Medical and Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychology - Medical Track

The Clinical Psychology - Medical Track provides training in clinical research. In order to conduct meaningful clinical research students are also trained in evidenced based practice. While students are prepared to become licensed psychologists, the expectation for graduates of this track is a career in clinical research. This program is aimed at training psychologists both academically and clinically to work as researchers. Students in this new track must complete requirements of both Medical Psychology and Clinical Psychology programs.

The Clinical Psychology - Medical Track represents an integration of the Medical Psychology, Research and Clinical Psychology Program curricula. For the Clinical Psychology - Medical Track, the military emphasis is replaced with a major emphasis on clinical research. The student in this track completes requirements for both tracks over a 6-year training period that concludes with an APA accredited internship during the sixth and final year. The Clinical Psychology - Medical Track was developed to provide a cadre of civilians who plan to pursue research focused careers that integrate medical and clinical psychology, clinical research informed by an in depth understanding of research and practice. These careers may be in academic, public health, or medical settings. It is open to civilians only and is designed for a selected group of individuals with proven evidence of commitment to research who wish to train to conduct research using clinical populations.

The Clinical Psychology - Medical Track is consistent with the USUHS mission as an academic health sciences center. It is aimed at training psychologists who are both academically and clinically prepared to work as researchers in academic or various medical settings. This track is designed based on the premise that psychologists conducting physical and mental health-related research and research in health settings need skills in clinical psychology to complement their strong foundation and skills in research. Students in this track have up to two additional years of research, clinical training and experience. They are encouraged to present their research at scientific meetings and are expected to publish research, reviews, chapters and other academic related work during their pre-doctoral training years; in addition to writing at least one grant application related to their own research interests. After completing the program these dual track students are trained to conduct clinically meaningful research and teaching in public health, federal or state government and/ or civilian academic settings.

Both tracks have the same four primary goals, however the relative emphasis on clinical practice and development of professionals who use their scientific training in the context of clinical work, clinical problems solving, program development and evaluation is the hallmark of the Clinical Psychology - Military Track. Those in the Clinical Psychology - Medical Track while trained in evidence based clinical psychology are also trained to conduct clinically meaningful research.

This track emphasizes combined year-round training in health psychology research and the development of skills in the clinical application of health psychology. The Clinical Psychology - Medical Track requires completion of both the Medical Psychology Training and Clinical Psychology Program requirements plus extensive clinical training requirements and completion of a one year internship to be eligible for clinical licensure.

Please Note. This track is clearly designed for those students who are primarily interested in a research and academic career. Those prospective applicants who seek entry into this track who wish to pursue professional clinical careers are asked to consider other programs. If you are pursuing a professional clinical career there will be a significant mismatch between the program's focus and the student's personal goals.

Students applying to the Clinical Psychology - Medical Track must have:

  • Demonstrated evidence of motivation and ability to pursue a research/academic career (e.g., publications, professional presentations).
  • Career goals consistent with the aim of this research focused program. These should be detailed in the applicant's Personal Statement.

Program Plan

A. Didactic Training

  • Year 1 - Med Psych Curriculum
  • Year 2 - Med Psych Curriculum; Foundations of Psychotherapy; Psychopathology; Ethics in Psychology; Assessment; Practica begin Summer Quarter
  • Year 3 - CBT; The Art of Therapy; Brief Dynamic Psychotherapy; Integrative Psychotherapy; Epidemiology; *Cultural Diversity; *Social Psychology
  • Year 4 - Electives
  • Year 5 - Electives

(* offered on alternate years)

B. Academic Milestones

The major academic milestones for each year of training of the Clinical Psychology - Medical Track are provided in Figure 3. The majority of the comprehensive exams are taken at the end of the second year. Because clinical training begins later in this track, students also take two clinical comprehensive exams at the end of their third year. Coursework related to the bases of clinical practice is necessary to provide the student with a sound and broad foundation of the theory and practice of clinical psychology. The principles of the program are to expose students to the theoretical and empirical foundations of a wide range of systems of psychotherapy and behavior change as well as provide a sound basis for the understanding and identification of the full range of psychopathology in both mental health and general health contexts. While the details of various assessment and treatment approaches will be covered in courses, it is essential for the USUHS Clinical Psychology Student to understand the theoretical and empirical bases of these approaches. Such an in depth understanding should assist these future psychologists in the critical application of technology and allow them to respond to advancements in knowledge and techniques as an informed professional.

Figure 3. Clinical Psychology - Medical Track Program Academic Milestones




Due Date



Required Courses

  • Learning/cognition
  • Social psychology
  • Stats 1-2
  • Methods 1-2
  • Medical Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Department Seminar
  • Electives



Ph.D. Qualifying Exam

Section from General Exam (2 Days)

End of Spring Quarter


Second Year Paper/Master's Thesis

  • Empirical study conducted in close collaboration with advisor. Paper to be written in manuscript format appropriate for submission to a peer reviewed journal
  • Submitted in format required by Graduate School for Master's Thesis

End of Summer Quarter


Third Year Review Paper

Major review article written in style of Psych Bulletin or grant proposal

End of Spring Quarter


Ph.D. Qualifying Exam II

Two clinical questions (1 Day)

End of Spring Quarter


Research and Dissertation

Necessary pilot work and committee review, data collection and write-up of dissertation


C. Clinical Training

The clinical practicum, clerkship and internship training experiences are designed to provide systematic, progressively intensive training in the application of psychological principles, techniques, and skills to human problems. This field training is graded in intensity and responsibility and is offered sequentially through practica, clerkship and internship.

The field training will be provided by full time and adjunct clinical faculty primarily at USUHS affiliated teaching hospitals and will focus on the development of assessment, intervention, and organization consultation skills for a wide range of problems. This experience will be coordinated and monitored by the full time clinical faculty in the Department.


  • Clinical training begins Summer Quarter Year 2
  • 3 Summer Clerkships (Year 2, Year 3, Year 4)
  • 9 Quarters of Practica (Year 3, Year 4, Year 5)
  • Case Conference (monthly)
  • Internship (Year 6)

D. Research Training & Requirements

Active involvement in research is a continuing requirement through the graduate student's career. Initially, this research is directed and supervised by the student's faculty advisor. Later, the student is expected to develop an ongoing individual research program and take major responsibility for planning and implementing studies.

Upon entry into the program, students are matched with a primary advisor and are expected to become involved in ongoing research. These assignments are based on student and faculty interests and are reviewed by the Director of Graduate Studies. Students typically work with their advisor in research, but students may do research with adjunct faculty or faculty other than their primary advisor. In such cases, the advisor continues to monitor student progress in consultation with the other faculty.

All students are expected to be active in research throughout their graduate career. During the second year, students must complete a research project that is required for advancement to candidacy, and which usually forms the basis of a Master's thesis. This work involves the development of a research problem, hypotheses, and design in collaboration with the research advisor. The student then will be responsible for conducting the study and analyzing the data. Finally, the study is written up in a form suitable for publication. The study may be on any topic in health and behavior that is agreeable to both student and advisor. The written Master's thesis is reviewed by the research advisor and by two other faculty members.

After successfully completing course work, the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination, teaching assistant assignments, a research paper (i.e., a full draft of the master's thesis), and identifying a Ph.D. thesis advisory committee, students are advanced to Ph.D. candidacy. Students then are expected to begin to function as independent investigators. Collaboration with their advisor and other faculty continues, but emphasis is placed on the transition from student to professional and from research "apprentice" to independent scientist. Students are expected to take primary responsibility for the "third year paper" and for research studies and to complete them before beginning work on their doctoral dissertation. The bulk of this work is during the third and fourth years of study.

In the third year, each student must select a suitable topic and prepare either a review paper in the style of Psychological Bulletin or an NIH-style grant proposal. This third year paper must be read and approved by two faculty members. The purpose of this paper is to familiarize students with the process of organizing and preparing reviews of research literature and/or writing grant applications. This paper must be completed and approved before beginning the doctoral dissertation research project.

The doctoral dissertation, begun during the third, fourth or fifth year, is a study that is initiated, designed, conducted, analyzed, written, and presented by the student. Dissertations are written in a standard format; students must critically review relevant literature, formulate a problem, derive testable hypotheses, design a study that would stand up to methodologic evaluation, analyze and explain results, and place the study in a broader context. The doctoral work is supervised by a four-person, (or more), committee.

Prior to beginning data collection for the doctoral dissertation, an oral exam is held to assess the student's knowledge of their specialty area and to review the dissertation design. The committee must be composed of at least three faculty members in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, and at least one faculty member who is from another academic department at USUHS. Upon completion of the dissertation, the committee administers a final oral examination, and the student presents a public lecture on the dissertation research.

Because most students spend their first year participating in ongoing research and continue to develop independent lines of study within established projects, the availability of ongoing research programs is crucial. The faculty members in Medical and Clinical Psychology have been active in establishing research programs, and each has several current projects. Opportunities for student involvement in these projects range from planning and formulation of hypotheses and study design to conduct, analysis, and presentation of findings.

E. Teaching Assistant Requirements

  • TA for at least 2 courses during Years 2 and 3 and at least 1 course in Year 4