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School of Psychology

Program Overview and Handbook


Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program Overview

  • Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program Handbook
  • The University of Southern Mississippi's Ph.D. program in clinical psychology has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation since 1979.
  • Graduates are prepared to pursue careers in academia, research, mental health care delivery, or practice in public and private settings.
  • Our traditional Boulder Model clinical training program is based on scientist-practitioner training model in which the scientific and professional components of clinical psychology are complementary and fully integrated throughout training. We prepare our students first as scientists in psychology and then as practicing clinical psychologists. We agree with the Boulder Model premise that clinicians must be capable of making contributions to the science of psychology through research and consultation as well as through practice. Therefore our program is not geared to students who are interested only in clinical training. All graduates should have an understanding of the way in which empirical findings inform the clinical work they undertake. Similarly, it is expected that students who work primarily as researchers will have an appreciation for the application of their work to clinical issues.
  • The clinical training program emphasizes evidenced-based approaches to assessment and treatment. To model the scientist-practitioner role, our faculty supervisors emphasize the importance of consulting the empirical literature when developing an assessment or treatment plan. Students are encouraged to conduct thesis, dissertation, and other research on clinically-relevant topics.
  • The program sees itself as evidence based, with an emphasis on cognitive and behavioral approaches. Overall, the program aims to expose graduates to a broad spectrum of evidence based empirical approaches to clinical research and practice.
  • We strongly subscribe to a generalist approach to training but include concentrations in clinical child and adult psychology. Regardless of concentration, all students take courses in both adult and child psychopathology, adult and child psychotherapy, and complete both adult and child practica. The primary differences between the two concentrations is in the assignment of research mentors and the sequencing of courses and practicum.
  • The program is designed as a five-year program, including four years on campus and an off-site pre-doctoral clinical internship year. A full-year internship is required of all students prior to the awarding of the Ph.D.
  • The program’s three broad goals are to train scientist-practitioners who will (a) have broad knowledge of scientific psychology and psychological research methods, (b) be capable of contributing to current knowledge in clinical psychology, and (c) be capable of providing evidence-based clinical services that are consistent with professional and ethical standards.
  • The program has 14 specific training objectives designed to help students meet these broad goals:

    1.     Students will acquire basic knowledge of the core domains of scientific psychology, including the biological, social, developmental, and cognitive/affective bases of behavior; and the history of psychology. 

    2.     Students will be capable of synthesizing and integrating psychological theory into their research and practice.

    3.     Students will acquire knowledge of psychological research methods.

    4.     Students will acquire knowledge of statistics. 

    5.     Students will be able to articulate and defend research questions and results.

    6.     Students will be knowledgeable and capable of generating an original research study and producing scholarly products.

    7.     Students will prioritize their training as a scientist and value collaborative research efforts.

    8.     Students of the program will provide competent practice in diagnosis of psychopathology and theoretical conceptualization of cases.

    9.     Students of the program will provide competent practice in evidence-based assessments and interpretation of assessment findings in integrative reports.

    10.  Students of the program will provide competent practice in selection and implementation of evidence-based interventions.

    11.  Students will develop the skills necessary to provide a range of clinical services.

    12.  Students of the program will have developed an awareness of issues of cultural diversity and will approach their work with an awareness of and sensitivity to contextual issues, including diversity.

    13.  Students will have knowledge of and act in accordance with the law, APA ethical codes, and HIPAA in their clinical practice and scholarly work.

    14.  Students will display professionalism in their relationships with faculty, staff, supervisors, peers, students, and clients.

  • Evidence-based clinical services that are consistent with ethical and professional standards.
  • The USM Clinical Psychology doctoral program endorses the university’s central values of encouraging diversity, inclusiveness, and equal opportunities for education and employment.  These central values are articulated in USM’s Non-Discrimination Policy and by the Office of Multicultural Programs & Services.  Our program and our faculty are committed to promoting diversity within the field of clinical psychology, with respect to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic status, disability, veteran status, among others.  Diverse students (broadly defined) and students with research interests in diversity in psychological science are strongly encouraged to apply to our program.
  • Our excellent training is affordable. The combination of stipends, tuition remission, and the low cost of living in southern Mississippi makes the doctoral program in clinical psychology at USM one of the better values in higher education.
  • Our program is modeled after the licensure requirements in the State of Mississippi. We do not guarantee that we meet the licensure requirements of other states.  You will be responsible for verifying that your program of study meets your desired state’s licensure requirements.


For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association, which can also be reached 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 


 Clinical Psychology Program Handbook,or at the link on the top of this page.

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School of Psychology

231 Owings-McQuagge Hall (OMH)

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Contact Us

School of Psychology

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