Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)
Department of Psychology, Appalachian State University

Smith Wright Hall in fallThe Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology is an applied practice degree in health service psychology, and the goal of our training program will be to develop psychologists who are well-rounded practitioners trained in and committed to evidence-based professional practice. In addition, graduates will demonstrate competency in scientific inquiry and evaluation. The program will provide a curriculum in Psychology that is designed to meet requirements for American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation. Applications for the fall 2020 cohort will be reviewed starting December 1, 2019.

The Psy.D. program at Appalachian State specifically aims to train students to serve rural populations, an important mission given the state and national needs to provide care to this underserved group which coincides with our history and heritage as a leading university in Appalachia. Effective service provision to rural populations inherently requires substantial training in applied research skills, given that there is relatively poor guidance for culturally-appropriate interventions. Consultation and evaluation will be an integral part of both training and future professional pursuits. As such, the program will follow a model of training that promotes application of the foundational knowledge of the science of psychology to clinical practice, and the development of interpersonal, applied clinical, and scientific skills for use in implementing evidence-based practice.

Clinical Psychology graduatesApplicants entering the program with a Bachelor's degree will be required to complete the curriculum for a Master of Arts degree which will be earned en route to the Psy.D. The Psy.D. curriculum will require two advanced "capstone" experiences—a doctoral dissertation and a pre-doctoral internship. The dissertation serves to document the student's mastery of scientific skills while the pre-doctoral internship serves to document the student's ability to integrate and apply discipline-specific knowledge and professional competencies in a clinical setting approved by the program faculty. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to apply for licensure as psychologists and health service providers. Psychologists trained within the Psy.D. model will be qualified to establish careers in the private and public sectors, including in clinics, hospitals, community agencies, university counseling centers, public schools, and private practice. They may also teach in colleges and universities, and provide supervision to master's level practitioners.

The Appalachian State Psy.D. program will maintain a low student-faculty ratio so that admitted students can receive close individual mentoring from faculty members. Individual mentoring will allow students to pursue clinical and research experience that best matches their interests and allows them to pursue the career path they seek. We anticipate admitting approximately 6 students per year, and graduate stipend support will be available for all incoming graduate students.

  • The terminal M.A. program in Clinical Psychology will no longer admit students who are only interested in an M.A. degree.

Appalachian State University has a history of providing a graduate program that prepared practicing M.A.-level psychologists for nearly 50 years. There are 8 faculty who are Licensed as Health Service Provider Psychologists in North Carolina who serve as core faculty in the Psy.D. program. In addition, the Department includes 28 other full-time faculty, many of whom contribute to existing graduate programs in Experimental, School, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, as well as the Psy.D. program. The graduate program has an established Psychology Clinic for therapy and assessment training, staffed by Clinical graduate students and a full-time Director. The graduate program also has long-standing practicum sites arranged for graduate students including the Counseling and Psychological Services Center, several regional school mental health programs (Assessment, Support, & Counseling Centers), community health center (an integrated care placement), and the Psychology Clinic, among other placement options. The graduate curriculum provides a strong blend of applied and scientific training, and requires a three-year sequence of supervised practicum training.


The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program is currently not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). The program is, however, designed to satisfy APA criteria. We are pursuing steps necessary to achieve accreditation in a timely manner and will apply for accreditation as soon as possible.

APA accreditation is designed so that new doctoral programs can apply, and possibly achieve accreditation for the first class of program graduates, which will be the goal for this new Psy.D. program at Appalachian State University. We cannot guarantee that accreditation will be achieved for the first graduates, but will make every effort to be successful toward that goal. Graduation from a non-accredited program may impact eligibility for licensure in the state in which the student intends to practice. All applicants should investigate licensure requirements of the state in which they intend to practice.

More information about APA accreditation:


Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First St, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

Telephone: (202) 336-5979
TDD/TTY: (202) 336-6123
Fax: (202) 336-5978

Program Goals and Objectives

The primary goal of the program is to provide high-quality graduate education and training in psychology with an emphasis on evidence-based practice in rural settings. Training will be grounded in scientific psychology.

Basic Psychology

Students will demonstrate knowledge in the following broad areas of psychology: biological aspects of behavior; cognitive and affective aspects of behavior; social aspects of behavior; history and systems of psychology; psychological measurement; research methodology; and data analysis.

Evidence-Based Practice

Students will demonstrate knowledge in the following scientific, methodological and theoretical foundations of clinical practice: individual differences in behavior; human development; psychopathology; ethics and professionalism.

Interpersonal and Relationship Competence

Students will develop the ability to form productive relationships with clients, community members, peers, and supervisors.

Assessment Competence

Students will be able to diagnose and conceptualize psychological problems through psychological assessment and measurement, and use assessment data to formulate intervention strategies and evaluate treatment outcomes.

Intervention Competence

Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to formulate evidence-based treatment plans that are evaluated, monitored and revised as appropriate in the course of treatment. Evidence-based intervention competence will include individual, group, systemic, and community strategies.

Consultation and Education Competence

Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to conduct consultation at multiple levels in the rural community, as well as to conduct in-service training and staff development activities.

Management and Supervision Competence

Through their practicum placements, students will learn about the organization and management of agencies offering mental health services. During advanced practicum courses, students, with faculty guidance and a didactic supervision seminar, will co-supervise other graduate students with less experience.

Legal and Ethical Competence

Students will be knowledgeable of the APA code of ethics and will adhere to this code in all professional activities.

Research Competence

Students will be required to demonstrate the ability to utilize scientific findings and to conduct research by successfully completing a master's thesis and a doctoral dissertation. Students will be encouraged to conduct research on issues related to clinical practice in rural settings and to disseminate their research findings through presentations at professional meetings and peer-reviewed publications.

Culture and Diversity Competence

Students will understand the impact of culture and diversity on clinical practice. Students will develop an understanding of the rural context and the ecological factors that affect individual and community development. Students will be able to utilize assessment and empirical skills to develop and apply service delivery models appropriate to rural settings.

Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors Competence

Students will conduct themselves as developing professionals, internalizing the values, behaviors, attitudes of the field of psychology. Students will recognize and work to resolve situations that challenge the adherence to professional values and integrity, and will act to understand and safeguard the welfare of others. Students will demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in reflecting on, critically evaluating, and improving individual professional performance.

The Clinical doctoral program will:

  • Provide training in empirically supported and evidence-based practices for the direct and indirect delivery of behavioral health services.
  • Address the demand for doctoral-level psychologists in the state of North Carolina, especially in underserved rural areas.
  • Support the North Carolina western region through building the capacity for mental and behavioral health services for the region as well as through outreach, research, and collaboration for economic development.
  • Support the mission of the Psychology Department, Appalachian State University, and the University of North Carolina System.

man giving a power point presentation