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Psychology (Clinical) - Doctorate

Availability: Hattiesburg Options

Considering the Clinical Psychology PhD program?

The Clinical Psychology PhD program at USM offers scientist-practitioner model, evidence-based, generalist research and clinical training with concentrations in clinical child and adult psychology.

Graduate assistantships support full-time students to include a monthly stipend and tuition waiver and involve teaching, research, and/or clinical work.

Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in academia, research, mental health care delivery, or practice in public and private settings. Applicants interested in a research-focused career are especially encouraged to apply.

Meet the Clinical Psychology Faculty

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100%internship match rate
99student publications past 5 years
6students admitted annually

Why a Clinical Psychology PhD at Southern Miss?

Clinical psychology is an applied health service and research profession dedicated to understanding, assessing, and treating mental illness and behavioral healthcare needs. Students develop a range of profession-wide competencies relevant to entry level practice of health service psychology, as well as development of knowledge and advancement of psychological science through research activities. Our program trains evidence-based approaches to assessment and therapy of clinical problems across the lifespan, emphasizing cognitive and behavioral orientations. Graduates are well prepared to conduct research, assessment, therapy, training, and supervision.

Small cohorts allow for individualized, quality training opportunities. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree earn the Master of Arts en route to the doctorate. We do not offer a terminal master’s degree in clinical psychology. Clinical Psychology faculty provide integrated, discipline-specific training in evidence-based assessment and interventions. Students take classes with other graduate students in the Department of Psychology, including Clinical and School Psychology and generalists enrolled in the Brain and Behavior program, and are trained by experts in their respective fields. As a scientist-practitioner training program, research and clinical opportunities are hierarchically sequenced and integrated throughout the curriculum.

Faculty members are highly invested and actively engaged in training students in psychological science, adding to the knowledge base, and using empirical findings to inform their clinical work. High-quality mentorship provided by our faculty includes leading active research labs, assisting students with dissemination of their research through publications and presentations, providing intensive clinical supervision, and guiding individualized professional development. All faculty are licensed psychologists, and provide weekly face-to-face supervision of practicum and externship.

Students are admitted directly to research labs of a faculty member. Research labs meet regularly to coordinate ongoing projects in the lab, to provide supervision of thesis and dissertation projects, and afford individualized mentoring. Graduate students engage in all aspects of the research process and are expected to contribute to ongoing studies in the lab, complete their thesis and dissertation program requirements, and disseminate their work through peer-reviewed publications in top-tier journals and presentations at national conferences. Many labs provide mentorship in grant writing and involvement in funded research such as clinical trials. Find a full listing of all Clinical Psychology Research Labs here

Practicum experiences are hierarchically sequenced training opportunities working with children, adolescents, and adults, in our in-house training clinic, as well as through externship training opportunities in a wide range of community sites.

Training settings include residential treatment programs, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, integrated behavioral health, juvenile and adult justice, and Veteran’s Administration settings. Practicum in the USM Behavioral Health Clinic is closely supervised by licensed faculty members and provides a high quality training environment.

Students complete a one-year full-time APA-accredited predoctoral internship. Over the last six years, 100% of our students were placed at top ranked internship sites.

Graduate Assistantships are generally available for all students throughout their four-year training program (students completing predoctoral internship in the 5th year are paid through the internship site). Graduate assistantships support students by providing both a full tuition scholarship and a 9-12 month stipend. Graduate assistantships include teaching and research assistantships, and paid clinical externship positions in training sites throughout the area. Opportunities exist for undergraduate teaching.

The Program Handbook is developed to assist current students with understanding Clinical Psychology program policies and procedures. Please be aware that this document is updated each year, however it may be a helpful resource for potential applicants. 

The deadline for receipt of all required admissions materials is December 1 for admission beginning the following Fall semester. Please note that this differs from the Graduate School. Late applications are not accepted. 

The School of Psychology does not require GRE. 

In addition to the standard graduate application, please submit the following:

  • Transcripts
  • 3 letters of recommendation: We prefer letters from faculty members familiar with your academic performance
  • CV
  • Personal Statement: Your personal statement should address the following (2-3 pages in length):

Describe personal and professional goals during and after graduate school and how this program will help you accomplish these.
Explicitly state your preference for the child or adult concentration area.
Describe your research interests and indicate why you represent a research match for one or more specific faculty members in the clinical program.

  • Encouraged (Not Required): Writing Sample representing evidence of scholarship demonstrated through participation in research leading to presentations, scholarly publications, or some other demonstration of original scholarship.
  • Frequently Asked Questions 

Please contact Dr.%20Dan%20Capron (Chair of Clinical Admissions) with questions about applying to the Clinical Doctoral Program at USM. 

The University of Southern Mississippi's doctoral program in clinical psychology seeks to attract a geographically and culturally diverse student body interested in Boulder Model training, who are committed to spending a minimum of five full-time years in the program (including internship) and who have a high likelihood of making a contribution to the discipline.

The selection process includes a review of all aspects of the application. We do not employ any automatic cut-off scores. Rather, we look for an overall record that suggests a good fit with the training program and a likelihood of success.

Qualified students whose undergraduate major is in a discipline other than psychology are invited to apply and are encouraged to elaborate on their preparation and motivation for pursuing graduate training in psychology. Such applicants should have at least some coursework in Psychology (e.g., Introductory Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, Abnormal Psychology). 

The clinical admissions committee is particularly interested in receiving applications from students with a strong undergraduate background in the liberal arts and sciences. The program values diversity and encourages applications from qualified minority students. The program has no bias regarding applicant’s age of admission, and we have admitted an increasing number of "non-traditional" students. We also admit very promising students who already hold a master's degree from another institution, with the percentage of each class holding master's degrees earned elsewhere averaging about 15-20%.

From the total pool of applicants, approximately 25 are invited for interviews during which time they meet with the clinical faculty members and clinical graduate students. 

The process is designed to provide applicants with an opportunity to learn about our program from the perspectives of the clinical faculty and our current clinical students, as well as to obtain information that may be useful in the selection process. 

If invited, attendance at official interview days is highly encouraged; however, qualified applicants who are unable to make program interview days are given the opportunity to interview at alternate times. 

We currently admit 5 to 6 new graduate students per academic year (Fall admissions only). There are approximately 25-30 clinical psychology graduate students enrolled in the clinical program at any given time, including those on clinical internships.

The Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Organization (CPGSO) is a student-led organization of doctoral students at The University of Southern Mississippi dedicated to increasing access to mental healthcare in the greater Hattiesburg community. CPGSO created the Client Assistance, Retention, and Enrichment (CARE) fund to help provide services for those experiencing extreme financial hardship and other extenuating circumstances. CARE recipients can receive help for a wide range of psychological disorders, including autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity, oppositional defiant disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia at the USM Psychology Clinic on campus.

The USM Clinical Psychology program has a strong commitment to diversity. As part of our value of diversity, we actively work to enhance the diversity among our students, faculty, and staff. The program has a Diversity Committee comprised of faculty and students that aim to:

  • Promote an atmosphere of open dialogue around diversity and maintain an inclusive and welcoming training environment.
  • Provide a comprehensive curriculum that actively incorporates diversity training across our curriculum (i.e., coursework, research, and clinical training models).
  • Foster connections with other programs, students, and/or faculty with an interest in diversity-related issues.

We also offer the Go Gold Diversity Fellowship which is awarded annually to 2 diverse graduate students following a competitive application process. Applications are invited from any newly admitted, diverse School of Psychology graduate student with an interest in applying their training to affecting the lives of diverse populations through research and/or practice.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Please review the Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data for program admission and graduation rates and other important program outcome statistics.

The Program Aims and Outcomes can be found here.

The Clinical Psychology doctoral program has been continually accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation since 1979.

For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association at:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123
Fax: 202-336-5978

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Our program is modeled after the psychology licensure requirements in the State of Mississippi. We cannot determine if our program meets the licensure requirements in other states. We recommend that students verify their program of study meets the desired state’s licensure requirements. For more information on licensure in other states, please visit or contact Dr.%20Nora%20Charles, Director of Training, with questions.

Curriculum and Outcomes

The program demonstrates its commitment to public disclosure by providing clearly presented written materials and other communications that appropriately represent it to all relevant publics. At a minimum, this includes general program information pertaining to its aims, required curriculum sequence, and the expected outcomes in terms of its graduates’ careers, as well as data on achievement of those expected and actual outcomes. 


Degree Plan Availability
Psychology (Clinical) PhDHattiesburg
  • Assistant Professor, University or Medical Center
  • Licensed Psychologist, Mental Health or Psychiatric Facility, Veteran's Administration 
  • Director, Behavioral Health Unit
  • Dr. Jessica J. Fulton, 2012, 
    Staff Psychologist & Assistant Director of Psychology Internship Training, Durham Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Dr. Keyne Law, 2018 
    Assistant Professor, Seattle Pacific University
  • Dr. Joe Finn, 2017
    Psychologist, State Operated Forensic Services, St. Peter, Minnesota
  • Dr. Ted Tomeny, 2014, 
    Assistant Professor & Licensed Psychologist, University of Alabama, Department of Psychology
  • Dr. Laura Cook, 2015, 
    Pediatric Psychologist & Internship Faculty, Geisinger Health Systems
  • Dr. Tiffany Hopkins, 2016,
    Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Hospitals, Department of Psychiatry