Curriculum and Course Scheduling

Curriculum

CLINICAL PROGRAM COURSES

Except for the Research courses, all of the clinical program courses are offered every other year.  Thus, barring unusual circumstances, all clinical program courses should be completed by the end of the second year and before your Comprehensive Examination Portfolio  is finalized.

Psychopathology

     Psych 680 Psychopathology

Research

    Psych 640 Statistical Inference in Psychology I

     Psych 641 Statistical Inference in Psychology II

     Psych 645 Nature and Methods of Inquiry/Psychometrics

Ethics and Legal Issues

     Psych 687 Ethics and Professional Development

Individual and Cultural Diversity

     Psych 891MP Multicultural Psychology

Intervention

     Psych 682 Theories and Practice of Psychotherapy with Adults

     Psych 688 Assessment, Psychopathology, and Treatment of Children, Adolescents, and Families (semester two)

Assessment

     Psych 681 Assessment, Psychopathology, and Treatment of Children, Adolescents, and Families (semester one) (Child Assessment)

     Psych 683 Adult Assessment

 

CLINICAL PRACTICA

In every year of the first 5 years in the program, students are required to enroll for practicum credits via the following schedule:

  1. First year: Psych 789 Clinical Practicum First Year team with the PSC Director (1 credit per semester).  Clinical team observation (elective).
  2. Second year: Psych 789 Clinical Practicum (3 credits PSC psychotherapy team assignment and 3 credits ADHD assessment team assignment) (6 credits per semester)
  3. Third year: Psych 789 Clinical Practicum (3 credits PSC psychotherapy team assignment and 3 credits neuropsychological assessment team assignment) (6 credits per semester)
  4. Fourth year: Psych 789 External Practicum (for students in good standing, 3 credits) & Psych 789 Clinical Practicum (PSC psychotherapy team assignment, 3 credits)
  5. Fifth year: Psych 789 Clinical Practicum for Student Supervision experience (3 credits).  Additional variable credits possible through elective PSC and/or outside practicum placements that are demonstrated to be consistent with your clinical science research interests and career goals. 

CLINICAL PROGRAM COLLOQUIUM

All clinical program students in years 1 to 3 of the program are required to attend our colloquium.  Students should register for 1-credit of Psych 892 Clinical Research and Practice in the Spring Semester every year for their first 3 years.  Students are required to attend 80% of the colloquia offered in each of their first three years, which serves as a forum for the entire community of clinical students and faculty to address current topics in clinical science, diversity and multiculturalism, research, ethics, and professional development. With the permission of the faculty, under exceptional circumstances (e.g., a TA assignment conflicts with colloquium time) students may substitute other substantive educational experiences (e.g., CE credits).

DISCIPLINE-SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE

Clinical psychology graduate students are required to successfully complete coursework in Discipline Specific Knowledge (DSK).  DSK includes History and Systems, coursework in five areas of psychology (i.e., Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social), Advanced Integrative Knowledge, and Methods of Inquiry/Research. 

History and Systems can be achieved via a 3-credit undergraduate or graduate course (e.g., Educ 775 Historical Foundations of Psychology and Education) or via a grade of B- or better in an Introduction to Psychology course at a 4-year accredited undergraduate institution.  Documentation that a student covered this requirement prior to matriculation (e.g., undergraduate transcript) can be provided to the DCT for approval.

There are two ways that DSK educational requirements in Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social can be met (see pdf of Curriculum Worksheet or download an Excel version of the file).

(1)   Demonstrate foundational knowledge - in one or more area of psychology - prior to matriculation, paired with graduate-level training and an evaluated educational experience at the graduate-level:

a.     Foundational knowledge prior to matriculation

A student can demonstrate foundational knowledge in one or more of the areas (e.g., Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, Social) EITHER:

1.     By providing evidence (via official transcript provided to the DCT for approval) of a grade of B- or better in an undergraduate course on the topic from a 4-year accredited undergraduate institution; OR

2.     By providing evidence (via a report from ETS provided to the DCT for approval) of a score on the relevant Psych GRE subtest that is at the 70th percentile or better.  Relevant GRE subtest scores are available in Biological, Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology. 

b.     Graduate-level knowledge

If the student demonstrates foundational knowledge prior to matriculation, the student must engage in coursework or in another evaluated educational experience (e.g., comps paper, independent study, research project) that includes graduate-level training (i.e., engagement with original source material) and training in Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social Psychology.  The educational experience must be evaluated by an expert in the area.

(2)   Students can obtain broad exposure to the Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social domains at the graduate level.  This entails taking up to four 3-credit, program-approved graduate courses that collectively cover Affective, Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social Psychology:

Social Aspects of Behavior

     Psych 660 Advanced Social Psychology

Cognitive Aspects of Behavior

    Psych 617 Cognitive Psychology

Affective Aspects of Behavior

     Psych 660 Advanced Social Psychology OR

     Educ 790S Physiological Bases of Human Behavior, Affect, and Learning

Biological Aspects of Behavior

     Educ 790S Physiological Bases of Human Behavior, Affect, and Learning

Developmental Aspects of Behavior

     Psych 791 Human Development

 

Advanced Integrative Knowledge can be met by a variety of courses and other evaluated educational experiences (e.g., comps paper, independent study, research project; see Curriculum Worksheet).  The integration of knowledge must be paired with an evaluated educational experience that is graded by experts in the relevant areas.

Research Methods, Statistical Analysis, and Psychometrics are met via required graduate-level coursework (see Curriculum Worksheet).

 

COMPREHENSIVE EXAM PORTFOLIO

​​​​The comprehensive portfolio is completed during the first several years in the program.  See more details in Comprehensive Examination Portfolio  part of the handbook.

 

MASTER’S THESIS AND DISSERTATION CREDITS

As per the PBS Graduate Program Policies and Procedures, all students are required to register for a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 10 Master’s Thesis research credits (Psych 699).  You should register for these credits during the semester(s) when you are engaged in your Master’s Thesis research. 

As per the PBS Graduate Program Policies and Procedures, all students are required to register for a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 27 dissertation research credits (Psych 899).  You should register for these credits during the semester(s) when you are engaged in your dissertation research.  The dissertation proposal must be approved by October 15th of the year the student applies for internship.

 

INTERNSHIP

All students must register for 18 credits (9-credits per semester) for Psych 898 while on internship.

 

DEPARTMENTAL CORE COURSE REQUIREMENTS

The PBS Departmental Core Course Requirements are documented in the PBS Graduate Program Policies and Procedures.   Clinical program students meet the quantitative methods requirement via our core Research curriculum (see Clinical Program Courses above).  

 

The other departmental requirement (i.e., two additional courses) is that students take two 3-credit courses outside of the clinical program core courses.  Many clinical program students take electives in advanced statistical methods, which fulfills the departmental requirement.  These courses are usually offered every year (one in the spring and one in the fall):

Psych 891J Introduction to Hierarchical Linear Modeling

Psych 891W Introduction to Structural Equation Modeling

 

FULL-TIME ENROLLMENT AND RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Clinical Psychology program requires at least 5 years of full-time academic years of enrollment prior to the internship year; this requirement applies to all students, even if they enter the program with a Master’s degree.

  1. The first three years of the program are spent in primary residence on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus.  The following benchmarks should be achieved during your first three years; see recommended ‘Typical Schedule’ below.
    1. All coursework should be completed.  In consultation with your adviser, you may leave one course for year 4 or 5 but be aware that scheduling courses around external practicum can be extremely difficult.  Course offering times cannot be changed to accommodate practicum schedules, so it is your responsibility to ensure there are no conflicts between external practicum schedules and course requirements.
    2. Your Master’s orals should be successfully defended.
    3. Your comprehensive exams portfolio should be largely completed. 
    4. By the end of your third year, you should co-author at least two presentations and have at least two manuscripts under review for publication. 
  2. You will start seeing therapy and/or assessment clients in the PSC during the summer of your first year.  You will continue to carry a caseload in the PSC until the end of your fourth year in the program.  There may be some flexibility in the balance of assessment versus psychotherapy cases that you see during the course of your training in the PSC.  We ensure that you have at least two different psychotherapy and two different assessment supervisors while training in the PSC.
  3. In the fourth year and/or fifth year, all students who are in good standing may engage in an external practicum but are required to be in residence in Amherst 2-3 days per week.  To be in good standing, benchmarks for the first three years should be achieved and you should have satisfactory evaluations from your clinical supervisors.  Faculty approval for the external training experience will be required.  You must select a site that is consistent with your clinical science career goals and research interests.
  4. In addition, in the fifth year, good standing will be judged by completion of all benchmarks for the first three years, satisfactory progress on your dissertation (you should be on track to defend your proposal by October 15 of the fifth year at the very latest), and satisfactory supervisor evaluations from external and internal practicum sites.