May 31, 2020  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Clinical Psychology

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Admission Requirements and Procedure

In evaluating students for admission to the program, we require both an academic background showing distinction in psychology, and personal attributes indicative of a likelihood of success as a professional psychologist.  Caring, commitment, empathy and integrity, while difficult to measure and evaluate, are essential characteristics we look for in our students. Students from the social sciences and humanities, who have the requisite course work in psychology, are encouraged to apply.

The Clinical Psychology Program requires the following for admission:

  • A completed application for Graduate Admission at  A paper application may be submitted for those who prefer not to apply online.  If that option is chosen, please follow the instructions below and submit all materials in one packet, including transcripts and references. 
  • Official transcripts of all prior undergraduate and graduate work (have all transcripts sent to you in a sealed envelope to be included in your packet);
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited American college or university, or its foreign university equivalent, with a concentration in psychology or related discipline. (Please note that program directors may require that foreign academic credentials be evaluated by a third party.)

For those lacking a psychology concentration, the following psychology courses are required:

  General Psychology

  Developmental Psychology (or Child Psychology)

  Abnormal Psychology

  Statistics and Research Methods (year-long, 6-credit course)
    Physiological Psychology and Social Psychology  
   are not required but are highly recommended

  • A 3.0 GPA on undergraduate course work and a minimum of 3.25 GPA on any post-graduate courses taken (Please note that program directors may require that foreign academic credentials be evaluated by a third party.);
  • A minimum of 300 hours of supervised work experience in mental health or closely related human services position (paid or volunteer);
  • Two reference forms with accompanying letters that address your academic and professional potential. (Please use the Reference Forms provided in the application and read the instructions on the form for proper handling. Fill out the top section of the form and have the reference form returned to you in a sealed envelope, signed along the seal, and include these also in your packet.) 

○  One that addresses your academic potential by a professor
    in your most recent academic experience.  
○  And the other resulting from work experiences in the human
    services that demonstrate the individual is effective
    in working with others in a helping capacity.  This letter 
    must also include verification of 300 hours of work supplied
    by a clinical supervisor with at least a master’s degree.

  • International applicants and applicants for whom English is not a native language should consult the International Applicants page and complete the international applicant section of the Graduate Admission Application.  
  • A 4-5 page (double-spaced) autobiographical essay describing how you became interested in a career in professional psychology, including those pivotal experiences as a student, intern, patient, or observer of the mental health system. This essay serves not only as a writing sample, but also to convey who you are as a person and how you see our program as compatible with your personal and professional goals.
  • An interview (all application materials must be submitted and the file complete). 
  • Application for admission to Saint Michael’s is not complete until all of the above information is received along with a non-refundable application fee.

You will be informed of the admission decision by letter. Admission decisions are made by the program director in consultation with faculty and staff in the program. Meeting minimum application requirements and following admission procedures does not guarantee acceptance into the program. In order to provide personalized and high quality graduate training in clinical psychology, it is necessary to limit the size of the program; therefore, the admission process is competitive. Applicants are notified of the admission decision after all requirements of the admission process have been satisfied, including the interview.

A letter of interest is needed with the application if a student wants to be considered for the graduate assistantship which is available to a first-year graduate student. The letter of interest is due by July 1st.

Graduate Assistantship

The Clinical Psychology Program offers one assistantship each year. Qualifications for the position are the following:

• Full-time admission into the Graduate Clinical Psychology Program for the fall semester

• Must be able to work independently

• Highly Skilled computer use

• Must not be employed elsewhere


A student should apply for Candidacy after completing a minimum of twelve credit hours and a maximum of thirty credit hours in the GPS program, including at least one year-long clinical course sequence (such as: GPS 525-526, or GPS 515-516, or GPS 507-508) and six credits of general core courses (such as: GPS 505, 510-511, 513, or 520). This is done by submitting a Candidacy form indicating the various courses or areas of study that will constitute your degree program. This evaluation will emphasize both the academic and personal characteristics consistent with the requirements of a professional psychologist. In the event that deficiencies are identified, students will be notified in writing, and a meeting will be set with the Director to discuss the faculty’s decision. Whenever possible, a plan will be developed with the student to address the difficulties. However, in some cases students may be asked to leave the program at this juncture.

Clinical Psychology Courses

Other Course Requirements

Due to recent changes in the liability insurance industry, it is required that all students in the graduate Practicum and Internship courses in the Graduate Psychology Program obtain their own individual trainee malpractice insurance. This may be purchased, for a nominal fee, through a number of organizations including NAMP or the APA Insurance Trust.


Students are required to take six or nine credits of elective courses, which may be selected from the following:


The internship is designed to give students a well-supervised, intensive, first-hand experience functioning as a professional psychologist. The course will be graded on a Pass-Fail basis and will be determined by the instructor in consultation with the clinical internship supervisor.

This is a two-semester (nine-month) experience consisting of two components: first, it requires a minimum of two days per week of clinical practice as a psychology intern under the supervision of a licensed psychologist; second, it requires attendance at a course that meets one night per week each semester.

In the internship, the student will have the opportunity to gain experience in assessment and clinical intervention in a setting that brings him/her in contact with a wide variety of clients and other mental health professionals. Involvement in administration, mental health consultation, and applied research is encouraged but not required of interns.

The Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology actively develops suitable internship placements and welcomes student initiative in developing experiences that satisfy the requirements. Such internships need to be discussed in advance with the Director. To date, students have been placed at community mental health centers, college counseling services, residential treatment facilities for adolescents, Fletcher Allen Health Care, public school systems, and other hospitals.

Major Paper/Thesis/Case-Study

Students must elect one of these three options.  The students enroll in GPS 689, Research Seminar, and will receive guidelines for completing this project from the Instructor.

Major Paper

The major paper is an in-depth critical review of the theoretical, empirical, and clinical literature relevant to some issue or question in the field of clinical psychology and is a three-credit undertaking through registration in GPS 689 Research Seminar in the fall. As of September, 2010, a Scholarly Personal Narrative (SPN) may be substituted for a traditonal Major Paper. The SPN is a relatively new approach to humanistic scholarship where the search for new knowledge in the field is integrated with an account of  the personal and intellectual growth of the author. Through the major paper, the student demonstrates his/her command of the conceptual and methodological bases of clinical psychology, and the ability to communicate the same at a professional level. Length will vary with the topic, but it may be expected to run between forty to sixty pages and written to conform to the format guidelines in the APA Publication Manual. Emphasis should be on the student’s own analysis, synthesis, integration, and reasoned evaluation of literature. Articles in Psychological Bulletin serve as a model for this type of paper. One might expect to work six to eight months on this requirement.

The major paper is to be carried out under the direction of the Research Seminar instructor. In addition to the instructor, two others (full- or part-time faculty or internship supervisors) are selected to serve on the committee to review the paper and conduct an oral examination. After the oral defense, the student is required to submit four copies of the Major Paper to be bound, two of which will be placed in the Saint Michael’s library collection, one for the program, and a personal copy for the student.


The master’s thesis is an original effort that demonstrates the student’s ability to contribute to the empirical knowledge base of clinical psychology. Research may be experimental, qualitative, correlational, or an applied demonstration project with appropriate evaluation methods. The student is expected to produce a written work that is up to or exceeds the standard of research in the particular area in question. It is anticipated that work on the thesis will span a twelve- to fifteen-month period. Length of the thesis depends greatly on the topic, but it typically runs from thirty-five to fifty pages and written to conform to the format guidelines in the APA Publication Manual.

The thesis is to be carried out under the direction of an advisor in consultation with the Research Seminar instructor, who will both be a part of the committee. The advisor should be a program faculty member who has an interest in the specific topic of the thesis. The advisor and student then recruit one additional member of the thesis committee from among the full-time or part-time faculty, or field supervisors.

The student will formulate a specific research hypothesis and methodology, and present a written proposal for the thesis to the committee. The committee will meet at least once to approve the thesis proposal, which is required in order to proceed with the study.

Once the chair has approved the completed thesis the committee will meet again to conduct the oral examination on the thesis. The student is required to submit four copies of the thesis to be bound, two of which will be placed in the Saint Michael’s library collection, one for the program, and a personal copy for the student.


The project begins with a student choosing a case from their clinical work (of most any kind) where the student has had a minimum of ten hours of direct contact with the clinical situation of interest (there may be many more than ten hours in some cases.) A qualified clinician (though not necessarily a psychologist) must supervise the work. Given that the case may not be identified until well into the internship experience, it is likely that completion of this option will span a twelve- to fifteen-month period. Length of the case-study varies, but is generally between fifty to seventy-five pages and written to conform to the format guidelines in the APA Publication Manual.

The write-up will include: (1) a detailed description of the case, the process of working with the client(s), and the clinical outcome; (2) analytical literature review of similar published cases or clinical theory relevant to this case; (3) a discussion of at least one theoretical/philosophical/empirical dilemma that arose in the actual clinical work; (4) critique of the clinical work actually done and how it might have been improved upon or broadened given the research discovered in the process of writing the case-study.

As with a thesis, a primary advisor is recruited who has an interest in the specific kind of case being discussed and who is a member of the program faculty. A committee of three faculty members is formed (the clinical supervisor of the case may replace one faculty member).

The goal is for the student to use this writing project as an opportunity to move their own thinking on clinical work to a higher level, and to hopefully contribute to moving the discipline’s understanding of clinical practice along as well. Wherever possible it is hoped that students will write about cases in areas where there have been few published cases, or cases that do not fit the textbook mold for assessment, diagnosis, treatment, or consultation. In other words, the goal of the case-study is to contribute to the knowledge base of the profession just as it is in the major paper or thesis option.

Once the chair has approved the completed case-study the committee will meet again to conduct the oral examination on the case-study. The student is required to submit four copies of the case-study to be bound, two of which will be placed in the Saint Michael’s library collection, one for the program, and a personal copy for the student.

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