Department of Psychology

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

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Drs. Keane, Kwapil, Mendez-Smith, Nelson-Gray, Schallhorn, Stein, and Wisco.

The Clinical Psychology Program at UNCG
 espouses the scientist-practitioner model of training. The program trains individuals to become skilled scientists and competent clinicians who use their expertise to understand, assess, treat, and prevent behavioral disorders, regardless of the setting in which they work (e.g., university psychology department, mental health center, private practice). Graduates of the doctoral program are prepared to work as independent researchers, teachers, consultants, and practitioners.
To achieve this outcome, our students are trained in the scientific method, in broad and general areas within Psychology, in the special content domain of the Clinical Psychologist, and in practical skills appropriate to the professional practice of psychology. Students are trained as clinical generalists, prepared to deal with adults and children, and with individuals, families, and groups. The program provides students with a firm grounding in  a broad range of empirically validated techniques in assessment and intervention; students demonstrate competence in all of these areas prior to the receipt of the terminal PhD degree. Although conceptual analyses of clinical phenomena most commonly incorporate a broadly based behavioral perspective, other perspectives are given serious study as well. We admit students for graduate study who will continue to use their research training in academic settings or elsewhere, as graduates.

Another major emphasis of the program entails training students to be culturally competent researchers and practitioners. This training has been enhanced through the receipt of a Graduate Psychology Education Program Training grant. We recently received notice that our application for the 2013-2016 grant cycle was approved and funded. All students in the program have the opportunity to participate in this specialized didactic and experiential training to enhance cultural competence as a result of this funding.

Faculty Listing
The Clinical Psychology Area includes eight tenure track faculty members who maintain active research laboratories. These faculty are: Dr. Susan Phillips Keane, Professor and Director of Clinical Training; Dr. Rosemert Nelson-Gray, Professor; Dr. Thomas Kwapil, Professor; Dr. Julia Mendez Smith, Associate Professor; Dr. Kari Eddington, Assistant Professor; Dr. Gabriella Livas-Stein, Assistant Professor, Dr. Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn, Assistant Professor and Dr. Blair Wisco, Assistant Professor. Click here for faculty interests and contact information.
Clinical Area Contact Person:  Dr. Susan Keane, (336) 256-0569,
HIPPA Compliance Officer: Dr. Rosemery Nelson-Gray

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data
updated September, 2013

Program admissions policies that allow students to enter with credit for prior graduate work, and the expected implications for time to completion:
Please see:
Or click the link below for our Graduate Handbook:

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are the philosophy and goals of the clinical training program?

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology is based on the scientist-practitioner model. Consistent with this model, our overarching goal is to foster the development of students as psychologists first, and secondarily as clinical psychologists.  Two broad goals guide our training:  1) To produce psychologists with demonstrated knowledge and competence in the science of psychology and the practice of clinical psychology and 2)  To prepare socially responsible clinical psychologists who will contribute to the field and demonstrate ethical behavior and respect for individual and cultural differences in all aspects of their professional behavior. To reach these goals, we focus on a student’s competence in several domains: broad and general knowledge in psychology, designing and conducting research, providing evidence-based practice, engaging in responsible and ethical behavior, and knowledge of how culture impacts research questions, findings, and clinical practice. Also emphasized in our training model is the idea that a complete and thorough understanding of abnormality and psychopathology cannot be achieved in the absence of understanding the normal variations in human behavior that occur across development and in different social contexts.  Thus, students in our program receive broad training in other domains of psychology, including cognitive, developmental, social, and biological areas, to familiarize themselves with normal processes. Students in our program also learn about individual and cultural diversity through their courses, their practicum training, and their interactions with students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.

2. Is the clinical program accredited by the American Psychological Association and what are the implications of accreditation?

The clinical program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. APA accreditation reflects: (a) that training in clinical psychology received at UNCG is compatible with other APA approved programs both in terms of training models and curriculum; and (b) that the institutional setting, faculty (both clinical and non-clinical), and facilities are adequate to meet and support the student's academic needs. In terms of a student's career development, graduation from an APA approved clinical program is often a prerequisite for certain block-time internship placements and/or job opportunities. This credential also eases the licensure process and entry into some professional organizations. This next site visit is scheduled for 2014. Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail:

3. What is the curriculum of the clinical program?

The Ph.D. curriculum for clinical students consists of clinical courses and seminars, courses and seminars in other areas of psychology, courses in statistics and research methods, practicum and internship training, and 24 credit hours of research including the thesis and dissertation. The program is structured so that it can be completed in five or six years, depending on the progress of the individual student, plus a required year of pre-doctoral internship. All students entering the Ph.D. Program with a BA/BS degree earn an MA degree (57 credits) as part of their PhD requirements (112 credits). Students who are accepted into the program and who hold an MA degree from another institution will have their coursework and research experiences evaluated for comparability with our program requirements by the DCT and at least 1 other faculty member.  Students will not be required to complete courses that are deemed comparable.  Similarly, if an empirical thesis has been completed and favorably reviewed by UNCG faculty, completion of another thesis will not be required.

During the first year, clinical students typically take courses in adult and child psychopathology, in theory and methods of psychotherapy and of behavior therapy, in graduate research methods and statistics, and courses in other core areas in psychology (e.g. biological, cognitive, developmental, social.) During the second year, clinical students typically take courses (combining theory and methodology) in personality and intellectual assessment; introductory practicum experiences in the UNCG Psychology Clinic. Ethics and another core course. The Master's thesis should be completed during the first 2 or 2 1/2 years. During the third year, clinical students take additional courses or seminars in basic psychology and/or advanced statistics, and conduct independent doctoral research. Students complete a total of 200 client contact hours of supervised practicum training in the UNCG Psychology Clinic during their second and third years. The preliminary examination is usually completed by the fourth year. During the remaining two or three years, clinical students complete any remaining course work and seminars in clinical or in other areas of psychology, complete 350 clock hours of advanced practicum in the UNCG Psychology Clinic, complete the independent doctoral research project and a dissertation, and take a 2,000 hour block-time APA-approved internship. A list of required courses is presented below.

MA General Core Courses (10 hours)

To satisfy the requirement that students must obtain foundational knowledge in the breadth of Psychology as a science at the MA level, students must earn 10 credit hours. Nine hours are chosen from the following core courses (or their equivalents, decided in consultation with the student's planning committee):


PSY 652

Cognitive Processes



PSY 643

Developmental Psychology



PSY 650

Physiology of Sensory and Behavioral Processes



PSY 647

Advanced Social Psychology


In addition to the 9 credits above;
PSY 601 Historical Perspectives on Psychology as a Science - 1 credit

Clinical Core Courses (3 hours)

PSY 662

Psychological Disorders in Adults


Satisfactory completion of the core courses above (with grades of B or better) satisfy the MA Comprehensive Examination.

Additional Clinical Courses (18 hours)

PSY 622

Theory and Methods of Psychotherapy


PSY 623

Theory and Methods of Personality Assessment


PSY 626

Theory and Methods of Behavioral Assessment and Therapy


PSY 640

Theory and Methods of Intellectual Assessment


PSY 661

Psychological Disorders in Children


PSY 724

Ethical Responsibilities of Clinical Psychologists


MA Research Tools Courses (17 hours)

PSY 609

Statistical Methods in Psychology I


PSY 610

Statistical Methods in Psychology II


PSY 624

Research Methods in Psychology


PSY 699



MA Clinical Practicum Training (9 hours)

PSY 642

Practicum in Clinical Intervention


(Taken over three semesters: 1 credit in year 1; 4 credits in fall and spring of year 2)

PhD Requirements

In addition to the MA requirements (57 credits), students must complete the following:

Core Courses

1 course not taken in the MA program from among the menu of courses listed:

PSY 652

Cognitive Processes


PSY 650

Physiology of Sensory and Behavioral Processes


PSY 647

Advanced Social Psychology


PSY 643

Developmental Psychology


PhD Seminars (12 hours)

Two advanced clinical courses (6 credits):
One of these must be PSY 745 Multicultural Psychology; the other must be a Topical Seminar in Clinical Psychology (PSY 735J)

Two advanced seminars outside the clinical area, approved in advance by the student’s doctoral committee (6 credits)
• One may be from another area in psychology (e.g. PSY 735D) or an approved course from another department or an approved advanced Stat/Research course.
• One course MUST address research design/statistical issues.

PhD Research Tools Courses (18 hours minimum)

In addition to MA requirements, students must complete the following:
PSY 751 Independent Doctoral Research - 6 credits
PSY 799 Doctoral Dissertation Research - 12-24 credits

PhD Clinical Practicum Training (22 hours)

In addition to the 9 hours of PSY 642 taken to satisfy the MA requirements, students must complete the following:

PSY 642: Practicum in Clinical Intervention - 10 credits (2 of these are concurrent with PSY 762)
PSY 762: Advanced Practicum in Clinical Psychology - 6 credits
PSY 763: Internship in Clinical Psychology - 6 credits (Taken over two semesters for clinical internship year)

Preliminary Examination

This examination is scheduled in consultation with the doctoral advisory committee. It should be taken during the second semester following successful defense of the MA thesis for students continuously enrolled in the program

 4. What are practicum opportunities?

Clinical practicum and internship is required of all clinical students. In the first and second years, students enroll in assessment and intervention courses that include a methodological component. In these courses, basic clinical skills (e.g., interviewing, testing, cognitive therapy, systematic desensitization) are learned. Concurrently, in the spring semester of the first year, students participate in weekly clinical group supervision and observe more advanced students serving as therapists in the UNCG Psychology Clinic, which serves as the site for all required Practicum training. In the second year, students carry a small caseload. By the end of the third year, students complete 200 client contact hours of practicum training at the UNCG Psychology Clinic where they are supervised by clinical faculty. The client population at this facility is diverse, both in terms of presenting problems and other demographic variables. In the 4th year, students complete their advanced practicum training of 350 supervised client contact hours. The skills learned during advanced practicum are designed to augment those achieved during earlier practicum years. After completing most or all of the other Ph.D. requirements, clinical students complete 2,000 hour, block-time internships that are approved by the American Psychological Association. A list of accredited program is available at:
It is expected that students will complete their dissertation before leaving for internship.

Since 2002, the program has been awarded a Graduate Psychology Education Program (GPEP) Training grant.  This grant provides opportunities for students to gain additional exposure working with underserved populations, including refugee and immigrant populations. Current placements include: Cone Family Practice, Cone In-Patient Behavioral Health Adult and Adolescent Units, Cone Pediatrics, the Teen-Mom Program, the Newcomer’s School, Asheboro City Schools, the Durham VA, and Learning Together.

The clinical program also sponsors DREAM Camp, a summer day camp for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the Depression Treatment and Research Program, a specialized practicum and research program providing empirically-based assessment and treatment approaches for clients with mood disorders.

5. How is research training conducted in the clinical program?

Research training in UNCG's clinical program is based on a mentorship model. Training begins during the first year through course work in clinical research methodology and in statistics. Students also begin working with their mentor and research lab on research projects. Many students also conduct research as part of a departmental research assistantship responsibility. During the first year, students begin to develop a thesis research project through the clinical research methods course and under the direction of their faculty mentors. All second year students make a presentation at the Graduate Research Conference, scheduled early in the fall term. The thesis is typically completed during the second or third year. An independent doctoral research project, which is often pilot work for the dissertation, is generally completed during the third or fourth years, and the doctoral dissertation during the fourth or fifth years.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in non-required research throughout their training. Students are encouraged to co-author papers for publication and presentation at professional meetings, as well as to have involvement in grant prepartion. All students are encouraged to focus on problems of fundamental importance to the field of psychology. To this end, the Department supports students who want to develop research programs with both clinical and nonclinical faculty; many on-going collaborations among faculty exist to support students in this endeavor. All clinical students must demonstrate research competence prior to graduation.

6. What is the attrition rate among clinical students?

Our attrition is listed in the Student Outcome table above.  Attrition over the last 7 years was 4.2%.

7. What is the student selection process?

Applications for admission to the Clinical program are due December 15 and are reviewed for admission into the program for the following Fall semester.  Typically, around 200 applications are received for each admission cycle. We admit between 5-8 students each year. Applications are reviewed by program faculty in December and January, and in-person interviews are offered to the top 25-30 applicants. We hold two interview days – typically during the second or third week in February. An in-person interview is required before an offer of admission may be made. Please see the Student Admission Outcomes and Other Data section for more specific information about incoming student credentials and progress through the program.
In addition to the minimum standards for admission outlined in FAQ 8 below, students offered admission have career goals consistent with our program philosophy and training model, and have experience with and continued interest in contributing to the research literature. We have a mentorship model for research training.  Therefore, we seek to admit students who are a “good fit” with the research interests of current faculty. Although clinical/applied experience is not a requirement, we seek to admit students who understand and value the importance of evidence-based practice.

8. What are the minimum admission requirements?

Successful candidates typically exceed the following minimum criteria:
·         Psychology (or equivalent) major
·         Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
·         Undergraduate Psychology GPA of 3.0 or better
·         GRE verbal and GRE quantitative sub-scores each above the 40th percentile
·         For non-native English speakers TOEFL scores above Graduate School minima currently, 79 for internet-based test and 550 for paper-based test
·         For students applying with an MA degree, a graduate GPA of 3.3 or better

Applicants who did not major in Psychology should have taken the following Psychology courses: Introductory Psychology, Statistics and Research Methods, Abnormal (or Clinical) Psychology, plus at least one additional course in Psychology. Applicants who did not major in Psychology are also strongly encouraged to submit a score from the Psychology subject GRE.

For the Clinical Program, applications are considered only once per year (during February) for admission in the following fall term. Application deadline: December 15th. Applicants are evaluated in two stages. First, a faculty committee examines the applicant's previous grade point averages, Graduate Record Examination scores, undergraduate research and preclinical experiences, letters of recommendation, and the statements of purpose and research interests. We are seeking applicants who are bright, well prepared, motivated, socially skilled, and whose interests are compatible with our model of training. Research fit with current faculty is of primary importance in our selection process. Normally, competitive candidates have credentials which exceed the departmental minimum standards including, an undergraduate Psychology major, very good grades (e.g., 3.2 or above), solid GREs (e.g., 1200 total or above; good advanced score), evidence of prior research and applied experience, solid letters of recommendation, an interest in scientist-practitioner training, research interests that match those of current faculty mentors, and an interest to continue research after graduation. See Table above for scores of our current graduate students.

Secondly, we interview the top 30 or so candidates (of the several hundred who apply each year), usually in person. We schedule these interviews in mid-February (Applicants should not initiate interviews – if you are in the top group, you will be contacted.  In the interviews, we evaluate the candidate's research interests, career goals, background, and social skills. From all of this input, we select about 10 persons for admission, and construct a short list of alternates, with plans for an incoming class of about six or seven clinical students.

Successful applicants are notified by April 1 of each year. The selection process is usually completed by April 15 of each year. Please review the CUDCP Clinical Psychology Grad School Fact sheet and the CUDCP Policy Statement on Grad School offers and acceptances which are posted at :

We usually take no more than one or two students a year who already have a Master's degree, and these candidates rarely come from allied professions (e.g., Child Development). Usually about one year's worth of prior graduate work will transfer, and students generally must be here at least one year before formal admittance to the Ph.D. program. We do not admit part-time students. Professionals in the Greensboro area wishing to complete a doctoral degree are welcome to apply, but they will be evaluated according to the same rigorous standards as other applicants and must be prepared to do full-time training. Except in extraordinary circumstances, we do not offer clinical retraining of persons with a Ph.D. in another area of psychology. Qualified persons may take specific graduate courses in the department (e.g., Psychological Disorders of Adults or of Children) without admission to the program. Interested students should contact the Graduate School for admission as a non-degree student. The assessment courses are open only to psychology graduate students. The intervention courses and practicum are open only to clinical psychology graduate students.