Curriculum Sequence | Department of Psychology

Curriculum Sequence

Our program's training model is sequential, cumulative, increasingly complex, and designed to prepare students for both clinical research and professional practice. It is intended to prepare our students for careers across academic, research, or practice settings. A visual snapshot of our required course patterning may be very helpful to understanding this sequence. We offer a more elaborated narrative description below for those who are interested in learning more.

Our program's training model is sequential, cumulative, increasingly complex, and designed to prepare students for both clinical research and professional practice. It is intended to prepare our students for careers across academic, research, or practice settings. We describe how our program accomplishes these.

Clinical Program Manual 2023-2024

First Year

First year students are enrolled in coursework focused on foundational skills and competencies. First year students are expected to begin formulation and development of a master's thesis proposal. Across activities, the primary focus entails personal and intellectual skills, attitudes and values, and a core of professional knowledge. These foundational knowledge, skills, attitudes and values are baseline competencies upon which students build in subsequent years of training. For example, the first-year curriculum is comprised of coursework and labs on quantitative methods, psychopathology, and assessment. First year students participate on practicum teams primarily for the purposes of observation, socialization into clinical practice, and development of skills in locating and evaluating evidence to inform clinical care. This training period is referred to as "prepracticum" because it precedes clinical work with clients. For professional development, first year students acquire basic skills in objective and projective assessments, diagnostic interviewing, systematic behavioral observation, and relationship formation. It also includes training in ethical issues, professional demeanor, and case management as well as other professional responsibilities (e.g., record-keeping, appointments, agency policies and procedures). Before beginning clinical training in practicum, students are expected to have acquired basic theoretical and research knowledge related to (a) diagnosis, assessment, and intervention, (b) diversity, privacy policies, and ethics, and (c) skills in applying research knowledge in the clinical setting.

Second Year

Second year students are expected to demonstrate sufficient functional mastery of basic clinical information and skills, which builds on foundational coursework from the first year. The practicum training occurs after courses in assessment and psychopathology and in conjunction with core courses in ethics and psychotherapy. The primary functional competency goals of the second-year student pertain to acquiring assessment skills that cover diagnostic assessments and clinical issues, such as treatment needs or disability accommodations. Practicum provides the opportunity to develop expressive skills in both consultation and written reports. Their role on the practicum team includes (a) provision of clinical evaluation services (assessments, psychological reports, and consultations to referral sources), (b) supervision of less advanced team members, (c) observation of therapy and other interventions carried out by advanced team members, and (d) basic introduction to therapy approaches. Beyond coursework and practicum, second year students should successfully propose their thesis project and apply their knowledge of statistics and research design throughout the design and conduct of their own master's theses. In summary, the second-year curriculum allows for the initial acquisition of functional competencies and skills.

Third Year

Third year students enroll in coursework that is specifically designed to provide advanced educational and training opportunities. As part of the third-year curriculum, psychotherapy practicum provides closely supervised therapy and opportunities to learn about the supervision process (i.e., supervision and consultation to less advanced students). It also includes advanced electives (including an advanced psychotherapy course). Specific expectations of the third-year practicum student are to develop treatment skills for short-term interventions and psychotherapy. Their roles on the practicum team include treatment, psychological evaluations on specialized issues, and consultation to community agencies. Third year practicum students also provide supervision to less advanced team members and actively participate in weekly team meetings. In their research, students at this level are expect to have completed or be near completion of their thesis, gain experience in research writing and presenting, and consolidate their research knowledge. Attendance and presentation of research at national and international meetings in areas of developing expertise is often useful to students' professional development at this stage of training.

Fourth Year and Beyond.

During the fourth year, students are expected to devote their time to enhancing clinical skills, typically through an external practicum placement, successfully complete the qualifying exam, and successfully propose a dissertation. Some students will apply for internship in year four while other students will elect to wait until their fifth year to allow additional training time (e.g., gaining more clinical experience, engaging in additional research and submitting more research manuscripts for consideration of publication, building a teaching effectiveness portfolio).

In the fifth year or beyond, students complete a 12-month, full-time pre-doctoral internship. During the internship training experience, students are expected to demonstrate advanced integration of science and practice in a variety of professional activities in preparation for independent practice and licensure.

IN SUMMARY, the Clinical Program is structured in a manner to afford students the foundational educational knowledge base and as well as functional training opportunities with sufficient breadth and depth to become competent clinical psychologists. The program includes core courses required of all clinical students that addresses foundational knowledge and functional skills necessary for competent practice in health service psychology (i.e., data analysis and research methods; psychological measurement and assessment; intervention, consultation, and supervision; professional ethics and multicultural competence). A master's thesis must be completed for those entering with a bachelor's degree or those entering with a master's degree that did not require a thesis and/or is not within the discipline of psychology. Additionally, all students must pass a qualifying exam to be admitted into doctoral candidacy, successfully complete a doctoral dissertation project, and successfully complete a one-year pre-doctoral clinical internship.

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of North Texas is accredited by the American Psychological Association, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. 202-336-5979 Email: Web: