PsyD in Clinical Psychology

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The Professional Psychology Program’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology prepares students to assess and treat psychopathology through immersive clinical training and research methods. Whether they are passionate about helping teenagers with depression, supporting veterans through holistic therapy or counseling patients in the LGBT community, PsyD graduates apply the lessons they learn in the program to help a wide range of people.

The degree encompasses four years of education and training in clinical psychology — usually a full-time, three-year (nine-semester) curriculum in residence at GW followed by a yearlong internship. PsyD students also have the option to complete a Master of Psychology degree during their program.

Application Deadline: December 1



"GW was my first choice throughout the application and interview process, due in large part to the intensive curriculum and emphasis on thorough clinical training."

Tiffany Lin
PsyD '19

Program Outcomes



">90% of Students Become Licensed Psychologists" with a graphic of an ID card.




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Clinical Practicum

The practicum component, the core experiential learning element of the PsyD Program, provides doctoral candidates with the opportunity to integrate theory and practice. Students participate in practica in the Center Clinic during every term of enrollment, with the option of completing the practicum training in the form of an external internship during the final year.


Academic Tracks

At the beginning of their second year, students select one of three tracks as a major area of study. Students must complete at least four three-credit courses for their chosen track.

  • The Adult Track offers students the opportunity to study the theory and techniques of individual adult psychotherapy in depth.
  • The Assessment Track concerns aspects of psychological evaluation (e.g., neuropsychology) that include the appropriate role, use, administration and interpretation of various assessment instruments.
  • The Child and Adolescent Track involves the study and treatment of children, with a focus on early detection and intervention in individual, family and school settings.

Sample Courses of Study


Required Major Area Paper

All PsyD students must complete a Major Area Paper (MAP), in which they choose a case from their own clinical experience to develop a clinical/theoretical case study. 

Starting in the summer of their first year, students consult with faculty and supervisors to choose a case from their own clinical experience to more fully examine and write about as an in-depth clinical/theoretical case study for their MAP. Throughout the second and third year, students draw on all clinical coursework, clinician supervision and advisor input to write their MAP. Students are free to consider papers written in second-year courses as precursors that can be expanded into a MAP. The MAP is completed and approved by the end of the summer term prior to internship. 


Two readers review the MAP. The first reader is to be selected from the core faculty, and the second reader can be a member of the core, adjunct or clinical faculty with relevant expertise. The first reader makes sure that initial drafts of the MAP meet clinical and academic standards and grades the MAP. The second reader reviews and evaluates the MAP first draft (completed in mid-January). Both readers grade the completed draft. Students' academic advisors help in identifying appropriate first and second readers and may serve as the first reader. First and second readers should be identified by July 1 of a student’s second year.


Course Load Options

The program offers two course load options: full-time and reduced. Students must choose one or the other and cannot switch between options.

The reduced-load option allows students to pursue their degree with a reduction of one course per fall and spring semester with the intention of completing coursework in four years rather than three, followed by the required internship year. Students with a reduced load must take assessment and psychotherapy courses in the same sequence specified for students taking a full load of courses. 

Schedules of all reduced-load students must be approved by their advisors at matriculation and again by their advisor and the faculty by the end of the first year. Enrollment in practica is required in all four years.


Course Requirements

The following requirements must be fulfilled:

The general requirements stated under Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Programs.

Satisfactory completion of at least 83 credits of approved graduate coursework. A maximum of 12 credits may be taken in courses offered by the other affiliated members of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area. Doctor of psychology students must complete all degree requirements within five years of matriculation in the program.

Successful completion of required courses, practical requirements, general examination, and major area paper.

Core courses
PSYD 8201Psychological Assessment
PSYD 8202Psychological Assessment
PSYD 8203Practicum in Clinical Psychology
PSYD 8204Biological Bases of Clinical Psychology
PSYD 8205Psychodynamic Psychopathology
PSYD 8206Cognitive Bases of Clinical Psychology
PSYD 8207Group and Organizational Dynamics
PSYD 8209Statistics and Research Design
PSYD 8210Professional Issues
PSYD 8220Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
PSYD 8221Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
PSYD 8222Behavioral–Cognitive Therapies
PSYD 8225Theories of Mind
PSYD 8226Ego Psychology/Object Relations Theory
PSYD 8227History and Systems of Clinical Psychology
PSYD 8231Short-Term Psychotherapy
or PSYD 8240 Group Psychotherapy
PSYD 8246Community Intervention (Consultation)
PSYD 8261Life Span Development
PSYD 8270Current Topics in Clinical Psychology
Topics offered annually under PSYD 8270 include Psychological Assessment III, Empirical Research, Prevention, and Supervision.
Additional coursework
Sufficient courses chosen from one of three tracks (adult, assessment, or child and adolescent) to complete the minimum requirement of 83 credits in graduate courses.

Practical requirements


Successful completion of the practicum seminar PSYD 8203 in the summer of the first year and each fall and spring semester thereafter, as well as an additional practicum during a summer session.


Successful completion of an externship comprising a year-long, part-time supervised clinical assignment in two years of the program. A failed externship may, in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the program director, be repeated. If the student fails a second time, no further opportunity will be provided, and the student’s degree candidacy is terminated.


Successful completion of a one-year, full-time internship at an institution approved by the program faculty is required.  If the student fails the internship, no further opportunity will be provided and the student's degree candidacy is terminated.

General Examination

Satisfactory completion of the general examination.

Major area paper

Satisfactory completion of a major area paper.