PhD in Clinical Psychology

About the Program

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 on the Standards of Accreditation (SoA), set forth by the American Psychological Association to detail the competencies necessary to function as a clinical psychologist. 

Program Aims

Prepare Graduates for Careers in Clinical Practice. Regarding professional practice, our curriculum and training experiences provide thorough training in state-of-the-art evidence-based assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment approaches. Students will receive education and training in all of the competencies deemed necessary to function as a clinical psychologist in a full-range of settings in the current healthcare environment (e.g., evidence-based assessment and intervention, ethical and legal standards, knowledge of individual and cultural diversity, development of professional values, consultation and supervision skills; cf. SoA). 

Prepare Graduates for Careers in Academic Settings. Our curriculum and training opportunities prepare graduates of our program for careers in research in a variety of settings (e.g., colleges, universities, medical centers). In addition, for those students who are interested, there are opportunities for teaching undergraduate courses to develop the necessary teaching skills for a potential career in academics.

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 several foreign countries. This LINK provides career information of our graduates during the past 10 years.

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 coursework, externships, internship, and research projects, are required to earn the doctoral degree. Click on the following to view a required curriculum sequence or to view student admission, outcomes, and other data.

Training in Clinical Practice


First and Second Year:

Easing into Clinical Practice. Coursework in the practice of clinical psychology, which begins during the first year 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 subareas (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 and under the supervision of faculty members as well as advanced students in the program.

Specialty clinics and programs directed by the clinical faculty are:

  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Clinic
  2. Anxiety and Depression Clinic
  3. Child and Parent Psychotherapy Services Clinic
  4. Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultation Team
  5. Research on Eating and Anxiety Disorders Program
  6. Phobia and Trauma Clinic
  7. Serious and Persistent Mental Illness Program

Generally, these specialty clinics operate year-round and serve the community surrounding Hofstra University. For 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 years 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 and 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 the internship. Application to APA-accredited internships is done through the national match (see

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: A Second Year Research Project and a 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 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 on 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.


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. 


The Hofstra University PhD Program in Clinical Psychology has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation since 1973. During the last accreditation review in 2019, our program received the maximum accreditation award – 10 years – and is thus accredited through 2029. For additional 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
Phone: 202-336-5979
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation/APA

Program Director

William C. Sanderson, PhD
Director, PhD Program in Clinical Psychology