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PhD in Clinical Psychology, San Francisco

Expand your knowledge in clinical psychology with advanced studies.


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Doctorate in Clinical Psychology Overview

The San Francisco Bay Area APA-accredited PhD in clinical psychology program features a scholar-practitioner model that prepares you to become a broadly trained practitioner as well as to conduct a wide-range of psychological research. As a graduate of the program, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to contribute to the ever-growing body of psychological literature and behavioral science.

By infusing social justice concerns and multicultural perspectives throughout the curriculum, the program will help provide the knowledge, skills, and professional attitude necessary to evaluate psychological functioning and provide effective interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings, whether in a public or private practice.

A range of potential career paths is open to those with a doctorate in clinical psychology, including:

  • Clinical practice
  • Applied research
  • Teaching
  • Consulting
  • Administration

To learn more about this program and other offerings, visit our CSPP-dedicated microsite. You’ll find videos featuring our university president, dean of CSPP, and faculty, along with numerous interactive features!




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Degree Information

The multicultural program emphasizes research and clinical training equally in leading areas, with a focus in the following areas:

Multicultural Community Psychology and Program Evaluation

  • Family/child/adolescent psychology
  • Gender studies and LGBT psychology

Multicultural Study, LGBT Psychology, Gender Studies

  • Multicultural study
  • LGBT psychology

Multicultural Community Psychology, Program Evaluation, Social Justice

  • Multicultural community psychology
  • Substance abuse
  • Advocacy, public policy, social justice

Trauma, Stress, Resilience, Health Psychology

  • Stress, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Resilience
  • Health psychology

Family/Child/Adolescent Psychology

  • Child
  • Adolescent
  • Family

Learn more about these Emphasis Areas here.

Degree Competencies

In the San Francisco Bay Area degree program, all students are expected to acquire and demonstrate substantial understanding and competence in the following nine profession-wide competency areas:

  • Research
  • Ethical and legal standards
  • Individual and cultural diversity
  • Professional values and attitudes
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills

The competencies are met operationally through various academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify knowledge, attitudes, and skills that you are expected to achieve by the time you graduate from the clinical psychology program at the Bay area campus.

Discipline-Specific Knowledge

As a student in the program an aspiring clinical psychologist, you'll be expected to demonstrate discipline-specific knowledge in the following four categories:

  • History and systems of psychology
  • The basic content areas of scientific psychology, including affective, biological cognitive, developmental, and social aspects of behavior
  • Advanced integrative knowledge in scientific psychology
  • Research methods, statistical analysis, and psychometrics


San Francisco Graduate Program Features

The APA-accredited clinical psychology program emphasizes research and clinical training equally, with special strengths in:

  • Multicultural psychology, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) psychology, and gender studies
  • Community psychology, substance abuse, program evaluation, and social justice
  • Trauma, stress, resilience, and health psychology
  • Family/child/adolescent psychology

Because of the extensive clinical psychology courses offered in the program, the graduate student will have the opportunity to develop in-depth expertise in one or more of these areas by selecting required courses, elective courses, clinical practica (field placements), and supervisors that emphasize a specific theoretical orientation in therapy.

In the program, the graduate student will also have the opportunity to gain real-world experience like a clinical psychologist through a variety of field placements. Doctoral students develop practical skills in the program by providing real-world mental health services to underserved populations.

San Francisco Bay Area Community Services and Placements page

Unique Research Seminars

You’ll enroll in a research seminar during your first year in the program and continue for at least three years until you complete a dissertation proposal. This intimate, small-group setting, composed of students in all program years, gives you a chance to work with faculty members on areas of shared interest and faculty expertise.

In the past, students and faculty have presented their findings at several professional conferences, including the meetings and annual conventions of the following professional associations:

  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Women in Psychology
  • National Council of School and Programs of Professional Psychology
  • Western Psychological Association
  • National Multicultural Summit
  • Association for the Advancement of Behavioral Therapy
  • California Psychological Association

Clinical Psychology Degree

San Francisco provides a solid foundation for building a successful career as a licensed clinical psychologist. Psychology programs strongly focus on counseling psychology and a commitment to the behavioral sciences. Graduates must fulfill the licensure requirements after completing the clinical psychology San Francisco degree program, including supervised clinical hours and passing the national examination. Our graduate school campus is committed to guiding students through this process, offering support and opportunities to gain clinical experience ranging from hospitals to community mental health centers.



The clinical psychology PhD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA), which requires that we provide data on time to completion, program costs, internships, attrition and licensure. Please follow the link below for that information. We hope this information will help you to make an informed decision regarding your graduate study in higher education, particularly in the psychology department.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (.pdf)

The California School of Professional Psychology clinical psychology PhD program is offered on the Fresno, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco Bay Area campuses. Each is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA).

*Questions related to a program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation.

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation 
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979


Our Campus Location

Alliant International University
1475 66th St Suite 104, 
Emeryville, CA 94608
Directions to Campus


Links and Downloads

School Performance Fact Sheet



Graduate Degree Aims, Competencies, and Element

The PhD Program has adopted a series of three aims, nine competencies, and related elements designed to implement its philosophy and meet the overall program aims. The competencies of the doctoral program are met through academic and training activities that include courses, practicum and internship placements, and supervised research experiences. Multiple data sources are used to assess outcomes relative to these competencies. These competencies specify attitudes, knowledge, and skills that students are expected to achieve by the time they graduate from the doctoral program, as well as the perceptions, feelings, and professional achievements alumni are expected to report as they pursue their profession. The elements are the expected specific outcomes for each of the respective competencies.

Aim 1: To educate students to conduct applied research and to be grounded in, and contribute to, the knowledge base of psychology.

Aim 2: To prepare students to be effective professional psychologists skilled at evaluating theoretical and scientific knowledge, psychological functioning, and providing efficacious interventions with diverse clients across a range of settings. We define diversity in keeping with Principle E of the 2010 amended version of the 2002 “Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct” as reflecting individual, role, and cultural differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, socioeconomic status, and other differences.

Aim 3: To prepare ethical and responsible professional psychologists who are able to work collaboratively with other professionals and take on multiple roles in varied settings, and develop the attitudes and skills for lifelong learning and productivity.

Competency 1: Research

1a: Demonstrate the substantially independent ability to formulate research or other scholarly activities that are of sufficient quality and rigor to contribute to the scientific, psychological or professional knowledge base.

1b: Conduct research or other scholarly activities.

1c: Critically evaluate and disseminate research or other scholarly activities via professional presentations and publications at the local, regional, and national level.

Competency 2: Ethical and Legal Standards

2a: Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with the current version of APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct.

2b: Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, rules, and policies governing health service psychology at the organizational, state, regional, and federal levels.

2c: Be knowledgeable of and act in accordance with relevant professional standards and guidelines.

2d: Conduct self in an ethical manner in all professional activities.

Competency 3: Individual and Cultural Diversity

3a: An understanding of how their own personal/cultural history may affect how they understand and interact with people different from themselves.

3b: Knowledge of the current theoretical and empirical knowledge base as it relates to addressing diversity, including research, training, supervision/consultation, and service.

3c: Ability to integrate awareness and knowledge of individual and cultural differences in the conduct of professional roles (e.g., research, services, and other professional activities).

Competency 4: Professional Values and Attitudes

4a: Behave in ways that reflect the values and attitudes of psychology, including integrity, deportment, professional identity, accountability, lifelong learning, and concern for the welfare of others.

4b: Engage in self-reflection; engage in activities to maintain and improve performance, well-being and professional effectiveness.

4c: Actively seek and demonstrate openness and responsiveness to feedback and supervision.

4d: Respond professionally in increasingly complex situations with an increasingly greater degree of independence as you progress through levels of training.

Competency 5: Communication and Interpersonal Skills

5a: Develop and maintain effective relationships with a wide range of individuals, including colleagues, communities, organizations, supervisors, and those receiving professional services.

5b: Produce and comprehend oral, nonverbal, and written communications; demonstrate a grasp of professional language and concepts.

5c: Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills and the ability to manage difficult communication well.

Competency 6: Assessment

6a: Select and apply assessment methods that draw from empirical literature; collect relevant data using multiple sources and methods.

6b: Interpret assessment results to inform case conceptualization, classification, and recommendations.

6c: Communicate, orally and in written documentation, the findings and implications of an assessment in an accurate and effective manner sensitive to a diverse range of clients and audiences.

Competency 7: Intervention

7a: Establish and maintain effective relationships with the recipients of psychological services.

7b: Develop evidence-based intervention plans specific to the service delivery goals.

7c: Implement interventions informed by the current scientific literature.

7d: Apply the relevant research literature to critical decision-making.

7e: Evaluate intervention effectiveness and adapt intervention goals and methods consistent with ongoing evaluation.

7f: Evaluate intervention effectiveness.

Competency 8: Supervision

8a: Demonstrate knowledge of supervision models and practices.

8b: Demonstrate the ability to integrate supervisor feedback into professional practice.

Competency 9: Consultation, Interprofessional Interdisciplinary skills

9a: Demonstrate knowledge and respect for the roles and perspectives of other professions.

9b: Demonstrate knowledge of consultation models and practices.

In addition to specific aims, competencies, and elements, the program also aims to instruct all students on domain-specific knowledge, that is the basic content areas that comprise the field of clinical psychology. Consistent with APA Accreditation standards, the program considers it critically important to train and evaluate student effectiveness in the following areas:

Domain-Specific Knowledge

Category 1: History and Systems of Psychology and Basic Content Areas in Scientific Psychology

1a: History and systems of psychology

1b: Affective aspects of behavior

1c: Biological aspects of behavior

1d: Cognitive aspects of behavior

1e: Developmental aspects of behavior

1f: Social aspects of behavior

Category 2: Research and Quantitative Methods and Advanced Integrative Knowledge in Scientific Psychology

2a: Advanced integrative knowledge of basic discipline-specific content issues

2b: Research methods

2c: Quantitative methods

2d: Psychometrics


Training Opportunities

Professional Clinical Training Opportunities

This program is infused with social justice concerns and educates students to conduct a broad range of psychological research and to become broadly trained practitioners. It provides training for clinical psychologists in all aspects of conducting psychological research such that they are capable of being productive scholars who contribute to the body of psychological literature. 

The program is designed to address all five levels of the biopsychosocial model of human functioning: biological, psychological, familial, community, and sociocultural. We encourage psychology major students to develop a personal integration of cognitive-behavioral, family systems, multicultural, and contemporary psychodynamic approaches. Because of the extensive clinical course offerings at CSPP-San Francisco Bay area, students are able to develop in-depth expertise in one or more of these orientations by selecting sections of required courses, elective courses, clinical practica (field placements), and supervisors that emphasize a specific theoretical orientation in therapy.

Students begin their professional clinical training in their second year in community mental health centers, clinics, inpatient mental health facilities, medical settings, specialized service centers, rehabilitation programs, residential or day programs, forensic/correctional facilities, and educational programs. In their third year, and often fourth year, students continue clinical training or a clinical research practicum. Students typically receive a minimum of 1,600 hours of clinical training prior to internship.

The San Francisco Bay Area offers an enormous range of training opportunities in service of individuals representing diverse populations. Students have conducted field placements in many diverse agencies, including: Veterans Affairs, Kaiser Permanente, and community mental health clinics.

Collaborative Agreements with Teachers College and Fordham University

CSPP has special collaborative agreements with Teachers College of Columbia University and Fordham University-Lincoln Center Campus for graduates of the master’s program to allow them to obtain pre-approved credit for previous work upon being accepted into the San Francisco program.



Explore our clinical psychology program research opportunities, practicum partners, and student communities.



Why Alliant

At Alliant, our mission is to prepare students for professional careers of service and leadership and to promote the discovery and application of knowledge to improve lives. We offer an education that is accredited, focused on practical knowledge and skills, connected with diverse faculty and alumni, and aimed at the student experience.

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Founded in 1969, CSPP was one of the nation’s first independent schools of professional psychology. Today, CSPP continues its commitment to preparing the next generation of mental health professionals through graduate-level degree programs in clinical psychology, marriage and family therapy, clinical counseling, organizational psychology, psychopharmacology, and more.


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