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Clinical Psychology Degree Requirements

To receive your Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UT Southwestern, students are required to satisfactorily complete their coursework and practicum. General requirements for the Ph.D. include:

  • Passing the qualifying examination and the clinical examination
  • Satisfactory completion of pre-doctoral internship
  • Completion of an approved dissertation

For more specifics, please review the Clinical Psychology Degree Plan (PDF).

Research Competency Qualifying Examination

The Research Competency Examination assesses the student's ability to evaluate critically the psychological research literature. Successful completion of this examination, along with satisfactory performance in coursework and practicum, qualifies the student for doctoral candidacy and permits the student to begin formal research and internship (beginning of third year in the program).

Clinical Competency Examination

A major milestone in the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program is the Clinical Competency Examination, which occurs at the end of the third year. This examination is designed to assess minimal competency of the student in the professional practice of psychology. The examination focuses on:

  • Assessment
  • Treatment planning and intervention
  • Professional issues, sensitivity to diversity, and ethics

Two faculty members evaluate each student in a standardized half-day oral exam.

The student is given written clinical case material, including a brief history and assessment data from intellectual, personality, and neuropsychological testing. The student is expected to state relevant factors in the case, describe how to arrive at a differential diagnosis, integrate, interpret and discuss assessment data, describe factors relevant to intervention, plan intervention strategies, and answer specific questions relating to professional issues, ethics, and cultural diversity.

Doctoral Dissertation

After a student is accepted into candidacy, an ad hoc doctoral committee is appointed by the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program Director. This committee conducts a preliminary proposal examination, supervises the dissertation, and carries out the final oral examination in which the student defends his or her work.