2017-2018 Walden University Catalog (September 2017) 
    Aug 20, 2019  
2017-2018 Walden University Catalog (September 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PhD in Psychology

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“Walden University is the future of higher education.”

David Solot, PhD in Psychology Student

The university’s mission includes broad access to high-quality postsecondary education through a distance-learning environment and preparation of its graduates to achieve professional excellence and to effect positive social change. Consistent with this mission, the PhD in Psychology program is designed to prepare scholar-practitioners to meet real-world challenges and facilitate positive change in individuals, groups, organizations, and local, national, and global communities.

Specifically, the program prepares lifelong learners to integrate psychological theory, research, established methods of scientific inquiry, and evidence-based practices that incorporate cultural and individual diversity. The School of Psychology training model encompasses an integrated, developmental, and sequential plan of study that includes web-based and face-to-face coursework; residencies that provide opportunities for knowledge and skill acquisition, ethical practice, and professional socialization; field training; and demonstration of research competency.

Learning Outcomes

These Learning Outcomes do not apply to the Clinical, Counseling, Developmental, Forensic, or Industrial/Organizational Psychology programs.

As graduates of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of basic and advanced research methods to produce independent scholarly research.
  2. Apply relevant ethical codes (e.g., APA) to decision making with diverse populations in various settings.
  3. Promote social change through the integration of principles of psychology in scholarly and/or professional activities.
  4. Communicate effectively to a variety of stakeholders and audiences.
  5. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of psychology-specific knowledge and theory to improve the condition of individuals, groups, and organizations.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in utilizing empirically supported models for teaching, consultation, and research.
  7. Develop a professional identity appropriate to one’s professional goals.


Degree Requirements

  • 105–160 quarter credit hours, depending on the specialization
  • Foundation course (5 cr.)
  • Professional Development Plan with program of study and, for students in the Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology specializations, a Personal State Licensure Plan (included in PSYC 8002 and PSYC 8003)
  • Core courses (66–86 cr., depending on specialization)
  • Elective courses (10–15 cr., depending on specialization)
  • Track courses (105–106 cr., only in General specialization)
  • Dissertation (20 cr. [minimum requirement]–120 cr. [8-year maximum timeframe])*
  • Practicum (12 cr., 1,000 hours for Counseling Psychology; 6 cr., 750 hours for Clinical Psychology)
  • Internship field experience—required for the Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology specializations (12 cr., 2,000 hours)
  • Residencies:
    • Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology specializations: four PhD residencies and 40 face-to-face credits of Academic Year in Residence 
    • Other specializations: four residencies


The curriculum for each specialization of the PhD in Psychology is composed of core and elective courses, research competency, and the dissertation. Core courses appear, for each specialization, in the order of recommended sequence. Students in the Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology specializations also complete a 750-hour minimum practicum for Clinical, a 1,000-hour minimum practicum for Counseling, and a 2,000-hour (1-year full-time or 2-year part-time) internship field experience.

Dissertation Proposal

For the current dissertation processes and guidelines, students should refer to the Dissertation Guidebook, located under Dissertation Process of the Walden Research Center website.

Academic Year in Residence (AYR)

Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology Specializations Only

The Academic Year in Residence (AYR) is designed to provide students with the critical clinical skills that are essential for professional practice in the field of psychology. As part of the AYR experience, students will complete eight courses in a blended format (40 quarter credits total). Students will take part of each course online but the majority of the course will occur in person with their classmates and faculty at Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Students will be required to travel to Minneapolis once per quarter to complete the in-residence portion of the courses. Students will travel to Minneapolis four times during the AYR, once each quarter, for 9-day sessions Saturday through the following Sunday including travel time. These sessions are required to pass the course and successfully complete the AYR.

The Academic Year in Residence allows students to focus on development as a doctoral student and practitioner-in-training. This period of study allows for the acquisition and evaluation of skills essential for supervised and entry-level practice in practicum and internship placements including assessment and interventions skills based on evidence based practice using empirically supported techniques to identify and resolve psychological difficulties. Additional coursework in ethics, consultation and supervision, as well as multicultural psychology during the AYR will complement the student’s training. Additionally, students will focus on research and dissertation skills with the guidance of faculty and in concert with their peers.

The AYR offers a unique opportunity for students to become socialized into the profession of psychology, encouraging close interaction with faculty and fellow students. During AYR, students’ progress and the evaluation of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for scholarship and professional practice at the doctoral level will be assessed.

Note: Students must complete all the AYR courses with a grade of B or better. Students are advised to consult the School of Psychology Academic Year in Residence section of the Walden University Student Handbook for more information.

Psychological Assessment Coursework

The purpose of the psychological assessment coursework is to provide a framework for doctoral students in the Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology specializations to develop their assessment knowledge and skills repertoire. Based on a developmental progression, students gain the following:

  • An understanding of the assessment process and related legal, ethical, and diversity issue
  • An understanding of principles of tests and measurement
  • A set of basic skills in the administration, scoring, and interpretation of assessment measures across domains
  • The ability to write an interpretive summary of assessment data

At the advanced level, doctoral students further develop their psychological assessment repertoire in the areas of testing, interpretation, data-based diagnoses and recommendations for intervention, and data-based psychological report writing.

Basic-level courses include the following:

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Students who start their doctoral program at Walden University in 2016 will complete the university’s required doctoral writing assessment on a rolling basis. Designed to evaluate incoming doctoral students’ writing skills, this assessment aims to help prepare incoming doctoral students to meet the university’s expectations for writing at the doctoral level. For more information, click here.

Note on Licensure

The PhD in Psychology program is designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for psychology licensing exams. This program is designed to meet the academic licensure requirements of many state psychology boards. However, Walden University’s PhD in Psychology program is not accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and has not received designation by the Association of State and Provinicial Psychology Boards/National Register (ASPPB/NR), which are requirements for licensure in some states. Because no graduate program can guarantee licensure upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate agency to determine specific requirements. For more information about licensure, students should visit the Association of Sate and Provincial Psychology Boards at http://www.asppb.net/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3395 and contact the appropriate licensing body. International students are encouraged to identify and contact their appropriate licensing body.

Program Data

Walden is committed to providing the information you need to make an informed decision about where you pursue your education. Click here to find detailed information for the PhD in Psychology program relating to the types of occupations this program may lead to, completion rate, program costs, and median loan debt of students who have graduated from this program.

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