May 29, 2020  
2010-2011 Denver Campus Catalog 
2010-2011 Denver Campus Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Clinical Health Psychology PhD

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►  Graduate School Rules  apply to this program


Objectives of the Program

A primary focus of clinical health psychology is the development of effective disease prevention interventions for populations at high risk for medical problems. A second focus of clinical health psychology is the development of strategies to help individuals who are already ill to manage their disease, increase their ability to collaborate with medical professionals and improve their coping skills. Students in this program will be trained to work within the community to use psychological tools and techniques to promote health, prevent and treat illness and improve the health care system. In addition to course work, students acquire expertise in research by completing a second-year project and doctoral dissertation, and demonstrate competence in clinical assessment and intervention through several applied practicum experiences, a clinical competency project and a pre-doctoral internship. Students can complete the program in five years and have up to eight years to complete the program according to Graduate School Rules 


The application deadline is December 15 for the following fall. You are responsible for making sure all materials are in on time. We do not consider late applications. International students should be sure to submit all materials at least two weeks before this deadline (by December 1) so that they arrive at our department on time. Below is condensed information; see the department website for complete information.

Admission Requirements:

  • BA or BS from an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.5 based on all college course work.
  • Undergraduate courses in: introductory psychology, psychological statistics, research methods and abnormal psychology. Additional courses in psychology are highly desirable; our admissions committee will also look favorably upon courses in the biological and physical sciences.
  • Two official transcripts from each college and university attended.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE): The GRE General Test (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) AND the Psychology Subject Test are required. General test: minimum score of 1100 for the combined verbal and quantitative sections is required. 600 is the minimum required score for the psychology subject test. Take both exams at least six weeks before the December 15 deadline so that the scores arrive on time.
  • Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be academic references, accompanied by the Request for Recommendation form. Recommendations and supplemental application materials are sent directly to the department. Each recommendation should be in a sealed envelope, signed along the back by the recommender.
  • Application Forms I and II, with answers to Part II as informative as possible.
  • Application fee of $50 ($75 for International Students). Specify “CHP PhD” on the memo line in the lower left corner of your check.

Financial Information

The University of Colorado Denver administers various forms of financial aid for graduate students: fellowships, scholarships and a number of awards from outside agencies. See the Office of Financial Aid  for further information. Additionally, the psychology department offers teaching assistantships each year in such courses as introductory psychology, statistics, research methods and human development. Although we do not guarantee TA positions, we generally have been able to offer positions to most of our interested students.

Contingent upon the availability of grant money, faculty may also offer part-time research assistantships to qualified students. The typical RA position involves data collection and analysis, library research, etc. Some computer and statistical skills are usually required. RA positions are less available than TA positions, and they may arise on very short notice.

In-state tuition waivers and additional stipend monies may be available for doctoral students.

Please note: Neither teaching nor research assistantships confer in-state tuition status or include tuition waivers.

Degree Requirements

Course Work:
Approximately 69 credits of course work are required for graduation. Typically, students will take 4 courses each semester of their first year, 3 courses each semester of their second and third years, 2 courses in the first semester of their fourth year and at least 1 course in the second semester of their fourth year in the program. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, and no grade below a B- will count toward the requirements.

In addition to the minimum required 69 credits of course work, students must also register for a minimum of 12 clinical practicum hours and 30 dissertation hours. Students must also register for 3 credits of pre-doctoral internship each of the three semesters of their internship year, for a total of 120 credits. Students can complete the program in five years and have up to eight years to complete the program according to Graduate School Rules .

Second Year Project:
All students must complete a second year research project. This thesis involves a research project that makes a significant contribution to the field. Although the question must be the student’s own original question, use of archival data and pilot studies are encouraged for this project.

Clinical Practica:
A minimum of 500 face-to-face intervention and assessment hours and 1200 total practicum hours [face-to-face intervention and assessment hours, plus supervision, plus support hours as defined by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC)] will be required in preparation for applications to pre-doctoral internships. A minimum of 50% of required practica will be conducted in medical settings. Beyond the minimum requirements, students select practica based on personal interests. All field placements must be approved by the Director of Clinical Training (DCT) in advance.

Demonstration of competence:
Upon completion of the first two years of course work (42 credits), in the third year of training, students must demonstrate competence in several core areas (e.g., statistical methods, ethics, assessment, psychotherapy, psychopathology) by completing a clinical competency project (CCP). The primary goal of this project is to encourage integration of empirical research and applied clinical work. Following completion of the written portion of the exam, students must orally defend the project to a committee of three faculty members.

Students must complete a dissertation that involves original empirical work and is distinct from other research projects and publications. The dissertation proposal must be completed and defended prior to making application for the pre-doctoral internship. Students must have a dissertation committee composed of four members. When the dissertation is completed to the satisfaction of the primary advisor, the student must orally defend the dissertation to the committee.

Students must complete a 12-month, full-time pre-doctoral clinical internship, preferably at an APA-accredited site.  This internship is required of all clinical psychologists and is the capstone of clinical training in the doctoral program.   


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