Our mission is to advance knowledge that promotes psychological well-being and reduces the burden of mental illness and problems in living and to develop leading clinical scientists whose skills and knowledge will have a substantial impact on the field of psychology and the lives of those in need. Our faculty and graduate students promote critical thinking, innovation, and discovery, and strive to be leaders in their field, engaging in and influencing research, practice, policy, and education. Our pursuit of these goals is guided by the values of collaboration, mutual respect, and fairness, our commitment to diversity, and the highest ethical standards.
Information about the Clinical Psychology Graduate Major
UCLA’s Clinical Psychology program is one of the largest, most selective, and most highly regarded in the country and aims to produce future faculty, researchers, and leaders in clinical science, who influence research, policy development, and practice.
Clinical science is a field of psychology that strives to generate and disseminate the best possible knowledge, whether basic or applied, to reduce suffering and to advance public health and wellness. Rather than viewing research and intervention as separable, clinical science construes these activities as part of a single, broad domain of expertise and action. Students in the program are immersed in an empirical, research-based approach to clinical training. This, in turn, informs their research endeavors with a strong understanding of associated psychological phenomena. The UCLA Clinical Science Training Programs employs rigorous methods and theories from multiple perspectives, in the context of human diversity. Our goal is to develop the next generation of clinical scientists who will advance and share knowledge related to the origins, development, assessment, treatment, and prevention of mental health problems.
Admissions decisions are based on applicants’ research interests and experiences, formal coursework in psychology and associated fields, academic performance, letters of recommendation, dedication to and suitability for a career as a clinical scientist, program fit, and contributions to an intellectually rich, diverse class. Once admitted, students engage with faculty in research activities addressing critical issues that impact psychological well-being and the burden of mental illness, using a wide range of approaches and at varying levels of analysis. Their integrated training is facilitated by on-campus resources including the departmental Psychology Clinic, the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, and the David Geffen School of Medicine.
Our program philosophy is embodied in, and our goals are achieved through, a series of training activities that prepare students for increasingly complex, demanding, and independent roles as clinical scientists. These training activities expose students to the reciprocal relationship between scientific research and provision of clinical services, and to various systems and methods of intervention, assessment, and other clinical services with demographically and clinically diverse populations. The curriculum is designed to produce scientifically-minded scholars who are well-trained in research and practice, who use data to develop and refine the knowledge base in their field, and who bring a reasoned empirical perspective to positions of leadership in research and service delivery.
The program’s individualized supervision of each student in integrated research and practice roles provides considerable flexibility. Within the parameters set by faculty interests and practicum resources, there are specializations in child psychopathology and treatment, cognitive-behavior therapy, clinical assessment, adult psychopathology and treatment, family processes, assessment and intervention with distressed couples, community psychology, stress and coping, cognitive and affective neuroscience, minority mental health, and health psychology and behavioral medicine. The faculty and other research resources of the Department make possible an intensive concentration in particular areas of clinical psychology, while at the same time ensuring breadth of training.
Clinical psychology at UCLA is a six-year program including a full-time one-year internship, at least four years of which must be completed in residence at UCLA. The curriculum in clinical psychology is based on a twelve-month academic year. The program includes a mixture of coursework, clinical practicum training, teaching, and continuous involvement in research. Many of the twenty clinical area faculty, along with numerous clinical psychologists from other campus departments, community clinics, and hospitals settings, contribute to clinical supervision. Clinical training experiences typically include four and a half years of part-time practicum placements in the Psychology Clinic and local agencies. The required one-year full-time internship is undertaken after the student has passed the clinical qualifying examinations and the dissertation preliminary orals. The student receives the Ph.D. degree when both the dissertation and an approved internship are completed.
PCSAS – Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System
The Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology at UCLA was accredited in 2012 by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). PCSAS was created to promote science-centered education and training in clinical psychology, to increase the quality and quantity of clinical scientists contributing to the advancement of public health, and to enhance the scientific knowledge base for mental and behavioral health care. The UCLA program is deeply committed to these goals and proud to be a member of the PCSAS Founder’s Circle and one of the group of programs accredited by PCSAS. (Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System, 1800 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 402, Washington, DC 20036-1218. Telephone: 301-455-8046). Website: https://www.pcsas.org
APA CoA – American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation
The Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology at UCLA has been accredited by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation since 1949. (Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE. Washington, DC 20002-4242. Telephone: 202-336-5979.) Website: http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/
Future Accreditation Plans:
Against the backdrop of distressing evidence that mental health problems are increasingly prevalent and burdensome, the field of psychological clinical science must think innovatively to address the unmet mental health needs of vulnerable populations. UCLA’s clinical psychology program remains committed to training clinical psychological scientists who will become leaders in research, dissemination, and implementation of knowledge, policy development, and evidence-based clinical practice. This commitment is firmly rooted in our overall mission of promoting equity and inclusion, adhering to ethical standards, and developing collaborations in all aspects of clinical psychology.
Increasingly, we believe that significant aspects of the academic and clinical-service requirements of accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA) obstruct our training mission. Too often, APA requirements limit our ability to flexibly adapt our program to evolving scientific evidence, student needs, and global trends in mental health. Like many other top clinical science doctoral programs, we see our longstanding accreditation by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) as better aligned with our core values, including advancement of scientifically-based training.
Accordingly, we are unlikely to seek renewal of our program’s accreditation by APA, which is set to expire in 2028. The ultimate decision about re-accreditation will be made with the best interests and well-being of current and future students in our program in mind. To that end, we will continue to monitor important criteria that will determine the career prospects of students completing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from programs accredited only by PCSAS. For example, we are working to understand the potential implications for securing excellent predoctoral internships and eligibility for professional licensure across jurisdictions in North America. Although the UCLA clinical psychology program has no direct influence over these external organizations, we are excited to continue to work to shape this evolving training landscape with the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS) and leaders from other clinical science programs.
Our ongoing monitoring of trends in clinical psychology training is encouraging for PCSAS-accredited programs. However, evolving circumstances could result in our program changing its opinion with respect to seeking APA re-accreditation in the future. In the spirit of transparency and empowering potential applicants to make informed choices for their own professional development, we are pleased to share our thinking on these important issues.
Notice to Students re: Professional Licensure and Certification
University of California programs for professions that require licensure or certification are intended to prepare the student for California licensure and certification requirements. Admission into programs for professions that require licensure and certification does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or certificate. Licensure and certification requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the University of California and licensure and certification requirements can change at any time.
The University of California has not determined whether its programs meet other states’ educational or professional requirements for licensure and certification. Students planning to pursue licensure or certification in other states are responsible for determining whether, if they complete a University of California program, they will meet their state’s requirements for licensure or certification. This disclosure is made pursuant to 34 CFR §668.43(a)(5)(v)(C).
NOTE: Although the UCLA Clinical Psychology Program is not designed to ensure license eligibility, the majority of our graduates do go on to become professionally licensed. For more information, please see https://www.ucop.edu/institutional-research-academic-planning/content-analysis/academic-planning/licensure-and-certification-disclosures.html.
Clinical Program Policy on Diversity-Related Training
In light of our guiding values of collaboration, respect, and fairness, this statement is to inform prospective and current trainees, faculty, and supervisors, as well as the public, that our trainees are required to (a) attain an understanding of cultural and individual diversity as related to both the science and practice of psychology and (b) provide competent and ethical services to diverse individuals. Our primary consideration is always the welfare of the client. Should such a conflict arise in which the trainee’s beliefs, values, worldview, or culture limits their ability to meet this requirement, as determined by either the student or the supervisor, it should be reported to the Clinic and Placements Committee, either directly or through a supervisor or clinical area faculty member. The Committee will take a developmental view, such that if the competency to deliver services cannot be sufficiently developed in time to protect and serve a potentially impacted client, the committee will (a) consider a reassignment of the client so as to protect the client’s immediate interests, and (b) request from the student a plan to reach the above-stated competencies, to be developed and implemented in consultation with both the trainee’s supervisor and the Clinic Director. There should be no reasonable expectation of a trainee being exempted from having clients with any particular background or characteristics assigned to them for the duration of their training.
Clinical Program Grievance Policies & Procedures
Unfortunately, conflicts between students and faculty or with other students will occur, and the following policies and procedures are provided in an effort to achieve the best solution. The first step in addressing these conflicts is for the student to consult with their academic advisor. If this option is not feasible (e.g. the conflict is with the advisor) or the conflict is not resolved to their satisfaction, then the issue should be brought to the attention of the Director of Clinical Training. If in the unlikely event that an effective solution is not achieved at this level, then the student has the option of consulting with the Department’s Vice Chair for Graduate Studies. Students also have the option of seeking assistance from the campus Office of Ombuds Services and the Office of the Dean of Students. It is expected that all such conflicts are to be addressed first within the program, then within the Department, before seeking a resolution outside of the department.