Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
Combining both clinical and school psychology training, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology program prepares students for careers as academic researchers or as professional school psychologists. This is a research-based, full-time program that is offered in Charlottesville only.
“The Clinical & School Psychology program is the perfect way for me to combine my clinical interests with my love for working with children and in schools.”– Lora Henderson, Ph.D. Student, Clinical & School Psychology
Combined Clinical and School Psychology
The Curry Program in Clinical and School Psychology offers training in both the recognized specialty areas of clinical psychology and school psychology. All students receive training in both areas. The program culminates in the degree of Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. The term “clinical,” in the context of the degree offered, is intended as a generic term to indicate that the training is for applied (professional) psychology rather than academic psychology. (In Virginia and many other states, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists at the doctoral level are awarded the credential “Licensed Clinical Psychologist” consistent with the degree offered by this program.)
There are two tracks within the Ph.D. program. The clinical-school track integrates core training in clinical psychology with specialized coursework and experiences relevant to school settings; this sequence leads to licensure/certification in both clinical and school psychology. The general clinical track provides core training (coursework and practical) in clinical and in school psychology, but does not require as much specific school-related training. Graduates of this track are not eligible for the school psychology credential.
The program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association as a combined program in clinical and school psychology. This accreditation status was granted in the fall of 2013. The next APA accreditation review of the program is scheduled for 2020. The program also is fully approved as a doctoral level School Psychology program by the National Association of School Psychologists through 2020.
Our program considers research and clinical skills equally vital to the success of psychologists in the profession today. Our students are exposed to a diversity of clinical orientations through course work and intensive one-on-one supervision of clinical casework. Approximately 50% of our core faculty work from a Cognitive-Behavioral perspective, 20% from Interpersonal, 20% from Psychodynamic, and 10% from Family Systems. Experience with additional clinical orientations and therapeutic approaches (including Behavioral and Attachment-based perspectives, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) are available on practicum through supervision with community practitioners. All students also receive extensive training in psychological assessment.
The program of instruction for each student includes a foundation of basic science in psychology and significant involvement in research, primarily through the predissertation research project and dissertation requirements. Although the majority of our graduates seek careers in settings such as schools, medical centers, and mental health agencies, others choose academic research careers. Students with academic career interests are encouraged to specify that interest. Students whose exclusive interest is in the private practice of clinical or school psychology are not encouraged to apply
Information for Prospective Graduate Students
Our program attracts a competitive and highly skilled pool of students, with diverse background experiences. We typically accept five to seven students each year. For the 2014-2015 academic year, the program consists of 31 students, five of whom are currently on internship. Our program has a strong commitment to diversity in all forms. Among current students, 36% are members of ethnic minority groups. Fourteen percent entered the program with a Master’s degree. All of our students are admitted into the Ph.D. program regardless of whether or not they have a master’s degree. After the first year of course work, our students are awarded an M.Ed. degree. For an in-depth summary of admission statistics and program outcomes over the past five years please visit our program Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data page.
Prospective students often ask what aspects of the application are given most weight when considered for acceptance into the program. Each application is looked at as a whole; relatively weak GRE scores, for instance, might be balanced by strongly positive recommendation letters. One factor that is consistently important is the Statement of Professional Goals. This reflection is the best way to get a feel for who you are and how you would fit into the program.
Applicants also inquire about the differences between our program and the clinical psychology program offered by UVA’s department of Psychology. Both our program and the psychology department’s program are APA-accredited doctoral programs designed to train clinical psychologists who can combine scientific inquiry with clinical practice. We encourage you to learn about the clinical psychology program in the Department of Psychology directly from their website and admissions materials. Generally speaking, our program provides many opportunities for research and practice related to children and families, and we have special interests in work with schools. We also offer training for work with adult and forensic populations. Most (62%) of our graduates seek leadership careers in a diverse set of mental health service organizations including schools, hospitals, medical centers, and primary health care practices, working with children, adolescents, and adults. While applying to both programs is possible, prospective students are encouraged to carefully consider career goals and interests when choosing a program to attend.
The following faculty will be considering admission of new Ph.D. students for the 2019-2020 academic year:
- Catherine Bradshaw
- Dewey G. Cornell
- Jason Downer
- Mike Lyons
- Micah Mazurek
- Chauncey Smith
- Amanda Williford
For more information on student experience and to contact program doctoral students directly, please visit our Current Students page.
*Questions related to the program's accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association at:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Our Success Is Your Success
of graduates become licensed psychologists
All application materials and test scores must be received by the Admissions Office by December 1 of each calendar year for admission in the fall semester of the following academic year. Admissions decisions will be available by February 15th.
Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application.
The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.