Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology
The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology is currently accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association.
Questions related to the Program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Telephone: (202) 336-5979
TDD/TTY: (202) 336-6123
Fax: (202) 336-5978
Program Director: Dr. Russell Bauer, Ph.D., ABPP/CN
The department of Clinical and Health Psychology is an academic and professional unit in the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the Academic Health Center on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville. The doctoral program in clinical psychology has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1953 and adheres to the Scientist-Practitioner Model of education and training. The Clinical Psychology Doctoral program is unique in the country in that it is housed in an independent department of Clinical and Health Psychology in a major academic health science setting along with an APA accredited internship. These features foster program strengths in research, teaching and professional training in health care psychology.
“The scientist-practitioner model produces a psychologist who is uniquely educated and trained to generate and integrate scientific and professional knowledge, attitudes, and skills so as to further psychological science, the professional practice of psychology, and human welfare. The graduate of this training model is capable of functioning as an investigator and as a practitioner, and may function as either or both, consistent with the highest standards in psychology. The scientist-practitioner model is ideal for psychologists who utilize scientific methods in the conduct of professional practice.” (National Conference on the Education and Training of Scientist-Practitioners for the Professional Practice of Psychology).
To accommodate the broad range of career trajectories possible within Scientist-Practitioner education and training, the program offers a flexible Scientist-Practitioner curriculum that readies students for careers anywhere along the science-practice continuum. Our graduates successfully pursue careers in research, practice, or, more typically, in research-practice integration, and work in a broad range of professional settings, including academic health centers, hospitals, healthcare practices, and community agencies. All students obtain focused research mentorship in a faculty member’s laboratory and obtain broad training in clinical assessment and intervention both in and outside of their designated major area of study. The curriculum allows the student to develop broad competencies in assessment, intervention, consultation, and supervision, and ensures the acquisition of research skills and training in scientific methods and technologies to better understand behavior problems, psychopathology and psychological adjustment to illness and wellness, and to develop empirically validated assessment and treatment procedures.
The Doctoral Program provides the student with training in the concepts, tools, roles, and functions of the clinical psychologist. The overall goals of the graduate program are to prepare the student to:
(1) investigate meaningful, empirically testable questions in the quest for understanding a behavioral process, a patient’s problem, or a professional issue;
(2) function as a professional psychologist;
(3) practice competently in the applied areas of psychological assessment/diagnosis, intervention/therapy, consultation, and supervision; and
(4) contribute to the advancement of psychological knowledge through research or other creative scholarly activity.
Through a combination of general and specialized experiences in the classroom, laboratory, and clinic students develop knowledge,skills and attitudes as Scientist-Practitioners. Attitudes are developed toward the practice of psychology and toward activities that enable effective personal interaction and participation in today’s interprofessional approach to problems of research and practice. As students progress in the program, they develop professional identity through acceptance of increased responsibility for professional decisions, through the execution of significant research projects, and through their contributions to the understanding of psychological problems and processes.
The University of Florida Academic Health Center is a complex of six colleges on the University of Florida campus. The colleges include Medicine, Nursing, Health Professions, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Veterinary Medicine. The building complex consists of the 996-bed UFHealth Shands Hospital, a wide variety of outpatient clinics, a teaching/academic core, and the extensive support services for patient care, research, and communications that are part of a modern university health science center. The Department of Clinical and Health Psychology operates its own Psychology Clinic, which handles diverse requests for inpatient and outpatient psychological services from Academic Health Center departments and area health care professionals. The Psychology Clinic is the major setting for the formal clinical practica required of all doctoral students.
The Department is located within the College of Public Health and Health Professions, which offers doctoral level professional programs in Audiology (Aud.D) and Physical Therapy (DPT) as well as doctoral-level degree programs in Public Health disciplines (Biostatistics, Psychology/Clinical Psychology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Epidemiology, Health Services Research, Public Health, and Rehabilitation Science). Students interested in obtaining education and training in Public Health can obtain a Certificate in Public Health or can obtain both a Ph.D. and a Master’s of Public Health (MPH) degree while enrolled in the program. Separate admission to the Public Health Program is required. Interested students should visit the Public Health website at http://www.mph.ufl.edu/ for more information.
Across the street from the Health Science Center, and connected to it via an underground tunnel, is the 289 bed Gainesville Veterans’ Administration Medical Center (VAMC), a nationally recognized center for health care treatment of veterans and their families. A full continuum of community based training, emphasizing rural health care, is also available through departmental collaborations. Additional practica are available throughout the Academic Health Center and in outside facilities such as the North Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center, a forensic mental health facility.
The Department of Clinical and Health Psychology is recognized within the Health Science Center as a primary resource for academic and clinical expertise regarding biopsychosocial aspects of health and illness. Interests of the faculty are broad, with a majority actively engaged in the specialized areas of clinical health psychology, clinical neuropsychology, clinical child/pediatric psychology, and emotion neuroscience/psychopathology. There are ongoing collaborative arrangements with numerous departments and programs including Cardiology, Oncology, Neurology, Pediatrics, Psychology, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dentistry, Neurosurgery, Endocrinology, Surgery, Exercise and Sport Science, Physical Therapy, and Anesthesiology. Department faculty hold joint or courtesy appointments in many of these academic departments, and are represented on the faculties of such university centers as the Center for Neuropsychological Studies, the University of Florida McKnight Brain Institute, the Center for Movement Disorders and Neurorestoration, the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Institute on Aging, the Brooks Center for Rehabilitation Research, and the University of Florida Interdisciplinary ADHD Program. Several Centers are located within the Department or College, including the Center for the Study of Emotion and Attention, Center for Research in Psychophysiology, Center for Pediatric Psychology and Family Studies, Center for Telehealth and Assistive Technology, the Florida Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation, and the Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health.
The student has the opportunity to work with a broad range of accomplished faculty. In the 2013-2014 academic year, the faculty reported 122 peer-reviewed journal publications, 1 book, and 8 book chapters, and 47 peer-reviewed articles in press. In addition, faculty members authored or co-authored 103 papers presented at national or international meetings and gave 32 additional presentations to state or local organizations.
From FY2009-2015, grant awards to the department totaled $31.5 million, including new federal grants totaling $6.3M in Direct Costs ($2.2M IDC) and new nonfederal grants totaling $951K in Direct Costs ($38K IDC). Ongoing (continuing) federal grants during that same period totaled $16.4M in Direct Costs ($5.3M IDC), while nonfederal sources added $371K in Direct Costs ($35K IDC). During the same period, the faculty, together with student, intern, and postdoctoral clinicians have performed clinical services resulting in $7.1M in collections ($1.4M/year). All trainee services were delivered under the direct supervision of program faculty, with careful concern devoted to issues related to physical availability for immediate consultation (as appropriate and necessary), alternate coverage in instances of faculty travel, and appropriate coding and billing practices.
On the national level departmental faculty are active in the American Psychological Association and other professional societies such as the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, the American Board of Professional Psychology, Society for Behavioral Medicine, Society for Pediatric Psychology, International Neuropsychological Society, Society for Psychophysiological Research, and International Association for the Study of Pain. Faculty members also regularly serve on the editorial boards of scientific journals, including the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, Health Psychology, Educational and Psychological Measurement, The Clinical Neuropsychologist, Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, The Clinical Neuropsychologist, Psychophysiology, and the Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings.
Faculty are equally active at the regional, state and local levels through participation and leadership roles in the Southeastern Psychological Association, Florida Psychological Association and other organizations. Graduate students have also played significant roles in professional organizations (e.g., President and Board Members of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students [APAGS], Student President, Florida Psychological Association) and have been recipients of a number of research awards from the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Foundation, the Florida Psychological Association, the International Neuropsychological Society, the Society of Pediatric Psychology, and the American Pain Society. The Department itself was a co-sponsor of two major national conferences regarding education and training in psychology: The National Conference on Internship Training in Psychology (1987) and The National Conference on the Education and Training of Scientist-Practitioners for the Professional Practice of Psychology (1990). The Department originated the National Conference on Child Health Psychology, now sponsored by APA Division 54.
The Department’s location within the Academic Health Center affords it immediate access to the kinds of resources found only in a setting of this type. The primary resource is a large and active teaching faculty which supports the programs of the center’s six colleges that attract talented students of health care from throughout the United States and beyond. Opportunities are virtually limitless for exposure to faculty and graduate students in other disciplines, including public health, numerous specialties in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, neuroscience, and dentistry.
Since 2003, the Department has been located in the Health Professions, Nursing, and Pharmacy (HPNP) Building, located immediately north of the Health Science Center’s Communicore Building, which houses the Health Science Center Library and many classrooms supporting education within the AHC’s colleges. The HPNP building has integrated classroom facilities, state-of-the-art wireless technology, and access to the HP network, supporting computing needs for the department’s research and clinical missions.
The Department has access to diverse patient populations. Students obtain direct experience with a wide variety of psychological and medical problems in children and adults. The UF Health Shands Hospital is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment tools, and the student frequently has the opportunity to work with a team of health care professionals in pursuing a diagnosis or implementing a treatment program.
Just as important as patient care services are the resources that support the academic and research aspects of the Academic Health Center’s programs. The AHC is equipped with an excellent library that contains a broad collection of books and journals relevant to basic and applied psychological research. Many journals and other materials are available electronically to registered students through the UF Library websites. Just a block to the east, the McKnight Brain Institute’s dedicated 3T research scanner is available. Also within a short walk of the department is the new Clinical and Translational Science Building, which houses the Institute on Aging and the University’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The campus contains nine additional specialized libraries and one general resource library. The BioMedical Media Services located within the Health Science Center, contains facilities for photography, graphics, slides, videotape, and other media useful in the preparation of research reports. The Department occupies 23 thousand square feet of teaching, clinical and research space. The Department is particularly strong in instrumentation and methodology for neurocognitive and psychophysiological studies.
The Department of Psychology building is located nearby. The Psychology Department is responsible for the undergraduate teaching curriculum in psychology along with the graduate programs in cognition and perception, experimental analysis of behavior, developmental, social/personality, psychobiology and counseling psychology. Many faculty have ongoing collaborations with faculty in psychology. Many undergraduate Psychology majors work with Departmental faculty on senior theses and directed research projects, and many enroll as research assistants in Departmental projects. A number of faculty hold joint appointments in both departments.
Placement After Graduation
During the past seven years, the Department has graduated over 11 students per year (range 8-16). These professionals are now employed in diverse academic, human service, governmental, mental health, and administrative positions. Alumni surveys indicate that most graduates are currently situated in medical centers (64%), or in non-hospital based academic programs (19%), while 18% are in exclusively clinical service positions. Over two-thirds of recent graduates are actively involved in research, 36% in teaching, and 47% in consultation activities. Nearly half of our graduates report involvement in administration or leadership positions, and 80% engage in at least some patient care activities. In the past 5 years over 90% of students secured their first or second internship choice and all have received at least one offer of employment after degree requirements have been completed.
The Ph.D. program in clinical psychology is designed to enable students to master broad areas of knowledge and skills in psychology and clinical psychology, and to educate and train individuals who will contribute to such knowledge through research. The program consists of a general psychology core curriculum, a clinical psychology core, required research projects, a sequence of required clinical practica, a series of advanced elective courses, coursework and pratica comprising a major area of study, and an APA-accredited internship in clinical psychology. The program is designed as a five-year intensive program of study, practice, and research. The program offers a flexible Scientist-Practitioner curriculum, that permits the advanced student to craft within limits a curriculum plan that suits their desired trajectory as a professional psychologist.
During the first year students devote most of their time to core courses in foundations of psychology; research design; statistics; clinical science (e.g., psychopathology, assessment, intervention), and professional issues/ethics. Along with didactic classroom work, students are exposed to the research interests and activities of faculty, and attend research groups as well as department conferences. During this first year the student chooses a research mentor and completes the First Year Project research requirement, which eventually becomes the basis for the student’s M.S. Thesis.
In addition to research to complete the master’s degree, the focus of the second year is the required clinical practica sequence. During these formal practica, students spend one day a week obtaining training in a variety of assessment, consultation, and intervention activities with both adults and children under the direct supervision of department faculty. Four 3-month rotations have emphasis in clinical health psychology, clinical neuropsychology, clinical child/pediatric psychology and mental health/primary care. The First Year Project is presented at the Fall Research Symposium, and the resulting Master’s thesis is usually defended during the spring semester in front of a faculty committee. The student is also encouraged to develop interest areas which serve to satisfy the major area of study requirement and electives for the doctoral degree. It is a particularly important year since the student is expected to take a more active role in structuring his/her own learning experiences, and to form a doctoral supervisory committee.
During the third year students continue with coursework, research, intensified development of the major area of study, and with the completion of the required practica. All students continue to conduct ongoing therapy under faculty supervision. Elective practica are taken as well. Opportunities exist for working with patients of various age groups in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In the third year, the student typically satisfies requirements for doctoral candidacy, including a faculty review, doctoral qualifying examination and successful defense of a dissertation proposal.
During the early part of the fourth year students make application for internship. Application deadlines are from early November to December with a national selection date (APPIC Match Day) in February or March. The student consults with faculty, with the doctoral committee and the Program Director so that the most appropriate applications are made, and students receive significant support in the application process. The dissertation should be completed before leaving for internship. In this year the student rounds out his/her doctoral program through further specialized practica, seminars and research involvement, while making certain that all requirements are met prior to leaving for internship.
This year is the 12-month full-time clinical internship in an APA accredited program. This internship is required of all clinical psychologists and is the capstone of professional training in the doctoral program. The doctoral degree is awarded after successful completion of all program requirements.
Core required courses include study in the broad discipline of psychology, research and design, statistics, and courses in core clinical psychology including psychopathology, assessment and intervention. Selection of a certain number of elective courses is also required to satisfy breadth requirements (e.g., child and family therapy, pediatric psychology, health psychology/behavioral medicine, neuropsychological assessment, advanced psychotherapy, among others).
First Year Research Project
Research training is initially provided via a project that must be completed and presented by the middle of the fourth semester of matriculation. During the first semester, the student aligns with research mentor from among the core program faculty and develops a project that can be substantially completed within the year. This is then developed into a master’s thesis which is defended before a department committee in the Spring semester of the 2nd year. The student is required to continue to engage in research throughout the program. The doctoral supervisory committee is constituted no later than the end of the second year.
Core clinical practica are conducted under the supervision of program faculty. During core practica, students receive supervised assessment, consultation and intervention training with both children and adults having a wide variety of concerns ranging from problems of significant psychopathology to marital and family problems, and problems in coping with medical illnesses. After completion of the core practica, students are required to continue to obtain supervised intervention training throughout their tenure in the program, and may elect a number of available advanced practicum placements.
Admission to doctoral candidacy requires the approval of the student’s supervisory committee, the department chair, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Approval must be based on the (1) academic record of the student, (2) the supervisory committee opinion of the student’s overall potential for doctoral work, (3) an approved dissertation topic, and, (4) completion of the written and oral portions of the qualifying exam. The qualifying examination is conducted by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee.
Doctoral Committee and Dissertation
The dissertation is an independent and original research project which is conducted by the student with the approval and ongoing consultation of the doctoral committee. The dissertation must make an original contribution to existing psychological knowledge. The student formulates a question and a method for studying the question in collaboration with the committee. A formal proposal is then submitted to the committee along with appropriate IRB clearances. After approval, the study is conducted, the data are analyzed, and the student submits a formal written dissertation to the committee and to the Graduate School for editing. The dissertation is then defended before the committee and other interested persons. The approved dissertation is then submitted to the Graduate School for acceptance prior to the deadline for graduation. The Department strongly encourages students to submit their dissertation research for publication.
A final program requirement is the satisfactory completion of an APA-accredited internship in clinical psychology. The Department continually updates information on available internship training centers from the sites themselves and from information furnished by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC). Students consult this information and discuss their internship choices with faculty, their committee, and the Program Director prior to making formal application.
Major Areas of Study
In addition to general clinical psychology training, students develop a major area of study as part of their program of studies. Given faculty specialty areas and program resources, there are currently four formal areas of concentration available in the department:
- Clinical Child/Pediatric Psychology
- Clinical Health Psychology
- Neuropsychology and Clinical Neuroscience
- Emotion Neuroscience and Psychopathology
Operations and Outcomes Data
The doctoral program is committed to providing accurate information regarding the programs, its expectations, and its outcomes, consistent with Implementing Regulation C-20 related to the Guidelines and Principles of accreditation, Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Our latest tables depicting admissions, outcomes, and other data can be found here.