PhD in Clinical Psychology

Student seated across from a professor in a graduate class, gesturing and talking

Accredited by the American Psychological Association, the clinical psychology PhD program follows a scientist-practitioner model. Students are trained as applied researchers and scientists, developing skills in research and practical methods used to advance knowledge of the causes, prevention and treatment of emotional, behavioral and physical health problems within diverse communities.

We embrace a community psychology orientation that emphasizes multiple influences on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities and values engaging communities in all aspects of the work that we do.

Our training is grounded in developmental and social-ecological perspectives that attend to the intersection of multiple forms of diversity and recognize the impacts of systemic oppression on individuals and communities. We aspire to train behavioral scientists who are able to identify, implement and evaluate strategies to promote equity and social justice and to reduce health and mental health disparities in a variety of settings.

Faculty subscribe to a range of theoretical orientations, including cognitive-behavioral, family systems, social-ecological and community frameworks. These perspectives enable students to develop a broad base of knowledge and the opportunity to specialize in particular areas of research and evidence-based application.

Faculty Mentor Requirement

The clinical program follows a mentorship model. Qualified applicants are chosen based on how their interests fit with the overall goals of the program and with the research interests of specific faculty members. These faculty will be available to mentor students beginning in the 2022-23 academic year: Dr. CalabreseDr. GanibanDr. LambertDr. Le and Dr. Molock

Applicants should review bios for these core faculty and indicate their ranking on the online application for the PhD program in clinical psychology.

Henry Prempeh

"Through class discussion, research and clinical experiences, I learned that the symptom is never bigger than the story. This has been a cornerstone of my work as a clinician."

Henry Prempeh
PhD '13

Program Information

American Psychological Association Accreditation

The clinical psychology program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) Committee on Accreditation (COA) since 1970. COA is part of the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation (OPCA).

View Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data

Further information on the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences’ accreditation status and the accreditation process may be obtained from the American Psychological Association:

American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First St. NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
[email protected]

The clinical psychology program is also recognized by the Society for Community Research and Action as a doctoral clinical-community training program.  

Clinical Training

To build real-world clinical experience, students in the PhD program complete a minimum of two assessment practica and two therapy practica in the Meltzer Psychological and Community-Based Services Center.

Additionally, students complete two externship placements in community settings. Clinical practice is supervised by licensed faculty members and clinicians at field placements.

Finally, as part of the PhD program in Clinical Psychology, students are also required to complete a one-year Psychology Internship Training Program. In almost all cases this will be an APA- approved pre-doctoral internship program.

Licensure Information

Our Clinical Psychology program trains graduates who are successfully licensed in many states. No graduate from our program has been turned down for licensure due to insufficiencies in our program’s education and training. However, the practice of psychology (licensure) is regulated at the state level. State licensing authorities, commonly referred to as “State Boards,” determine the specific educational and training requirements for licensure in their State. Licensure requires more training than our degree’s educational requirements and may vary by state. Most states have post-doctoral clinical supervision requirements, and some states have specific training requirements that may not be automatically covered in GWU’s program. For a general description of the licensing processes in clinical psychology and a state by state listing of our recent understanding of educational requirements and how GWU’s program aligns with the requirements of each state, please review our Consumer Disclosure Information report (PDF).

Student Outcomes

The program develops students into well-rounded, confident professionals in several roles:

  • Researchers and applied scientists
  • Interventionists who use methods and substantive findings to inform assessment, prevention and treatment
  • Professionals who consider applied problems from a lifespan developmental perspective and from multiple levels within human social ecology
  • Clinical psychologists equipped with the specialized skills necessary for implementing promotion, prevention and treatment programs for diverse clients

Clinical Doctoral Student Handbook for Fall 2021 (PDF)

Clinical Psychology News

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Meet the Columbian Distinguished Fellows

Across disciplines and research fields, these Columbian College PhD fellows are leading scholarly studies and making real-world impacts.

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Alumnus Doctor Takes Care Abroad

For more than 45 years, Dr. Bill Goldman, BA ’72, MD ’75, has brought care and kindness to his patients. After retiring from his pediatric practice, he found a new home for his passion: volunteering as a health care provider in Tanzania. 

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Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Program.

72 credits, including 54 credits in required courses, 6 credits in elective courses, and 12 credits in dissertation. Students also take five zero-credit courses and successfully complete a comprehensive examination.

In addition, students are required to obtain clinical training, including a minimum of two assessment practica and two therapy practica in the Meltzer Center’s Psychological and Community-Based Services, and to complete a one-year Psychology Internship Training Program.  In almost all cases this will be an APA- approved predoctoral internship program.

DNSC 6274Statistical Modeling and Analysis
DNSC 6275Advanced Statistical Modeling and Analysis
DNSC 6276Exploratory and Multivariate Data Analysis
PSYC 8202Psychological Research Methods and Procedures
PSYC 8210Developmental Theories and Issues
PSYC 8250Seminar in Cognitive Neuroscience
PSYC 8253Social Cognition
Clinical core
PSYC 8207Psychological Assessment I
PSYC 8208Psychological Assessment II
PSYC 8211Community Psychology I
PSYC 8212Community Psychology II
PSYC 8218Evidence-Based Interventions
PSYC 8220Ethics and Professional Issues
PSYC 8236Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Psychology
PSYC 8237The Practice of General Psychology I
PSYC 8238The Practice of General Psychology II
PSYC 8239Lifespan Developmental Psychopathology I
PSYC 8240Lifespan Developmental Psychopathology II
Required zero-credit courses
PSYC 8280Theories and Practice of Clinical Supervision
PSYC 8283First Year Seminar I: Motivational Interviewing
PSYC 8284First Year Seminar II: Introduction to Therapy
PSYC 8285History and Systems of Psychology
PSYC 8286Clinical Psychology Externship
6 credits in elective courses outside of the clinical program.
PSYC 8998Advanced Reading and Research
PSYC 8999Dissertation Research