PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Clinical Psychology Degree is offered in two tracks: Civilian and Military. View the Military Track.

The Clinical Psychology-Civilian Track is designed to prepare graduates for careers as clinical researchers in government or civilian academic settings. Graduates of the Clinical Psychology-Civilian Track are primarily trained to be independent clinical researchers, and have the skills to provide evidence-based care across a variety of settings.

Upon entry into the program, students are matched with a primary advisor and are expected to become involved in ongoing research. In addition to completing research relevant to their degrees, all students contribute to research projects that are being completed in their research advisor’s research laboratory. The amount of time that students commit to other laboratory projects will vary throughout their training and will be determined by their research advisor. Typically in the application process, students have identified the primary advisor with whom they intend to work. Students typically work with their advisor in research, but students may do research with adjunct faculty or faculty other than their primary advisor. In such cases, the advisor continues to monitor student progress in consultation with the other faculty.

CURRICULUM

Civilian-Track students complete the core curriculum requirements for BOTH the Medical Psychology and Clinical Psychology programs.

A minimum of 48 credit hours (to include both graded and pass/fail courses) are required to graduate for a Masters. A minimum of 32 credit hours must be from graded course (there is no minimum number of hours required from required courses). A minimum of 144 hours (to include both graded and pass/fail courses) is required to graduate for a PhD A minimum of 48 credit hours must be from graded courses.

Civilian Track students are expected to complete the program in 6 to 7 years (i.e., 5 to 6 years at USU and 1 year clinical practicum). Compared to the Military Track, more time is afforded to those in the Civilian Track for the purpose of developing more expansive and in depth clinical research skills. Civilian Track students are expected to write at least one grant application related to their own research interests. Given the mission of USU, it is expected that students will pursue research that is relevant to the health of the Uniformed Services and/or Nation.

CORE COURSES (25 CREDITS)

Discipline Specific Knowledge

History and Systems

MPO519 History and Systems of Psychology - 2

Basic Content

MPO549 Affective Basis of Behavior - 2

MPO1000 Physiological Basis of Behavior - 3

MPO513 Physiological Basis of Behavior - credits vary

MPO511 Psychopharmacology - 3 credits

MPO539 Cognitive Psychology 3 OR MPO514 Psychology of Learning - 3 credits

MPO532 Lifespan Development - 3 credits

MPO505 Social Psychology - 3 credits

Advanced Integrative Knowledge

MPO605 Health Psychology/Behavioral Medicine - 3 credits

Methods of Inquiry/Research

MPO901 Research Methods I - 3 credits

MPO902 Research Methods and Complex Human Experimentation II - 3 credits

IDO502 Experimental Statistics and Design I - 3 credits

IDO502 Experimental Statistics and Design II - 3 credits

PMO511 Introduction to Epidemiology - 3 credits

Profession-Wide Competencies

Research

MPO999 Dissertation Research - credits vary

MPO903 Research in Medical Psychology - credits vary

Ethical and Legal Standards

MPO527 Ethics in Psychology - 3 credits

IDO704 Scientific Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research - 2 credits

Individual and Cultural Diversity

MPO536 Cultural Diversity - 3 credits

Professional values/attitudes/behavior

MPO546 Foundations of Psychotherapy - 3 credits

Communication/Interpersonal Skills and Supervision

MPO601 Medical Psychology Seminar & Case Conference (Years 1-4) - 1 credit

MPO404 Practicum - credits vary

MPO405 Internship - credits vary

Assessment

MPO551 Clinical Assessment for Adults: Cognitive & Personality I - 4 credits

MPO552 Clinical Assessment for Adults: Cognitive & Personality II - 4 credits

MPO553 Clinical Assessment for Adults: Cognitive & Personality III - 4 credits

Intervention

MPO526 Psychopathology - 4 credits

MPO541 Brief Dynamic Therapy - 4 credits

MPO561 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I - 4 credits

MPO562 Cognitive Behavioral Therapy II - 4 credits

1 Clinical Elective Course (see elective course listing) - credits vary

Supervision

MPO1002 Public Policy 3 OR PMO526 Health Systems - 3 credits

MPO601 MPS Seminar & Clinical Teams - 1 credit

Program Competencies

Teaching

Serves as Teaching Assistant (after second year) - credits vary

ELECTIVE COURSES (MINIMUM OF 6 CREDITS)

These courses must be completed before the student advances to candidacy

MPO301 Military Psychology II 3

MPO301 Military Psychology I :I/O & Human Factors 3

MPO502 Psychophysiology 3

MPO506 Personality Theory 3

MPO509 Appetitive Behaviors 3

MPO510 Stress 3

MPO515 Behavioral Factors in Chronic Disease 3

MPO701 Tutorial in Medical Psychology 3

MPO803 Special Topics in Medical & Clinical Psychology 3

NSO506 Introduction to Neuroscience  3

MPO518 Advanced Statistics 3

PMO503 Biostatistics I 3

PMO504 Biostatistics II 3

PMO508 Biostatistics III 3

PMO512 Epidemiologic Methods 3

PMO513 Advanced Epidemiologic Methods 3

MPO303 Stress and Trauma in the Military Context  3

MPO410 Art of Psychotherapy 3

MPO545 Integrative Psychology 3

MPO530 Group Psychotherapy 3

MPO533 Neuropsychology Credits vary

MPO543 Foundations of Intervention: Marital and Couples Therapy  3

MPO547 Integrated Primary Care 3

MPO534 Planning, Implementing, & Evaluating Human Service Programs  3

MPO1003 Advanced Health Policy 3

TEACHING

After their first year of training all Military Track students are expected to serve as a teaching assistant for at least two courses/activities each academic year.

CLINICAL PRACTICUM (CREDITS VARY)

MPO404 Practicum  - (credits vary)

The clinical practicum training experiences are designed to provide systematic, progressively intensive training in the application of psychological principles, techniques, and skills to human problems. Practicum sites are located at USU-affiliated teaching hospitals, Veterans Affairs hospitals, and other community clinical centers throughout the National Capital Area. Training at these sites will focus on the development of assessment, intervention, and organization consultation skills for a wide range of problems. Students are expected to discuss the selection of practicum sites with their Clinical Training Advisor prior to application. Most practicum sites require an application and an on-site interview with the students. These practicum sites are often considering students from other clinical programs in the National Capital Area, thus students are encouraged to apply to multiple practicum sites.

Below are the number of hours students in each track should expect to earn each year and summer to accrue a sufficient number of clinical hours for clinical practicum. These expectations may be modified based on special circumstances and on progress toward completing research milestones. In addition to these hours, students should expect to complete at least 10 integrated assessment reports during their various practica.

Expected Number of Face-to-Face Assessment and Intervention Hours:

MPS Face-to-Face Assessment and Intervention Hours

INTERNSHIP

MPO405 Internship - 12 credits

Students attend internship during their 6th or 7th year in the program.  It is expected that students will apply and, to the degree possible, will attend an internship accredited by the American Psychological Association.

MASTER'S THESIS

The topic, design, and format of the Master’s thesis are determined in collaboration between the student and research advisor. The student’s research advisor chairs the Master’s thesis committee. In addition to the chair, the committee includes two other faculty members, with at least one of these faculty members having a primary or secondary appointment in the Medical and Clinical Psychology Department. Although the third committee member is typically an MPS faculty member, the student may include faculty from other departments or from outside of the University with the approval of the faculty advisor and other MPS committee member. Committee members independently read the thesis and determine whether the student passes.

SECOND YEAR PAPER

The topic and the structure of the second year paper are developed in collaboration with the student’s research advisor. Usually the second year paper is a complete draft, but not necessarily the final draft, of the Master’s thesis. The second year paper can also be a separate project from the Master’s thesis. It is expected that students will complete the second year paper by the end of August of their second year. The student’s research advisor is the only reviewer of the second year paper. The student’s research advisor will send a memo to the Director of Graduate Studies upon satisfactory completion of this requirement.

QUALIFYING EXAMINATIONS & ADVANCEMENT TO CANDIDACY

A written examination is administered at the end of the second year. This examination is oriented toward developing students’ ability to integrate specific areas of psychology. This exam must be passed before students are advanced to candidacy and apply for the Ph.D. degree.

The qualifying exam has been composed of eight “2-hour blocks” over three contiguous days. One question is administered at the outset of each “2-hour block.” There are 6 questions on the qualifying exam. Each question is scored by 2 individuals, the "question writer" and a second "grader." Each grader scores using a 1-5 scale where: 1 = worst possible score, 3 = just passed, 5 = best possible score. A mean score is taken of the two scores.

A “pass” is defined as a mean score on a question which is greater than or equal to 3.

A “fail” is defined as a mean score on a question which is less than 3.

Each candidate has a mean score on each of the 6 questions. They also have an overall mean score for the exam (overall score = mean of the 6 mean scores). Outcomes are treated as follows:

MPS Qualifying Exams

 

ADMISSION TO CANDIDACY

The following are required to be admitted to candidacy and enroll in dissertation hours:

  • Completion of required formal coursework
  • A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Completion teaching assistant assignments
  • Completion of Master’s Thesis
  • Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination
  • The dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.

THIRD YEAR PAPER

In the third year, each student must select a suitable topic and prepare either a review paper in the style of Psychological Bulletin or an NIH-style grant proposal. This third year paper must be read and approved by two faculty members. The purpose of this paper is to familiarize students with the process of organizing and preparing reviews of research literature and/or writing grant applications. This paper must be completed and approved before beginning the doctoral dissertation research project.

The Third Year Paper is due at the end of the spring quarter of the third year.

OBJECTIVE STRUCTURED CLINICAL EXAM

The Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) is a one-day examination at the end of the third year required for all students in the Clinical Program.

The OSCE serves multiple purposes. It allows faculty to assess whether clinical skillsets expected for clinical practicum are being adequately developed. It also allows feedback about their relative strengths and weaknesses and areas to continue to develop prior to going to clinical practicum.

Students will rotate through clinical encounters with standardized patients at the Sim Center. These standardized clinical encounters are used to evaluate assessment, clinical, ethical, and professional skills. Students will be asked to interpret assessment data, interview and provide treatment, and demonstrate the ability to assess and manage crisis situations. It is expected that the OSCE will take place over two days. The exact procedures for the OSCE are still in development.

Students will be rated by faculty and the standardized patient on components of the skills being evaluated.

Specific instructions regarding the format of the OSCE are provided at least three months before the exam to assist students with their preparation.

DISSERTATION

DISSERTATION (15 CREDIT MINIMUM)

MPO999 Doctoral Dissertation - credits vary

Students in the Civilian Track have the opportunity to complete either Standard Dissertation Format (Format A), or Alternate Dissertation Format (Format B). Students must request permission to complete their doctoral dissertation following Format B.

FORMAT A (STANDARD DISSERTATION FORMAT)

The Dissertation Proposal is completed before study to obtain committee’s input and approval) and includes 3 chapters: Introduction, Methods, and Proposed Analyses and Expected Results

The Dissertation Defense is conducted after completion of the study and consists of the following parts: Abstract, Introduction (Chapter 1), Methods (Chapter 2), Results, Discussion (Chapter 3).

FORMAT B (ALTERNATE DISSERTATION FORMAT)

The purpose of following the Format B is to promote skills and experience in publishing professional manuscripts and in conducting programmatic research. Format B more closely matches the current practices in scientific publication. Students are expected to engage in careful discussion with their graduate mentors and thesis advisors before choosing their doctoral dissertation format. Based on the student’s programmatic work to date, their experience and interest in publishing their professional work, and their career goals, this format may be recommended over the Standard dissertation format.

The Dissertation Proposal is completed before study to obtain committee’s input and approval) and includes 3 chapters: Introduction (Chapter 1), Three Proposed Studies including Methods and Proposed Analyses and Expected Results (Chapters 2-4).

The Dissertation Defense is conducted after completion of the study and consists of the following parts: Abstract, Introduction (Chapter 1), Three Completed Studies including Methods and Results (Chapters 2-4), Discussion (Chapter 5). At least one of the manuscripts must be published or in press in a peer-reviewed journal.

MPS Clinical Civilian Timeline

ANNUAL EVALUATIONS

Each year the student evaluation committee meets to evaluate the progress of each student in the department. The purpose of this evaluation process is to provide you with annual feedback regarding strengths that have been observed as well as areas where improvements can be made. This information is designed to provide useful input on your progress, to provide an assessment of your progress in a number of competencies (e.g., whether you exceeded expectations, met expectations, or did not meet expectations), and to help in your professional development.

The areas considered include classroom performance, research, professional competencies, and clinical competencies (clinical students). Foundational and functional competencies involve the following domains: Professionalism, Relational, Science, Application, Education, and Systems.

ADMISSION

International Students will be considered if they have earned a baccalaureate degree from a United States College/University.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  • A complete employment history

Additional Application Requirements

APPLICATION DEADLINES

Deadline for full consideration of applications for the Fall Quarter is December 1st. Receipt of applications by this deadline will allow prospective students to be considered for financial support.

FINANCIALS

TUITION AND FEES

Tuition: $0

Fees: $0

Equipment: $0

Tuition and fees are waived for students. *Most textbooks are provided free of charge, but on occasion they may be required to purchase books. Civilian students do not incur service obligation to the United States government after the completion of their graduate studies.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

USU provides an attractive package of financial support to students, which will be administered as a part-time Federal salary for your position as a Research Associate. Total compensation is highly competitive with other local universities. As an Administratively Determined (AD) Federal employee, your salary is subject to standard taxes and withholdings.

As an AD employee, you will receive standard Federal benefits including contributions towards health insurance, retirement, and transit costs. Additionally, you have the option to decline certain benefits, which will increase your net income. Students are supported as Federal employees for the first 3 three years of their enrollment. After this period, students transition to employment as Research Associates by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HJF). These positions are supported by grants awarded to mentors or by fellowships awarded to students.

There are no tuition charges for graduate students at USU, nor is there any requirement in the form of government or military service. Most required textbooks are provided without charge.

FELLOWSHIPS

The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine annually provides support for 1-3 graduate fellowships. The fellowships are competitively awarded annually to outstanding USU civilian graduate student doctoral candidates in the USU School of Medicine who meet the following criteria:

  • The student's USU-supported funding has ended or will end in August of the year of the award
  • The student has advanced to candidacy and is in good academic standing

Applicants must provide information on their research plan and progress, and have the support of their Program Director. Selections are made in June and announced prior to 1 August of each year.

Graduate student fellowship support is also competitively available from many other sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Foundation, and various private foundations such as the American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, etc. Check with the USU Office of Research and/or the Graduate Education Office for various opportunities to compete for extramural funding.

DOCTORAL STUDENT RESEARCH FUNDS

USU maintains a special fund to finance doctoral student research. This resource is designed to provide funds to graduate students in addition to those provided by their major advisor. Funds are available to graduate students who have completed two years of graduate study at USU or who have been advanced to candidacy and are devoting a majority of their time to their dissertation research. Graduate research funds are currently available for two academic years. Funding beyond two years is evaluated on a case by case basis and must be approved by the Graduate Education Committee. In recent years, the maximum amount of funds available each year to eligible graduate students has varied between $1,500 and $2,500.

Forms to apply for USU graduate research funding are available from the GEO and will be sent to those students eligible in July of each year. These applications are relatively short if the funding requested is part of an already accepted University protocol by a major professor. If the research funding represents an entirely new protocol, the normal USU research review procedures must be followed. Information on which course of action is appropriate is available in the GEO. These protocols are administered by the Office of Research Administration at USU. You, your advisor, and your Program Director will receive notification when the funding is approved.