PsyD Program Curriculum

The PsyD curriculum encompasses coursework, clinical training and dissertation research.  PsyD students enroll as a cohort, with a minimum three year residency requirement during the first three years of the program. Courses are scheduled sequentially according to academic year in the program.  The following is a list of program courses by number reflecting the 141 credits required to achieve the degree.


Click on a title below to read the course description.

A survey of critical theories, philosophical perspectives, historical milestones, and important individual contributions to the field of psychology are presented. The course reviews many key aspects within the field of psychology, including the establishment of the discipline; relationships between research and practice; the social implications and influences of psychology; and the growth of the American Psychological Association and other important associations. The historical and philosophical precursors to scientific psychology, the development of professional psychology from the 19th to the 21st century, and the cultural contexts essential to understanding these developments, will be highlighted.

This course focuses on identity formation as influenced by biological, socioeconomic, gender, cultural and ethnic factors, family of origin characteristics, communication styles, and other unique factors that influence identity development. Emphasis is placed on concepts and foundational theories of identity development, including relational-cultural theory, and the importance of awareness, personal growth and self-responsibility. Through self-exploration, interaction with peers, and investigative research, students will have opportunities to increase personal and professional understanding of identity factors that apply to case conceptualization and the therapeutic relationship.

This course is a graduate-level survey of contemporary theory and research in social psychology. Classics of modern social psychology as well as recent trends, emerging perspectives, and cutting edge research will be covered. Generally, this course explores the influence of societal and environmental factors on human behavior in individual and group contexts.  Topics include but are not limited to: attitude, social cognition, self, group dynamics, prosocial behavior, aggression, and stereotyping.

This course will examine psychotherapeutic treatments for prevalent childhood and adolescent disorders that are likely to be encountered in a clinical psychology practice.  We will compare theoretical frameworks as they relate to childhood development as well as pathology. The course will focus on a variety of orientations, including psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive behavioral, and family systems. In addition, we will discuss empirically-supported treatments designed to enhance the social, emotional, and behavioral functioning of young people. The interventions addressed in this course are utilized with individuals across the age span from toddlerhood through the teenage years and often incorporate work with parents. Specific issues relating to ethics, technology, and cultural concerns will also be addressed in relation to their unique role in the counseling of children and adolescents.

This course will address the identification and diagnosis of psychopathology, including mood, anxiety, thought, substance abuse, eating disorders, trauma and maltreatment, personality disorders, and disorders of childhood. Psychopathology is considered from a number of different perspectives and identified through classification systems such as the current psychiatric classification system, the DSM 5. Also considered are specific influences on the development of personality throughout the lifespan (e.g., neurobiological, cognitive, behavioral and psychoanalytic). Multicultural and historical influences on the definition of psychopathology and the theories of personality change will be reviewed as well.

This course explores the cognitive and affective bases of human functioning, with emphasis on the brain-behavior relationships in learning, thinking, motivation, emotion, memory, and attention. Students will learn the functional aspects of cognition and the hierarchical control of brain systems over behavior. In addition, theories of emotion will be discussed. Students will explore theories of cognition and emotion and learn how treatment and assessment are informed by our developing understanding of brain-behavior relationships. Historical and modern theories of cognition and emotional functioning will be explored.

This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of the array of statistical methods used in quantitative research. There will be a review of descriptive statistics but the majority of the course will emphasize inferential statistical methods starting with the fundamental theory underlying estimation techniques and hypothesis testing. The statistical methods covered include t tests with one and two samples, matched samples, experimental designs using analysis of variance with one dependent variable and multiple analyses of variance with more than one dependent variable; bivariate and multivariate correlation and regression analysis; nonparametric statistics and other multivariate statistical methods to include factor analysis.

This course focuses on providing a foundation in the science of measuring psychologically meaningful concepts. Topics covered include scale development, item analysis, norm and criterion referenced interpretation of test scores, reliability and validity. Graduate-level knowledge of descriptive statistics, regression, analysis of variance and factor analysis is a prerequisite for this course. The student will learn how to evaluate the psychometric properties of published tests as well as apply psychometric principles to the construction of a psychological test.

This course offers students an opportunity to expand their knowledge and abilities in assessment of intellectual functioning and achievement testing. It also will expand their awareness of other instruments to assess these domains. Students will increase their ability to write doctoral level intellectual and achievement assessment reports. Emphasis is placed on learning how to conceptualize psychological assessment data and integrate this with biopsychosocial data and behavioral observations into an accurate description of the person’s functioning.

This course is an advanced class in the utilization of psychometric instruments for the purpose of personality assessment. The focus of the class is the use of assessment techniques in direct clinical application for conceptualizing clinical cases and developing comprehensive treatment plans. The MMPI-2, MMPI-A, MMPI2-RF and the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) will be studied in depth.  The information gained will be used to evaluate behavior, personality traits and styles as well as other individual characteristics to assist in making judgments, predictions, and decisions in clinical cases. Additional instruments such as the Millon, Beck Depression and Anxiety Scales, and the Rorschach Inkblot Test will be reviewed.

This course examines critical multicultural issues that challenge contemporary practitioners of psychology. Topics will include race, ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual identity and orientation, social class and socioeconomic status, ability status, age, religion and spirituality, power and privilege, and microaggressions. The integration of these concepts with other foundational areas of psychology, such as ethics, assessment, social psychology, lifespan development, and humanistic/existential psychologies, will be highlighted. A psychologist’s responsibility for multicultural competency and social justice, in the many professional roles one might fill, will be explored throughout the course.

This course covers the foundations basic to the competent applied practice of clinical psychology. Students will learn how to approach therapeutic alliance development and maintenance, case conceptualization, treatment planning and the ongoing monitoring of treatment effectiveness from an evidence-based perspective. Students will learn how to integrate evidenced-based research and qualitative studies into a clinical perspective that respects both empirical guidelines and the phenomenology of the change process. Students will learn how to utilize research findings to effectively match treatments and therapeutic alliance styles with the individual seeking services. Students will learn how to evaluate transcripts of taped sessions to address accurate empathy, alliance, ruptures, and countertransference. Finally, students will learn how to create an evidenced-based style of individual practice.

The emphasis of this course is on theoretical and practical implications of working with tensions, conflicts and creative explorations of individuals within the group and the group as a unit. Second-year students are assigned special leadership and coordination responsibilities in which they apply theories to group development. Various theoretical perspectives and approaches to group psychotherapy will be examined. Through professional readings, written assignments, leadership experience, group participation, and a presentation of an empirically-based group therapy approach, students will develop a working basis for leading therapeutic groups.

This course covers the following topics: brain and nervous system anatomy; brain-behavior relationships and neuropsychology; physiological psychology; the biological bases of vision & perception, motivation, memory, learning, emotions, control of movement, reproductive behavior, pharmacology, drug abuse, biopsychosocial models of stress and pain; neurological disorders, and psychiatric disorders; neuroscience perspectives on psychological symptoms, disorders and treatment; and brain plasticity.

This course reviews the ethical behavior that is expected of professional psychologists. Students are required to understand and apply Ethical Principles of Psychologists as developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). Students are also required to understand Michigan Public Health Law, Part 182, Psychology, which defines the services offered by psychologists, and the nature of the therapist and person-in-therapy relationship relevant to informed consent, confidential information and disclosure. Also covered in this course are the State of Michigan Public Acts explicating the Child Protection Law and Adult Protective Services and the Michigan Board of Psychology definitions and rules governing the licensure of psychologists at the Masters and Doctoral levels. Ethics in research and practice are interwoven throughout content areas.

This course offers advanced study in humanistic psychology and related psychotherapies. It emphasizes the integration of humanistic theory, values and practice, and clarifies how humanistic theoretical concepts can be translated into the relationship with the client.  Students examine aspects of growth and change, human potential and the use of creativity as a therapeutic resource. Several models of humanistic psychotherapy are studied culminating in each student’s development of an original clinical paradigm based on foundational aspects of humanistic psychology.

This course explores the developmental processes from prenatal life through late adulthood, with emphases on physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects. Major theories about lifespan development will be evaluated from biopsychosocial, cross-cultural and multicultural perspectives. Clinical implications of developmental stages on the context of assessment and treatment of persons, families and communities will be reviewed.

This course is an introduction to, and overview of, major theories of psychotherapy. The focus is on contemporary theories that have an evidence base. Special attention will be given to therapeutic processes that are common factors across multiple theoretical approaches. Additionally, unique factors that differentiate theoretical approaches will also be given significant attention. Readings and video will endeavor to help the students ground their knowledge of the theoretical with applied illustrations of the major components of each theoretical orientation. The aim of the course will be to provide a foundation in psychotherapy theory that will enable students to develop their own integrative approach to psychotherapy.

This course focuses on challenges and interventions relevant to theory, concepts, and therapeutic processes and practices regarding couples and families. Students are introduced to the leading approaches to working with couples and families who present relationship issues. The course offers the student opportunities to observe and practice therapy in the presence of peers and faculty and develop professional competency in intervention, assessment, diversity and research regarding couple and family relationships.

This course provides essential knowledge on the development and understanding of scientific studies of persons, human behavior and experience. It examines the historical and philosophical foundations as well as challenges particular to qualitative inquiry. Interviewing, the primary method of data collection in qualitative inquiry, will also be a focus of study. Through examination and application of five qualitative research models, the course serves as a basis for investigating problems and questions that challenge the practitioner-scholar.  It prepares the student for organized and rigorous scientific inquiry in the dissertation process.

Prerequisite: PSYC 651 or PSYC 664

As the first phase of the dissertation process, this course focuses on selecting a topic, developing a research question, and reviewing relevant literature.  Additionally, an overview of the dissertation process is provided and dissertation chairs and advisors are selected.  Students engage in independent study, consult with faculty and peers, participate in class discussions, and demonstrate doctoral level writing and critical thinking as they develop and revise a literature review on a topic of their choosing.  As the course progresses, students assess the social and clinical relevance of their work and identify appropriate investigative methods.  The final product of this course is composed of an outline of the Introduction and Methods chapters and a well-developed Literature Review chapter that serves as a foundation for the Doctoral Research Proposal. Successful completion of this course prepares students for continued development of the Doctoral Research Proposal.

Prerequisite: PSYC 652.

This course is an advanced study of the applications of qualitative or quantitative research depending upon students’ intended dissertation research model. Building upon the work in Dissertation Preparation I, students develop a pilot study on their individual dissertation topic using a qualitative, quantitative or mixed method design. Students complete a pilot study proposal, an IRB application, collect data, analyze data and write up and present a final report of their pilot study.

The aim of the course will be to provide a foundation in evidence based psychodynamic theory. The focus on therapeutic processes associated with the psychodynamic approach to psychotherapy will enable students to develop their own integrative orientation for clinical practice.

The aim of the course will be to provide a foundation in evidence based cognitive behavioral theory. The focus on therapeutic processes associated with the cognitive behavioral approach to psychotherapy will enable students to develop their own integrative orientation for clinical practice.

Topics to be covered are various theories and models of supervision & consultation. Competency, developmental, experiential, process and events based models of supervision will be explored. Consultation models in primary care, school, for-profit business and non-profit organizations will be examined. The course will also focus on the status of the evidence base for supervision and highlight the many empirically unexplored issues in supervision and consultation. Aspects of the supervisory relationship will be examined with a critical review of the literature on alliance, parallel process, transference and counter-transference in the supervisory relationship. This course will foster increased awareness of the multicultural issues in the supervisor-supervisee-client triad. Course participants will develop an appreciation of how to respond to supervisee’s personal issues, skill difficulties and skill deficits with a balanced perspective on the need to both promote the professional development of the supervisee and also protect the public from impaired professionals in training. Students are expected to apply each topic through readings, case presentations, and critiques of live and recorded supervisory sessions. While touching on the competencies of assessment, diversity, intervention and relationship, this course focuses on building a foundation of supervisory and consultative competencies.

Building on knowledge acquired in graduate level courses in statistics and psychometrics this course focuses on developing competencies in research design (e.g., hypothesis generation; experimental, quasi-experimental, naturalistic inquiry; group and single-case research designs; randomized controlled trials; longitudinal and cross sectional designs), methodology (e.g., sampling, instrument, instructions for research subjects, data collection procedures), and program evaluation (needs assessment, process/implementation evaluation, formative and summative assessment program evaluation, outcome evaluation, cost-benefit analysis, public health benefit). Attention is given to considerations for critical appraisal and utilization of research findings (e.g., technical adequacy, limitations to generalizations, threats to internal and external validity, design flaws) and to the presentation and dissemination of research findings (e.g., analyzing the data and interpreting results for publication in a journal or presentation to professional colleagues, dissemination of results via various appropriate avenues).

This course provides students with a history and overview of the field of clinical health psychology. The role of the biopsychosocial model for the delivery of psychological assessment and treatment services for individuals with health problems will be covered. Students will review a wide range of clinical research in health psychology. The course will introduce students to intervention guidelines for helping children, adolescents, adults and older adults with medical conditions who are experiencing problems with compliance, symptom management, health-promoting behaviors, and/or adjustment to illness. This course offers students an opportunity to learn about the essential strategies for maintaining collaborative relationships with medical professionals in the process of providing integrated care to individuals and families. Some of the challenges and opportunities faced by clinical health psychologists in professional practice will be presented and discussed.

The focus of this course is on the psychological, biological and socio/cultural aspects of traumatic stress, including acute trauma and complex trauma.  The course explores the psychological sequelae of various types of interpersonal violence, such as physical abuse, sexual assault, political trauma across diverse populations, veterans of war, and human trafficking.  Aspects of research, assessment, and therapeutic interventions concerning post-traumatic stress disorder, and developmental trauma are discussed.  The course examines the role of vulnerabilities and resilience in the recovery from traumatic experience, vicarious trauma for the therapist, as well as the experience of posttraumatic growth.

This course will increase clinical competency in managing and treating common client concerns related to human sexuality. Students will gain knowledge about sexuality, examine their attitudes related to sexuality, and learn practical methods of dealing with sexuality in the psychotherapy process. Students will explore biological and developmental aspects of human sexuality and sexual identity and increase their understanding of psychological and emotional dimensions of sexual behavior.  Students will learn to demonstrate the ability to consider intersectionality of sexuality, race, gender, etc., and to apply this knowledge to clinical situations through class discussions and written assignments.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of PSYC 715-717

The Internship Readiness class will provide information and guidance to prepare students for applying to internships through the APPIC Match process. Students will gain an understanding of the overall process and receive in-depth information about the APPIC application and how to approach writing essays, cover letters, and other materials to support their applications. Students will learn about interviewing for internships and how to approach the decision-making and rank order process. In addition to learning through class presentations and reading, the course is designed to provide the opportunity to work on internship materials in class and to engage in mock interviews. Additional faculty members will participate in selected class activities.

Composition skills are strengthened through examination of effective writing techniques. The study of content and process challenges common to research writing is undertaken through live, in-class writing activities and experiential learning opportunities. Group discussions and in-class critiques sharpen the student’s ear for composition. Exemplary writing samples are highlighted. Scholarly and professional writing and publication options are outlined, as well as APA style, manuscript and report preparation.

Prerequisites: Successful completion of PSYC 604, 615, 627, 629, 638, & 642

The goal of practicum training is for graduate students to acquire the theoretical knowledge, clinical competencies, and self-awareness needed to become effective practitioners. The clinical practicum complements classroom education, provides the opportunity to work with competent clinicians in diverse settings, and helps students acquire competence in: forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships; demonstrating awareness of how client diversity affects therapeutic relations; providing assessments, diagnostic services and interventions; and demonstrating professionalism. Students apply the academic knowledge, methods and competencies that are learned in doctoral courses to their work in therapy and assessment. Additionally, the practicum affords students the opportunity to develop their professional identity.

Prerequisite: PSYC 715-717.

The goal of practicum training is for graduate students to acquire the theoretical knowledge, clinical competencies, and self-awareness needed to become effective practitioners. The clinical practicum complements classroom education, provides the opportunity to work with competent clinicians in diverse settings, and helps students acquire competence in: assessment and diagnosis, evidence-based intervention, forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships; demonstrating awareness of how client diversity affects therapeutic relations; and demonstrating professionalism. Students apply the academic knowledge, methods and competencies that are learned in doctoral courses to their work in therapy and assessment. Additionally, the practicum affords the student the opportunity to develop his/her professional identity.

Prerequisite: 718-720 Practicum II and CCE.

The internship is an integral component of the doctoral program and the final experience in the clinical training sequence. The internship involves the interns in progressive and developmentally sequenced clinical experiences (e.g. assessment, treatment planning, psychotherapy, consultation, psychological testing, and evaluating treatment outcome) that prepare them for beginning professional practice upon receipt of the PsyD degree. The internship complements classroom v education, provides the opportunity to work with competent clinicians in diverse settings, and strengthens core competencies and professional identity. Students choose from a wide range of health care settings and interact with professionals from multiple disciplines. Interns apply the knowledge, therapeutic methods and skills learned from course work and practicum experience in clinical settings. The internship provides intensive and diverse supervised opportunities for the student to function in the various roles performed by a professional psychologist. Students enrolled in the half-time internship model will be registered in PSYC 810-815.

Prerequisite: PSYC 800-802.

Doctor of Psychology degree recipients are scholarly consumers of research who integrate rigorous analysis and investigation into their clinical practices. The dissertation demonstrates mastery of the many competencies that are required of an effective practitioner-scholar. This course provides the structure for the implementation and completion of the dissertation process as developed and approved by the Dissertation Committee during the Proposal Meeting. Consistent with the Dissertation Defense Rubric, research methods and procedures are finalized, a scientific study is conducted, data are analyzed and findings articulated.

As a post-masters program, clinical training includes 1,800 hours of practicum training followed by a 2,000 hour internship.  The dissertation process begins as the student advances through research coursework, dissertation planning and doctoral committee selection.

Course offerings and sequence are subject to change.  Updated 9/27/19

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