Program Requirements - Divine Mercy University

PsyD Program Requirements

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology Degree Requirements

The Psy.D. Program in Clinical Psychology consists of 122 credit hours of coursework and a non-credit course in library and information use and research. The Psy.D. curriculum consists of 101 credit hours in psychology, 12 semester credit hours of integrative studies in philosophy and theology, and a minimum of 9 credit hours of dissertation research. Students in the doctoral program must also complete a minimum of 1,800 hours of clinical externship (with the initial year occurring in the Center for Psychological Services and additional training occurring in both secular and nonsecular off-site clinical settings), pass a comprehensive examination, author and defend a doctoral dissertation, and complete 2,000 hours in an APPIC-member pre-doctoral internship.

Clinical Training Handbook

Dissertation Handbook

Degree Time Limit

All students admitted to the Psy.D. Program must complete all degree requirements within seven academic years from the date of admission to the Psy.D. program, with an academic year comprising a fall semester, spring semester, and summer semester. Doctoral students must remain continuously enrolled until they have completed all program requirements, including the dissertation and pre-doctoral internship. Those students who have completed all required coursework, including the dissertation, but are not yet enrolled in a pre-doctoral internship must follow the normal registration process each applicable semester and pay the Psy.D. Continuous Enrollment Fee to fulfill the continuous enrollment requirement. These students’ enrollment status is considered part-time.

Residency

Students enrolled in the Psy.D. Program are expected to be in residence throughout the entire course of the academic program (all years prior to the pre-doctoral internship). Students must maintain full-time status at IPS for at least three of the four years of academic training. In rare cases where significant extenuating circumstances are present, students may petition the Dean to enroll part-time during academic training. However, this period must not exceed one academic year.

Clinical Externship

In order to ensure that students are adequately formed in their clinical skills, in addition to clinical coursework, students are required to complete a minimum of 1,800 hours of clinical practicum/externship. The initial year of practicum training occurs in the IPS Center for the Psychological Services (IPS Center) and additional training occurs in both secular and nonsecular off-site externship clinical settings). At the IPS Center, supervision is provided by on-site supervisors, who provide regular feedback to the student regarding their progress. 

Admission to, and progression through, the clinical practicum/externship is contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and successful completion of all program requirements, including each practica/externship training placement as outlined in the Catalog section: Demonstration of Competencies Related to Psy.D. Program Goals and Objectives, and in the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) Program Training Handbook. 

Clinical Comprehensive Exam Process

In order to assess students’ general competence in clinical psychology, comprehensive exams (“comps”) are scheduled to be taken during the end of the third year of study. Successful completion of all sections of the comprehensive examinations is a program requirement. Successful completion of both written and oral components of the comprehensive examination are required for successful progression in the Psy.D. program.

Doctoral Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation must be completed and successfully defended. This requires a minimum of nine credit hours. The doctoral dissertation can take the form of a critical review and analysis of a topic or area in the field of psychology, or it may take the form of original research which can be either theoretical or empirical. 

The dissertation topic must be developed in close consultation with the student’s Dissertation Chair and a dissertation committee. The dissertation proposal must be approved by the student’s dissertation committee prior to applying for a pre-doctoral internship. The dissertation is expected to meet scholarly standards and be of publishable quality. To be successfully completed, the written dissertation must be approved by the Dissertation Committee and successfully defended orally before the dissertation committee. 

Psy.D. students must begin enrollment for dissertation credit in the semester following the completion of PSY 832: Integrative Dissertation Seminar, typically taken during the spring semester of their first year of the Psy.D. curriculum. Once students have their Dissertation Chair appointed, they must be continuously enrolled and registered for PSY 899 until all dissertation requirements are completed, or will be considered withdrawn from the program. 

Guidelines for the doctoral dissertation are further explained in the PsyD Program Dissertation Handbook

Pre-Doctoral Internship

Students in the Psy.D. Program must obtain and successfully complete a year-long pre-doctoral internship. Prior to accepting an Internship position, students must meet the following requirements: complete all coursework, pass all components of the comprehensive examinations, and successfully defend the dissertation proposal. 

In addition, students who are required to complete clinical skills remediation plans must successfully complete the plans prior to applying for the pre-doctoral internship. In the case that the clinical skill remediation plans are developed following application for the pre-doctoral internship, all such plans must be successfully completed prior to beginning the internship.