Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Child Psychology

Clinical Child Psychology Graduate Program

The Clinical Child Psychology Program (CCPP) at the University of Kansas is a graduate program leading to the doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in Clinical Child Psychology.  The CCPP is accredited by the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation as a clinical psychology doctoral training program with a special emphasis on children, adolescents, and families. The Program is affiliated with the Departments of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science, and has strong ties with the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Kansas School of Medicine (KUMC) and with Children's Mercy Hospital.  The program does not offer a terminal Masters degree. However, students admitted to the Doctoral program without a Masters degree will obtain a MA in Clinical Child Psychology en route to the Ph.D.

The mission of the CCPP is to develop leaders in the research, dissemination, and practice of clinical science for children, youths, and their families. As such, doctoral training in the CCPP develops clinical scientists capable of conducting innovative research and developing and delivering interventions for a range of human problems, particularly those involving children and families.  In service of its mission, the CCPP is designed to promote profession-wide competencies in nine specific domain areas (e.g., Research, Assessment, Intervention, Individual and Cultural Diversity, Ethics and Legal issues), as well as program specific competencies in two domains (Administration/Management, and Professional Leadership and Communications).  This is accomplished through broad and general training across the substantive areas of the science of psychology (i.e., behavioral, social, cognitive, affective, and biological bases of psychology), specialized training in research methodology and statistical analytic methods, and specialized clinical training through basic and advanced practica.  Subdomains of the professional competency and substantive knowledge areas are detailed in the CCPP Training Manual.  A particular strength of the program is the developmental perspective that pervades all core courses. 

The field of psychological science is changing rapidly, with advances in our understanding, assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of a range of conditions. Our goal is to train the professionals who are at the forefront of these advances in research, dissemination, education, and service. The program’s didactic and practical experiences prepare graduates for the many roles open to clinical child psychologists.  Graduates hold research/teaching positions in universities, medical schools, colleges, and internship programs, and direct service delivery positions in mental health centers, hospitals, and schools.

In its fulfillment of the training model of clinical psychology known as the “scientist-practitioner model,” the CCPP utilizes guidance from the report of the National Conference on Scientist-Practitioner Education and Training for the Professional Practice of Psychology. This conference defined the model as “an integrative approach to science and practice wherein each must continually inform the other” in which the scientific research base is related to clinical practice, and practice elements are inherently interrelated to research.  The CCPP places an extremely high priority on the development of research skills and competencies. 

Students can complete course work, practicum requirements, and research requirements for the doctoral degree in 4 years of full-time study followed by a 1-year doctoral clinical internship at an approved site, although some students take longer.  Students are expected to, and indeed want to, participate maximally in research and clinical experiences to ensure the breadth of their training.  An empirically-based master’s thesis (if not obtained prior to admission), qualifying examination, and doctoral dissertation are formal milestones of research progress in addition to regular evaluation in courses, clinical practica, and annual faculty reviews. 

The Director of the Program serves as the official Academic Advisor for all students in the program. As such, the Director bears responsibility for assisting the student in course selection, articulating career goals, assisting with program requirements (e.g., internship applications), and designing experiences consonant with career goals.   Each student in the Clinical Child Psychology Program also selects a Research Advisor who provides individualized guidance with regard to course selection, developing and articulating career goals, and designing experiences consonant with career goals.