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 Ph.D. 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.


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

Admissions Update

  • As part of our efforts to reduce barriers to applicants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clinical program will not require GRE scores from applicants applying for the 2022-2023 academic year. We will consider all applications, regardless of the absence or presence of GRE scores. Although the Clinical program will not require you to report GRE scores for consideration this year, certain university-level scholarships *do* require GRE scores when selecting admitted students. Therefore, some applicants may decide to submit the GREs at the time of the application process. Please note that because the timing varies for these scholarships, sending the GRE scores late may result in the admitted student being ineligible at that time.


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

PhD Application 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. Interview dates TBD for applicants applying for fall 2022 semester.


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.

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]

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

Samoni Nag (left) and Katarina AuBuchon (right) are among the PhD student recipients of the Columbian Distinguished Fellowship

Meet the Columbian Distinguished Fellows

Across disciplines and research fields, these Columbian College PhD fellows are leading scholarly studies and making real-world impacts.
Photograph of Dr. Dana Cunningham, Dr. Jessica Henry, Dr. Nicole Cammack, and Dr. Danielle Busby wearing black t-shirts

Three Alumni Create Mental Health Company for Black Community

GW Clinical Psychology alumni Dr. Nicole Cammack, Dr. Danielle Busby, Dr. Jessica Henry and their partner Dr. Dana Cunningham are breaking down the stigma of Black mental health services with their new company, Black Mental Wellness. 
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.

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