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Doctor of Psychology

Western Carolina University's Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Health Service Psychology (Combined Clinical- School) is a three-year, post-Masters professional preparation program.

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Students in the Psychology Doctorate program

  

Upon completion of the program, students will be to provide culturally competent, evidence-based clinical services while adhering to the highest ethical standards. Professional psychologists will be trained to work in various settings serving underserved populations, particularly individuals living in rural communities in North Carolina. 

The PsyD program at WCU ascribes to the practitioner-scholar model of professional training, which places greater emphasis on clinical preparation as opposed to research training. Students in the program will garner experience through formal coursework, supervised clinical experiences, and research requirements with the goal to prepare graduates for licensure.

This curriculum is designed to meet requirements for accreditation by the American Psychological Association.

Admission to the Program

At the time of enrollment, applicants must have completed the following:

  1. a Masters or Specialist degree in psychology or
  2. a Masters degree in a related area that includes at least 18 hours of coursework in psychology.

At the time of application, candidates must select a concentration area: Clinical or School Psychology.

Candidates who are graduates of the M.A. Clinical Psychology program or S.S.P. School Psychology program at Western Carolina University will have satisfied all course prerequisites prior to admission to the PsyD program.

Candidates graduating from other Masters programs will need to submit transcripts, syllabi, and evidence of prior research conducted (e.g., thesis; published paper) for faculty review to determine if prior coursework satisfies program prerequisites; however, these materials are not needed as part of the initial application.

  • Transcripts from all postsecondary colleges and universities attended documenting the following criteria:
    • Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.30 for the last 60 hours (preferred criteria)

    •  

      Cumulative graduate GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher (preferred criteria)

  • Official GRE score report from test administration within the past five years documenting GRE scores at the 50th percentile or higher on both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections (preferred criteria)
  • Three letters of recommendation solicited from professionals (ideally professional supervisors and psychology faculty) who can provide information about candidate’s:

     

     

    • Capacity for success in a doctoral psychology program

    •  

      Interpersonal characteristics

    •  

      Academic preparation

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      Clinical skills

  • A Curriculum Vita documenting the following criteria
    • Prior research experience (preferred criteria)

    •  

      Educational history and Other Experiences

  • Personal statement written in three (3) double-spaced pages or less describing the candidate’s:
    • Background and experiences in psychology,

    •  

      Interest in the PsyD program and specific concentration identified

    •  

      Academic interests that align with departmental faculty

    •  

      Career goals

    •  

      Commitment to providing psychological services to underserved and rural populations

Admission into the PsyD program is selective and satisfying the preferred admission criteria described below does not guarantee admission to the program.

The PsyD admission committee (PAC) will review all completed applications and invite top candidates for in-person interviews. Interviewee selection will be based on review of graduate coursework and GPA, GRE scores, quality of recommendations, and personal statement.

The application review process involves holistic evaluation, including fit with mission of the program as well as academic preparation and promise

Curriculum

Students in the Psychology Doctorate program

Fall 2019 PsyD Cohort

Consistent with APA Accreditation standards, the PsyD program curriculum emphasizes broad and general training in discipline-specific knowledge that informs health service psychology, such as the biological basis of behavior, social influences on behavior, history and philosophical systems of psychology, research and data analysis, cognitive/affective aspects of behavior, and psychological measurement.

  

Curriculum Overview

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program Curriculum
Fall 1st Year
PSY 841 Biological and Affective Bases of Behavior (3 hours)
PSY 851 Advanced Research Methods and Statistics III (3 hours)
PSY 723 Professional Consultation in Health Service Psychology (3 hours)
PSY 886 Doctoral Practicum (School or Clinic Based) (3 hours)
PSY 668 Teaching of Psychology (For Teaching Fellows) (3 hours)
12 (15) hours total 

Spring 1st Year
PSY 878 Child & Family Systems & Intervention (3 hours)
PSY 842 Multicultural Psychology (3 hours)
PSY 773 Ethics in Health Service Psychology (3 hours)
PSY 886 Doctoral Practicum (School or Clinic Based) (3 hours)
12 hours total

Summer 1st Year
PSY 755 Advanced History and Systems (3 hours)
3 hours total

Fall 2nd Year
PSY 744 Advanced Cognitive Psychology (3 hours)
PSY 888 Professional Supervision (3 hours)
PSY 886 Doctoral Practicum (School or Clinic Based) (3 hours)
PSY 899 Dissertation (3 hours)
12 hours total

Spring 2nd Year
PSY 710 Advanced Social Psychology (3 hours)
PSY 886 Doctoral Practicum (School or Clinic Based) (3 hours)
PSY 899 Dissertation (3 hours)
Elective (Optional) (3 hours)
9 (12) hours total

Summer 2nd Year
PSY 883 Doctoral Internship (School Concentration requires 600 hours in School (1 hour)
1 hour total

Fall 3rd Year
PSY 883 Doctoral Internship (2 hours)
2 hours total

Spring 3rd Year
PSY 883 Doctoral Internship (2 hours)
2 hours total

Summer 3rd Year
PSY 883 Doctoral Internship (1 hour)
1 hour total

Program emphasis

The PsyD program emphasizes mastery of profession-wide competencies that are grounded in evidence-based practices in core professional activities, such as assessment, therapy, consultation, and supervision. Our curriculum grounds all coursework and supervised clinical practice in both the empiricism of psychology and ethical competence.

Research

Students in the Psychology Doctorate program

  

Candidates admitted to the PsyD program will be involved actively in faculty research programs.

PsyD candidates will demonstrate mastery of psychological research through the completion of a dissertation. The dissertation requirement reflects the program’s commitment grounding professional psychological practice in the empirical science of psychology.

Training Clinic

Students in the Psychology Doctorate program

  

The PsyD program features an in-house training clinic, the McKee Psychological Services Center (McKee Clinic).

The McKee Clinic features multiple assessment and therapy rooms with two-way observation mirrors, state-of-the-art video capture technology, videoconference technology, a dedicated reception area, extensive library of testing materials, and dedicated student office space.

ADVANCED PRACTICUM TRAINING

Candidates will complete advanced practicum training under supervision from licensed psychologists in various settings.

The PsyD program has established contacts with the Western Carolina University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) center, the TEACCH Asheville Center, the Charles George VA Hospital in Asheville, Meridian Behavioral Health, and local school districts, among other practicum training sites.

  

FAQs

If I am applying to the PsyD program but did not graduate from WCU’s Clinical Psychology or School Psychology program, will I satisfy PsyD program prerequisites?

It depends on how well the graduate program aligns with either the MA Clinical Psychology curriculum or the SSP School Psychology curriculum. Critical components of WCU graduate programs include supervised practicum placements, research requirements, and core curriculum. If applicants do not satisfy curricular pre-requisites, it is possible for an applicant to be admitted conditionally to the PsyD program while pre-requisites are completed. Applicants from other graduate programs may contact the PsyD Program Director with specific inquires.

If I am interested in the PsyD program, but do not have a graduate degree, how to I apply?

Students with Bachelor’s degrees must complete either the MA Clinical Psychology or SSP School Psychology curriculum prior to applying to the PsyD program.

What are program plans for American Psychological Association (APA) Accreditation?

The PsyD Program is committed to satisfying APA Accreditation standards. In Spring 2020, the program will complete the APA Intent to Apply application and in Fall 2020 will complete application for the “Accreditation, On Contingency” status. Please see APA’s Commission on Accreditation (CoA) website for more information about APA Accreditation.

What financial support is offered for PsyD students?

PsyD students are guaranteed two years of financial support ($20,000/year) through work completed as undergraduate instructors. The financial support does not include a tuition waiver. One PsyD student is eligible to receive the Christine Biles Ledford scholarship ($2,500/year) per year through a competitive application process.

  

Faculty

The PsyD is supported by 11 core faculty members representing clinical and school psychology specializations with wide-ranging research interests and clinical expertise. Four faculty members are licensed psychologists.

The PsyD program is further supported by departmental faculty members with expertise in cognitive, experimental, educational, developmental, and social psychology.

Explore our faculty and their research below: 

L. Alvin Malesky, Jr., Ph.D., Department Head - Psychology; Forensic Psychology

Kia Asberg, Ph.D., Director - Master of Clinical Psychology; Clinical Psychology

Jon Campbell, Ph.D., Director - Doctor of Psychology

Candace Boan-Lenzo, Ph.D., Director - Master of School Psychology; School Psychology

David de Jong, Ph.D., Social Psychology

Tom Ford, Ph.D., Social Psychology

Winford Gordon, Ph.D., Experimental Psychology

Bruce Henderson, Ph.D., Developmental Psychology

Al Kopak, Ph.D., Criminal Justice

David McCord, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

Matt Meier, Ph.D., Cognitive Psychology

Erin Myers, Ph.D., Social-Personality Psychology

Mickey Randolph, Ph.D., School Psychology

Nathan Roth, Ph.D., Director – McKee Assessment and Psychological Services Clinic

David Scales, Experimental Psychology

Ethan Schilling, Ph.D., School Psychology

David Solomon, Ph.D., Director – Clinical Psychology

Lori Unruh, Ph.D., School Psychology

Jamie Vaske, Criminal Justice

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