University Bulletin 2020-2021

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Clinical and Counseling Psychology (PhD)

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Program Completion Requirements

A minimum of 60 credit hours of doctoral level courses taken at the University of South Alabama is required for the doctoral degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology.

Course Work   Credit Hours
Core courses, including:   36
Applied Multivariate Statistics in Psychology   3 hrs
Applied Health Psychology   3 hrs
Psychology of Resilience to Trauma/Crisis   3 hrs
History and Systems   3 hrs
Multicultural Psychology   3 hrs
Supervision of Clinical Interventions Internship   3 hrs
Practicum I: Ethics   3 hrs
Practicum II: Group & Systems   3 hrs
Practicum III   3 hrs
Advanced Practicum   6 hrs
Psychology Internship   3 hrs
Dissertation research on a subject identified jointly by the student and his or her Advisory Committee 9
Elective courses as approved by the Director of Clinical Training. 9

Note: This list above represents the minimum requirements for completion of the doctoral program of studies. A student may be required or elect to take additional course work in a specific area if needed to enhance skills or to support an area of specialization. Each candidate for the Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology takes practicum courses in the psychological clinic and must also complete a one-year internship in an accredited facility. The internship is taken after completion of coursework and passing of the doctoral preliminary exam, and is a degree requirement.

The University of South Alabama offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical and Counseling Psychology (CCP). This program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences in the College of Education and Professional Studies. The program combines an asset-strength model from Counseling Psychology with a health psychology/wellness model from Clinical Psychology. The Clinical and Counseling Psychology program prepares professionals to provide the most effective and culturally sensitive types of psychological care for individuals and communities. Further, the program is based on a scientist-practitioner model of training, meaning that graduates will develop competence in clinical practice, scientific research, and ability to integrate these two domains. Graduates of the program will have a set of competencies which will also enable them to work successfully with a variety of other health care professionals for the purposes of health promotion and to prevent and remediate  mental health conditions  in the world. Graduates might be employed in a variety of settings, including counseling centers in colleges and universities, medical centers, Veterans Administration hospitals, schools, private practices, health and wellness facilities, state and federal agencies, family counseling services, academic departments in higher education institutions, and professional associations. Such responsibilities would include direct service to individuals and the management of psychological services for individuals and groups using evidence-based interventions as well as research, advocacy, teaching, supervision and/or training other health professionals.

Program Admission Requirements

Routes to Admission:

Applicants can apply at one of two stages of their education.

  1. Admission having only previously earned with a Bachelor's Degree: Most students apply having earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology previously. If accepted, students admitted at this stage earn a master's degree in psychology along the way to earning their Ph.D. (see required coursework). Such students are granted admission to the Ph.D. program of study once their M.S. coursework and degree are completed. 

  2. Admission having already earned with a Masters Degree: Some students apply to the clinical and counseling psychology program after completing a masters’ degree. Such students have completed a master’s degree (Master of Science/Arts/Education) in a mental health profession, e.g. clinical or counseling psychology, community/mental health counseling, clinical social work, marriage and family therapy or a similar program from an accredited institution. The completed master's degree need not be from one of USA's programs. The core faculty of the CCP program evaluate prior graduate coursework and may waive some of the foundational course requirements if they are equivalent to USA’s version of the same course. Such students, particularly students with masters degrees in fields other than psychology, will invariably have a number of courses that need to be remediated and this may factor into admissions decisions. Program faculty will evaluate the academic backgrounds of such applicants and recommend whether, depending upon the number of areas that need remediation, the student should be admitted to the clinical and counseling psychology program at the master’s level, or, at the doctoral level. Note, all students admitted to the master’s level are transferred automatically to the doctoral degree upon completion of the master’s.

Students are admitted to start the program in the fall semester. No spring or summer admission will be accepted. Participation in the program is full-time and, with the exception of an assistantship, students are discouraged from engaging in any outside employment. Applications to the CCP program should be completed by December 1stst for admission for the following fall semester. In addition to the Graduate School application form and required supporting documentation, the Clinical and Counseling Psychology program requires submission of a program application form, a statement of purpose, curriculum vitae (CV), and three letters of academic recommendation. The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria for admission:

In addition to meeting graduate school requirements for regular admission, applicants to the Clinical and Counseling Psychology program must meet the following criteria:

  1. Summed score of 305 or greater on the verbal and quantitative sub tests, and scores of 4 or higher on the Writing subtest of the Graduate Record Examination will be preferred.

  2. Completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology, counseling or a similar program from an accredited institution.  Applicants must have completed at least 21 semester hours of prior psychology courses (usually at the undergraduate level) including a statistics course, and a course in research design and methods.

  3. The program's model of admission heavily values the degree of match between the student's clinical and research interests and that of their faculty mentor. Students are assigned a mentor at the time they are offered admission, and usually this individual is their primary advisor, mentor as well as thesis and dissertation chair. Thus, students will ideally articulate their clinical and research interests as well as identify the faculty member(s) with whom these best fit in their applications materials.

Required Psychological Foundations

Students must complete graduate coursework and demonstrate competency in the following foundation areas. These courses will typically be completed in the student's master's degree program portion of study, but, as previously stated, deficiencies may be approved to be addressed in the doctoral program of study. Each deficiency will reduce the likelihood of admission, however, or may extend time to complete the program.  For the courses in the USA M.S. in Clinical & Counseling Psychology that correspond to the domains listed below see the bulletin page for this program of study:

Students entering the doctoral program after completing a bachelor’s degree will take these M.S. courses and earn the M.S. degree before transferring to the Ph.D. program of study.

  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Diagnostic Interviewing Skills
  • Evidence Based Practice in Psychology
  • Inferential Statistics
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Cognitive Assessment
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychopathology
  • Research Design
  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Practicum

Applicants should submit the following materials electronically by December 1st to the below link:

  • Official GRE scores
  • Official copies of all undergraduate and graduate academic transcripts
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of academic recommendation
  • Clinical and Counseling Psychology program application form
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

An interview either in-person or via technology must be completed with faculty designated by the Director of Clinical Training prior to a potential admissions offer being made.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are available annually on a competitive basis.  Applicants interested in receiving an assistantship should complete the graduate assistantship application form.

Comprehensive Examination

Students must pass a comprehensive examination following successful completion of six semesters of clinical practica coursework. Passing the exam is one of the required components for admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The content of the comprehensive examination will be determined by the comprehensive examination committee and may consist of a written as well as an oral component.


Admission to candidacy for the doctoral degree requires completion of the following:

  • successful completion of required academic work, except the capstone internship
  • successful completion of the comprehensive examination
  • approval of a dissertation research project

The doctoral candidate is, therefore, a student who has fulfilled all requirements for the Ph.D. degree with the exception of completing the dissertation research and the required internship.

Dissertation hours and defense

Nine credit hours of dissertation research may be applied to and are required for completion of the doctoral program of studies in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. However, a student must be continually enrolled in CCP 799 (Dissertation Research) until the final defense of the dissertation is completed and the dissertation document has been approved by the Graduate School. The final defense is scheduled following the completion of and preparation of the final written report of the dissertation research. Revisions of the dissertation may be required for final approval by the student's advisory committee or as a condition of the Graduate School's evaluation of the written report.

The Limit

After being admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, the student has a maximum of three years to complete the dissertation.

Residency Requirement

Prior to beginning their capstone internship, students must have completed a minimum of 3 years of graduate study in the clinical and counseling psychology program. Years spent in the M.S. portion of the program can count towards this requirement, but at least 1 of these 3 years must occur in the Ph.D. portion of the program.