Goals, Objectives, and Competencies


The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program at Duquesne University is an advanced course of study specializing in human science approaches to clinical psychology, integrating theory, research, and clinical practice. The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association and is listed in the Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designated Criteria, developed and published by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and National Register. Graduates find positions in independent practice, community clinics, medical and managed care facilities, and academic and research settings. Students typically complete their program within six years: four years of academic work, a one year internship, and one year to complete the dissertation.

Questions related to the 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/ E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Mission of Training

Our scholar-practitioner model aims to educate psychologists whose clinical practice follows from, and is integrated with, a solid foundation of scholarship. This scholarship includes a) understanding the historical context of psychology, b) recognizing the philosophical assumptions that underlie research and clinical practices of psychologists, c) understanding the diversity of methods employed in research and clinical practice, d) critical reflexivity regarding one's own assumptions and activities as a psychologist, and e) sensitivity to individual and cultural diversity and their implications for the practice of psychology.

From this model of training follows a core set of goals and learning objectives with respect to foundational and functional competencies. Specifically, the program affirms the importance of a) reflective practice, b) the capacity to communicate effectively and meaningfully with others, c) a thorough understanding of ethical principles and legal standards in psychology, d) sensitivity to individual and cultural diversity, e) consultation and interprofessional/interdisciplinary skills, f) professional responsibility (values, attitudes, and behaviors), and g) scientific and scholarly knowledge and methods (particularly the epistemologies of research and qualitative methodology). Regarding functional competencies, the program educates students in the areas of h) assessment, diagnosis, and case conceptualization; i) clinical intervention and evaluation; j) supervision and; k) teaching in psychology.

The Ph.D. program sets forth the following goals, objectives, and competencies in its curriculum. See Appendix C for the Annual Progress Review form that documents each student's progress toward meeting the minimal expected level of competency for each domain.


To educate students to conduct themselves with a professionalism appropriate to the complex nature of clinical psychology and that is founded on reflexivity, interpersonal and interdisciplinary competence, ethical principles, and a deep respect for individual and cultural diversity.

1.1 Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in reflecting on, critically evaluating, and improving one's professional practice.
1.2 Students will acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that facilitate effective and meaningful interactions and relationships with individuals, groups, and/or communities.
1.3 Students will acquire a working understanding of the ethical principles and legal standards of psychology and their application to professional practice.
1.4 Students will acquire an understanding of the importance of considering individual and cultural differences in all aspects of their professional work. This includes an applied understanding of self and others as cultural beings and of social interactions as culturally embedded, and reflection on the cultural and individual assumptions that the students bring to their thought and work.
1.5 Students will understand the scope and limitations of psychology's applications and acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to interact respectfully and effectively with professionals in multiple disciplines.
1.6 Students will acquire values, attitudes, and behaviors that demonstrate professionalism, including accountability and integrity, an appreciation for the value of life-long learning, and a sensitivity to the well-being of others.


To prepare scholar-practitioners who are well grounded in the discipline of psychology conceived broadly as a human science.

2.1 Students will acquire and demonstrate a sound knowledge of the philosophical foundations of psychology, particularly of psychology conceived as a human science.
2.2 Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge of scientific assumptions and procedures as they pertain to psychological inquiry, and develop and utilize research skills in design, data collection, and analysis that can be adapted to diverse areas of human experience and behavior and with an emphasis on qualitative methodologies.
2.3 Students will acquire an understanding of the breadth of scientific psychology, its history of thought and development, its research methods, and its applications. To this end, students will be familiarized with the current body of knowledge in the following areas: biological aspects of behavior, cognitive and affective aspects of behavior, social aspects of behavior, history and systems of psychology, development across the lifespan, and personality and individual differences.


To educate and train students to competently conduct psychological assessments.

3.1 Students will acquire knowledge of psychological measurement, including the scientific, theoretical, and contextual bases of test construction. They will understand the applications and limits of psychological assessment, and be able to administer, score, and interpret a range of psychological tests with attention to issues of reliability, validity, and relevance to the referral question and the client's concerns and lived experience.
3.2 Students will acquire a broad understanding of psychopathology, the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and a range of theoretical approaches from which to arrive at diagnoses and case formulations that address clients in context and are descriptively near to client experience.
3.3 Students will acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to communicate and document assessment findings and make recommendations that are useful to diverse recipients and readers, including the client when appropriate.


To educate and train students to be competent psychotherapists.

4.1 Students will acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes to effectively plan and implement psychotherapy with attention to issues of race and culture, the uniqueness of the individuals/groups, and scientific research.
4.2 Students will develop a range of psychotherapy and intervention skills for use with diverse clients in a variety of contexts and informed by recognized theoretical traditions, evidence based practice, and relevant expert guidance and clinical judgment. Students will appreciate the complex issues surrounding the significance of evidence based practice.
4.3 Students will acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions and to modify accordingly.


To educate and train students to become competent supervisors and teachers.

5.1 Students will acquire a working understanding of supervisory roles, models, procedures, and practices.
5.2 Students will acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skills relevant to their emerging identities as teachers, including effective application of teaching and evaluation methods, methods that are sensitive to the complexities of knowledge production and dissemination.