For more information about the Psychology department, please click here.
Objectives of the Program
Clinical health psychology focuses on the interaction between psychological, physiological, and environmental factors as they influence health and well-being. This emphasis includes focus on:
- the development of effective disease prevention behavioral interventions for individuals and populations at high risk for medical problems; and
- the development of strategies to help individuals who are already ill to manage their disease and to increase their ability to collaborate with medical professionals and improve their coping skills.
A clinical health psychologist combines expertise in research on health psychology with training in clinical psychology. Students in this program are trained to work within the community to use clinical psychological skills and techniques to diagnose and treat mental health conditions, promote health and prevent illness, apply behavioral interventions in the treatment of illness, and improve the health care system. In addition to course work, students acquire expertise in research by completing both a master's thesis and doctoral dissertation. They demonstrate competence in clinical assessment and intervention through several applied practicum experiences, successful passage of the Comprehensive Clinical Competency Examination and successfully completing a pre-doctoral psychology internship. Students can complete the program in five years and have up to eight years to complete the program according to Graduate School Policies and Procedures.
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 have been able to offer positions to 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. We do guarantee to pay a full stipend, usually in the form of an assistantship, plus tuition for the first year. We will make every effort to do so for four years.
Note: Neither teaching nor research assistantships confer in-state tuition status.
These degree requirements are subject to periodic revision by the academic department, and the College reserves the right to make exceptions and substitutions as judged necessary in individual cases. Therefore, the College strongly urges students to consult regularly with their advisor to confirm the best plans of study before finalizing them.
Graduate Education Policies and Procedures apply to this program.
- Students must complete a minimum of 96 PSYC credit hours.
- Students must complete all credits at the graduate 6000-level and above.
- Students must earn a minimum grade of B (3.0) in all courses that apply to the degree and must achieve a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. All graded attempts in required and elective courses are calculated in the GPA. Courses taken using P+/P/F or S/U grading cannot apply to program requirements.
- Students must complete all credit hours with CU Denver faculty.
Program Restrictions, Allowances and Recommendations
- Courses are three units unless otherwise noted. 96 units are taken: 57 coursework, 26 clinical practicum, four thesis, six dissertation and three internship (one unit in each of the three semesters of internship year).
- Some courses are offered in alternating years or every other year so when they are taken depends on if a student entered the program in an even or odd numbered year.
- Two electives are taken; the program offers Group Interventions in Health Psychology, Cardiovascular Health and Psychopharmacology. Outside elective(s) can be taken with the approval of the Program Director.
- The program can be completed in five years but six years is the mean, median and mode for completion of programs of this sort. The university allows up to eight years to complete the program, according to Graduate Education Policies and Procedures.
- Students must successfully complete their doctoral dissertation proposal prior to applying for their internship in the fifth year and are strongly encouraged to defend their dissertation prior to beginning their internship.
|Complete all of the following required courses:||51|
|Advanced Cognition and Emotion|
|Advanced Developmental Psychology|
|Advanced Biological Bases of Behavior|
|Health Psychology I|
|Assessment I: Personality|
|Assessment I: Intellectual and Cognitive Assessment|
|Diversity in Clinical Psychology|
|Clinical Research Methods|
|Ethics and Professional Issues in Psychology|
|Clinical Behavioral Medicine|
|Health Psychology II|
|Advanced Social Psychology|
|Complete six elective credits from the following:||6|
|Topics in Health Psychology Summer Lecture Series|
|Historical and Philosophical Foundations of Psychology 1|
or PSYC 4511
|History of Psychology|
|Teaching Skills Workshop 2|
|Primary Care Psychology|
|Cardiovascular Health Psychology|
|Group Interventions in Health Psychology|
|Complete a Master's Thesis||4|
|Complete Clinical Practica||26|
|Complete a Dissertation||6|
History can now be fulfilled by an undergraduate course taken previously, an undergraduate course taken while in the program, or the graduate course. Students must complete their history of psychology requirement before they can apply for their doctoral internship because it is an APA requirement.
Teaching Skills Seminar is optional for the program but required to be a lecturer.
The program has a provision for achieving a master's degree en route to obtaining the PhD. In addition to taking PSYC 8200 Teaching Skills Workshop, a master's degree is required for students to independently teach a course. During their time in the program, students' funding will likely require them to independently teach a course. Students must complete a master's thesis, an empirical research project that makes a significant contribution to the field. Although the thesis must address the student's own original question, the use of archival data and pilot studies is encouraged for this project.
|Complete the following||4|
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)] are expected in preparation for application to pre-doctoral internships. Approximately 50% of required practica are typically conducted in medical settings. Sites for practica training, include the department's own Psychology Clinic and external facilities such as outpatient diabetes clinics, cancer clinics, OB/GYN, HIV/AIDS, end-stage renal disease, pain, and cardiovascular clinics, and in-patient psychiatric facilities. Students are able to select practica based on their personal and professional interests. All field placements are approved in advance by the Coordinator of Clinical Training.
|Complete the following clinical practica hours:||26|
|Clinical Practicum II|
|Advanced Clinical Practicum|
Students should enroll in one credit hour during year one (spring and summer semesters only), one credit hour during year two (fall, spring, and summer semesters), and three credit hours during year three (fall, spring, and summer semesters). A total of 14 credit hours of PSYC 7910 Clinical Practicum are required.
Students should enroll in two credit hours during year two (fall, spring, and summer semesters). A total of six credit hours of PSYC 7911 Clinical Practicum II are required.
Students should enroll in three credit hours during year four (fall and spring semesters only). A total of six credit hours of PSYC 8910 Advanced Clinical Practicum are required.
Demonstration of Clinical Competency
During the first semester of their third year in the program students must demonstrate their clinical competency by completing the Comprehensive Clinical Competency Examination (CCCE). The CCCE is designed to facilitate student demonstration of clinical competence at the developmental level of readiness for application to clinical internship. This evaluation is designed to assess the developmentally appropriate broad and general clinical competencies in clinical psychology, and does not necessarily evaluate clinical health psychology competencies per se. The CCCE comprises three sequential components conducted in phases:
- Applied clinical diagnosis and assessment planning for a standardized patient.
- Case conceptualization and treatment planning for a standardized patient.
- Intervention therapy session with a standardized patient and oral defense with a faculty committee.
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 of the graduate faculty. When the dissertation is completed to the satisfaction of the primary advisor, the student must orally defend the dissertation to the committee.
|Complete and successfully defend a dissertation.||6|
Students must complete a 12-month, full-time pre-doctoral APA-accredited clinical internship. This internship is required of all clinical psychologists and is the capstone of clinical training in the doctoral program.
|Complete one credit in each of the three semesters of internship year.||3|
To learn more about the Student Learning Outcomes for this program, please visit our website.