Jun 23, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Clinical Psychology, Ph.D.

Return to the Department of Psychology .

For more information on available degree programs, visit the Clinical Psychology programs webpage.

The Ph.D. program in clinical psychology has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association (750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202-336-5979) since 1991. The program prepares graduates to become scientist practitioners of clinical psychology. Students develop a broad range of skills for the identification, evaluation, and resolution of human problems in agency, health-care, consulting, academic, or private practice settings. Training is based on the assumption that practice involves application of the theories, methods, and findings of scientific psychology to clinical problems.


The mission of graduate training in clinical psychology is to provide quality training in the scientist-practitioner model within a small private university setting.  Science and practice are regarded as inseparable elements.  Practice itself is regarded as the application of the theories, methods, and results of scientific psychology to clinical problems.  The science of psychology is construed broadly, and students are expected to develop familiarity with a wide range of psychological theories, methods, and results.  We encourage students to understand the limits of human perception, reason, and intuition, and to appreciate scientific methods as correctives to the flaws and biases of natural human judgment.


Admission to the Ph.D. degree program in clinical psychology is selective, and because of high demand, not all qualified applicants can be admitted. Minimum requirements for admission include:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution; 
  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale;
  • Satisfactory letters of recommendation; and
  • Satisfactory test scores on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Examination.

Candidates for the Ph.D. degree program in clinical psychology typically have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours of undergraduate coursework in psychology including courses in abnormal psychology, and either statistics, tests and measurements, or experimental psychology.

Admission to the Ph.D. degree program in clinical psychology is open to applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree, as well as applicants who have completed a master’s degree.

Applications for admission to the Ph.D. degree program in clinical psychology are evaluated once a year for Fall semester matriculation. The application deadline for the Ph.D. degree program in clinical psychology is December 1.

Curriculum Requirements

The doctoral program requires 90 credit hours of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate. The program requires completion of at least three full-time academic years of study and a pre-doctoral internship.  All three years of academic study must be completed in residence at the University of Tulsa.  Specialized issues in clinical psychology are addressed in topical seminars. Students must pass a comprehensive examination for the Ph.D. consisting of a general written and a clinical oral portion. Although a master’s thesis is not required, students must demonstrate research competence through completion of the pre-candidacy project, the proposal for the dissertation, and the doctoral dissertation. Students must pass a final oral examination on the dissertation. Flexibility exists in the choice of electives and practicum training experiences, allowing students to tailor the program to meet their individual needs.

In addition to the 90-hour program, all students are required to complete a one-year pre-doctoral internship in a setting and training program approved by the clinical program committee. The doctoral training program at The University of Tulsa does not provide this internship. It is the responsibility of the student to apply for and be accepted by an internship that meets the training requirements listed in The Handbook for Graduate Programs in Clinical Psychology 

Electives (18 Hours Minimum)

*Independent studies, research hours, practicum hours above the minimum required, and courses are appropriate here.  Electives may also include approved transfer courses or other general psychology courses.  Ph.D. students may transfer a maximum of twelve credits from another program subject to approval from the clinical program committee and the Graduate School.

Practicum (13 Hours Minimum)

A request to take more than thirteen hours in practicum coursework is subject to availability.  Must include minimum of PSY 7351 , 6 hours of PSY 7451-6  and 6 of PSY 8551-6 

Research Paper (Optional - 4 Hours Maximum)

All clinical psychology doctoral students are required to complete a research paper but enrollment is optional. If a student chooses to enroll in a thesis course while completing the research paper component, there is a four credit hour maximum that can be counted towards the degree program requirements.


Students are required to complete a one-year clinical psychology internship at an approved site.  During the course of the internship, students will be enrolled in a zero-credit course for each relevant semester.  A student may choose to also enroll in internship sections for additional credits, but enrollment in the zero-credit course is the only requirement for completion of the program.

Program requirements are not met until the internship supervisor certifies successful completion of the internship.  The specific end date of the internship may also have implications for the date a student’s degree is conferred.  Please consult with the Graduate School to determine your anticipated semester of graduation based on the completion date for your internship and any other outstanding program requirements.

Dissertation Research (1 to 15 Hours)

Registration in at least one hour of Research and Dissertation is required for graduation, with a maximum of 15 credit hours for the degree program as a whole.

Pre-Candidacy Project

Doctoral students are not required to complete a thesis, even though they may receive an M.A. degree in their pursuit of the Ph.D.  However, an independent research project is required prior to taking the comprehensive exams.  By the end of the first year, the student must have selected an advisor and finalized an approved research topic for the Pre-Candidacy Project.  Research completed as an undergraduate is unacceptable as a Pre-Candidacy Project.

Successful completion of the Pre-Candidacy Project requires a finalized research paper by April of the student’s second year in the program as well as a 15-minute presentation on Pre-candidacy Day.  The project is not considered complete without both an approved written report and a presentation. Students entering with a Master’s degree from another institution who have completed a research Master’s thesis in clinical psychology may petition their advisor to accept it in lieu of the pre-candidacy project. In all cases, a copy of the completed paper or thesis must be included in the student file.

Petitions to the Clinical Program Committee for a one year extension would only be approved in the case of unusual extenuating circumstances, and they must be presented to the program committee at least one month in advance of Pre-candidacy Day.  If a doctoral student is not able to successful complete these requirements for the Pre-candidacy Project, it is expected the student will be asked to leave the doctoral program and pursue the terminal Master’s degree option. 

Additional information regarding the Pre-candidacy Research Project is contained in the Handbook for Graduate Programs in Clinical Psychology.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination requires the student to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of the theories, methods, and findings of scientific psychology, and the application of this knowledge to clinical problems.  A Written General portion surveys breadth of psychology knowledge and methods.  A Clinical Oral portion assays the application of this knowledge to clinical problems, as well as knowledge of the ethical and legal guides to practice.  Each portion may have several subsections.

Students must have successfully completed the pre-candidacy project in order to be eligible for the Written General portion of the comprehensive examination.  Students are expected to take the Written General portion at the beginning of their third year. If successfully completed, students are eligible to take the Clinical Oral portion of the comprehensive examination, typically in the spring semester of the third year in the program.  If a student fails their initial attempt at the written comprehensive examination and wishes to proceed to take the oral comprehensive examination that same year, that oral examination attempt will now be permitted. However this change does not alter existing rules regaridng considequences of failures on comprehensive examinations.  Specific scheduling and examination instructions are circulated to all eligible students each fall semester.

The Comprehensive Examination is not considered passed until a student has passed both portions. If either portion is failed the Clinical Program Committee may entertain a motion to recommend dismissal to the Graduate School.  This would typically occur if a student performed severely below standards on either examination. However, under normal circumstances, a student who fails a portion of the Comprehensive Examination is permitted one re-examination.  In the case of the Written General portion, the next scheduled examination is one year later.  If a student obtains two failing grades across examination portions, the Clinical Program Committee will automatically consider a motion to recommend dismissal to the Graduate School.

A conditional pass is possible in the Clinical Oral examination, requiring the student to remedy areas of weakness determined by the committee.  The conditions must be met before students may continue with program requirements (e.g., dissertation proposal, application to internship). Prior to the student continuing with program requirements, the committee must approve that the required conditions were met.  If a student fails to meet such conditions in the time period specified by the committee, the original examination will revert to Failure.  The student must then attempt to pass the entire comprehensive examination again.  This re-evaluation must occur by the end of the fourth year of program enrollment. Otherwise, the Clinical Program Committee will entertain a motion to recommend that the Graduate School dismiss the student from the program.

For additional information regarding the Comprehensive Exam process, please refer to the Handbook for Graduate Programs in Clinical Psychology.

Dissertation Committees and Admission to Candidacy

A doctoral committee must include the primary faculty research advisor as chair, two faculty members from the Department of Psychology who possess graduate faculty status (list available from the Graduate School), and a member outside of the Department of Psychology who possesses graduate faculty standing.  Additional readers may be requested with final approval at the discretion of the Graduate School. Final approval of all committees from the Graduate School is required before the dissertation proposal defense.

Following the successful completion of the student’s proposal defense, the doctoral committee chair formally requests from the Graduate School that the student be admitted to doctoral candidacy.

Practicum and Field Work

Practical experiences are an important part of the psychology training programs. Both TU psychology clinics and community placements can be accessed to assure students receive a variety of experiences. Students are expected to behave in an ethical, legal, professional, and skilled manner during any practicum placements. Practicum assignments and course management will be arranged by the Coordinator of Practicum Training. The performance of students in Practicum and Fieldwork is carefully monitored and students are expected to regularly attend Practicum except for an appropriately excused absence.

Eligible students must have previously completed the following classes with a grade of B or higher: PSY 7223 , PSY 7113 , PSY 7153 , PSY 7193 , and PSY 7543 . All students will enroll in PSY 7451-6 Practicum I: Clinic Practicum in Clinical Psychology  at the TU True Blue Neighbors Behavioral Health Clinic during the summer after their first year and will remain enrolled through spring of the second year.  Students must satisfactorily complete PSY 8063  with a grade of B or higher to continue PSY 7451-6  at the clinic. During the third year of training, the Coordinator of Practicum Training has the responsibility to determine a student’s placement.

Grades below a B in Practicum or Fieldwork are not considered acceptable and will not count towards graduation requirements.  If two grades below “B” are earned in Practicum or Fieldwork, a student will not be allowed to enroll in the course again. This may affect graduation requirements unless the course was being taken for elective credit only.

If a student is removed from a practicum because of poor performance or misbehavior, the Coordinator of Practicum Training may refuse to provide future placements.  A single episode of serious misconduct in a clinical placement could result in prohibition from further clinical training and dismissal from the program.

Additional information regarding the management and grading of practicum requirements may be found in the Practicum Manual.


The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology requires that the student complete an approved, one-year, pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology.  Eligible students must have completed a Pre-Candidacy Project, all required coursework, the Comprehensive Examination, and successfully defend their dissertation proposal. It occurs near the end of training and should be well matched to the career goals of the student. 

An approved internship is one which is deemed acceptable by the Clinical Program Committee.  Both APA-accredited and APPIC member sites are acceptable to the CPC.  Internships must be pre-doctoral, post candidacy and post-coursework.  They should be clearly distinguishable from practicum, and the level of training will be more advanced than clinical practicum experiences.  The internship must be one year full-time (or equivalent), under the direction of licensed, doctoral level psychologists, and offer a formal program of training for interns.

Under extraordinary circumstances, students may petition the CPC to complete a non-accredited or non-APPIC member internship.  In evaluating the petition, the CPC will balance the needs of the student with the good of the profession, protection of the public, and ethical standards.  Students must gain approval from the CPC before applying to any internship that is neither APA accredited nor an APPIC member, the student should seek approval from the CPC. 

For more information on the internship application and completion process, refer to the Handbook for Graduate Programs in Clinical Psychology.


Learning Objectives

The goal of the program is to train professionally competent clinical psychologists with a broad background in the field of psychology who can apply psychological theory, assessment, research methodology, and clinical skill to complex clinical problems.  To elaborate this goal, our program has five broad training objectives:

  • Provide a generalist model of training in the discipline of psychology;
  • Develop fundamental clinical skills based on scientific research;
  • Develop fundamental skills for psychological research;
  • Promote high academic, ethical, and professional standards in all aspects of professional development and practice; and
  • Prepare students to adapt their methods and practice to meet the needs of diverse populations.