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Clinical Psychology (PsyD)

Study Clinical Psychology, PsyD at Azusa Pacific University

When you graduate, you’ll be prepared to become a licensed psychologist who engages in psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and clinical research— to make a positive impact on others. You’ll develop the knowledge and skills to serve a wide range of clients in a variety of diverse settings, equipped with the recognized degree for practicing clinical psychology. Study with experienced faculty-practitioners who maintain active careers in the profession and benefit from integrating Christian values to inform their practice of psychology. The curriculum emphasizes a systems approach, diversity and justice, and the integration of faith/spirituality with practice (see the Classes You'll Take tab for details).

APU’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology is accredited by the American Psychological Association (see Accreditation below for details).

Program at a Glance

The School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences equips students for compassionate leadership in fields like physical therapy, social work, and psychology, guided by experienced faculty and hands-on learning.

Application Deadline

  • One cohort of students is admitted annually with coursework beginning in September. 
  • Priority Deadline: December 1 
  • Regular Deadline: January 15

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Program Information

  • Program Units: 133
  • Cost per Unit: $1,157
  • Base Cost: $153,881*


  • Azusa (Main Campus)
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Gain Hands-on Experience

  • Complete three years of practicum and a full-time, year-long internship.
  • Meet the education requirements to pursue licensure in the state of California.
  • Learn from faculty-mentors with extensive professional experience.

By the Numbers

1 of 126 Best Western Colleges according to Princeton Review's 2023 Best Colleges Guide
5-6 Years Typical program length
100 % of incoming students receive financial aid

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Program Details

APU’s Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology is a professional doctorate that identifies as a practitioner-scholar program. The curriculum provides the courses and training necessary to meet the educational requirements in the state of California for licensure as a psychologist.

Browse the tabs below—if you have questions, visit the Student Services Center page, and we’ll make sure you get the info you need.

Entrance Options and Prerequisites

Students with a bachelor’s or master’s in psychology or a closely related field are welcome to apply for entrance into the PsyD program without any further prerequisite course fulfillment. Students who have a bachelor’s or master's unrelated to the field of psychology will be required to take the following undergraduate courses before commencing the PsyD program:

  • Introduction to Psychology (general psychology course)
  • Human Growth and Development (developmental psychology course that covers the lifespan)
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Introduction to Statistics

Application Deadline

One cohort of students is admitted annually with coursework beginning in September. Students are not permitted to begin midyear.

  • Priority Deadline: December 1 for priority consideration for admission
  • Regular Deadline: January 15

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

Admission Directly from a Bachelor’s Degree or with a Master’s Degree

Applicants must submit:
  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study.
  • An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Applicants who possess a master’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in a field other than psychology must have a minimum GPA of 3.5. Applicants in the final year of their bachelor’s or master’s degree must currently be at the GPA specified, and their final transcript with degree posted must demonstrate maintenance of the GPA specified or admission may be revoked.Two academic references
  • Curriculum vita (résumé)
  • Written essay (5-7 pages, double-spaced) covering the following areas:
    • What interests you in the field of psychology?
    • Why have you chosen to pursue a PsyD at this point in your life?
    • Why are you applying to the APU PsyD program?
    • What special skills or abilities do you bring to the PsyD program?
    • What experiences (volunteer, paid, practicum) have you had that prepare you for a clinical psychology program?
    • What personal or professional strengths and weaknesses do you bring to the program that will affect your performance as a psychologist?
    • What roles and functions do you anticipate fulfilling when you complete the PsyD?
  • Upon notification of admission, applicants must confirm intent to attend in writing to the department by April 15. Admission is for the next academic year, which begins in the fall semester. Applicants who do not confirm acceptance of admission or who do not enroll when accepted may be required to reapply to be considered for future admission, which is not guaranteed.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

Applicant finalists will be invited to an interview that will provide an opportunity for them to present their qualifications for admission, and for faculty evaluation of student skills.

An interview does not ensure admission. The Department of Clinical Psychology reserves the right to determine, in its sole discretion, whether a candidate is suitable for admission to the PsyD program.

International applicants who are finalists will be interviewed by telephone by one or more members of the admissions committee.

Once an applicant has been accepted into the program and has confirmed intent to attend, a nonrefundable prematriculation admission deposit of $500 is required to hold the slot in the PsyD program. The deposit will be applied toward tuition upon registration of courses and attendance at orientation. Contact your admissions representative for additional details.

Transfer Credit

The PsyD program requires 133 semester units, as well as completion of clinical training and a clinical dissertation. Applicants to the PsyD program may have an existing master's degree in psychology or a closely related discipline. These degrees will be evaluated, and some courses may be transferred in to count toward the PsyD

Residency Requirement

Residence comprises all courses for academic credit offered by this university regardless of program modality or delivery model. The minimum residence requirement of all graduate programs is 80 percent of course requirements. Variances exist for specific programs; please refer to program requirements for department policies.

Computer Access Required

Students are required to own or have ready access to a computer during their tenure in the PsyD program. The university offers a computer purchase program that enables students to obtain computers and software at reduced rates. Current hardware standards that allow access to the university online system are available from the Department of Clinical Psychology. Online access is crucial for students, since an email account and the ability to access PsycINFO, the APA database, are required for all PsyD students.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a placement test with the Academic Success Center, or through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to International Services.
  • Provide a Graduate Affidavit of Financial Support (PDF) and a bank statement from within the last six months proving financial ability to pay for education costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.
  • Get foreign transcripts evaluated. International credentials (transcripts, certificates, diplomas, and degrees) must be evaluated by a foreign transcript evaluation agency. View our policy and a list of approved Foreign Transcript Evaluation Agencies.

Send official transcripts to:

Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
[email protected]

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Student Services Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Acceptance of Admission and Registration

Upon notification of admission, applicants have 30 days to confirm intent to attend in writing to the department. Admission is for the next academic year only and may not be deferred. Applicants who do not confirm acceptance of admission within 30 days or do not enroll in the academic year for which they were accepted and who desire future admission must send a written request to the department prior to the deadline for preferred applications. The request must indicate the term for which the student is requesting admission. International students must send a copy of this request to the International Center. Future admission is not guaranteed.

Delivering high-quality graduate programs takes a comprehensive support system. Your investment in an advanced degree includes those services and personnel that partner with you in pursuit of higher education. Below is a detailed breakdown of the fees associated with the benefits and services included in your degree program.

Department of Clinical Psychology

Tuition and Fees
Psychology Doctorate (PsyD) (per unit) $1,157
Audit (per unit) half-price tuition

View a complete list of university fees.

All stated financial information is subject to change. Contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020 for more information.

Financial Aid

Several types of financial aid are available to graduate students. The resources range from federal loans and state grants to, for some graduate programs, fellowships and scholarships. For details about financial aid available for your program, please contact the Student Services Center at (626) 815-2020.

Military Benefits

Military members—and in some cases their spouses and dependents—qualify for financial assistance covering tuition, housing, and books. Azusa Pacific is a Yellow Ribbon University and Military Friendly School, so you can be confident that you’ll receive the benefits and flexibility you need to complete your education.


Scholarship for Integrated Psychology

The Department of Clinical Psychology has been awarded scholarship money from an external foundation for students interested in the integration of Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Christian theology. First-year students who have been nominated by a faculty member are invited to apply. The grant funds up to three PsyD students per year who meet program criteria, which include goals for clinical practice and research that integrate psychoanalytic psychotherapy and Christian theology and spirituality. In addition to maintaining a 3.7 GPA, scholarship students participate in a monthly mentoring group and complete a sequence of courses focused on integrating religion and spirituality into clinical practice, as well as a sequence of courses to develop clinical competencies in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Through the scholarship program, students develop vocational and professional goals that apply the knowledge, skills, and abilities they have learned through the scholarship program to their chosen area of research and professional practice.

For more information, contact Theresa Clement Tisdale, PhD, PsyD, Scholarship for Integrated Psychology program coordinator, at [email protected] or (626) 815-6000, Ext. 5205.

Project Expand Scholarship

The Department of Clinical Psychology has been given a three-year, $1.4M award from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) focused on further equipping psychology doctoral students with high-quality interdisciplinary, integrated behavioral health training and practicum experiences specific to addressing co-occurring disorders (CODs—a mental health condition and a substance use disorder) in community care settings, including school wellness centers, in high-need and high-demand areas for clinical psychology services. The goal of the grant, named Project Expand, is to provide up to ten (10) students each academic year with one-year training and practicum opportunities in settings that serve adults with CODs and adolescent youth at risk for the development of CODs. Interested students who are in the second year or above within the PsyD program can apply. Awarded students receive a $25,000 scholarship stipend to defray living expenses during doctoral training.

For more information, contact Rachel Castaneda, PhD, MPH, and PI, at [email protected] or Samuel Girguis, PsyD and co-PI, at [email protected].

PsyD Doctoral Assistantships (TRAs)

Funds are allocated to provide teaching-research assistantships (TRAs) for each academic cohort. Recipients of the assistantships receive $9,000 tuition remission per year for the first four years of the program for a scholarship total of $36,000. TRAs provide 8 hours of service per week in the Department of Clinical Psychology during September through June of the academic year. The department chair (or designee) determines the roles and responsibilities of the TRAs. Students may apply for the assistantship during the first semester of the first year of their PsyD program. Preference is given to applicants who evidence strong academic credentials (high GPA and GRE scores, in particular), financial need, cultural knowledge and language skills that facilitate the provision of psychological services in an underserved community, and commitment to provide psychological services in an underserved community following graduation. Applications for the assistantships and criteria for evaluation of applications are available in the Department of Clinical Psychology.

TRAs will be reviewed annually and must meet minimum standards to continue the assistantship. This review is intended to guarantee that persons awarded an assistantship will continue to evidence the qualities that led to their original selection. Minimum standards for continuation include maintaining good standing throughout all aspects of the program, including maintenance of a 3.5 GPA; sufficient progress on dissertation; positive evaluations from clinical training sites; willingness to receive constructive criticism regarding performance of tasks; demonstrated remediation of performance deficits that have been formally identified to the student by the PsyD program, department chair, and/or the designated supervisor; and continued ability to be available on a schedule that meets the needs of the department.

Any student who has been awarded an assistantship and who has received tuition remission is responsible to repay the amount equal to the tuition remission if the student withdraws from the PsyD program prior to graduation. Such students may work with Student Financial Services to arrange a repayment plan for the loan balance.

To view specific requirements and coursework information, visit the current academic catalog:

Clinical training is central to the practitioner-scholar (PsyD) model for educating clinical psychologists. Azusa Pacific University’s program is committed to assisting students in developing the essential knowledge base, attitudes, and therapeutic skills necessary to function as a clinical psychologist.

Quality clinical training provides practitioners with experiences that ensure depth and breadth of clinical interventions, diversity of clients, the opportunity to develop therapeutic competencies that integrate their theoretical course work with direct client experience, and the development of the seven core competencies in professional psychology.

Clinical training at the doctoral level involves three years of practicum and a full-time, yearlong internship (a limited number of two-year, half-time internships are available in some settings with approval of the director of clinical training). Students entering the PsyD program with existing clinical training or licensure must still complete the program's clinical training sequence.

In their clinical placements, students gain experience in a variety of clinical settings including inpatient/residential, child, outpatient, brief/managed care, and settings utilizing psychological assessment. Supervision is provided by the field placement sites as well as psychologists on the APU faculty.

Concurrent with their supervised practicum, students participate in an on-campus course that provides a forum for the review of the clinical practicum experience.

For those students who are licensed or registered in mental health professions other than psychology, the Department of Clinical Psychology requires that all practicum training in the PsyD program be entirely separate from any practice under such existing license or registration. For purposes of predoctoral training in psychology, all students are to be identified exclusively as psychology trainees, psychology students, or psychology interns. Practicum students are not allowed to make known in any manner any other status they may hold in other mental health professions. Practicum hours from training in psychology may not under any circumstances be “double counted” toward training required for other mental health professions. If a student conducts a clinical practice or performs mental health services under an existing nonpsychology mental health license while he or she is a student in the PsyD program, the Department of Clinical Psychology officially recommends that these students consider the impact of their education and training in psychology on such practice and that they seek supervision for any services that may be deemed to be part of the profession of psychology.

During the clinical practicum component of the PsyD program, the student completes a minimum of 1,500 hours of clinical training, including supervision, direct client contact, and an assessment practicum completed over the course of the PsyD program. These hours of clinical training occur in addition to any master's-level training hours.

Students entering the PsyD program with an accredited master’s degree in psychology or a closely related field are likely to have earned hours of supervised clinical placement, including hours of direct client contact, supervision, and other supervised activities. Such training provides a foundation for clinical training at the doctoral level, but is not a substitute for the PsyD training sequence.

Clinical Training Coursework


The clinical training sequence begins in the first year of the PsyD program and continues through the fourth year, in preparation for the predoctoral internship. The director of clinical training (practicum) oversees placement of PsyD students in excellent practicum sites across Southern California based on the student’s clinical interests. Students are required to demonstrate their accomplishment of the competency by passing comprehensive exams, successfully completing the coursework and clinical training sequence, and completing a dissertation.


The PsyD program requires a predoctoral internship in a one-year, full-time or two-year, half-time (1,800 hours minimum) setting.

Students are encouraged to complete the clinical dissertation prior to the internship, which allows the student to focus on the internship as the capstone of the clinical training sequence.

The director of clinical training (internship) meets with prospective interns each June to discuss the internship application process. A series of workshops is held to help prepare students for the application process. During the summer before they apply to internship, students are encouraged to review the APPIC Directory for options that fit their training needs. Upon receiving approval from the DCT, students may begin the application process for obtaining a predoctoral internship.

All students are strongly encouraged to apply for APA-accredited or APPIC-recognized internship sites. The department understands that some students may be unable to relocate, due to family and occupational responsibilities, and therefore may also choose to apply to CAPIC sites as well. All internship sites must meet APPIC standards.

Quality Assurance in Clinical Placements

The director of clinical training and the Clinical Training Committee (CTC) have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that the PsyD program’s clinical training standards meet all state licensing and APA requirements. All clinical training is intended to be consistent with the requirements stated in the Laws and Regulations Governing the Practice of Psychology in the State of California. Modifications in state law shall be reflected in program changes to ensure training consistent with the current practice of psychology. Additionally, the clinical training required by the PsyD at APU is consistent with the APA ethical and professional standards and training guidelines.

Evaluation Procedures

The clinical training goals and objectives are integrated into the clinical practicum sequence and coordinated with the clinical courses in the PsyD program. Outcomes in the clinical sequence are measured throughout the program and include regular presentations of audio or videotaped work of students, classroom demonstrations and role plays, assessment reports presented in class, mini-competency exams, supervisor evaluations, integration paper, Clinical Competency Exam, intern acceptance and level, and licensure acquisition.

Formative Informal Evaluation

Informal evaluation consists of feedback given to students by their field placement supervisor, on-campus clinical supervisor, and supervision groups. Although primarily verbal and situational, this evaluative form is of great importance due to its immediacy to clinical interventions and the issues arising during the students’ clinical placements.

Summative Formal Evaluation

Formal evaluation occurs at the end of each semester of clinical placement. Students are evaluated by their field site supervisor as well as by all faculty members. The site supervisor evaluation is discussed with students prior to its being sent to the DCT and becoming part of the students’ clinical files. Students receiving inadequate evaluations are placed on probation, counseled by their faculty advisor, and should their clinical performance fail to meet expected standards, dismissed from the program. The CTC may require students to complete remediation assignments in order to meet competency standards. As noted above, students are evaluated at the end of each semester for the achievement of competency in key clinical areas. These mini-competency exams prepare the student for the Clinical Competency Exam, a cumulative evaluation of readiness for the predoctoral internship.

Students also evaluate their site experience and site supervisor at the end of each semester. These evaluations are submitted to the DCT and are used to ensure the quality of placement sites and on-campus supervision groups.

Clinical Competency Examination

As a final evaluation measure prior to beginning internship training, each student must pass a Clinical Competency Exam (CCE). The CCE consists of a sequential evaluation process involving the submission of: a videotaped psychotherapy session with an actor provided by the department, a written psychological assessment report, and a written case conceptualization. In addition to these clinical materials, the student submits his or her clinical portfolio (including supervisor evaluations, verification of practicum hours, list of completed assessments, and curriculum vitae) to a two-member faculty committee. The committee then examines the student on submitted materials, in addition to administering an oral exam consisting of clinical vignettes that address such issues as treatment planning, diversity issues, interpretation of psychological testing, legal and ethical issues, and crisis management. The purpose of the exam is to ensure that the student has developed the clinical competencies and requisite skills to proceed to internship. Successful completion of all sections of the CCE is required before any student is approved to apply to an internship.

Overview of Research Competencies in Psychology

The APU PsyD program recognizes that a comprehensive practitioner-scholar clinical psychology training program involves training clinicians to be critical consumers of psychological research, and proficient with relevant clinical research and analysis methodologies, grounded in delivering services that are evidence-based and empirically defensible. The program gives students the essential research skills that every competent clinical psychologist needs to operate in a diverse marketplace.

Emphasizing the acquisition of a solid foundation in clinically relevant research principles and skills, the APU PsyD research pedagogy integrates an academic model of classroom instruction and a mentoring model of individual and group research supervision. The research curriculum provides a foundational education in research methodologies and analytical procedures that enable the student to engage in more advanced, individually focused research experiences consistent with the practitioner-scholar model. Faculty value the development of research skills as a significant component of clinical training and, therefore, have developed a research program that includes: a) academic courses, b) individual research mentoring by faculty, c) voluntary research groups facilitated by faculty mentors, d) faculty research programs and institutional research support, e) possible collaboration with extramural research facilities, and f) integration of solid scientific support for clinical theory, intervention, and assessment courses.

The research and evaluation competencies necessary for the practice of clinical psychology are gained through a sequence of research courses and supervision that ultimately culminates in the creation and defense of a clinical dissertation. Students are required to take three research courses during their first year of the PsyD that provide the foundations for critical evaluation of qualitative and quantitative research, research problem formulation, the scientific method, literature review, research design, hypothesis formulation and testing, presentation and discussion of research results, and research ethics. The PsyD student formulates a research problem, reviews relevant literature, designs the appropriate research methodology, and submits a proposal for the clinical dissertation.

The research and dissertation sequence is designed to produce practitioner-scholars who have the requisite knowledge to function effectively in a variety of clinical settings. Upon completion of the PsyD program, the student will be able to demonstrate competency in the following areas of research and practice:

  1. Employ critical thinking skills pertaining to psychological phenomena
  2. Evaluate existing clinical research and practice
  3. Formulate clinical problems
  4. Design research methodology
  5. Assess relevancy of qualitative and quantitative data
  6. Analyze and present research findings
  7. Discuss relevant implications of their findings
  8. Demonstrate skill in written communication
  9. Function independently as a practitioner-scholar

Research Mentoring

Upon completion of the research sequence, students enter into research mentoring with their dissertation chair. Each subsequent semester, students enroll in dissertation units and consensually set specific research milestone requirements to achieve the objectives of completing the clinical dissertation and functioning independently as a practitioner-scholar. From the time the student chooses a dissertation chair in the first semester of the program to the completion of the clinical dissertation, the student is involved in individual supervision and/or voluntary research groups facilitated by the dissertation chair. Both settings are designed to solidify the principles and skills learned in the academic research and dissertation sequence. The dissertation proposal defense must be completed by June 30 of the fall semester prior to application for the predoctoral internship. Students must register for continuation units beginning in the internship year until the dissertation is complete.

Clinical Dissertation

Definition of the Dissertation

To obtain a doctorate in clinical psychology it is necessary to complete a clinical dissertation. The clinical dissertation is a written document relevant to professional issues and practice in clinical psychology. It involves: a) identification of a clinical problem or gap in the field, b) a plan to solve the problem or contribute to the existing knowledge base; c) critical review and synthesis of the available research; d) contribution of the student’s research; and e) analysis of the findings and articulation of the relevancy to the science of clinical psychology.

The nature and scope of the PsyD clinical dissertation is distinct from the type of dissertation required in a PhD It is intended to demonstrate satisfaction of the research and evaluation competency in professional psychology. The PsyD research curriculum and clinical dissertation teach students to follow “a systematic mode of inquiry involving problem identification and the acquisition, organization, and interpretation of information pertaining to psychological phenomena” (NCSPP, 1992). Completion of the research and dissertation courses will demonstrate the competency “to engage in rigorous, careful, and disciplined scientific inquiry.” The Clinical Dissertation may fall within one of six broad categories:

  • Clinical Application: This is a product or program relevant to the application of professional psychology. The dissertation involves a relevant literature review, development of a product or program (including support documentation), and implementation or evaluation of at least a portion of the application or product.
  • Quantitative Research: This dissertation involves a literature review, hypothesis formation and testing, research design, statistical analysis, and the description and discussion of the research findings. The research project may analyze original data (involving data collection and subject recruitment), perform a secondary data analysis (involving access to an existing data set), or conduct a meta-analytic research synthesis.
  • Qualitative Research: Using qualitative research methodology, students conduct a literature review and collect and analyze qualitative data (e.g., interviews) to contribute to an area of clinical psychology that does not easily or conveniently lend itself to empirical data analysis. The findings from qualitative data analyses often illuminate new avenues of empirical research.
  • Critical Literature Analysis: Students may seek to synthesize and critique a body of research that is relevant to the practice of clinical psychology. This dissertation involves a comprehensive review, critique, and synthesis of the research literature in an area of clinical psychology noting implications for further research and clinical application.
  • Theoretical Development: Dissertation students comprehensively review existing literature in a specific area of professional psychology and seek to significantly modify, reformulate, or advance a new conceptual or theoretical area or model relevant to the practice of psychology.

Dissertation Committee

The Dissertation Committee consists of no fewer than three members. Additional external readers with expertise in the area of study are encouraged as agreed upon by the committee chair. It is expected that the students make initial contact with the person they would like to chair their committee during the semester in which they take Research Design I. Selection and approval of the entire committee is a requirement for completion of the Research Design II course.

All Dissertation Committee members must hold an earned doctorate from an accredited institution or have clinical expertise in the subject matter. The chair must be a core faculty member in the Department of Clinical Psychology. The remaining members may be full-time faculty members from the Department of Clinical Psychology or another department at APU, an adjunct faculty in the department, or a person from outside the APU community. If the student chooses a person from outside the APU community, then it is necessary to secure the approval of the committee chair. Students should choose committee members in conjunction with the chair whose research interests and content expertise are closely related to the area of their dissertation.

Dissertation Proposal Review

During Research Methods II and Dissertation Development, students conduct their initial literature review, develop their methodology section, and begin work on their proposal. Students continue to develop their dissertation proposal with consultation from the dissertation chair, committee members, and the director of research during Dissertation I-VI (one course each semester). The proposal must be approved by the chair and committee members at a Proposal Defense as a final requirement in order to gain approval to submit applications for placement in predoctoral internship. Failure to complete the dissertation proposal defense by the deadline results in a minimum of a one-year delay in applying for an internship. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule the Proposal Defense with the dissertation chair and committee. The proposal deadline is the last working day in June of the student’s third PsyD year. The draft proposal must be provided to the committee at least two weeks prior to the meeting. Students review the proposal with the committee, indicate how the dissertation study will enhance development of the core competencies in psychology, present an understanding of the relevant literature, provide a rationale for the proposed dissertation, describe the scope of work and choice of methods, and answer questions regarding the proposal. Formal approval of the dissertation proposal by the entire committee is necessary to proceed with the dissertation study.

Dissertation Process and Oral Defense

After the approval of the dissertation proposal, students proceed with the development of their dissertation. Dissertation Committee chair and members are available to students to guide the work. Institutional Review Board approval must be secured before any research activity with participants commences. The Dissertation I-VI courses and interaction with the committee facilitates completion of the dissertation, since students must fulfill certain milestone requirements in order to proceed in the program.

All students are responsible for the timely completion of their dissertation. Students should note that there is an additional dissertation fee for each semester beyond the final semester of coursework in which the dissertation is not complete. This fee allows students to access university resources, including faculty advisement. The maximum length of time for completion of the dissertation is eight years from the date of matriculation.

The written dissertation must follow current APA style and university guidelines in the dissertation manual. Once the dissertation is complete and meets the requirements of the Dissertation Committee chair and members, students must then successfully defend the dissertation in front of the entire committee. At the Oral Dissertation Defense, students formally present the dissertation to the committee, demonstrating that the dissertation is their work and that they are able to explain and defend it. If the defense is deemed acceptable by the committee, then the committee signifies its approval using appropriate forms. The committee must have unanimous agreement to approve the dissertation defense. It is likely that changes and additions will be required to complete the dissertation following an acceptable defense. If their dissertation defense is rejected, the students must demonstrate substantive improvement in their ability to defend their dissertation, consistent with the response of the committee, prior to a second oral defense.

Following approval of the defense, students make necessary corrections in their written dissertation as requested by the committee within 30 days of the defense. These corrections must be approved by the dissertation chair and any other member(s) of the committee who wishes to review them.

The final corrected copy is then submitted to a technical reader who reviews the dissertation to determine compliance with APA style and university guidelines. These corrections are returned to students and must be completed within a month.

Students are allotted 10 hours per dissertation for editing. Should the dissertation require more time than the allotted 10 hours, the student will be billed at the hourly rate charged by the dissertation editor until the dissertation is approved for binding. Following approval of these corrections, students submit one copy of the corrected dissertation to the library representative to ensure technical compliance. Final submission includes copies duplicated according to specifications to the Department of Clinical Psychology for binding and distribution to University Microfilms Incorporated for inclusion in Dissertation Abstracts. A final approval, signifying completion of all the required filings, must be filed with the department to satisfy the degree dissertation requirement. Failure to complete all of the above within six months of the oral defense may result in a requirement that the student repeat the oral defense.

Students are required to consult the APU Doctoral Programs Handbook for style and format requirements for the year of their dissertation defense, to determine specific deadlines for May graduation.

If you have questions, we’re here to help! Connect with a representative who can walk you through the program details and application process.

Contact Your Admissions Representative

Additional Program Contacts

Department of Clinical Psychology


(626) 815-5008


(626) 815-5015


Department of Clinical Psychology
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000


Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Student Services Center

Contact (626) 812-3016 or [email protected], and visit for details on the admissions process, financial aid, and class registration.

International Services

International students should contact +1-626-812-3055 or [email protected], and visit


Azusa Pacific University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

The APU PsyD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. 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 / Email: [email protected]

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

The Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association requires that doctoral graduate programs provide potential students, current students, and the public with accurate information on the program and with program expectations. View our Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (PDF).

Featured Faculty

Samuel Girguis

Samuel Girguis

Director, PsyD Program, and Assistant Professor and Chair, Department of Clinical Psychology

Priscila Castaneda

Priscila Castaneda

Senior Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology and Department of Clinical Psychology

David Brokaw

David Brokaw

Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.
*Base Cost (cost per unit x program units) is provided to aid in program comparison only.
All stated financial information is subject to change. View Tuition tab above.

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