Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

The Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology offered by VCU is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

The program follows the scientist-practitioner model and operates within a biopsychosocial perspective. Our goal is to train clinical psychologists in scientific principles and evidence-based theoretical models to guide the study and treatment of psychopathology for diverse groups of individuals.

Students are admitted only for full-time study toward the doctoral degree. Requirements include coursework in clinical and basic psychology, statistics and research methods, an empirical master's thesis and dissertation, at least three years of clinical practicum, and an APA-approved pre-doctoral internship. Most students spend at least five years on campus and complete their internship in their sixth year.


Upon admission to the program, each student is assigned a faculty member who serves as academic mentor. This student-professor pairing is based on a student’s stated interests and a faculty member’s specialty areas. Each student also is aligned with one of the two concentrations:

Behavioral Medicine

This concentration emphasizes training in clinical health psychology, prevention, program development, consultation and health promotion.

Clinical Child

This concentration focuses on developmental psychopathology and treatment of underserved youth in schools and community settings.

Practicum and Internship

Students are required to participate in at least three years of clinical practicum, including supervision by clinical faculty in an in-house psychology clinic. Beginning in the fourth year of the program, students spend 12-20 hours per week at a practicum site in the greater Richmond community. One year of off-campus practicum is required, but students may choose to add an additional year. See recent practicum placements.

In the final year of the program, students participate in a year-long internship experience. Internship is designed to enhance students' clinical skills and prepare them for work as a psychologist. See recent internship placements.

History and Accreditation

In 1971, the State Council of Higher Education approved VCU's doctoral program and the Clinical Program subsequently graduated its first doctoral student in 1975. In the same year, the APA Committee on Accreditation granted full approval to the clinical doctoral program, and the program has maintained fully accredited status since that time. The program was admitted to the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science in 1995 and is a member of the Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs.

The clinical program presently has 50-55 students at various levels of training, which accounts for more than one third of the total departmental graduate student enrollment. Since 1975, we have graduated over 285 Ph.D.s in clinical psychology who have taken faculty, staff, administrative or practitioner positions in psychology programs housed in university departments and medical schools, community mental health centers, clinics, hospitals, prisons, private practice and state departments of mental health.