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 doctoral program follows a scientist-practitioner model. Students are trained as applied researchers and scientists, developing skills in the research methods used to advance knowledge of the causes, prevention and treatment of emotional, behavioral and interpersonal problems.

The program prepares professionals for careers involving the application of empirical inquiry and findings to the development and provision of prevention and treatment services.

Faculty subscribe to a range of theoretical orientations, including cognitive-behavioral, family systems, social ecology 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/or evidence-based application.



Henry Prempeh Headshot

Henry Prempeh

PhD ’13

"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."

Application Requirements and Process

Department application and admissions procedures are in accordance with the Council of University Directors of Clinical Training guidelines for doctoral clinical psychology programs.

PhD Admission Requirements

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.

When applying, students must rank up to two faculty members whose research interests best match their current research interests (1 = first choice, 2 = second choice) on the Faculty Preference Form (pdf).

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

View Clinical Psychology Faculty

Interviews run for half a day, involving meetings with the director of clinical training, clinical faculty and graduate students. For students applying for the fall semester, two interview dates will be held, one in January and one in February.

Program Information

American Psychological Association Accreditation

The clinical psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and recognized by the Society for Community Research and Action as a doctoral clinical-community training program. In line with APA regulations, the program's  Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data (PDF) is available for review.

View Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data (PDF)


Further information on the Department of Psychology’s 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]

Clinical Training

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

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

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 Psychology News

Stock photo of the tummy of a pregnant woman who is laying down on her side

Student Linking Sleep Disruption and Depression in Pregnant Women

Supported by a National Institutes of Health grant, clinical psychology PhD candidate Sammy Dhaliwal set out to test how sleep deprivation contributes to depression in pregnant and postpartum women. The large research team she assembled included GW medical students, researchers from Children’s National Medical Center and Apple and Deloitte consultants. “Depression during pregnancy or postpartum affects not just the mom but the baby, too. It has the potential to change the trajectory of a child's life,” said Dhaliwal.

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.

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