Summary of Requirements:
Students are granted the Master’s degree when they have: (a) completed 65 hours of required coursework with an acceptable GPA; (b) completed 500 hours of supervised practica with acceptable ratings; (c) passed the Doctoral Qualifying Examination ; (d) presented satisfactory writing samples; (e) paid all tuition and fees due the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.
The Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) degree is awarded by the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology to students who, within ten (10) years have: (a) completed all required semester hours or the equivalent (including any waivers); (b) completed 2,000 hours of supervised practicum experience; (c) attended three ethics seminars; (d) successfully passed the Doctoral Candidacy Examination as described in the WSPP Student Handbook; (e) finished a one year full-time or two year half-time approved internship in clinical psychology; (f) completed an original Dissertation; and (g) paid all tuition and fees due the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.
In the course of their academic work, students must complete at least one academic year of full-time residence, which is defined as fall and spring semesters with six (6) or more academic credits and 50 or more clinical hours in each semester. Clinical hours reflect on-going, supervised clinical activity.
Students entering WSPP with Bachelor’s degrees must complete all requirements of the Psy.D. program including coursework, practicum, exams, internship, and dissertation within ten (10) years of the date of matriculation as a degree-status student.
Required classes are scheduled from 6:30pm-9:00pm Monday thru Thursday and meet once per week to accommodate student practicum and employment schedules. Class size is not permitted to exceed 15 in order to maximize opportunity for participation and discussion. Faculty advisors and instructors are readily available for student conferences.
WSPP faculty, through its committee structure, deliberated to develop the best possible program with the most effective sequence of coursework. The first year emphasizes a firm foundation in theory and science which forms the basis for psychological principles. Clinical casework begins after the first summer with extremely close supervision which gradually decreases as the student gains skill. The second academic year emphasizes assessment, which we believe to be a cornerstone of professional practice. There is also exposure to therapeutic intervention during the second year, but this application of psychological principles to clinical problems is most emphasized during the third academic year. Throughout all coursework, there is appreciation for and training in research. Multicultural diversity is stressed in every class and all practicum hours. Finally, professional standards and ethics are ingrained in student thinking throughout the curriculum.
Course Load-Part-time or Full-time?
Since it is anticipated that most students attending the School will be at least partially employed during their period of attendance, regularly matriculated students may elect to attend on a full or part-time basis. Courses are taken in the order designated in the Curriculum and are offered on the same evenings year to year, with all academic coursework completed prior to the initiation of the internship.
All students, full or part-time, are required to complete all degree requirements within the specified time limits.
Practicum Hours and Opportunities
Clinical training is vital to the education of a professional psychologist. All students are required to accumulate at least 2,000 hours of supervised practicum experience during their tenure as Doctoral students. WSPP emphasizes practicum requirements in the training of clinical psychologists .
Students complete the majority of their practicum requirements through the WSPP Psychology Training Center. One clinical hour is awarded per hour of direct client service, such as individual, family, group or couple therapy, psychological assessment or consultation, and indirect client service such as report writing, supervision, observation of direct client service and attendance at staffings and case conferences.
WSPP also utilizes the facilities of a variety of community resources for practicum placements .
In addition to regular coursework, all degree students are required to attend at least three WSPP-sponsored seminars on professional ethics.
Doctoral Qualifying Examination
All students are required to take a comprehensive examination and submit a writing sample at the end of their second year of coursework. The examination covers the content of all required coursework taken in the first two years. The writing sample includes one term paper of the student’s choosing. Students must pass both the examination and writing sample in order to receive a Master’s degree and continue with doctoral level classes. Students are given up to three opportunities to pass the Doctoral Qualifying Examination (DQE).
Doctoral Candidacy Examination
The Doctoral Candidacy Examination (DCE) is a comprehensive examination covering all areas of the program. The emphasis of this examination is on the ability to synthesize what one has learned in the program at the level required for independent clinical practice in psychology. The examination has five separate sections: Clinical Assessment, Theoretical Assessment, Psychotherapy, Psychopathology, and Professional Standards and Ethics. Students take this examination prior to their internships. Students are given up to three opportunities to pass any section of the DCE and must pass all sections in order to receive the Doctorate.
WSPP requires of each student a 2,000-hour internship to be served in one year on a full-time or two year part-time basis. The internship should meet the standards established by the National Register of Health Service Psychologists and the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers (APPIC). It is the student’s responsibility to obtain admission to an internship, although WSPP assists in placement. Students have completed internships locally as well as at numerous internship sites throughout the U.S.
Completion of a dissertation is required. Students are required to successfully defend the dissertation proposal prior to applying for internship. The main criteria for an acceptable dissertation are that it be of sufficient quality to be published in the peer-reviewed professional literature, and be of interest to a significant audience of professional psychologists. Guidelines for the dissertation process are found in the Dissertation Guide which is found as an appendix in the Student Handbook. The dissertation must be successfully defended in open forum to the student’s Dissertation Committee and printed in final form before the project is considered completed.