PhD Program in Clinical Psychology
SEPTEMBER WEBINAR: Dr. William Sanderson, Director of the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology, will provide information and answer any questions you may have about the program. To sign up for the Hofstra PhD Program Webinar, please RSVP here.
The Mission of Our Program
Consistent with the tradition of the scientist-practitioner model, our PhD students receive education and training in both the science and professional practice of clinical psychology. Our program’s training model is based upon the Standards of Accreditation (SoA), set forth by the American Psychological Association to detail the competencies necessary to function as a clinical psychologist.
With regard to professional practice, our program provides thorough training in state-of-the-art evidence-based assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment approaches. Students will receive training in all of the competencies deemed necessary to function as a clinical psychologist in the healthcare environment (e.g., ethical and legal standards, knowledge of individual and cultural diversity, development of professional values, consultation and supervision skills; cf. SoA).
Students in our program also receive education and direct experience in generating original scientific knowledge as well as integrating science into their professional practice activities (i.e., evidence-based practice).
Graduates of our program are prepared to pursue careers in applied and academic settings.
Surveys of our more than 900 alumni have shown that they are employed in a wide variety of settings (clinics, colleges and universities, correctional facilities, hospitals, independent clinical practices, research centers, etc.) in 25 different states and in a number of foreign countries. Click on this link for a recent overview of the activities of some of our alumni.
Degree Requirements. The PhD program in Clinical Psychology is designed to take a minimum of five years of full-time study (regardless of whether the student enters with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree). This time-frame includes a one-year predoctoral internship to be completed off-campus at an APA accredited internship site acquired through the national psychology internship match. Two research projects are required: A Second Year Research Project and a Dissertation. Successful completion of two Qualifying Exams (Research and Clinical) are required prior to initiation of dissertation research. A total of 105 semester hours, including those for course work, externships, internship, and research projects, are required to earn the doctoral degree. Click on the following to view a typical course of study or to view student admissions, outcomes, and other data.
Training in Clinical Practice
First and Second Year: Easing into Clinical Practice. Course work in the practice of clinical psychology, which begins during the first year in order to provide the foundational competencies of professional practice, continues throughout the program. The clinical orientation of the program is best characterized as cognitive behavioral, with faculty members representing specialties within the various sub-areas (e.g., behavior analysis, acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, exposure therapy, parent-child interaction therapy, rational-emotive therapy).
Typically, students are assigned to a faculty member’s specialty clinic during their first year and they begin observing and participating in the provision of clinical services. The goal is to ease students into clinical work early on under the supervision of faculty members as well as advanced students in the program.
Specialty clinics and programs directed by the clinical faculty are:
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Clinic
- Anxiety and Depression Clinic
- Child and Parent Psychotherapy Services Clinic
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultation Team
- Phobia and Trauma Clinic
- Serious and Persistent Mental Illness Program
- Suicidal Behaviors Research Program
Generally, these specialty clinics operate year-round and serve the community surrounding Hofstra University. For those programs located on campus at the Psychological Evaluation Research and Counseling Clinic (PERC), each assessment and intervention room is equipped with digital recording equipment so that sessions can be easily recorded and viewed to enhance the effectiveness of supervision.
Third and Fourth Year: Externship Placements. In addition to continued participation in the specialty clinics, during the third and fourth year students further their clinical experience by applying for externship placements that are available in the Long Island/New York City community. The application process is overseen by a faculty member in our program. Clinical externship placements are supervised by on-site doctoral-level staff members at the agency where the PhD student is placed and constitute a full-year of training at each site. Externship sites are quite diverse and include outpatient or inpatient sites with a range of patient populations (hospitals, private agencies, public mental health clinics, college counseling clinics, forensic institutions, etc.). Students often pursue externship training that is consistent with their interests and career goals.
Our student’s clinical externship placements during the last few years have included local sites (i.e., Long Island, New York City) such as: Albert Ellis Institute, American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, Biobehavioral Institute, CBT/DBT Associates, Cognitive and Behavioral Associates, Cognitive Behavioral Consultants of Westchester and Manhattan, Columbia University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CUCARD), Hofstra University Student Counseling Center, Kingsbrook Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, Montefiore Child and Adolescent Program, Northport VA, Northshore/LIJ Hospital, Pilgrim State Hospital, NY Presbyterian Personality Disorders Clinic, NYU Bellevue Hospital Inpatient, NYU Child Study Center, Rikers Island Jail, and St. John's Episcopal Hospital.
Fifth/Sixth Year: Predoctoral Internship. A one-year full-time predoctoral internship is required and is typically completed in the fifth or sixth year (Note. Students who choose to go out on internship during their sixth year usually spend the fifth year completing their dissertation). As is true for all APA accredited clinical psychology doctoral programs, the internship match is nationwide and may require moving to a distant location for one year (our students have been at internships as close as a few miles from Hofstra and as far as 3000 miles in California). Students are required to complete their dissertation proposal, and to have the requisite personal and clinical skills, before they are approved to apply for internship. Application to APA accredited internships is done through the national match (see APPIC.org).
Training in Clinical Science
Consistent with the scientific-practitioner model of training, we believe that research activities are an integral part of functioning as a Clinical Psychologist, especially in the current healthcare environment where there is an emphasis in all fields on evidence-based treatments. While most of our graduates do not seek academic-oriented positions, and instead, tend to work in applied settings, we believe that central to the practice of professional psychology is the ability to consume and evaluate research literature relevant to evidence-based assessment and interventions. Coursework in our program (e.g., research design, statistics) will provide the essential knowledge to accomplish this goal. Moreover, in all courses, faculty members emphasize the scientific validity of the procedures and interventions that we train our students to utilize.
Typically, during the first year, students are assigned a research mentor who will guide the two required research projects: Second Year Research Project and Dissertation. It is often the case that the research mentor and research activities take place as the “laboratory” component of one of the specialty clinics mentioned above (although there can be exceptions to this and some students separate their research laboratory and specialty clinic involvement, depending upon their interests).
During the first year, PhD students typically participate in ongoing research (e.g., assisting with the professor’s own research or with advanced student’s projects within that lab). As the second year approaches, students will begin to develop their initial required research project under the guidance of their faculty research mentor and ultimately collect data, write-up the study, and present the proposal to a two-person faculty member committee for approval (i.e., our Research Qualifying Exam). Our goal is for students to complete their Second Year Research Project no later than the second semester of the third year of our program.
Dissertation. Once PhD students have successfully completed both qualifying exams they can proceed with the development of a Doctoral Dissertation. Students are expected to develop an original idea based upon the current scientific knowledge within their area of study, write a Dissertation proposal (which is presented to a three-faculty Dissertation committee), conduct the research project, write up their findings in a formal Dissertation manuscript (instructions will be provided), and present these findings to their Dissertation committee at a formal meeting for approval (i.e., the Dissertation Defense). As noted above, students must have their Dissertation Proposal approved, and be judged competent in the core areas of training by the faculty, prior to applying for Internship. Students are strongly encouraged to submit their research projects for presentation at professional conferences and ultimately submit them to scientific journals for publication.
The Hofstra University Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation since 1973. For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
In addition to formal accreditation, we are proud that the Hofstra University PhD Program in Clinical Psychology was the recipient of the annual award for “Outstanding Training Program” (received in 2007) from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, undoubtedly the premier organization in this field. While we have made some adjustments to our training model since then, this award and the success of our graduates validates our overall mission and our success in implementing it.
To apply to our program you must complete the Hofstra Graduate online application by December 31.
If you do not have a degree in psychology and you want to apply you must send a list of all psychology courses taken to the Director of the Program to determine if you have the required courses:email@example.com).
Please note that all students are admitted to the program rather than to a faculty member's lab/clinic. We do our best to accommodate each student's interest in being assigned to a particular faculty member and are able to do so for the majority of students who enter the program. However, it is not always possible to do so. Students will be aware of their assignment prior to the acceptance deadline. It is important to note that other than lab/clinic assignments to a specific faculty member, the program is exactly the same for all students (e.g., courses, research requirements, externship requirements, internship) -- irrespective of the faculty member one is assigned to.
If you have any questions regarding the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology,
Mrs. Joan Connors
Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology Secretary