About

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Prospective Applicants for 2020-2021

This is the only program in Oregon that is sponsored and primarily housed within an academic medical center, and as such, this placement facilitates students' learning opportunities within the program's three key areas: 1) health psychology, 2) neuroscience of mental health disorders, 3) development and implementation of clinical trials.

Situated on the western hills of the Willamette River, OHSU offers views of the surrounding area including nearby Mt. Hood, and in the distance, Mt. Rainer and Mt. St. Helens. OHSU is located close to public transport. For more information, please visit here.

Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) - "Interested in Clinical Psychology Grad School?"

What is a clinical psychologist?

Clinical psychologists are trained clinician-scientists who investigate the causes and correlates of mental and behavioral disorders, addiction, and behavioral health using rigorous scientific methodologies. These range from variable and person-centered approaches to the examination of broader levels of care that can impact individual and group mental health. Thus, graduates are trained as skilled scientists/researchers, and as license-eligible clinicians. These scientist-clinicians are thus positioned to conduct translational research, develop new treatments, discover mechanisms, and improve the practice and delivery of mental and behavioral health care in multiple settings including medical and other care settings.

What is the study of clinical psychology?

Psychology is the study of the mind and associated behavior, emotion, and cognition. Our program follows a clinical science model for graduate training, defined as "psychological science directed at the promotion of adaptive functioning".  Clinical Psychology is the study of those systems in dysfunction ("mental and behavioral disorders") and the application of methods to heal them. Clinical Psychology thus entails "clinical science," the experimental, quantitative, and qualitative study of the phenomenon of mental illness and health, as well as the clinical practice skills of assessment and behavioral treatment of mental health disorders. Its purview thus includes human problems from neurodevelopmental conditions (such as intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder), behavioral disorders (such as conduct disorders, antisocial behavior/aggression, and addictions), and mental and perceptual disorders (such as schizophrenia, mood disorders), psychological reactions to traumatic events, and behavioral health.

What does licensure entail?

To obtain a license*, trainees must pass a national licensing exam and submit relevant documentation of post-doctoral clinical supervised hours to the licensing authority in the state in which they plan to practice. Because states vary in how many post-doctoral hours they require, with some requiring additional exams beyond the base national licensing exam, licensing is state-administered. Those who obtain a license can practice psychology in the state in which they are licensed, including conducting psychological assessment, testing, and psychotherapy and consultation. Note that prescription privileges for psychologists are restricted to certain states with special provisions for that privilege in those few states (e.g., Oregon is not one of them). Within those states, additional training and licensure are required to obtain prescription privileges for those who want them. The standard clinical psychology license does not include a license to prescribe medications.

*our program is designed to ensure that graduates will be able to pursue licensure in the state of Oregon. 

Accreditation status

Our program is designed consistent with the American Psychological Association's Standards of Accreditation. We are working towards accreditation and anticipate being accredited when our first cohort of students graduate.  

Because of the proposed program's rigor and emphasis on clinical science training, we also anticipate seeking accreditation from the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System. 

The Clinical Psychology PhD program provides students with an in-depth focus on the following key areas:

  1. Health psychology is the study and use of psychological methods to improve physical health and address physical disease in children and adults. This area closely overlaps with what is also referred to as behavioral health.
  2. The neuroscience of mental health disorders, entails the study of brain structure, function, and connectivity that is associated with mental health conditions.
  3. Implementation science emphasizes training in the development, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral and psychological interventions in clinical trials for mental disorders and behavioral health problems.

Thus, our graduates will have a complement of skills that bridge and unite health psychology, neuroscience, and clinical trials. Students do not need to apply for a specific focus. All students will obtain training across areas, although graduates will likely specialize in one area, based on their primary mentorship assignment.

Students in the program will have access to all of the OHSU physical facilities, library, and other resources. A new expansion and renovation of the Psychiatry Department research space in Multnomah Pavilion provides an excellent hub for student learning and research efforts, including a dedicated meeting room for the program's seminars and classes.

Through the OHSU library, students will have access to psychology, psychiatry, developmental, and biomedical journals; to statistical and programming software; and to electronic data base search tools necessary for their studies.

All courses will be taught on campus, face-to-face. However, appropriate technology will be employed, where appropriate. In their research lab, students will use advanced research technology, depending on the lab, including MRI and EEG brain imaging, psychophysiological recording equipment and associated analytics software and pipelines. Instructional courses will require the use of some advanced statistical software (MPLUS, R, SAS, SPSS, FSL, SPM, AFNI) and in some instances, programming languages (in particular, Python, SCIKIT-Learn) for those learning advanced prediction modeling. 

At OHSU, we embrace the full spectrum of diversity, including age, color, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. We respect and support diversity of thought, ideas and more.

To fully leverage the richness of our diversity at OHSU, we strive to create, maintain and promote a community of inclusion. Inclusion means we honor, respect, embrace and value the unique contributions and perspectives of all employees, patients, students, volunteers and our local and global communities. It also includes removing barriers to individual success.

Because the field of Clinical Psychology represents a diverse population, recruitment of a diverse student body is a high priority for our program, and as an institution. The OHSU Clinical Psychology PhD Program will implement long-term and systematic efforts to attract and retain diverse faculty and students by partnering with the OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Our faculty members have successful track records of obtaining Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research grants from the NIH, to facilitate training and retention of under-represented minorities in graduate training. For more information about OHSU's commitment to diversity and inclusion and resources available to students from under-represented groups, see the Center for Diversity and Inclusion