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UCF - Graduate Program Handbooks 2016-2017

Program Info

Last Updated 2016-05-31

Clinical Psychology PhD



Together, the Graduate Student Handbook and your graduate program handbook should serve as your main guide throughout your graduate career. The Graduate Student Handbook includes university information, policies, requirements and guidance for all graduate students. Your program handbook describes the details about graduate study and requirements in your specific program. While both of these handbooks are wonderful resources, know that you are always welcome to talk with faculty and staff in your program and in the Graduate College.

The central activities and missions of a university rest upon the fundamental assumption that all members of the university community conduct themselves in accordance with a strict adherence to academic and scholarly integrity. As a graduate student and member of the university community, you are expected to display the highest standards of academic and personal integrity.

Here are some resources to help you better understand your responsibilities:

Introduction

The formal curriculum plan is detailed below (see PhD Program in Clinical Psychology Required Courses) and consists of four basic components. The first component develops competence in the foundations of Psychology (i.e., biological bases of behavior, cognitive/affective bases of behavior, social and developmental bases of behavior). Graduate students also complete a core curriculum that provides comprehensive coverage of the core substantive areas of psychopathology, psychological measurement and assessment, essentials of psychotherapy and intervention, research methods, basic and advanced statistics, cross-cultural psychology, and ethics/professional issues.

The second component entails the attainment of requisite clinical skills and practices and is accomplished by continuous engagement in clinical training beginning with graduate students’ first year in the program and culminating with an intensive full-year clinical Pre-doctoral Internship (typically taken in the 5th year of training). During the first year of training, graduate students are expected to observe clinical services being provided by more senior students via an assigned practicum or via their major professor’s research clinic and to ultimately become comfortable conducting structured diagnostic assessments.

During the second year of training, graduate students complete a two-semester sequence of Practicum training in the program’s Psychology Clinic under Clinical Faculty supervision. This experience provides extensive hands-on training in basic intake procedures, structured and semi-structured diagnostic interviewing, assessment (e.g., of behavioral, cognitive, intellectual, academic, and/or personality functioning), clinical observation, administration and interpretation of tests and instruments for quantifying clients’ levels of functioning, integration of information for purposes of case conceptualization, selecting and initiating evidenced-based intervention, assessing clinical outcome, oral case presentation, and writing of case notes and formal reports. Graduate students carry a caseload that provides approximately three client contact hours per credit hour taken per week, participate in clinical supervision in individual and/or group formats, and complete written psychosocial histories/reports, case notes, and a clinical activity log. Although the actual number of patients assessed/treated may vary depending upon the goals of the Practicum section and the individual student, the requirement for the successful completion of second year Practicum is that the student must demonstrate engagement in approximately three client contact hours per credit hour taken per week and be showing progressive and developmentally appropriate gains in their clinical knowledge and abilities as assessed by Clinical Faculty.  

For most students, third year clinical training will occur in the Psychology Clinic.  This arrangement allows Clinical Faculty to ensure that graduate students will possess the necessary skills to work in Externship settings in their fourth year and that their work in those settings will reflect positively on themselves and the Ph.D. program. This arrangement is particularly important for those graduate students who would benefit from continued close supervision by the Clinical Faculty to demonstrate that they are showing progressive and developmentally appropriate gains in their clinical knowledge and abilities.  For graduate students who enter the program with prior clinical experiences, they may begin Externship in their third year if approved to do so by the Clinical Faculty. The third year also may be a blended year, in which the graduate student spends the first half of the year in on-site Practicum and begins Externship in spring semester. Externship is defined as an off-campus training site where there is weekly supervision conducted by a doctoral level Clinical Psychologist. These Externships may occur in various community settings, including inpatient and outpatient community mental health settings, local hospitals, and specialty substance abuse programs. These Externships are designed to have graduate students engage in assessment and psychotherapy/intervention services with patient populations that are not commonly encountered in the Psychology Clinic (e.g., patients with serious mental illness, substance dependence, suicidal populations, veterans, homeless populations) and consistent with the graduate students’ advanced level of training.

The third component provides a range of advanced seminar courses that develop specific areas of knowledge and skills (e.g., teaching). For example, graduate students may elect to fulfill one of their Comprehensive Competency domains in teaching after completing the teaching seminar and do so by serving as the instructor for an undergraduate course under the direct supervision of clinical faculty.

The fourth curriculum component entails the continuous involvement in research activities throughout graduate training. During the first semester, graduate students receive didactic instruction that exposes them to Clinical Faculty research coupled with fundamental knowledge concerning program requirements (e.g., Master's Thesis, Dissertation); preparing submissions for conferences, scientific journals, and grants; university-level instruction; and basic data collection. Graduate students work under the tutelage of Clinical Faculty and engage in a mentored research experience leading to the oral proposal of a Master’s Thesis ideally during their third semester. Graduate students are encouraged to present their findings at professional conferences and to publish their work in appropriate journal outlets (note: Clinical Faculty have the option of encouraging their graduate students to write their Master's Theses in APA publication format to facilitate journal writing competence and to emphasize the relationship between conducting research and expanding the knowledge base of psychology through publication and peer review). Successful defense of the Master’s Thesis is expected by the fifth semester.  Coupled with completion of required course work and Graduate School approval, this defense culminates in the awarding of the Master of Science degree. All graduate students author or co-author an empirically-based research article to fulfill the research domain of the Doctoral Candidacy/Comprehensive Examination requirement. All Comprehensive corners must be completed before Dissertation research can commence (note: see Candidacy and Comprehensive Examinations section, below). Graduate students develop an independent research focus following the awarding of the Master of Science Degree under the tutelage of a supervisory committee headed by the graduate student’s major professor that leads to the Doctoral Dissertation. Participation in research projects other than the Master's Thesis and Dissertation, whether self-initiated and/or faculty sponsored, is encouraged strongly throughout graduate training.

Some of the curricular components are sequenced (e.g., core courses occur prior to advanced training), whereas others occur simultaneously (e.g., research and practicum training). Graduate students are encouraged to complete their Dissertations by the end of the fourth year of training and prior to leaving to complete their off-campus Pre-doctoral Internship. Graduate students must propose their Dissertation successfully by October 1st to be eligible to apply for Predoctoral Internship, and Dissertation data collection must be in progress prior to a graduate student submitting their APPIC final ranking (rankings usually are submitted during the month of February). The Clinical Faculty expects all Dissertation data to be collected prior to a graduate student’s departure for Pre-doctoral Internship. Graduate students interested in pursuing their Pre-doctoral Internship must submit a Petition for Internship form to the Director of Clinical Training, who, in turn, will review the petition with the Clinical Faculty at the next scheduled Clinical Faculty meeting. The following information must be included with the petition:

(a)  A copy of the Dissertation proposal form with committee member signatures.

(b)  A copy of the updated APPIC form that details clinical training and practicum experiences as a doctoral student.

(c)  A brief summary of expected timelines and progress thus far with respect to the Dissertation.

In summary, training is accomplished through an integrated set of classroom, laboratory, and community-based experiences consistent with a scientist-practitioner model of training and to support the critical professional dimensions for future Clinical Psychologists. There are 84 semester hours of courses, seminars, practica, and research. These experiences evolve from the development of basic skills in the first year to the more advanced skills of students in fourth year (e.g., supervision of more junior students). Graduate students are expected to be making developmentally appropriate gains, particularly in their clinical and research skill development, as they proceed through the program.  Graduate students are expected to complete their Dissertations in the fourth to fifth year of study and to complete an off-campus internship in the fifth year. The Ph.D. degree will be awarded upon completion of the internship (and all University requirements) at the end of the fifth year.

The Director of Clinical Training and a committee of Clinical Faculty and students administer the program. Courses are presented in sequential fashion, and there is a required Candidacy and Comprehensive Examination prior to initiation of Dissertation research. The Dissertation Committee oversees this research endeavor and serves in an educational and clinical advisory capacity to the candidate.

Transfer Credit

Graduate students may be eligible to waive or transfer up to 30 credit hours for credits earned from a completed Master’s Thesis degree from an accredited institution (as long as this number does not exceed 50% of the programs requirements). Each graduate student’s situation is considered individually by the Clinical Faculty. Graduate students should submit a request to the Director of Clinical Training and provide a course catalog description, course syllabus, and other relevant information to enable the Clinical Faculty to make a determination of equivalence with a course in the PhD curriculum. The waived hours must come from graduate-level course work (e.g., numbered 5000 and above in the Florida SUS approach). No courses with grades less than “B” will be considered for waiver. Graduate students who did not complete an empirical Master's Thesis as part of their required training at another accredited institution must complete an empirical Master's Thesis prior to forming a Dissertation committee. Graduate students who completed an empirical Master's Thesis at their former accredited institution may submit their Master's Thesis to the Director of Clinical Training, who will assign a Clinical Faculty committee to review the Master's Thesis and determine whether it meets the PhD program’s standards for excellence. Graduate students must propose and successfully defend an approved Master's Thesis under the direction of Clinical Faculty if their Master's Thesis that was completed at a previous institution fails to meet the PhD program’s standards.

APA Accreditation

The PhD Program in Clinical Psychology in the Department of Psychology received its initial accreditation for five years in 2003.  The program then was re-accredited by the American Psychological Association in 2008. For further information, contact the APA Office of Accreditation, 750 First Street N.E., Washington, DC 20002-4242. Telephone: 202/336-5979.

Requirements for Licensure

Licensure as a Psychologist is governed by states (and provinces in Canada). Thus, graduates will need to become familiar with the laws governing licensure in their intended place of residence. Florida Statute 490 governs licensure in this state, and information concerning licensure is provided in the Ethics and Professional Issues course.

Clinical Practicum

Vision for Clinical Training

Clinical training, like research training, should be integrated throughout all levels of the graduate student’s time in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program.  Clinical training can take many different forms and includes didactics, Practicum, Externship, and Pre-doctoral Internship. Clinical training now is conceptualized as including training in supervision and consultation as well as the provision of actual clinical services. The Commission on Accreditation requires that clinical activity be consistent with the program’s model of training. For UCF, this training would entail experiences and places that are consistent with a scientist-practitioner model, which have training opportunities consistent with a model of doctoral training, and that there are sufficient breadth and depth of experiences to be consistent with the unique training goals of any particular student.  This new vision requires thinking outside of old parameters.  The following criteria guide the clinical training experiences at UCF. 

Year I.  Clinical training begins the week of matriculation at UCF and includes both didactic training in psychopathology and assessment as well as the Introduction to Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy course.  This course includes one hour of didactics and assignment to either a mentor’s clinic or a Practicum consistent with their overall career goals and may include different rotational experiences throughout this year. These experiences will take place in the Psychology Clinic.  Graduate students also will attend oral examinations of senior students who are completing the clinical corner of their Comprehensive Examination. 

Goals for the First Year

Achieve comfort working with patient populations, acquire thorough knowledge of assessment and psychopathology, be able to independently assess patient presenting complaint, and acquire basic knowledge of intervention skills.

Competencies for the First Year

Demonstrate basic knowledge in assessment and psychopathology:

  • Demonstrate basic understanding of ethics and professional behavior.
  • Demonstrate basic ability to interact professionally with a patient.
  • Demonstrate basic ability to join with clients using basic clinic skills.
  • Demonstrate basic clinical management skills.
  • Demonstrate basic ability to conduct unstructured and structured/semi-structured clinical interviews with a patient.
  • Demonstrate basic ability to generate potential diagnoses and determine a working diagnosis, accurately ruling out alternatives.
  • Demonstrate basic ability to assist in the administration of therapy, under the guidance of senior student and supervisor.

Year II. Courses in empirically supported treatments occur this year. The graduate student also begins independent (under Clinical Faculty supervision) provision of psychological assessment/psychotherapy/intervention consistent with the graduate student’s individual goals and developmental clinical skill level. This includes enrollment in Practica consistent with the structure established by individual Practica supervisors.

Goals for the Second Year

Independently provide assessment and/or psychotherapy/intervention services through ongoing Practica experiences. At the minimum, there should be approximately three hours of direct clinical contact per week per credit hour of Practicum taken of clinical activities consistent with graduate students' educational and career goals (excluding supervision). Although the actual number of patients assessed/treated may vary depending upon the goals of the Practicum and the individual graduate student, the requirement for the successful completion of second year Practicum is that the graduate student must demonstrate engagement in approximately three hours of direct clinical contact per credit hour of Practicum taken per week.  In order to achieve that goal, the graduate student may have to schedule more than that number of hours to account for “no shows”.   It should be noted that the Clinical Faculty will be looking for graduate students to achieve a developmentally appropriate level of skill development during their completion of Practicum.

Successfully complete interventions courses with thorough understanding of empirically supported treatments (both psychological and pharmacological).

Competencies for the Second Year

Demonstrate the ability to independently assess/treat patients with at least moderate psychopathology, consistent with the Psychology Clinic’s standards for care.

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate course of assessment/treatment in writing though accurate case notes, assessment reports, and initial evaluation/termination summaries.
  • Demonstrate the accurate scoring of a variety of assessment instruments.
  • Demonstrate the ability to treat patients using a single case design strategy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to accurately present case conceptualizations and treatment progress to supervisor and other graduate students. 

Years III and onward: For most graduate students, the third year will be another year of in-clinic Practicum in order that Clinical Faculty are assured that graduate students possess the necessary skills to work in Externship settings and their work in those settings reflects positively on themselves and the PhD program. This experience will be especially important for those graduate students who would benefit from continued close supervision by the Clinical Faculty to demonstrate that they are showing progressive and developmentally appropriate gains in their clinical knowledge and abilities.  For graduate students who enter the PhD program with prior clinical experiences, they may begin externship in their third year if approved to do so by the Clinical Faculty. This also may be a blended year, in which the graduate student spends the first half of the year in Practicum and begins Externship with spring semester. Externship is defined as an off-campus training site where there is weekly supervision conducted by a doctoral level Clinical Psychologist. Externship training requires substantive time and effort as well as distance from the UCF campus. Graduate students may receive this advanced Externship training through work in university-community partnership arrangements. Partners have included organizations such as Lakeside Alternatives, Florida Hospital, LaAmistad (child and adult inpatient units), Center for Drug-Free Living, the Orlando Veterans Administration Medical Center, and other sites deemed appropriate for doctoral level training. Graduate students will not begin Externship until they have successfully defended their Master’s Thesis. If students have completed their Master's Thesis successfully, beginning with the third year, the graduate student works closely with their major professor, the Clinical Faculty, and Director of Clinical Training to tailor their training to meet their unique background and training goals. Despite the overall setting in which clinical training occurs, the goals of the clinical training require the graduate student to achieve, by the time of application for internship, the developmentally appropriate knowledge and skills necessary to successfully compete for, and do well in, an internship setting.

Goals for These Years

Independently provide assessment and/or treatment services through ongoing Practica/Externship experiences. At the minimum there should be ten hours per week of direct patient contact in addition to supervision. Although the actual number of clients assessed/treated may vary depending upon the goals of the Practicum and the individual graduate student, at the minimum the goal is for the graduate student to have a variety of training experiences, consistent with the graduate student’s training goals and career aspirations.

During the year prior to application for Pre-doctoral Internship, the graduate student will enroll in Practicum supervision (for either one or three credits) and will acquire the knowledge and skills needed to provide supervision of junior colleagues.

Competencies for These Years

Demonstrate the ability to independently assess/treat patients with moderate and severe psychopathology, consistent with the Psychology Clinic’s standards for care and standards of the externship setting where they may work

  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate course of assessment/treatment in writing, with clinical sophistication, accurate case notes, assessment reports and initial evaluation/termination summaries.
  • Demonstrate the ability to treat patients using a single case design strategy.
  • Demonstrate the ability to accurately present case conceptualizations and treatment progress, with clinical sophistication to supervisor and other graduate students.
  • Demonstrate accurate scoring of a variety of assessment instruments.
  • Demonstrate mastery of at least two different forms of intervention (e.g., individual treatment, group treatment, parent management training, marital therapy).
  • Demonstrate the ability to assess and treat patients with different types of psychopathology and who represent diversity in terms of age, sex, race/ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

For Year Prior to Internship

Demonstrate knowledge in the theory and practice of effective supervision

  • Demonstrate the ability to accurately supervise a junior student, providing effective modeling of appropriate clinical skills and effective feedback lading to growth in the skills of the junior student.
  • Demonstrate the ability to prepare a comprehensive written and oral clinical case review that includes a thorough literature review relevant to the case formulation and conceptualization, selection of appropriate measurement/assessment techniques and instruments, treatment design, and detailed results of the outcome coupled with recommendations and discussion of findings. This case will be presented to the Clinical Faculty as part of Comprehensive Examinations.

Overall, these Practicum training goals reflect the PhD program’s emphasis on developing scientist-practitioners. These goals include:

  • Integration of a scientific and empirical orientation into clinical practice.
  • Familiarity with the current literature relevant to clinical activities.
  • Systematic training to help students develop clinical skills and conceptualize cases.
  • Regular supervision from on-site and program supervisors.
  • Ongoing therapy contact with clients.
  • An integration of assessment and treatment.
  • On-site clinical and didactic conferences and seminars.

Graduate students participate in on-site Practicum for a minimum of one year (typically Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters of their second year). Graduate students register for three semester credit hours each semester. If the Clinical Faculty does not believe that a graduate student has made sufficient progress in the attainment of basic clinical skills, then that graduate student will be directed to enroll in an additional year (or more) of on-site Practicum. In keeping with APA practice norms, the program attempts to provide approximately 1000 hours or more of supervised clinical experience to help graduate students prepare for their Pre-doctoral Internship. Additional experiences may be sought out by graduate students in consultation with their major professor and the Director of Clinical Training.

Externship assignments are made in consultation with graduate students and the Clinical Faculty. During the Spring semester, a list of available external sites for the upcoming academic year is presented in a student meeting. Graduate students rank order their site preferences and forward this information to the Practicum committee, which determines final placement based on multiple factors (e.g., the appropriateness of the site for the graduate student’s level of training, past Practica placements, readiness, progress in the program, professional goals). External Practica training is considered to be as important as course work and is required of all graduate students. 

Supervision

All practicum students receive regular and direct supervision from: (a) core Clinical Faculty in the program; and/or (b) selected professionals from the community agencies who meet criteria established by the program. The format of supervision may vary across supervisors. The purpose of supervision is to maintain close contact between the program's Clinical Faculty and students in a clinical context, to encourage the adoption of a scientist-practitioner model in clinical practice, and to facilitate the development of clinical skills.

Evaluation

Program and on-site Practica supervisors evaluate each graduate student at the end of each semester using a Practicum Evaluation Form. These forms provide feedback about graduate student progress and are used in annual student evaluations. Graduate students will be expected to achieve a developmentally appropriate level of clinical skill with each evaluation, with gains being made over time and as an indication that the graduate student will be ready to apply for and be successful with their Pre-doctoral Internship.  Graduate students also complete a Practicum Evaluation Form to provide information concerning their experiences and appropriateness of supervision at a site. This information is used to monitor the type and quality of Practicum training experiences and to aid in the future placement of graduate students.

Insurance

All graduate students are required to have liability insurance before they can be involved in any assessment, therapy, or consultation activities. Arrangements for this insurance are made at the start of the program, prior to initiation of activities, and renewed annually. 

Time2Track

Graduate student will be involved in many clinical activities during their graduate training and will need to carefully track their activities as it will be important when applying for internship. We encourage you to use Time2Track, a web-based program that will allow you to easily track all of your clinical hours. Check with Donna Lucas, the program assistant, for how to set up your account.

Degree Requirements

Program emphasis in the first two years is primarily on training in the foundational areas: psychopathology, assessment, various intervention courses, research methods, Master’s Thesis research, and initial clinical Practica. The final two years focus on advanced program components that prepare students for their personal career goals: advanced seminars, Externships, and Dissertation research.

A Master of Science degree will be awarded to graduate students in route to the completion of the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The M.S. degree is awarded following successful completion of all coursework in the first and second years and successful completion of the Master’s Thesis and oral defense.

After completion of the requirements for the M.S. degree, candidates for the doctorate degree must successfully complete the Candidacy and Comprehensive Examination requirements before beginning Dissertation research (see details below concerning the Candidacy and Comprehensive Examination requirements). Before earning the PhD degree, candidates are required to complete 84 credit hours of required coursework and Dissertation credits, to successfully complete the Dissertation and oral defense, and to complete 2,000 hours at an accredited Pre-doctoral Internship program.

Annual Student Evaluations

Consistent with APA requirements, graduate student progress is evaluated annually by the Clinical Faculty. Evaluations are based on academic performance, clinical proficiency, ethical and professional conduct, research participation, response to supervision, interpersonal behavior, and intrapersonal functioning. Specific examples of exceptional performance standards in these areas include the following:  

Academics: uniformly outstanding academic achievement in coursework

Progress: timely progress toward the completion of a degree

Research: excellence in research and scholarly skills and abilities as reflected through high quality work and participation in research activities beyond those needed for a degree

Presentations: presentations at scientific and professional meetings

Publications: publications in scientific and professional outlets and forums

Clinical work: excellence and accuracy in clinical skills in assessment, diagnosis, therapy, and/or consultation as reflected through research clinic, practicum, and internship experiences

Professional: positive professional demeanor and presentation in interpersonal relations and professional activities with faculty, peers, and colleagues

Adjustment: positive personal and professional behaviors (e.g., self-confidence, maturity, sensitivity, responsibility, cooperation)

Ethics: personal behaviors that reflect adherence to APA Code of Ethics

Graduate students receive annual written feedback on their achievement of program requirements and performance expectations. Such feedback shall include: a) behavioral overview of performance; b) any letters of recognition; c) timely, written notification of all problems that have been noted and the opportunity to discuss them; d) guidance regarding steps to remediate all problems (if remediable); and e) substantive, written feedback on the extent to which corrective actions are or are not successful in addressing the issues of concern.

Predoctoral Internship

Graduate students in Clinical Psychology must complete a Pre-doctoral Internship, typically during the fifth year of their respective programs. Graduate students are encouraged to complete their Dissertations by the end of the fourth year of training and prior to leaving to complete their off-campus Pre-doctoral Internship. Graduate students must successfully propose their Dissertation by October 1st to be eligible to submit applications for Pre-doctoral Internships for the following academic year, and Dissertation data collection must be in progress prior to a graduate student submitting an APPIC final ranking (rankings are usually submitted during the month of February). The Clinical Faculty expects all Dissertation data to be collected prior to a graduate student leaving for their Pre-doctoral Internship. Graduate students who are interested in applying for their Pre-doctoral Internship must submit a Petition for Internship form to the Director of Clinical Training, who, in turn, will review the petition with the Clinical Faculty at the next scheduled Clinical Faculty meeting. The following information must be included with the petition: 

(a) A copy of the Dissertation proposal form with committee member signatures.

(b) A copy of their updated APPIC form that details clinical training and practicum experiences as a doctoral student.

(c) A brief summary of expected timelines and progress thus far with respect to the Dissertation. 

Graduate students must acquire a “letter of readiness” from the Director of Clinical Training certifying that the graduate student has completed all the coursework required for the doctoral degree, has completed the Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations, and has received approval for their Dissertation proposal before submitting an application for Pre-doctoral Internship.

The Pre-doctoral Internship typically lasts 12 months, and the PhD degree is not awarded until all academic work and the Pre-doctoral Internship are completed. The graduate student is responsible, in consultation with his or her major professor, for obtaining a Pre-doctoral Internship assignment. It is expected that the Pre-doctoral Internship be with an APA-Approved Pre-doctoral Internship agency unless the Director of Clinical Training in consultation with the Clinical Faculty has approved an exception.

In addition to discussions with the major professor, graduate students may begin preparation for Pre-doctoral Internship by reviewing various publications. A list of Pre-doctoral Internship sites is published each year in the December issue of the American Psychologist (see “The Accredited Internship and Postdoctoral Programs for Training in Psychology”). An additional source of valuable information concerning pre-doctoral internships in clinical psychology is the APPIC website (www.appic.org/). 

Note: The College of Sciences requires that students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in their plan of study in order to qualify for graduation. 

Curriculum

The Clinical Psychology track in the Psychology PhD Program is designed to be a full-time program, with some summer enrollment expected. There are a total of 84 semester hours of courses, practica, and research requirements.


In addition to the 84 semester hours, graduate students engage in a variety of clinical training experiences that occur in health and mental health facilities throughout greater Orlando. Courses are presented in sequential fashion and students entering with a Bachelor's degree must earn a Master’s degree in route to the PhD. Students who enter with a Master’s degree must complete at least 54 semester hours at UCF. A Dissertation that represents a significant scientific contribution to the discipline is required. Successful completion of the Qualifying and Comprehensive Examination is required to be admitted into candidacy and prior to initiation of Dissertation research.

Required Courses—69 Credit Hours (Plus 15 Dissertation Credit Hours Listed Below)

Psychology Foundation Courses—12 Credit Hours

  • DEP 5057 Developmental Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • SOP 5059 Advanced Social Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • PSB 5005 Physiological Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • EXP 6506 Human Cognition and Learning (3 credit hours)

Research Courses—18 Credit Hours

  • PSY 7217C Advanced Research Methodology I (4 credit hours)
  • PSY 7218C Advanced Research Methodology II (4 credit hours)
  • PSY 7219C Advanced Research Methods III (4 credit hours)
  • PSY 6971 Thesis (6 credit hours) 

Clinical Courses—33 Credit Hours

  • CLP 7446C Child Psychological Assessment (3 credit hours)
  • CLP 7447C Adult Psychological Assessment (3 credit hours)
  • CLP 7145C Introduction to Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy (2 credit hours; taken two times at 1 credit hour each time)
  • CLP 7125 Adult Psychopathology (3 credit hours)
  • CLP 7136 Child Psychopathology (3 credit hours)
  • CLP 7623 Ethical and Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • CLP 7494 Adult Empirically Supported Treatments (3 credit hours) 
  • CLP 7474 Child Empirically Supported Treatments (3 credit hours)
  • CLP 7943C Clinical Practicum (taken 2 times at 3 hours; 6 credit hours)
  • CLP 6949 Pre-doctoral Internship (taken 3 times at 1 credit hours; 3 credit hours) 
  • CLP 7942L Supervision Practicum (1 credit hour)

Professional Development—3 Credit Hours

  • EXP 6939 Teaching Seminar (3 credit hours)

Elective3 Credit Hours

  • Any graduate-level course as approved by the program director

Dissertation—15 Credit Hours

  • PSY 7980 Doctoral Dissertation (15 credit hours)

Quality/Comprehensive Doctoral Examinations

Domain A: Research (required)
  • Theoretical or Review Article, or
  • Empirical Article
Domain B: Clinical Practice/Consultation
  • Comprehensive Case Presentation, or
  • Program Development (Rx/Prevention)
Domain C: Teaching
  • Undergraduate Instructor Experience, or
  • Professional Presentation Experience

Purpose—The purpose of the Qualifying and Comprehensive Examination is to develop and assess competency of professional behaviors in doctoral-level graduate students in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program that are consistent with the program’s professional training goals. These goals include but are not limited to the development and demonstration of skills and abilities that enable graduating students to (a) conduct and publish independent empirical research; (b) be expertly trained, empirically oriented clinicians capable of designing, implementing and assessing programs concerned with health service and mental health delivery broadly defined; and (c) competently serve as innovative teachers/instructors in colleges, universities, and medical schools and as presenters at local, regional, national, and international professional conferences.

Requirements, Rationale, and Objectives—Successful completion of Qualifying and Comprehensive Examination requirements reflects the program’s desire to ensure overall breadth of training in the field of Clinical Psychology that is complemented by individually tailored professional training experiences and competencies consistent with a student’s professional career goals. The three professional domains outlined above are consistent with this intent. All graduate students are expected to discuss possible selections with their major professor/faculty adviser prior to formalizing their choices. Choices made are expected to reflect individual professional training goals and the desire for additional knowledge and expertise in a selected area. All competency domains contain two options, and graduate students are free to select either option (see options “a” and “b” under each domain in above matrix) in consultation with their faculty adviser.

Admission to Candidacy

The following are required to be admitted to Candidacy and enroll in Dissertation hours:

  • Completion of most course work, except for Dissertation hours.
  • Successful completion of the Candidacy Examination. 
  • The Dissertation advisory committee is formed, consisting of approved graduate faculty and graduate faculty scholars.
  • Submittal of an approved program of study.

The American Psychological Association requires that graduate students be evaluated at least annually and provide written feedback to graduate students. Because Clinical Psychology involves the provision of mental health services to the public, special care must be taken to ensure that graduate students possess the requisite interpersonal sensitivity and skill. As a result, evaluation procedures within this track will focus not only on academic performance but also on: clinical proficiency; ethical and professional conduct; response to supervision; interpersonal behavior; and interpersonal functioning. The Clinical Psychology committee reserves the right to drop from the program graduate students who continue to exhibit serious difficulties in these behavioral domains and do not respond to feedback and efforts at remediation.

Master of Science in Clinical Psychology

Graduate students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program earn a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology in route to their doctorate unless they are admitted with an acceptable Master's degree. This is a nonterminal Master’s degree available only to students in the Clinical Psychology PhD program.


Timeline for Completion

Proposed Timeline

The PhD Program in Clinical Psychology represents an integrated five-year professional training sequence that includes a one-year Predoctoal Internship to be completed off-campus. It includes 84 hours of course work (including Dissertation credits) that are designed to provide both factual and practical knowledge in traditional areas of Clinical Psychology as well as specific training in future need areas (e.g., supervision and consultation).

Most applicants entering the program with a BA or BS degree will be awarded the PhD degree in five years. The graduate student has a maximum of seven years from the date of admission to the PhD program to complete the program. No courses taken since the program entry date at UCF may be older than seven years and still apply toward completion of the program. A proposed schedule of satisfactory progress follows.

First Year

  • Begin taking the research, basic psychology, and clinical foundation courses
  • Begin observing and participating in clinical practicum experiences
  • Begin Master’s Thesis: define Master's Thesis topic, select a chairperson, begin literature review, and write introductory chapters

Second Year

  • Complete required basic psychology and clinical foundation courses (2nd semester)
  • Participate in clinical practicum experiences
  • Submit Master’s Thesis proposal (by end of 3rd semester)
  • Conduct Master's Thesis research, complete writing of Master's Thesis, conduct oral defense
  • Work toward completing the Master’s Thesis, and receive the MS degree 

Third Year

  • Begin advanced coursework including seminars and electives
  • Continue participation in clinical practicum experiences and/or begin externship assignments (with assignments made based on feedback from the Clinical Faculty)
  • Complete Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations requirements
  • Begin Doctoral Dissertation, submit Dissertation prospectus (by end of 3rd year)

Fourth Year

  • Complete seminars and electives
  • Continue externship assignments
  • Conduct Dissertation research, complete writing of Dissertation, conduct oral defense (prior to beginning 5th year)

Fifth Year

  • Complete 12-month Pre-doctoral Internship
  • Receive the PhD degree

Graduate students entering the program with a completed Master’s Degree in Psychology, who completed an empirical Master's Thesis and received approval of this Master's Thesis document by the Clinical Faculty, may spend less time on campus. Proposed timeframes may differ from the above on an individual basis, with approval of the Director of Clinical Training.

Proposed Schedule 

Year 1

FallSpringSummer
  • PSY 7217C Advanced Research Methodology I (4)
  • CLP 7145 Intro to Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy (1)
  • CLP 7446C  Child Assessment (3)
  • CLP7136 Child Psychopathology (3)
 
  • PSY 7218C Advanced Research Methodology II (4)
  • CLP 7145 Intro. to Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy (1)
  • CLP 7447C Adult Assessment (3)
  • CLP 7125 Adult Psychopathology (3)
 
  • CLP 7623 Ethics (3)
  • PSY 6971 Master's Thesis (3) 
 
Semester Total: 11 credit hoursSemester Total: 11 credit hoursSemester Total: 6 credit hours

Year 2

FallSpringSummer
  • PSY 7219C Advanced Research Methodology III (4)
  • CLP 7494 Adult Empirically Supported Treatments (3) 
  • CLP 7943C Clinical Practicum (3)
  • PSY 6971 Thesis (3)

 

 

  • CLP 7474 Child Empirically Supported Treatments (3)
  • CLP 7943C Clinical Practicum (3)
  • EXP 6979 Teaching Seminar (3)

Any 1 of the Psychology core requirements:

  • DEP 5057 Developmental Psychology (3)
  • SOP 5059 Advanced Social Psychology (3)
  • PSB 5005 Physiological Psychology (3)
  • EXP 6506 Human Cognition and Learning (3)
 

Depending on caseload, it may be necessary to take Clinical Practicum during this semester.

  • CLP 7943C Clinical Practicum (optional)
 
Semester Total: 13 credit hoursSemester Total: 12 credit hours 

Year 3

FallSpring
  • Elective (3) 
  • CLP 7943C Clinical Practicum (3)

Any 1 of the remaining Psychology core requirements:

  • DEP 5057 Developmental Psychology (3)
  • SOP 5059 Advanced Social Psychology (3)
  • PSB 5005 Physiological Psychology (3)
  • EXP 6506 Human Cognition and Learning (3)
 
  • CLP 7943C Clinical Practicum (3) 

Any 2 of the remaining Psychology core requirements:

  • DEP 5057 Developmental Psychology (3)
  • SOP 5059 Advanced Social Psychology (3)
  • PSB 5005 Physiological Psychology (3)
  • EXP 6506 Human Cognition and Learning (3) 
 
Semester Total: 9 credit hoursSemester Total: 9 credit hours

Year 4 (Note: Must successfully complete Candidacy and Comprehensive Examination requirements prior to enrolling in Dissertation hours)

FallSpringSummer
  • Supervision Practicum (1 or 3)
  • PSY 7980 Dissertation (6)
  • Externship
 
  • Supervision Practicum (1 or 3)
  • PSY 7980 Dissertation (6)
  • Externship
 
  • PSY 7980 Dissertation (3) 
 
Semester Total: 7-9 credit hoursSemester Total: 7-9 credit hoursSemester Total: 3 credit hours

Year 5

FallSpringSummer
  • CLP 6949 Predoctoral Internship (1) 
 
  • CLP 6949 Predoctoral Internship (1)
 
  • CLP 6949 Predoctoral Internship (1)
 
Semester Total: 1 credit hourSemester Total: 1 credit hourSemester Total: 1 credit hour

Course Schedule





Examination Requirements

Candidacy and Comprehensive Examinations

Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations are detailed below and involve the completion of three required activity/competency domains. 

Domain A: Research

a. Theoretical or Review Article, or

b. Empirical Article     

Upon successful petition, a student may submit a research proposal to an external funding agency in order to complete this domain.

Domain B: Clinical Practice

a. Comprehensive Case Presentation, or

b. Program Development (Rx/Prevention)

Domain C: Teaching

a. Undergraduate Instructor Experience, or

b. Professional Presentation Experience           

Purpose: The purpose of the qualifying and comprehensive examination is to develop and assess competency of professional behaviors in doctoral-level graduate students that are consistent with the program’s professional training goals. These goals include but are not limited to the development and demonstration of skills and abilities that enable graduates to (a) conduct and publish independent empirical research, (b) competently serve as innovative teachers/instructors in colleges, universities, and medical schools, and presenters at local, regional, national, and international professional conferences, and (c) be expertly trained, empirically-oriented clinicians capable of designing, implementing, and assessing programs concerned with mental health and mental health delivery broadly defined.

Requirements, Rationale, and Objectives: Successful completion of Qualifying and Comprehensive Examination requirements reflect the program’s desire to ensure overall breadth of training that is complemented by individually-tailored professional training experiences and competencies consistent with a graduate student’s professional career goals. The three professional domains outlined above are consistent with this intent. Each domain contains two options: graduate students may select either option in consultation with their faculty advisor.

  1. Graduate students may fulfill the Research domain by successfully publishing an empirical study, a scholarly review, or a theoretical article in a refereed journal. Fulfillment of this component is intended to (a) complement the graduate student’s graduate-level course work in research methods, design, statistics, and ongoing research practica, (b) hone conceptual and professional writing skills related to publishing empirical findings in scholarly journals, (c) encourage graduate students to submit completed scholarly works to journals for peer review, and (d) provide graduate students with the opportunity to receive and react to comments offered by journal reviewers.

    In certain instances, the graduate student may petition the faculty to submit a grant proposal in lieu of a publication in order to fulfill this requirement. The grant proposal alternative is intended to (a) provide graduate students with additional training and opportunities to critically review a specific area of empirical research related to clinical psychology, (b) hone conceptual and professional writing skills related to submitting grant applications to private and/or public granting agencies, (c) provide graduate students with an opportunity to interact with department and university grant support facilities, (d) encourage extra-department financial support for conducting empirical studies (e.g., federal and private awards for dissertation research), and (e) provide graduate students with an opportunity to receive and react to grant reviewer comments.
  2. Fulfillment of the Clinical Practice/Consultation domain requires graduate students to prepare a comprehensive written and oral clinical case review that includes a thorough literature review relevant to the case formulation and conceptualization, selection of appropriate measurement/assessment techniques and instruments, treatment design, and detailed results of the outcome coupled with recommendations and discussion of findings. Fulfillment of the Clinical Practice domain is intended to provide graduate students with (a) additional opportunities to conduct comprehensive literature reviews relevant to understanding particular disorders or mental health problems, (b) additional, extensive clinical supervision and consultation relevant to the formation and conceptualizing of a clinical case, (c) the opportunity to gain additional expertise in the selection of appropriate diagnostic and outcome instruments/techniques and their inherent psychometric properties, (d) advanced knowledge concerning single-subject experimental design and relevant controls, and (e) an opportunity to further develop written and oral presentation skills relevant to presenting case studies.
  3. Fulfillment of the Teaching domain requires graduate students to successfully serve as the primary instructor for an undergraduate class at UCF or complete 10 formal presentations (the latter of which may include conference presentations at state, regional, national, or international conference and/or guest lectures at the University of Central Florida). Fulfillment of the traditional Teaching domain is intended to provide graduate students with (a) additional training and opportunities to develop instructional skills consistent with university-level instruction, (b) the opportunity to receive and react to constructive comments concerning their developing instructional skills, (c) additional opportunities to learn and develop expertise in using newly developed technology and methods relevant to university level instruction (e.g., active learning groups, computer assisted technology, software programs that facilitate and complement traditional instructional activities), and (d) additional expertise in select areas of psychology to prepare them for future professional instructional opportunities following graduation from the University. Initiating classroom teaching for the purpose of fulfilling the teaching domain follows the successful completion of the teaching seminar. The alternative option under this domain is intended to encourage graduate students to engage in research studies beyond those required by the program and to present their findings at professional meetings. Fulfillment of this requirement is expected to promote research involvement throughout graduate training and promote graduate student competency in (a) developing written submissions of completed empirical works, (b) oral presentations skills with professional audiences, (c) learning and using innovative technology relevant to paper/poster presentations, and (d) receiving and reacting to constructive comments offered by professionals.

Procedures and Time Guidelines for Completing the Qualifying Examination

Graduate students admitted to the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology are eligible to begin work on the Qualifying Examination prior to the completion of the Master’s degree but only after consultation with, and agreement by, their major professor. However, the Qualifying Exam cannot be submitted to the Clinical Faculty until the successful completion of all Master’s degree requirements. Graduate students will complete one of the three professional activity domain options (Research, Teaching, and Clinical Practice) to fulfill the requirements of the Qualifying Examination. The choice of which domain to submit for the Qualifying Exam is left to the graduate student, in consultation with his or her faculty mentor. Successful completion of the Qualifying Examination criteria is expected within one year after completing the Master’s degree requirements.

Graduate students who earned a Master’s degree in psychology from an accredited institution other than the University of Central Florida (UCF) may petition the Clinical Faculty to determine whether previous work (e.g., published Master’s Thesis or other empirically-oriented paper or review article) completed at their host institution may fulfill the Qualifying Examination criteria at UCF. Petitions will be directed to the Clinical Faculty in writing after consulting with the Director of Clinical Training. Non-approved petitions and those not petitioning will otherwise follow the same procedures and timelines as graduate students who earn their Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of Central Florida.

The Clinical Faculty will review and determine whether graduate students successfully fulfill the requirements of the Qualifying Examination within a four-week time interval after it is submitted, based on the written grading procedures outlined below. The Director of Clinical Training will notify students in writing following the successful completion of Qualifying Examination requirements.

Procedures and Time Guidelines for Completing the Comprehensive Examination

Graduate students admitted to the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology are eligible to begin working on the Comprehensive Examination requirements at any point in their course of study after securing agreement from their major professor. They cannot, however, submit the Comprehensive Examination until they have successfully passed the Qualifying Examination (see above).  Graduate students complete the two additional professional activity domains to fulfill the Comprehensive Examination.

Successful completion of the Comprehensive Examination criteria is expected within three years after completing the Qualifying Examination requirements and must be completed before proposing the Dissertation. The Clinical Faculty will determine whether the graduate student has successfully fulfilled the requirements of the Comprehensive Examination based on the written grading procedures outlined below. The Clinical Faculty will review each submitted dossier within four weeks of its submission (not including University holidays and breaks). The Director of Clinical Training will notify graduate students in writing following the successful completion of each of the Comprehensive Examination requirements. Graduate students may formally propose their Dissertation following written notification that they have completed the Comprehensive Examination requirements.

Specific Criteria, Grading, and Supervision of Qualifying and Comprehensive Examination Competencies Requirements

Qualifying Examination

Each graduate student’s major professor will oversee completion of the Qualifying Examination and submit a recommendation to the program's Clinical Faculty, who, in turn, will review submitted materials and decide whether a graduate student has satisfied the requirements. A majority vote by the Clinical Faculty is required for approval. At the meeting where the vote occurs, the graduate student’s major professor chairs the meeting but does not vote on the examination. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to obtain the appropriate signatures and place all required documents pertinent to the Qualifying Examination in their personal binder in the program office in the Department of Psychology. 

Comprehensive Examination

Each graduate student’s major professor will oversee completion of the Comprehensive Examination requirements and submit a recommendation to the Clinical Faculty, who, in turn, will review submitted materials and render final approval. A majority vote by the Clinical Faculty is required for approval. At the meeting where the vote occurs, the student’s major professor chairs the meeting but does not vote on the examination. It is the responsibility of each graduate student to obtain the appropriate signatures and place all required documents pertinent to the Comprehensive Examination in their personal binder in program office in Department of Psychology

Professional Activity Domain A: Research

A1: Publish as senior or second author a review or theoretical article in a peer-reviewed journal in Psychology such as Psychological Bulletin or Psychological Review or in a journal in a related discipline. The publication may not derive from work done as an unclassified graduate student or as an undergraduate student. For graduate students entering the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology with a Master’s degree in Psychology from an accredited institution, a previously published review or theoretical article completed while a graduate student may fulfill this requirement upon approval by the Clinical Faculty. Students will submit a preprint or reprint of the article (when available) to fulfill the research competency domain. No two graduate students in the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Central Florida may use the same article to fulfill the requirements of the Research professional activity domain. Thus, it is critical for students to discuss this matter with their major professor and other student colleagues who may be participating in the same research project prior to selecting a study to fulfill the Research domain requirements.

Or

A2:Publish as senior or second author an empirical article in a peer-reviewed journal in Psychology or related discipline. Publication of an empirical Master’s Thesis is one option. The publication may not derive from work done as an unclassified graduate student or an undergraduate student. For graduate students entering the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology with a Master’s degree in Psychology, a previously published empirical article completed while a graduate student may fulfill this requirement upon approval by the clinical faculty. Graduate students will submit a preprint or reprint of the article (when available) to fulfill the research competency domain. No two graduate students in the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Central Florida may use the same article to fulfill the requirements of the Research professional activity domain. Thus, it is critical for graduate students to discuss this matter with their major professor and other student colleagues who may be participating in the same research project prior to selecting a study to fulfill the research domain requirements.

Grading Guidelines for Professional Activity Domain A. Research

Empirical, theoretical, and review manuscripts must be written in APA or journal-specific format and submitted to a peer-reviewed psychology journal or other appropriate psychologically-oriented discipline journal (e.g., psychiatry, educational psychology, mental health, cross-cultural). Fulfillment of the Research Domain competency is evidenced by a reprint or preprint and, in most cases, a letter from the journal’s Editor or Associate Editor indicating that the manuscript has been accepted for publication and will appear in a future volume of the journal.  Graduate students must provide a copy of the final manuscript and Editor’s letter to their doctoral committee in their personal binder.

In the event that a graduate student’s submitted manuscript is rejected by a journal, the graduate student must revise the manuscript in response to reviewer comments and resubmit to either the same journal (if invited) or another relevant journal. If the revised and resubmitted manuscript is rejected a second time, after revising manuscript in response to the new (second) set of reviewers’ comments, the graduate student may present the study to the program's Clinical Faculty who will determine if the manuscript satisfies the requirements of the Research Domain.  The graduate student’s major professor does not participate in the faculty vote regarding the final acceptability of the manuscript. 

Whether or not accepted for publication, all research submitted to fulfill this domain will be judged by the following:

  1. Appropriate and timely review of the available literature
  2. Application of critical thinking skills regarding the literature review (e.g., integrating findings, discussing possible reasons for discrepant findings)

    In the case of empirical research, these additional criteria will also apply:
  3. A research question/hypothesis based on a formulated rationale
  4. Appropriate sample including considerations for adequate power
  5. A study design that is free of major conceptual or methodological flaws
  6. Statistical analyses that are appropriate for the research question
  7. A discussion that integrates findings into the existing literature, discusses limitations in the current study, and discusses how the current findings inform theories and/or discusses the practical implications (e.g., clinical practice implications) of the findings.

The graduate student’s major professor does not participate in the grading of the manuscript/publication.

Alternative Option for Professional Activity Domain A: Government Grant Proposal

A graduate student may petition the Clinical Faculty to accept a written and submitted grant proposal that conforms to federal guidelines as an alternative to a paper publication. The proposal may be submitted to a private funding agency as long as the proposal is comparable to the standards required by federal agencies (e.g., PHS 398). Submit a copy of the grant proposal, a letter acknowledging receipt of the proposal, and the scientific review from the grant agency.  In the event that proposal does not receive a fundable score from the agency, the graduate student must revise the manuscript and orally defend the proposal before the program's Clinical Faculty who will determine if the proposal satisfies the research requirements of the Research Domain.  The major professor chairs the meeting but does not vote on the merit of the proposal.

Grading Guidelines for Professional Activity Domain A. Research

The same seven criteria used to evaluate the empirical research paper will be applied to the evaluation of the grant proposal with one exception. That is, instead of a discussion section that integrates findings into the literature (as there will be no findings at the point of grant submission), the grant proposal must clearly address the important theoretical and/or practical implications and importance of the proposed project. In addition, the grant proposal must include a formal power analysis and specific planned statistical analyses that are tied clearly to each of the stated hypotheses.  The grant proposal also must include preliminary data and the analysis of those data, as well as explaining how those data lead to the need to conduct the proposed study.

Professional Activity Domain B: Clinical Practice

Prepare a written and oral clinical case conceptualization. The written case conceptualization should include a literature review relevant to the presenting problems as well as measurement devices and interventions used, assessment results and interpretation, case formulation, treatment design, and outcome evaluation design. Documentation of direct or indirect (e.g., video) observation by the supervising clinical faculty also should be included. The case presented should be a client (individual adult, individual child, or family) with multiple problems and system issues (e.g., family, school, staff) who was seen by the graduate student. The written case conceptualization, direct observations of the supervisor, and the assessment data should be submitted to the Clinical Faculty. The oral case conceptualization then will be presented to the Clinical Faculty. The Clinical Faculty will determine if the graduate student successfully completed and presented their case. The graduate student’s major professor chairs the meeting but does not vote on the examination.

Grading Guidelines for Professional Activity Domain B. Clinical Practice

Both the written manuscript and the oral presentation will be rated by the Clinical Faculty on the following dimensions:

  1. Thorough literature review relevant to the case formulation and conceptualization
  2. Selection of appropriate measurement/assessment instruments (including their psychometric properties) -- this includes the initial assessment as well as for measuring clinical outcome
  3. Appropriate/rationale for selecting the treatment design (which includes demonstration of advanced knowledge of single-case design methodology)
  4. Selection of an evidence-based intervention
  5. Implementation of the selected evidence-based intervention
  6. Interpretation of treatment outcome coupled with recommendations and discussion of findings
  7. Demonstration of  appropriate professional ethics
  8. Demonstration of appropriate consideration of diversity

Professional Activity Domain C: Teaching

C1: Teach one undergraduate Psychology course or an undergraduate course in a related discipline. Submit a syllabus, sample lecture notes, sample class activities, examinations, two course evaluations (mid- and end-of-semester), and written feedback from the graduate student’s major professor (which must include comments from at least three separate class observations that occur in the live setting or from recorded video). Graduate student evaluations may be considered in absolute terms and in the context of the course taught. The Clinical Faculty will evaluate all of the submitted materials to rate the overall quality of teaching.

Or

C2: Prepare and give ten presentations.  These presentations can include guest lectures in the UCF Department of Psychology, Psychology conference papers or posters, and Psychology workshops. Submit lecture notes for each guest lecture along with a letter from the instructor noting the date and topic of your guest lecture, a copy of conference presentations, workshop announcements and handouts and written feedback from the student’s major professor who must have directly observed at least three lectures or presentations. 

Grading Guidelines for Professional Activity Domain C. Teaching

  1. Evaluation of the Syllabus (Communicates course expectations and requirements, Attempts to reduce ambiguities about policies and procedures, Provides a central reference point for students, Presents a clear course plan, Sets a tone for the course).
  2. Evaluation of Lecture Notes/PowerPoint Slides (Are slides readable and engaging?)
  3. Does lecture begin with review of previous material/overview of new material?, Is there any indication of the use of teaching modalities other than simple lecture (e.g., videos, breakout assignments, demonstrations)
  4. Examinations (Appropriateness of examination for the course type/number of students enrolled, Use of evaluations strategies other that formal testing as appropriate to the class type/number of students enrolled)
  5. Two student course evaluations (mid- and end-of-semester)
  6. Written feedback from the student’s major professor (Evaluations reflect improved teaching skills over the course of the semester).

Submission of the Qualifying Examination and the Comprehensive Examination Binder

The Qualifying and Comprehensive Examination binder can be submitted at any time of the year, following successful completion of the Master’s Thesis requirements. The Clinical Faculty will review and score the Qualifying and/or Comprehensive Examination within four weeks of the submission, except if any part of the four week evaluation period falls over a semester break, in which case the evaluation period will be extended consistent with the number of days lost because of the break.  

Specifically with respect to the Comprehensive Examination binder, graduate students who intend to apply for their Predoctoral Internship are cautioned that their Comprehensive Examination binder must be submitted by August 1st of the year in which they intend to apply (and preferably much sooner). Graduate students cannot propose their Dissertation or apply for Predoctoral Internship until they have successfully passed candidacy.

Once the graduate student's materials are submitted (in binder format), the graduate student cannot access the binder until the Clinical Faculty has rendered their decision.  Each member of the Clinical Faculty, with the exception of the graduate student’s mentor will assign each element of the examination a grade of “pass” or “fail.” A majority of the Clinical Faculty must pass the graduate student on each professional activity domain for the graduate student to be considered to have passed the examination. The graduate student’s major professor does not vote in this process. Graduate students must pass all elements of the Comprehensive Examination in order to pass the entire examination.

If a graduate student fails any component of the Qualifying or Comprehensive Examination, he or she will be considered to have failed the entire examination. Graduate students will be given one opportunity to re-do the failed professional activity domain(s) and re-submit the domain(s) to the Clinical Faculty. If a graduate student fails the examination the second time, they will be dismissed from the program.

Graduate students will be informed of the outcome of the examination by the Director of Clinical Training.

Dissertation Requirements

The Dissertation is viewed as a learning experience that enhances the development of the scientist-practitioner and serves to demonstrate that the graduate student is competent to complete an original, independent scientific investigation that furthers psychological knowledge. Graduate student Dissertation research begins only after successful completion of the Candidacy and Comprehensive Examination. Graduate students must have a Dissertation Advisory Committee once the Comprehensive Exam is passed. The Committee will consist of a minimum of four faculty members (three must be from the Psychology Department, two of the selected psychology faculty must be from the Clinical Faculty, and the fourth member may be from outside the program) and must be approved by the Graduate Division; one of the Clinical Faculty members must be designated as the Dissertation chair or director (or as a Co-Chair).

Graduate students will complete a minimum of 15 dissertation credit hours to meet the requirements for graduation.  Graduate students must be registered for dissertation credits during the semester of the oral defense.

University Dissertation Requirements

The College of Graduate Studies Thesis and Dissertation page contains information on the university’s requirements for dissertation formatting, format review, defenses, final submission, and more. A step-by-step completion guide is also available at Completing Your Thesis or Dissertation.

All university deadlines are listed in the Academic Calendar. Your program or college may have other earlier deadlines; please check with your program and college staff for additional deadlines.

The following requirements must be met by dissertation students in their final term:

  • Submit a properly formatted file for initial format review by the format review deadline
  • Submit the Thesis and Dissertation Release Option form well before the defense
  • Defend by the defense deadline
  • Receive format approval (if not granted upon initial review)
  • Submit signed approval form by final submission deadline
  • Submit final dissertation document by final submission deadline

Students must format their dissertation according to the standards outlined at Formatting the ETD. Formatting questions or issues can be submitted to the Format Help page in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. Format reviews and final submission must be completed in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site. The Dissertation Approval Form is also available in the Thesis and Dissertation Services site.

The College of Graduate Studies offers several thesis and dissertation Workshops each term. Students are highly encouraged to attend these workshops early in the dissertation process to fully understand the above policies and procedures.

The College of Graduate Studies thesis and dissertation office is best reached by email at editor@ucf.edu.

Theses and Dissertations

All Master’s Theses and Dissertations must involve the collection and analysis of original data. Oral presentation of the Thesis/Dissertation prospectus must be made to the Thesis/Dissertation Committee for approval prior to starting the research. The proposal generally includes the following: (a) title, (b) introduction to the problem, (c) comprehensive review of relevant literature, (d) establishing the uniqueness of the study, (e) theoretical background and hypotheses, (f) planned methodology, and (g) planned data analytic approach. Clinical Faculty have the option of having their graduate students write their Master’s Thesis and Dissertation using APA publication style (see APA Publication Manual, Sixth Edition). An appendix to the Thesis and/or Dissertation may be used to include a more comprehensive literature review as determined by the graduate student’s committee members, particularly in those cases where the graduate student’s research mentor has encourage them to complete their project using publication style. After submitting a written proposal to the Thesis/Dissertation Committee, the committee meets with the graduate student to discuss and evaluate the proposal. The approval of the proposal by a majority of committee members indicates that the committee members find the research to be original and appropriate, the literature review to be accurate and appropriately comprehensive, and the research design/planned data analytic strategy to be appropriate for the study. After receiving committee approval for the Thesis/Dissertation, all graduate students must receive approval from the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) before data can be collected from human participants. Prior to submitting a study for IRB approval, graduate students must complete the designated online course concerning the use of human participants in research projects (Citi Training; http://www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/CITI_RCR_training/).

Except as modified by UCF formatting requirements, APA publication guidelines should be followed in the preparation of Thesis and Dissertation manuscripts. Graduate students who wish to complete their degree requirements (MS or PhD) in a given semester must submit for format review to the College of Graduate Studies, hold their oral defense and submit their final electronic dissertation to the College of Graduate Studies by the dates shown in the Academic Calendar. Please note that faculty are required to submit all Theses and Dissertations through iThenticate.com for the Review for Originality. Therefore, sufficient lead time must be given when completing these degree requirements.

Thesis Requirements

Master’s Thesis

Graduate students work under the tutelage of Clinical Faculty and engage in a mentored research experience leading to the oral proposal of a Master’s Thesis ideally by their third semester. Successful defense of the Master’s Thesis is expected by the fifth semester. Graduate students should select a Master's Thesis committee of at least three members, including at least two Clinical Faculty members.  One of the Clinical Faculty members must be designated as the Master's Thesis chair or director (or as a Co-Chair). Graduate students will complete a minimum of six Thesis credit hours to meet the requirements for graduation and should be registered for at least one Thesis credit each semester that Thesis work is conducted. Graduate students must register for at least one thesis credit during the semester of the oral defense.

Graduate Research

Graduate Research

Research is a critical component of training for the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology. Graduate students are expected to begin research activities early in their graduate training and to continue research involvement throughout their graduate career. Minimum research requirements include completion and oral defense of a Master’s Thesis and completion and oral defense of a Doctoral Dissertation. Master's Theses and Dissertations are designed to promote the integration of conceptual issues, research design, and knowledge of basic psychology and to provide graduate students with the skills required to conduct empirical research. Active involvement in research throughout graduate training (in addition to the minimal requirements), presentation of research at professional conferences and meetings, and manuscript submission to peer-reviewed scientific journals are encouraged strongly of all graduate students.

Research Laboratories

There are various laboratories for clinical students. To access options, please see: psychology.cos.ucf.edu/graduate/ph-d-clinical/research-laboratories-clinical/

UCF Patent and Invention Policy

UCF has three fundamental responsibilities with regard to graduate student research. They are to: 1) support an academic environment that stimulates the spirit of inquiry, 2) develop the intellectual property stemming from research, and 3) disseminate the intellectual property to the general public. UCF owns the intellectual property developed using university resources. According to this policy, graduate students as inventors will share in the proceeds of the invention. Graduate students are required to sign the UCF Patent and Invention Policy for Graduate Student form, which outlines the University’s policy in detail. Copies of this policy are provided in Appendix D or may be obtained at the Department of Psychology office.

Financial Support

Financial Support

The Department of Psychology makes every effort to obtain financial support for graduate students, to the extent that funds are available. Sources of financial support may include: departmental teaching assistantships, fellowships, research grants, and departmentally-arranged support from outside agencies, such as community mental health centers, hospitals, private practitioner offices, and private psychiatric facilities. Funds will be distributed across graduate students in an equitable manner, but, since sources of financial support are often limited, financial support cannot be guaranteed to all graduate students, regardless of their year in the program or excellence of performance. The Director of Clinical Training, in collaboration with the Clinical Faculty and graduate students, examine the availability of assistantships and other sources of financial support (e.g., fellowships) each year. Full-time graduate assistants are eligible to receive tuition waivers for part of their tuition costs. Tuition waiver monies are used to assist graduate students to progress toward their degrees.

In addition to assistantships, graduate students may be eligible for fellowships, awards, loans, and work/study programs. Students should consult the Graduate Catalog and/or online resources, such as www.finaid.ucf.edu, for descriptions and requirements of graduate financial support. The Director of Clinical Training also distributes information via email as it becomes available.

Graduate Student Associations

Graduate Student Associations

Psi-DOCS is the Student Chapter of the Doctoral Organization of Clinical Students in Psychology and their purpose is to establish a supportive, social network and facilitate communication among Clinical Psychology graduate students and between graduate students and Clinical Faculty. Please visit http://psychology.cos.ucf.edu/graduate_psidocs.php for additional information.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is UCF's graduate organization committed to enrich graduate students' personal, educational and professional experience. To learn more or get involved, please visit www.gsa.ucf.edu.

Professional Development

Student Development

Student Representation

All graduate students are encouraged to be involved actively in the Department and the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology. Graduate students may or may not choose to participate in the PhD Program’s graduate student organization, Psi-DOCs. The organization provides graduate students with a formal voice in the operation of the PhD program and is a means for collaboration and open communication between Clinical Faculty and graduate students. Psi-DOCs also is recognized as a valid student organization by the Student Government at the University of Central Florida and competes for monetary support for purposes of funding student travel to conference, supplies, honorarium for guest speakers, and other professional activities.

Professional Standards

Clinical Psychology is a people-oriented profession in which competence and sensitivity in dealing with clients/patients, research participants, colleagues, and supervisees are essential. The study of Clinical Psychology is unique in that graduate students are required to uphold the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct as well as the UCF Code of Conduct. Graduate students in Clinical Psychology have a personal responsibility to monitor and evaluate behaviors that may compromise their ability to function as Psychologists-in-training and to take steps to address any problems that arise. Similarly, Clinical Faculty have a professional responsibility to monitor graduate student development in areas that go beyond performance on examinations or other traditional academic measures (e.g., clinical skill development). Such monitoring includes but is not limited to: personal impediments that may hinder professionalism; appropriate relations with students, faculty, and office personnel; ethical and professional conduct; and competent and sensitive work with clients, research participants, and students whom you are teaching.

Personal Psychotherapy and Psychiatric Treatment: Graduate students in Clinical Psychology occasionally seek personal therapy and/or psychiatric treatment for concerns that may or may not be related to their professional development. To the extent possible, Clinical Faculty wish to avoid dual roles and to be sensitive to potentially uncomfortable and confidentiality-compromising situations. As health service providers in training, it is important to understand that any therapist is a potential future colleague. A no-cost option for personal therapy and/or psychiatric treatment is available on campus at the University Counseling and Psychological Services Center (caps.sdes.ucf.edu/services). If you elect to receive services on campus, you should contact the University Counseling and Psychological Services Center, who will attempt to address any specific confidentiality concerns that may arise (e.g., files could be kept locked in the Director’s office, those with whom you have other professional contacts would not be informed of your client status). Alternatively, graduate students in Clinical Psychology may contact a private-practice psychotherapist or physician at the regular payment schedule provided by their individual health insurance.

Instructional Strategies and Resources

The Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning provides classes and programs designed to assist graduate students with the educational issues they face in the classroom as teaching assistant or as instructors. These resources include assistance in course design and syllabi development, learning theories, and the use of different technologies in the classroom or on the internet. Further information on these resources is available at www.fctl.ucf.edu/tresources.

Pathways to Success Workshops

Coordinated by the College of Graduate Studies, the Pathways to Success program offers free development opportunities for graduate students including workshops in Academic Integrity, Graduate Grantsmanship, Graduate Teaching, Personal Development, Professional Development, and Research. For more information and how to register, please visit www.students.graduate.ucf.edu/pathways/.

Graduate Research Forum

The Graduate Research Forum will feature poster displays representing UCF’s diverse colleges and disciplines.

The Research Forum is an opportunity for students to showcase their research and creative projects and to receive valuable feedback from faculty judges. Awards for best poster presentation in each category will be given and all participants will receive recognition.

The College of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Student Association invite all UCF students, community, and employers to attend the Graduate Research Forum. For more information, contact researchweek@ucf.edu.

Graduate Excellence Awards

Each year, the College of Graduate Studies offers graduate students who strive for academic and professional excellence the opportunity to be recognized for their work. The award categories include the following:

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant – This award is for students who provide teaching support and assistance under the direction of a lead teacher. This award focuses on the extent and quality of the assistance provided by the student to the lead instructor and the students in the class. (Not intended for students who are instructor of record)

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching – This award is for students who serve as instructors of record and have independent classroom responsibilities. The focus of this award is on the quality of the student’s teaching and the academic contributions of those activities.

Award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis – It recognizes graduate students for excellence in their Master's Thesis. The focus of this award is on the quality and contribution of the graduate student's Master's Thesis research. Excellence of the Master's Thesis may be demonstrated by evidence such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field. The university award will be forwarded to a national-level competition sponsored by the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) when the Master's Thesis discipline corresponds to the annual submission request. 

Award for the Outstanding Dissertation – It recognizes doctoral students for excellence in the Dissertation. The focus of this award is on the quality and contribution of the student's Dissertation. Excellence of the Dissertation may be demonstrated by evidence such as, but not limited to: publications in refereed journals, awards and recognitions from professional organizations, and praise from faculty members and other colleagues in the field.

For the nomination process and eligibility criteria, see www.graduate.ucf.edu/GradAwards.

Other

For information about the Council of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) thesis and dissertation awards, see their website: www.csgs.org> Awards.

For grant-proposal writing resources: uwc.ucf.edu/gradwriting.php

Job Search

Job Search

UCF’s Career Services department offers a wide range of programs and services designed to assist graduate students. These services include evaluation and exploration of career goals, preparation for the job search and job search resources. To learn more, visit their website at www.career.ucf.edu.

Forms

Useful Links