About the program
The Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association. This program is a full-time, five-year, integrated, and organized sequence of studies and practice experiences based on the “local clinical-scientist” model of training. The local clinical-scientist embodies and expands upon the original scientist-practitioner model of clinical psychology.
Research and clinical practice are balanced in the curriculum, and our graduates function in various roles as health care clinicians, university scholars, program directors, and supervisors.
Coursework is grounded in empirical literature that examines the interplay among biological, psychological, and social factors related to human adjustment. This bio-psychosocial perspective infuses all aspects of the doctoral curriculum and training experiences.
Perspectives on diversity are incorporated throughout the curriculum, addressing individual and group differences and the implications of diversity for the ethical and effective practice of clinical psychology. And, in our view, a full appreciation of diversity includes spiritual and religious factors as well. Additionally, both faculty and students are committed to a vocation of service to others.
The PhD in Clinical Psychology begins in Autumn Quarter and admits students once a year.
Sequence of study
To graduate with the PhD, you must complete 195 quarter units of courses that include:
- 26 units of research and dissertation
Two one-year, part-time practicum placements
- A full-time one-year internship
A master’s degree (MS in psychological science) is earned en route to the doctorate.
The faculty, staff, and students of the School of Psychology, Family, and Community (SPFC) at Seattle Pacific University strive to become a community of learners:
Guided by Faith •
Exploring the implications of vital expressions of Christian faith for the human condition, as well as for emotional and relational healing and health.
Rooted in Academic Discipline •
Fostering rigorous and creative learning environments, as well as contributing primary scholarship to the scientific study of psychological and social processes.
Committed to Service
• Grounding our learning community in the theory, research and application of our disciplines in order to produce skilled graduates who can serve with character and competence in a broken world. • Nurturing creative partnerships with our local community and beyond in order to serve in and learn from socially and culturally diverse settings.
For admission to clinical psychology doctoral studies, the following are required:
A bachelor’s degree
- From a regionally accredited institution, with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0.
- An undergraduate major in psychology is preferable.
- If your bachelor’s degree is not in psychology, you may wish to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Psychology Subject Test to demonstrate adequate knowledge of general psychology.
- All applicants should have successfully completed a statistics or tests-and-measurements course, as well as at least five other psychology
courses prior to application, from among the following: abnormal, developmental, experimental,
physiological, social, learning, motivation, or personality.
- Administered within five years of the deadline date for application to the program.
- The Psychology Subject Test of the GRE
(PGRE) is not required, but may be advantageous if your bachelor’s degree isn’t in psychology.
Letters of recommendation
- Three academic references from current or former professors/instructors are preferred, however you may substitute for one academic reference a professional reference from a person in a related field (e.g., clinical supervisor).
- Academic and professional references should be sent on academic or professional letterhead, or you may use the standard form included in the online application and follow the instructions.
- Three–four pages in length, typed.
- Address your career objectives, rationale for seeking a degree in clinical psychology, and why you choose to attend SPU.
- Mention professional and personal strengths as they apply to clinical psychology, related work experiences, research interests, personal values, religious ideals, and other information you deem appropriate.
- Preference is shown to applicants who possess potential for both clinical and scientific work, as demonstrated by prior work or volunteer experiences.
If English is not your first language, you must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and obtain a minimum score of 600 on the paper-based test or 250 on the computer-based test.
If you are not U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, you must provide an official confidential
statement of financial support covering each year of intended enrollment. This is necessary
to issue the paperwork for an I-20 immigration form. Documentation must be included in the
The Admissions Committee of the Clinical Psychology Department (CPY) will conduct a preliminary screening process. Finalists will be invited to come to campus for personal interviews in late February or early March.
Admission to the doctoral program depends upon recommendation by the CPY faculty and approval from the department chair.
Transfer of credit
If you have a master’s degree, or have taken other graduate coursework in psychology at a regionally accredited institution, you may be allowed to transfer up to 20 quarter units. You must submit syllabi of any courses for which you request transfer of credit.
Courses accepted for transfer must have been passed at a grade of “B” or higher and completed within seven years of transfer. A petition to transfer credits is submitted only after formal admission to the program.
You must complete all requirements for the doctoral degree within seven years from the quarter your first post-admission course was taken. Students who need more than seven years to complete the degree must file a time-extension petition with the director of doctoral studies.