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Requirements for the Doctoral Degree, Clinical Psychology, Psy.D.

Type: Definitions
Effective Date: 1/27/2020

The following general requirements pertain to all students pursuing the Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. Additional program and discipline-specific requirements not addressed by this policy may be found in the program/department/school graduate handbook as well as the Academic Catalog.


General Degree Requirements - Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)

To receive a Doctor of Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses, consisting of 101 units of graduate-level courses and two thousand (2000) hours of clinical practice. In addition to coursework, the Psy.D. doctoral degree requires their graduate students to engage in practicum and/or clinical experiences, to demonstrate a high level of competency in their field, and to engage in research and scholarship.

To graduate with the Psy.D. degree, the student must meet the following requirements:


Coursework and Academic Requirements

Students must complete all courses in an approved Program of Study (POS) totaling the number of units specified for the program and meet all academic requirements and standards set by the academic unit for the doctoral program. The POS must be approved by the student’s major advisor and other appropriate academic unit administrators designated by the program.

All graduate students must adhere to the academic requirements and criteria outlined by their program, Graduate College, and NAU. See NAU Policy 100319: Academic Continuation, Probation, Dismissal, and Readmission - Graduate for more detailed information.

Graduate students must, at a minimum, meet the “Academic Requirements for Continuation in a Graduate Program” found in NAU Policy 100319: Academic Continuation, Probation, Dismissal, and Readmission - Graduate, in order to graduate. To begin the graduation process, please see NAU Policy 100334: Applying for Graduation, Graduate Students.


Minimum Admission Requirements

  • 3 letters of recommendation with at least two from faculty
  • Completion of bachelor's degree in psychology, or closely-related field; or a master's degree in psychology or closely-related field
  • Personal Statement
  • Interview

If your undergraduate GPA is less than 3.00, a graduate GPA of a 3.25 is acceptable (minimum 18 units competed as part of a master's degree).

Students who do not have an undergraduate degree in psychology will need to complete at least five undergraduate or introductory graduate courses that are primarily psychological in content and must address these three required areas*:

  • Introduction to psychology or general psychology
  • Abnormal, psychopathology, or maladaptive behavior
  • Statistics or research methods

*Two additional courses in field of psychology must also be completed. In addition, students who have not taken courses in the required areas must complete these classes early in their program as these courses serve as prerequisites.


Curriculum and Competencies

PROGRAM AIM:  To prepare prospective psychologists in the delivery of ethical, culturally-competent and evidence-based diagnostic, intervention and assessment services that effectively meet the needs of diverse populations in diverse settings.

 Profession-wide Competencies:

1. Research/Science Foundations - Demonstrates understanding and respect for research, research methodology, techniques of data collection and analysis, biological bases of behavior, cognitive-affective bases of behavior, and development across the lifespan.

2. Ethical and legal standards - Demonstrates application of ethical concepts and awareness of legal issues regarding professional activities with individuals, groups, and organizations.

3. Individual and cultural diversity - Awareness, sensitivity and skills in working professionally with diverse individuals, groups and communities who represent various cultural and personal backgrounds and characteristics defined broadly and consistent with APA policy/guidelines.

4. Professional values, attitudes and behaviors - Adherence to professional values including self-reflection, integrity, professional identity and comportment, accountability and concern for the welfare of others.

5. Communication and interpersonal skills - Develop individual and group interpersonal skills to improve and foster participation and interaction critical for achieving individual, group and diverse community goals. Able to demonstrate verbal and non-verbal congruency and ability to demonstrate engagement

6. Assessment - Able to assess and diagnose problems, capabilities and issues associated with diverse individuals, groups and/or organization. Able to demonstrate conceptualization of problems considering the context and other relevant factors.

7. Intervention - Able to plan, implement and evaluate interventions designed to alleviate suffering and to promote health and well-being of diverse individuals, groups and organizations. Able to demonstrate conceptualization of problems considering the context and other relevant factors

8. Supervision -  Able to guide, support and direct the integration of research and clinical expertise in the context of patient factors.

9. Consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills - The ability to provide expert guidance or professional assistance in response to a client’s needs or goals. Able to use interpersonal skills needed to collaborate well with others.


Length of Degree

The doctoral degree requires a minimum of four full-time academic years of graduate study (or equivalent thereof) plus a full-time supervised internship prior to receiving the doctoral degree.  Most students are expected to complete the program within five years of matriculation.


Residency Requirements

NAU’s residency requirement provides doctoral students the benefit and opportunity to engage and contribute to the full spectrum of educational and professional opportunities provided by faculty and other students within their program and across the campus. The Graduate College and University Graduate Committee concur that the doctoral residency requirement at NAU may be met in a variety of ways, some of which fit the ethos of a particular discipline or type of cohort engaged in a particular program.

For the Psy.D. program, each student must spend two consecutive semesters of full-time enrollment after admission into the doctoral program. Full time enrollment is defined as enrollment for 9 units in Fall and Spring terms.


Time Parameters and Graduation Requirements to Complete Degree

Students who are admitted to the Psy.D. program have seven years to complete all requirements for the doctoral degree. The seven-year period starts with the first semester of doctoral study at Northern Arizona University. If students do not complete the degree in seven years, they may petition the Graduate College for one extension of this time limit.



Fees may apply. See University Policy Library for current fees.
Appeal eligible: Yes

Students can appeal or petition for exception

Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which no specific appeal or petition process exists. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. When applicable, the student’s advisor and department chair may endorse the petition letter. In some specific instances, utilizing the Academic Appeal and University Graduate Committee Hearing Panel  policy is more appropriate. 

Students should contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for clarification on which process to initiate.


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