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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.

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


      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


Students in the Psychology Doctorate program


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


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.


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.



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.



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.;

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

Jamie Vaske;

Lori Unruh, Ph.D.; School Psychology



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