Clinical Psychology - Program Training

Program Philosophy

The Clinical Psychology Program at Purdue University employs a Clinical Scientist model of training. The Program seeks to produce excellent researchers who generate new knowledge in clinical psychology (e.g., research) as well as competent clinicians who can deliver empirically-based clinical services (i.e., assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders). These goals are achieved through a strong research apprenticeship model, high research requirements, didactic training, and participation in clinical practica. Individuals seeking training primarily for careers in clinical practice will not find this program suitable.

The Clinical Program's primary emphasis on research illuminates its four major training goals:

  • Competence in conducting, reviewing, and evaluating empirical research
  • Development of knowledge in the bases of research and psychological theory
  • Competence in the delivery of evidence-based professional psychological services
  • Equipping students to contribute to the field through responsible and exemplary professional behavior as psychologists


Students take courses that will give them a foundation in:

  • Experimental design
  • Statistics
  • Individual differences as bases of behavior
  • Ehtics
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • Social bases of behavior
  • History and major systems of psychology

Within clinical psychology, students take courses that prepare them for:

  • Assessment of adults and children
  • Planning and execution of evidence-based treatment procedures
  • Understanding individual, group, social status, and cultural influences on behavior
  • Research methods and measurement approaches commonly used in clinical and related areas of psychology

Research Training Experiences

The Program's approach to scientific training is operationalized by:

  • A research apprentice approach to admissions and advising
  • Students' involvement in the design and execution of individual and group research projects from the beginning of their careers
  • Four required research projects that are developmentally graded:
    • First-year project (typically involving analysis of archived data)
    • Master's thesis (typically involves collecting, analyzing, and reporting original data)
    • Preliminary paper (qualitatively or quantitatively reviewing a research area)
    • Dissertation
  • The development of skills for sharing original research with wider audiences, through live presentation and submission of original work for peer-review for publication
  • Exposure to the methods, approaches to statistical decision-making, and ethical considerations that guide the field

Within the Program’s strong apprenticeship model, admissions decisions are made primarily by individual faculty who admit students into their research labs. Thus, prospective students should identify a potential Major Professor at the time of application. The Major Professor chairs the Advisory Committee that oversees the individual student's training and progress through the Program. Major Professors typically are core (tenure-track) faculty members of the Clinical Area. Faculty members outside of the Clinical Area may serve as Major Professors of Clinical Students as well, as long as a core Clinical Area faculty member serves as a co-chair of the students Advisory Committee. Students are continuously involved in ongoing research programs that include other students at all levels of graduate study.

The student is expected to be a regular participant in the research team of his or her Major Professor. Students may, if they wish and receive appropriate permissions, participate in the activities of more than one research team. Students are free to change Major Professors and research teams at any time throughout their graduate careers, with the agreement of the new Professor and consent of the Program.

For more information about specific professors' research interests, visit the Faculty section of this site.

Clinical Training

Before beginning practical training, students are given a thorough grounding in behavior disorders, assessment, and psychological interventions through coursework in their first two years.

In the third year students enroll in clinical psychology practica in our in-house Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics (PPTRC). Faculty supervisors emphasize competence in evidence-based interventions. Practicum students see clients in both the Adut Services Clinic, as well as the Child Behavior Management Clinic.

After successful completion of the in-house practicum sequence, students may seek advanced clinical opportunities in the community or around the state. These include training in school, hospital, and community mental health settings.

The Program does not promote one theoretical approach exclusively, although there is a strong cognitive-behavioral emphasis that reflects the value the Program places on evidence-based practice.

Students are advised that licensing laws vary by state, and these may require courses or extensive supervised postdoctoral clinical experience that the Program does not provide.

Training Outcomes

Internship Match Rates

The capstone of clinical training is the required year-long clinical internship. Each student must compete successfully to earn an APA-approved internship training position, through the matching system managed by the Association of Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Internship Centers (APPIC). The internship match rate for students in the Program is over 93% since 2004--all were paid, full-time APA and APPIC accredited internships.ime to Completion of Program

Graduates since 2000 (n = 26) have completed the Program (including internship) in an average of 6.88 years (median = 7 years). Times vary depending on course electives and individual research topics.

Seven of 37 students enrolling in the Program since 2000 left prior to earning the Ph.D. (18.9%), and graduates since 2000 represent 38.2% of all students who began the Program since 1990 (n = 26 of 68).

Time to Completion of Program 

Graduates since 2007 (n = 26) have completed the Program (including internship) in an average of 6.90 years (median = 7 years). Times vary depending on course electives and individual research topics.

Three of 18 students enrolling in the Program since 2006 left prior to earning the Ph.D. (16.7%).


Allowing two years after the doctorate to become eligible for licensure in most jurisdictions, 30 of the 37 graduates between 2002 and 2010 (81.0%) became licensed in at least one state.  

Click here to view a copy of the insert to the Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Handbook (pdf).

Click here to view a copy of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Handbook (pdf).

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