Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology
Further information about the program is available in the menu at the right. Please note that the Graduate and Clinical Handbooks contain a great deal of information about the Clinical Program and should be read in full.
About the Program
Established in 1947 and accredited by the APA since 1948, the doctoral program in clinical psychology at BU has a long and distinguished history. The scientist practitioner model of the clinical psychologist has shaped our commitment to the pursuit of excellence in both theoretical and empirical knowledge. The graduate PhD program in clinical psychology is part of the Department of Psychology, which is nested in a University center housing the behavioral sciences. The clinical doctoral program is an exciting, dynamic academic training program!
The Boston University PhD Program in Clinical Psychology was one of the first twelve programs approved by the American Psychological Association in 1948. The program has a long-standing commitment to the scientist-practitioner “Boulder” model of doctoral training. As such, graduates of the program are expected to be competent in clinical assessment and intervention skills as well as in general research skills and the ability to apply these skills to investigating problems of interest to clinical psychologists. This emphasis on integrating research and clinical skills produces a scientist-practitioner who is more than the sum of these two constituent roles.
Our goal is to help students develop strengths in research and clinical practice as well as the critical thinking skills and abilities necessary to integrate these domains. We expect that our graduates will become leaders and innovators in the field of psychology in clinical, research, or academic settings. Within this framework, we endorse nurturing and supportive models of learning and teaching that combine coursework, clinical research, and professional practice with heavy emphasis on traditional mentorship relationships.
Key training components include early involvement in faculty research, clinical training at sites with psychologists who integrate science and practice, and course content informed by current research. This multipronged training is consistent with the University’s mission of developing outstanding scientists and researchers in all the disciplines in which graduate degrees are offered, while maintaining the program’s emphasis on the applied nature of clinical psychology. The presentation of didactic material through courses, participation in clinical research, and practical clinical training experiences follow a sequence that reflects increasing complexity and effective integration of the subject matter, and promotes increasing autonomy in our graduate students.
The PhD Program in Clinical Psychology at Boston University accepts small classes of students each year, with class sizes seldom exceeding ten students. Applicants clearly focusing on a clinical practice career would likely find the in-depth training in clinical research methodology superfluous to their goals; these applicants may better achieve their objectives at one of the many fine professional schools in psychology. Similarly, students who are interested in a career in science devoid of clinical application would also find the in-depth and broad based clinical training at Boston University superfluous to their goals. These applicants may better achieve their objectives in a program that does not require the extensive hours of clinical training to achieve excellence in this area and to meet criteria for accreditation and licensure.
The overarching goal of the Program is to give our graduates the background necessary to implement evidence-based practices and programs in applied settings, develop sophisticated program evaluation methodologies, create new basic and applied knowledge in clinical research settings whether in universities or agencies, and innovate policy relevant to the practice of clinical psychology. In fulfilling these goals, our graduates follow many career paths in both applied and academic settings. Some examples from graduates in the last several years include academic or clinical research positions at Brown University Medical School, Boston University School of Medicine, the University of California, San Diego, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of New South Wales (Australia). Clinical leadership positions include Director of Addiction Ambulatory Services at Bronx Lebanon Hospital / MLK Jr. Health Center in New York, and Program Director, Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Program, Palo Alto VA. Whatever the setting, the program philosophy emphasizes training that will produce psychologists who are leaders in both academic and clinical settings and who are able to produce new knowledge in clinical psychology or program evaluation methodologies.