Earning a doctorate in Clinical Psychology includes online and in-person seminars and sessions, independent study, as well as collaborative support from faculty and the entire Fielding community. Find out more about the following aspects of the degree process:
- New Student Orientation
- Psychological Assessment
- Clinical Practicum
- Internship Qualification Evaluation
- Clinical Internship
- Research Practicum
New Student Orientation (NSO)
You start the program by participating in our orientation process, which is made up of an online orientation, face-to-face orientation, and an ongoing mentoring and monitoring throughout your first year.
You begin with a set of online activities giving you an overview of our program requirements, library resources, and online learning environment. The activities include an overview of the professional conduct expected of you, and how you will be assessed.
NSO-Santa Barbara (NSO-SB)
After successfully completing the NSO-Online, you are invited to a 6-day orientation in Santa Barbara, CA. You work with faculty and advanced students, primarily in a small group format to familiarize you with our learning model and to help you develop a personalized and sequenced plan of studies called a Learning Plan. Your Learning Plan serves as a blueprint of your individual graduate studies specifically in relation to the program's requirements and your academic background, prior professional training, and special interests.
Both the NSO-Online and the NSO-SB must be successfully completed in order to become a fully matriculated student. During your first year in the program your progress is monitored to ensure that you meet standards and make sufficient progress. This final step in gives you the needed structure and support to help you succeed in the program.
You demonstrate competence by completing coursework in specific areas of knowledge. The courses make up the academic knowledge foundations component of the program.
You complete 17 core courses, plus additional required and elective graduate courses. The curriculum allows a variety of elective options, attention to contemporary topics, and integration of the residential sessions with other important parts of the curriculum.
Your coursework can be completed individually or with a small group of other students. You arrange an individual assessment in a tutorial model with a faculty member. Small group assessments are usually completed through a combination of online and in-person activities. You may choose individual or different types of group seminars for each of your required courses. All courses involve independent study and demonstration of your competence in the subject area.
You achieve hands-on skills development in the administration and interpretation of psychological assessment instruments through courses available at national sessions, clinical sessions, and in regional clusters. You gain experience and develop your skills and in:
- Evaluation of clinical problems
- Intelligence testing
- Personality assessment
- Projective assessment
- Cultural sensitivity
- Clinical interviewing
- Report writing
Your clinical practicum is an intensive, formally-supervised training in the provision of direct psychological services, typically begun during your second year in the program. You develop pre-internship level competencies to enable you to apply to a high-quality, competitive internship.
Your primary practicum supervisor is a licensed, doctoral level psychologist. Your faculty advisor and the Director of Practicum Training work with you to locate appropriate clinical practicum placements.
Internship Qualification Evaluation
Before applying for clinical internship, you must successfully complete an evaluation of your doctoral-level scholarship and your readiness for your internship. Your internship qualification evaluations include written and clinical materials evaluated by faculty, and a presentation of those materials to demonstrate your ability to present a clinical case to an audience of mental health professionals.
Your clinical internship consists of a planned, integrated sequence of clinical and educational experiences. Your internship provides sufficient training and supervision so that you can perform responsibly as a clinical psychologist after you have completed the program. You complete your internship as a 1-year, full-time experience or in 2 consecutive years, half-time.
All students apply to internship sites that are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) or comparable sites.
All students are required to apply for internships through APPIC Match. Those who are not geographically mobile must apply to at least seven APA, APPIC or CPA sites that are within 100 (driving) miles of their place of residence and for which they are eligible.
You acquire skills to complete a scholarly doctoral dissertation through a 200-hour applied research practicum. You complete the hours through working with experienced researchers in qualitative and/or quantitative research projects.
The doctoral dissertation is the culmination of the PhD program. Your dissertation will contribute new knowledge to the field of Clinical Psychology. You write your dissertation with support from a dissertation committee. You present your dissertation to Fielding’s psychology community in a final oral review once you and your dissertation committee have agreed that it is ready for public distribution.
You are not limited to dissertation topics that fall within the scope of faculty members’ research areas. Our faculty members encourage and support wide a variety of research topics and methodologies, including both quantitative and qualitative research.