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Our program is one of a small number in the United States with a specialization in clinical science in child and adolescent psychology.

  • Standards

    We have been a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science since 2014, and we adhere closely to the academy's articulated principles and values of clinical science.

    Accordingly, we offer a multifaceted curriculum of coursework, practicum and professional development designed to equip students with the requisite knowledge, skills and competencies to succeed as professional psychologists. We acknowledge the inextricable link between research and practice by encouraging students to bring their clinical experience to bear on research questions, and to bring an empirical lens to the assessment and treatment of psychological disorders.

    Academy of Psychological Clinical Science logo

  • Evidence-Based Practice

    Our goal is to prepare students with the skills and competencies to acquire, manage, and effectively use evolving knowledge of treatment targets, models, methods, and settings. We encourage students to produce, advance and deliver research evidence in ways that foster its consumption by researchers, educators and clinicians.

    The commonly accepted definition of “evidence-based practice” as the confluence of research evidence, clinical expertise and client characteristics (Sackett, Straus, Richardson, Rosenberg, & Haynes, 2000) informs our framework for training that focuses on building skills for critical consumption of and contribution to research and building expertise for clinical decision-making.

  • Program Goals

    Our program is designed to support all students in reaching a minimum level of competence on each of the following education goals and learning objectives, informed by federal priorities for research and practice, literature on evidence-based mental health care and competency benchmarks in professional psychology.

    Goal 1: Students will demonstrate competency to advance knowledge through research relevant to children and families in the discipline of psychological clinical science.

    • Objective 1a. Students will be able to synthesize literature and present a compelling rationale for stated hypotheses.
    • Objective 1b. Students will be able to generate an innovative and compelling set of research questions, with clear public health significance.
    • Objective 1c. Students will be able to plan and execute a sound and rigorous method for answering research questions.
    • Objective 1d. Students will be able to select and execute sound analytic approaches for their research questions.
    • Objective 1e. Students will be able to interpret and describe results and summarize conclusions, noting limitations to their method, implications for the field, and future research questions informed by the results.
    • Objective 1f. Students will be able to communicate their research orally.
    • Objective 1g. Students will be able to communicate their research in writing.

     

    Goal 2: Students will demonstrate competency to deliver evidence-based clinical care for children and families.

    • Objective 2a. Students will be able to select, administer, score, and interpret psychological assessments for children and adolescents.
    • Objective 2b. Students will demonstrate ability to conduct a comprehensive clinical interview.
    • Objective 2c. Students will demonstrate ability to form a positive and productive therapeutic alliance with children and families.
    • Objective 2d. Students will apply data-informed decision making toward the case conceptualization and diagnosis of psychological disorders.
    • Objective 2e. Students will apply data-informed decision making to treatment planning for psychological disorders.
    • Objective 2f. Students will be able to deliver evidence-based treatment for psychological disorders.
    • Objective 2g. Students will use ongoing data-informed assessment of patient progress to inform treatment planning and termination.

     

    Goal 3: Students will demonstrate knowledge in psychological clinical science.

    • Objective 3a. Students will demonstrate broad knowledge in areas of assessment and treatment related to psychopathology of childhood and adolescence.
    • Objective 3b. Students will demonstrate depth of knowledge in a defined area of growing expertise within the discipline of psychological clinical science.
    • Objective 3c. Students will demonstrate knowledge across broad and general areas of psychology (cognitive, affective, social, biological).
    • Objective 3d. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the history of psychology as a discipline.

     

    Goal 4: Students will demonstrate professionalism in the research and practice of psychological clinical science.

    • Objective 4a. Students will apply ethical concepts and awareness of legal issues regarding professional activities with children, families, and communities.
    • Objective 4b. Students will demonstrate awareness, sensitivity, and skills in working professionally with diverse children, families, and communities.
    • Objective 4c. Students will display respectful interpersonal communication, openness to feedback, and effective use of research mentorship and clinical supervision.
    • Objective 4d. Students will demonstrate knowledge of strategies and awareness of benefits associated with interdisciplinary collaboration with other professionals in research and practice.
  • Ethics & Diversity

    We spend significant time, in an ongoing way, considering comprehensive and empirically informed methods by which to train our students on issues of ethics and diversity, as these represent foundational professional competencies of both research and practice that are critical to a successful career in psychological clinical science.

    Ethics is a broad area critical to both patient care (e.g., maintaining awareness of personal bias, managing uncertainty, privacy and confidentiality, team-based decision making and treatment planning, aligning practice with codes of professional conduct) and research activities (e.g., informed consent, representative sampling, inclusion of underrepresented minority groups, culturally meaningful measurement, familiarity and compliance with IRB policies and procedures). Ethical conduct is exemplified by respect for cultural diversity and individual differences that characterize patients, participants, and populations receiving and participating in prevention, treatment, and health care services and research.

    Informed by a rich body of literature on ethics and diversity in psychological clinical science, we determined there to be several advantages to integrating training in these areas across multiple courses and throughout multiple years of training, thus providing students important opportunities to advance their knowledge and application of knowledge in an increasingly sophisticated way. In addition, by integrating ethics and diversity across multiple curriculum formats (coursework, practicum, and professional development), students receive opportunities to consider these issues in a variety of ways that include class discourse, clinical supervision, research meetings, and brown bag discussions that expose them to a wide variety of faculty experiences and perspectives, and ongoing opportunities for dialogue in small and large groups. Therefore, ethics and diversity are introduced early and revisited throughout training.

    Competence related to ethics and diversity is assessed annually with designated course assignments (Year 1: Psychological Clinical Science I, Year 2: Foundation Practicum II, and Year 3: Dissemination and Implementation Research) and upon completion of each advanced practicum through comprehensive student evaluations.

Courses

At each stage of our sequence, students engage in a fully integrated set of research and clinical activities to ensure that their delivery of psychological assessment and treatment services is informed by the scientific literature and that their developing research questions and methods are informed by their clinical experiences.

We offer a solid foundation and breadth of training in:

  • Developmental psychology, emphasizing the dynamic and complex interplay between the individual child and their ecology (e.g., parents, family, peers, schools and community)
  • Developmental psychopathology, emphasizing adaptation, coping and resilience
  • Cultural diversity, particularly access, quality and impact of mental health care
  • Methodology and statistics


For more information, consult the Graduate Catalog.

  • Introduction to Clinical Psychological Science

    This three-semester, 9-credit sequence provides a historical perspective on science and psychological clinical science. It begins with philosophy of science; covers the major developmental theories, systems, and ecologies that contribute to human behavior; introduces seminal readings; and familiarizes students with the most current tensions and controversies.

    Required courses include Psychological Clinical Science I: Historical Perspectives and Current Controversies; Psychological Clinical Science II: Ecologies of Development and Theories of Psychopathology; and History and Systems.

  • Assessment and Intervention in Childhood Psychopathology

    This three-semester, 9-credit sequence introduces the continuum of mental health care from assessment to treatment in the primary domains of childhood psychopathology. Courses are designed to cover:

    1. Prevalence; phenomenology; disparities by race, ethnicity, or gender; onset age; and trajectory/course
    2. Classification and evidence-based assessment
    3. Key influences in the development and maintenance of disorders, including genetics, learning, cognitive/information processing, and family and peer relationships
    4. Evidence-based prevention and treatment intervention approaches


    Required courses include Assessment and Treatment I: Internalizing Disorders; Assessment and Treatment II: Externalizing Disorders; and Assessment and Treatment III: Developmental, Learning, and Pediatric Disorders.

  • Research Methods and Design

    This two-semester, 6-credit sequence provides students with a foundation of knowledge related to research method and design for clinical psychology, with particular attention to the unique features associated with studies along the basic to applied research continuum. Course readings and materials integrate seminal papers in the field with current papers from peer-reviewed journals.

    Students will become familiar with a wide range of designs (e.g., randomized controlled trial, meta-analysis, mixed-method) and will become competent to select an appropriate design for their research questions, acknowledge inherent limitations, consider potential methodological artifacts and plan for studies with modified design to tease apart the most urgent and critical questions facing psychological clinical science.

    Required courses include Research Methods in Clinical Psychology and Dissemination and Implementation Research. In addition to formal course requirements, students are encouraged to seek additional methods training through mechanisms such as the APA summer Advanced Training Institutes (e.g., Research Methods with Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups).

  • Analytics

    This four-semester, 12-credit sequence includes three required courses that make up the department’s common core (for students across psychology programs) plus one advanced analytic elective selected by students in consultation with their mentors based on the unique and specific analytic needs of their dissertation and overall research agenda.

    Required courses include Health Statistics, Quantitative Methods II, and Multivariate Analysis in Applied Psychological Research. Analytic electives may be selected from within or outside of the psychological department and include but are not limited to Structural Equation Modeling, Categorical Analysis, Longitudinal Analysis, Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Qualitative Analysis, and Mixed-Method Research.

    In addition to formal course requirements, students are encouraged to seek additional quantitative training through mechanisms such as the University of Kansas Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis (CRMDA) Summer Institutes in Statistics (“Stats Camp”) and the University of Michigan Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research.

  • Breadth Requirements

    Three breadth requirements are planned for students to develop minimal levels of competence in the areas of cognitive, affective, biological, and social bases of behavior, corresponding to APA Implementing Regulation, C-16, Broad and General Preparation for Doctoral Programs. Students are encouraged to select from an approved list of courses offered within the psychology department.

    Students select from the following two options to meet the cognitive bases of behavior requirement: Cognitive Development or Cognitive Neuropsychology. Students select from the following two options to satisfy the biological bases of behavior requirement: Biological Basis of Behavior Development or Biological Bases of Behavior. All students are required to enroll in Proseminar in Social Psychology to satisfy the social bases of behavior requirement. Training in Affective Bases of Behavior is integrated throughout coursework and practicum.

Projects & Internship

Program milestones have been designed strategically to ensure a balanced combination of breadth and depth of expertise in clinical research and to build scholarship that enhances student marketability for academic careers in psychological clinical science.

  • Master's Project

    In order to obtain their Master of Science and advance to doctoral candidacy, students must complete a Master’s Project, a manuscript submitted for publication on which the student is the lead author. The project is based on the student’s independent research during the first two years of graduate training.

    The manuscript may be an empirical, review or conceptual paper. It will require approval from the student’s committee, consisting of a primary mentor and one additional reader from our program's core or affiliated faculty. Students are expected to work closely with their mentor, exchanging drafts and revising the manuscript over the course of their second year. Students are required to provide their additional reader with a minimum of one month to review the manuscript and provide feedback. Readers may request a revised draft of the manuscript before providing approval. Students are expected to complete course requirements and submit their Master’s Project for publication by the end of spring semester of their second year.

    Completion of an approved Master’s Project is required for receiving the MS degree on the student's transcript and for advancing to doctoral candidacy. Students who have not completed an approved Master’s Project by the end of spring semester of their second year will be notified in writing of this Benchmark Pending following the annual student performance review, and will meet with their primary mentor to plan for timely completion of this requirement. Students who have not completed an approved Master’s Project by the end of fall semester of their third year may risk losing their funding.

    For more information, consult the Master's Thesis Process for Doctoral Students.

  • Doctoral Candidacy

    Students who have completed the requirements for the master’s degree are expected to advance to candidacy at the end of their third year of training. Advancing to candidacy requires successful completion of a two-part competency exam comprising the following:

    Dissertation Grant Application: Students will submit a dissertation grant application (NRSA, R36, or equivalent) by the end of spring semester of their third year (corresponding to grant deadlines and in consultation with their primary mentor). Students are expected to work closely with their primary mentor on this application, and to seek consultation from additional faculty as needed.

    Candidacy Paper: Students will submit their second lead-author manuscript for publication. The manuscript may be an empirical, review or conceptual paper, but either this paper or the Master's Project must be an empirical paper. The submitted manuscript will require approval from the student’s primary mentor and one additional reader from our program's core or affiliated faculty. Students will submit the manuscript for publication by the end of spring semester of their third year.

    Students are encouraged but not required to work on their grant application and candidacy paper concurrently, as both are likely to reflect a comprehensive literature review and growing expertise in an area of research.

  • Doctoral Dissertation

    Following advancement to candidacy, students will adhere to the University Graduate School requirements for a doctoral dissertation.

    Committee: Per UGS guidelines, dissertation committees will include three faculty members from within the Department of Psychology plus one FIU faculty member from outside the department. Students may invite a fifth member from outside of FIU to join their committee, with approval from UGS.

    Prospectus: Students will submit to their committee a copy of their dissertation grant application (submitted as part of the requirements for advancement to candidacy) plus an amendment that details how the research design will be revised in the event of no funding (e.g., changes to sample size, compensation guidelines, recruitment, or analytic method). Dissertation committee members should receive the prospectus at least two weeks prior to the committee meeting. Students will defend their prospectus during a two-hour meeting planned with the dissertation committee that includes a brief slide presentation (about 30 minutes) followed by question/answer period. Students are not permitted to serve food during their prospectus meeting. Potential modifications to research questions and design will be discussed. The final approved prospectus should reflect all required modifications and becomes a contract between the student and their committee for work to be completed.

    Dissertation: A doctoral dissertation can be based on varied methodology (e.g., quantitative or qualitative studies, original or secondary data collection, open trial or randomized trial, experimental or quasi-experimental designs). As is becoming the norm in this field, the doctoral dissertation can be a submission-ready manuscript in style and length. Accompanying the dissertation study are a curriculum vitae and reprints of the student’s publications that demonstrate the body of scholarship pertaining to or supplementing the dissertation. Students may request additional meetings with committee members as needed. In addition to content and formatting requirements set forth by the UGS, the final dissertation portfolio should include the following a curriculum vitae; reprints of student publications that demonstrate the overall body of scholarship pertaining to the dissertation; and dissertation study. Students are encouraged to complete and defend their dissertations by the end of their fifth year, before leaving for internship. Students are expected to complete and defend their dissertations by the end of their sixth year.

    For more information, consult the Doctoral Dissertation Process.

  • Internship

    All students are required to enter the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers Clinical Psychology Internship Match. We support our students in becoming competitive for this program. 

    Two committees provide workshops, panel discussions, and presentations aimed at developing skills important to the internship match. The Professional Development Committee provides workshops to all students and includes information on CV preparation, tracking hours, ethics, and career paths and opportunities. The Internship Committee provides complementary workshops, panel discussions, and presentations, but focuses more on supporting students during the year they are applying to an internship. As such, the Internship Committee assists students with site selection, preparing the APPIC application, interviewing, and pre- and post-match support.

    The Internship Committee coordinates with current faculty to contact internship sites of highest interest to our students. In this way, we can introduce our program to internship sites and inform them about the students we train. During the periodic planned evaluations of our students, we also review students’ progress toward developing a strong internship application.

    Applying for the APPIC Clinical Psychology Internship Match

    1. Students are eligible to apply for internship during the fall semester of their fifth year. In order to enter the match and accept an internship, students must have achieved the following:
      • Master’s Project submitted for publication
      • Competency Examination, and must be in
      • Good Academic Standing (grades B- and above, overall GPA 3.0 or above)
      • Submission to the University Graduate School of the following D-forms:
        • D1: Appointment of Dissertation Committee
        • D2: Application for Candidacy
      • Dissertation Prospectus Meeting has been held and the appointed dissertation committee has approved the prospectus (or approval is pending, contingent on requested revisions and signature by chair)
      • D3: Dissertation Proposal form is pending IRB approval
      • Coursework (75 credits) has been completed (or will be completed by December of the same year in which the student is applying)
      • A minimum of three Advanced Clinical Practicums (15 credits and 500 clinical hours) have been completed, including one that provides training in assessment, one that provides training in treatment, and one that serves as a breadth practicum
      • Students who wish to apply sooner than their fifth year are encouraged to discuss this with their primary mentor and then, with their mentor’s permission, submit a petition to the internship committee for early application. This option is most relevant for students who entered the program with a master’s degree
    2. Students will submit to the Internship Committee a list of internship sites to which they wish to apply. Lists will be due no later than Sept. 15. Students will receive feedback from the Internship Committee within two weeks of submitting their lists.
    3. Students will provide the DCT with materials (e.g., curriculum vitae, summary of research goals) to assist in preparation of the DCT statement. These materials are due no later than Oct. 15.
    4. In the event of a non-match during Phase I, students will enter Phase II. In the event of another non-match, students will discuss with their primary mentor, the DCT and the Internship Committee; several options may be considered, including a possible in-house customized internship and reapplying the following year. These discussions will be held on a case-by-case basis and decisions will depend in part of funding available; training opportunities; and student goals, needs and preferences.

Clinical Practicum

Our practicum provides didactic and experiential training opportunities related to the delivery of psychological services in a manner consistent with professional standards of clinical psychology practice and American Psychological Association ethical principles.

Clinical training begins with a required two-semester Foundation Practicum sequence, followed by a minimum of three elective Advanced Practicum experiences, though most students enroll in more than three.

  • Foundation Practicum I: Assessment - First Year, Spring Semester

    Foundation Practicum I introduces didactic and experiential training in foundational relationship skills, assessment skills, intervention skills, diversity, ethics and professional development. Foundation Practicum provides students with breadth of clinical training experiences, including exposure to a range of presenting problems and empirically supported assessment and treatment approaches, which will serve as a foundation upon which to pursue depth of clinical training in specific areas. Emphasis on developing competence in a broad range of clinical practice activities coincides with the first-year clinical course sequence, which facilitates foundational knowledge in psychological clinical science.

  • Foundation Practicum II: Treatment - Second Year, Fall semester

    Foundation Practicum II consists of seminar, clinical placement (practicum), and supervision experiences that begin the process of developing competence in psychological treatment, thereby providing a foundation for future clinical coursework and practica opportunities. Students are introduced to theories and principles of psychological treatments for children, adolescents, and their families (e.g., initial evaluation; diagnosis; case conceptualization; choosing the appropriate evidenced-based treatment; treatment planning; treatment monitoring; treatment termination), as well as ethical, cultural and professional issues related to treatment (e.g., confidentiality, suicide risk assessment, mandatory child abuse reporting).

  • Advanced Practicum

    Following successful completion of the Foundation Practicum, students complete a minimum of three Advanced Practicum experiences during their second, third and fourth years of study in the Clinical Science doctoral program. A Student Guide to Advanced Practicum containing an updated list and description of opportunities will be distributed annually before fall semester course registration. Advanced Practicum experiences provide students with depth of clinical training in both assessment and treatment, and related to specific diagnoses (e.g., anxiety, ADHD), techniques (e.g., cognitive behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, behavioral parent training, school consultation), and formats for delivery (e.g., clinic, home, community, technology-facilitated). Emphasis on the development of intermediate to advanced competence in specific types of clinical activities coincides with the second-, third- and fourth-year curriculum that facilitates an intermediate to advanced knowledge base in clinical psychological science.

    Each student will select Advanced Practicum in consultation with their major professor. Students are encouraged to complete a diverse range of Advanced Practicum experiences to build intermediate to advanced competence in diverse types of clinical activities. Students are required to complete at least one practicum that provides training in assessment, at least one practicum that provides training in treatment, and at least one breadth practicum (outside of their primary clinical research area). Students are required to submit their hours for approval by their practicum supervisor at the end of each practicum, and encouraged to maintain a log of clinical activities via MyPsychTrack.

Professional Development

Students engage with mentors to develop advanced skills in their transformation into independent clinical scientists. Superior science-based professional development is interwoven throughout our program to ensure that graduates enter the clinical science marketplace with an attitude toward lifelong learning and maintain the core foundation, advanced training, requisite skills, professional savvy, responsibility and humility to competitively pursue advanced leadership positions.

Professional development has been designed to provide a combination of didactic, experiential, structured and semi-structured training opportunities in the practical aspects of scholarly productivity to facilitate the competencies needed for professional advancement. Critical areas emphasized include:

  • Developing effective time management skills
  • Attaining an optimal work-life balance to set the stage for a personally rewarding and professionally satisfying career
  • Understanding the professional opportunities afforded by a doctorate in clinical psychology
  • Distinguishing professional opportunities from professional distractions
  • Building a linear program of research
  • Securing funding for research
  • Writing effectively
  • Navigating the peer review process
  • Navigating the IRB process
  • Communicating effectively with colleagues and supervisors
  • Building a competitive curriculum vitae
  • Developing professional networks
  • Understanding the clinical internship match process
  • Developing strategies for effective interviewing
  • Preparing a job talk
  • Understanding considerations of ethics and diversity as they interface with research, practice and professional advancement


At completion of the doctoral program, students are expected to demonstrate at least an intermediate level of competence in each domain.

Licensure

Visit the Association of State Boards of Professional Psychology for licensing requirements and contact information for licensing boards in each U.S. state and territory. Licensure applicants must complete supervised predoctoral practicum hours and a predoctoral internship, which are requirements in this doctoral program. Many states require professional experience after completing the doctorate as well.

(Adapted from the University of Florida Clinical Psychology program)