Clinical (Adult and Child)

Clinical (Adult and Child)

Our PCSAS1 and APA2 accredited Clinical Science program is designed to train graduate students to produce and disseminate cutting edge knowledge that moves the field of clinical science forward. The program simultaneously provides outstanding applied training in assessment and intervention, which prepares students with the educational background needed to pursue subsequent professional licensure3.

The overall goal of the training program is to provide a seamless integration of clinical science and practice. We provide students with the highest quality science-centered education and training in both research and application. Our graduates demonstrate competence: (a) to conduct research relevant to the promotion of mental health, and the assessment, prevention, treatment, and understanding of psychopathology; and (b) to apply clinical science to design, develop, select, evaluate, deliver, supervise, and disseminate empirically based assessments, interventions, and prevention strategies.

The structure of tomorrow’s health care system should be determined based on the best scientific evidence available. Penn State’s graduates are playing leading roles in this future — designing, building, overseeing, delivering, and evaluating the science-driven health-care system of tomorrow.

In addition to course work, students are expected to engage in both research and practice throughout their graduate training. Students generally complete course work during their first three to four years, and complete their dissertation in the fifth year. Most students complete their predoctoral internship in the sixth year. The program includes courses in clinical psychology, neuroscience, personality, research design, psychopathology, psychotherapy, clinical assessment, and statistics. Students must also meet APA Discipline Specific Knowledge requirements covering biological bases of behavior, cognitive bases of behavior, affective bases of behavior, social bases of behavior, and developmental lifespan psychology.  The main clinical training practica occur in the departmental Psychological Clinic and its community and school based services, as well as occasional externship placements. Several specialized clinical courses and seminars, focused on the interest areas of the faculty, are offered regularly

The adult clinical track has a clinical science focus with areas of research specialization in psychotherapy process and outcome, personality assessment, personality disorders, multicultural factors in psychopathology, clinical neuropsychology, anxiety disorders and PTSD, intimate partner violence, and addiction. Faculty labs employ a range of advanced research methods including brain imaging, longitudinal studies, ecological momentary assessment and experience sampling, psychophysiological assessment, and direct clinical interviews. The Psychological Clinic includes a Practice Research Network, allowing students streamlined access to clinical populations for research and promoting the seamless integration of science and practice. Students gain intensive research experience usually in close collaboration with one faculty mentor, and typically have several publications upon program completion. Students also gain extensive clinical experiences in cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic therapies, clinical neuropsychology, diagnostic assessment, and crisis management. 

The child clinical track also has a clinical science focus. It lies at the interface of developmental and clinical psychology, and emphasizes intervention and research with individuals ranging in age from infancy to young adulthood. Students in this track obtain specialized training in: (1) research in developmental psychopathology, including understanding the effects of biological, cognitive, social, emotional, family and community contexts on typical and atypical development, and research on translating knowledge to interventions to foster early school age mental health and coping with the stresses families and children face; and (2) mental health services to children and families, including evidence-based intervention, school-based consultation and comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation. Specific areas of expertise in the child track faculty include infant and toddler emotional development, neuropsychology of disruptive behavior disorders, child abuse, anxiety and mood disorders, and prevention programs. In addition to the general clinical requirements, the child track specialization includes core courses in Child Psychopathology, Clinical Child Intervention, and Clinical Child Assessment. Students can also choose to complete either a minor in Developmental Psychology or the Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN).

1Questions related to the program’s PCSAS accredited status should be directed to the PCSAS

Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation SystemJoe Steinmetz, Executive Director1800 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 402Washington, DC  20036-1218  USA Phone: (301) 455-8046Web: http://www.pcsas.org 

2Questions related to the program’s APA 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: apaaccred@apa.org   
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

3Many US states and territories require professional licensure/certification to be employed. If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession after completing this program, please visit the Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map. Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System

Joe Steinmetz, Executive Director1800 Massachusetts Ave NW, Suite 402Washington, DC  20036-1218  USA Phone: (301) 455-8046Web: http://www.pcsas.org