for accredited internships has increased.

Applicants with Prior Graduate Education

We welcome applications from individuals who have completed master's or doctoral degrees in psychology or related professional fields. Over the years, approximately one-fourth of SOPP's 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 waivers after you have been accepted for admission to the school. Course waivers 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 course waivers. A maximum of 30 semester hours of course credits including a maximum of 12 credit hours of supervised clinical practica may be waived from other graduate or professional programs.

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. Although 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 assessment, 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 purpose of the Clinical Competency Examinations (CCE) is to assess the student's competencies in general psychological practice, including those identified by the American Psychological Association in their Standards of Accreditation such as Research, Ethical and Legal Standards, Individual and Cultural Diversity, Assessment and Intervention. The CCEs also aid in identifying areas of strength and weakness in performance that may inform and guide the student's clinical training and provide feedback to the faculty on the performance level of students and success of the curriculum. To that end, the CCE has three (3) separate components: The basic science competency exam (BSCE), the assessment competency exam (ACE), and the intervention competency exam (ICE). Students must pass all three competency exams before approval is granted to apply for internship. If a student is on an approved accelerated plan or has an approved academic plan extension, then the timetable will be adjusted accordingly. 

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.

Supervision

Our program is a pioneer in many aspects of supervision. The School of Professional Psychology 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 SOPP operates an APA-approved doctoral internship program, students will associate with trainees at multiples levels in the school.

Practicum Opportunities

Wright State has three internal training facilities (which provide close supervision), plus many off-campus training sites that offer a comprehensive array of training opportunities. The Ellis Human Development Institute or Psychological Assessment Services are directly managed by SOPP and students are supervised by faculty. The Ellis Human Development Institute is a general practice clinic which provides low-cost, high-quality psychotherapy, counseling, and assessment services to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families in Greater Dayton region and Southwest Ohio. It is located about 20 minutes from campus, just west of downtown Dayton. Psychological Assessment Services offers specialized evaluation for learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder (ADHD). Psychological Assessment Services is located in the Health Sciences Building on the main campus. Students also have practicum placements at Counseling and Wellness Services, the university counseling center which is located on campus in the Student Union. Most students spend one year of their practicum work at one of these sites.

Other practicum placements will be in one or more of the school's affiliated training sites in Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, or other locations mainly in southwestern Ohio. Supervision is provided by doctoral-level psychologists. Over the years, the school has been able to provide funding for training activities for most clinical practicum sites.

Directed Studies

Enrollment in Directed Study is with the approval of a faculty member. A contract (linked below), signed by both the faculty member and the student, must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) before students can register. After the Directed Study is completed, the student must submit a Directed Studies Log (linked below) and an electronic copy of the final written product to the OAA for inclusion in the student's academic file.

Teaching Assistants

Enrollment in Applied Teaching Practice is with the approval of a faculty member. Applied Teaching Practice (PSI 9940) provides academic credit for students' teaching experience. In this course, students are given hands-on experience in assisting faculty in teaching a course or seminar. A contract (linked below), signed by both the faculty member and the teaching assistant, must be submitted to the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) before students can register.