Training Model, Goals and Objectives

The University of Arizona's (UA) doctoral program in clinical psychology follows a clinical science model of training. Central to our definition of clinical science is the belief that clinical research and application are reciprocally related: The best clinical skills are grounded in empirical and theoretical knowledge, and clinical application continuously informs the evolution of clinical theory and research. Accordingly, the program aims to produce graduates who are able to generate and consume knowledge in clinical science and to competently apply science-based assessments and interventions. We emphasize the importance of disseminating knowledge in professional outlets as well as via teaching and training of future generations of students, therapists, and community-based administrators. Regardless of the setting in which they work, we expect our graduates to have productive careers in which science and practice are well integrated. Our faculty views students as junior colleagues and collaborators, and strives on a daily basis to treat them with dignity, courtesy, and respect.

The mission of our clinical science program is consistent with the mission, goals, and culture of the University of Arizona as a Research-I institution aiming “to discover, educate, serve, and inspire,” and with the mission of the Psychology Department, which is: “…to achieve excellence in the generation of new knowledge through research and scholarship, and the provision of service to the university, community, state, and nation.” The program is a charter member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS), a coalition of doctoral training programs that share a common philosophy of training with the goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems.

The program offers a considerable range of clinical training and research opportunities. While all students undergo a broad and general training, there are optional (and not mutually exclusive) areas of concentration in clinical neuropsychology, health psychology, family psychology, psychotherapy research, sleep research, interpersonal violence, program evaluation, and mental health policy and law. In all of these areas we encourage students to think critically about current research and practice and to contribute to scientific dialogue through publications, conference presentations, and other formats of professional exchange. This is facilitated by faculty mentorship tailored to individual students’ interests, strengths, and stage of professional development. We also encourage students to appreciate the benefits of collaboration and interdisciplinary work, and emphasize the importance of translational research that cuts across basic and applied areas.

In sum, our general training mission is for students to become competent clinical scientists, capable of producing and consuming high quality empirical research. The program's goals are to produce graduates who (a) generate and consume knowledge in clinical science; (b) have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to competently apply scientific knowledge; and, (c) have the skills to disseminate such knowledge via college teaching and practitioner training. The program thus prepares students to advance knowledge in the field as well as to apply such knowledge in community settings where they take leadership roles in developing and evaluating science-based prevention and treatment programs. More specifically, we train students not only to conduct research relevant to the assessment, prevention, treatment, and understanding of health and mental health disorders; but also to use scientific methods and evidence in designing, developing, selecting, evaluating, implementing, delivering, supervising, and disseminating empirically-based assessments, interventions, and prevention programs.

These goals translate to measurable objectives: (1) We expect the majority of our current students and graduates to be active in generating new scientific knowledge in the field and to demonstrate knowledge and skills in applying this knowledge to practice situations; (2) We expect the majority of our graduates to hold academic research and/or teaching positions; (3) We expect graduates in academic positions to disseminate their work through journals, books, conference presentations and other professional outlets– or, if working at primarily teaching-oriented colleges, to emphasize up-to-date scientific knowledge in their instructional materials and play an active role developing curricula materials consistent with a clinical science model; and, (4) We expect graduates working primarily in clinical settings to regularly apply and train others to apply empirically-supported treatments, develop and test new assessment and intervention methods, provide supervision or workshop training in science-based clinical knowledge, and/or engage in program evaluation.