Doctor of Psychology Program
“Georgia Southern University’s Psy. D program offers not only excellent clinical training, but a unique element of professional mentorship and personal growth that is truly unique. The faculty goes above and beyond to ensure that students get the professional support and guidance they need to excel in the field of clinical psychology. The diverse range of training in psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation, which are all grounded in sound research and scholarship, prepare students to be able to work with a wide variety of populations and helps guide students in the direction of their strengths and interests. This combined with small class sizes, excellent facilities, and an encouraging, upbeat learning environment makes this program an excellent choice to anyone interested in pursuing a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology.” - Jeremy Gay, Psy.D. class of 2015
History of the Program
The Psy.D program originated from a longstanding and dire need for licensed psychologists in rural, underserved areas of the United States, most specifically in the rural south. The mission is consistent with Georgia Southern University's commitment to serve the needs of the southeastern region of the country. The program accepted the first cohort in 2007 and just recently graduated its first student in December, 2012.
Georgia Southern psychology faculty are dedicated to preparing students for clinical psychology work, focusing especially on clinical practice in rural settings. We work closely with students, give feedback regularly, and pride ourselves on giving students a "small school" experience in a 20,000 student university.
The doctorate program in Clinical Psychology at Georgia Southern University (GSU) is a full time, day program offering a course of study leading to the Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degree. The program's curriculum prepares graduates for the practice of Psychology with a special focus on practice in rural areas. Coursework and training prepare student for licensure as a psychologist, with an emphasis on educating emerging psychologists for the underserved areas in the state of Georgia and adjacent regions in the Southeast.
The program trains students according to the practitioner-scholar model. Students are taught to become generalists who will be effective in the delivery of psychotherapy, psychological assessment, and psychological consultation services in rural areas. Consistent with the framework of a generalist approach, the curriculum, beginning with foundational courses, strives to create and maintain a dynamic and integrative program, emphasizing behavioral, cognitive, existential, family systems, humanistic, and psychodynamic approaches to service. To view the Psy.D. Goals, Objectives, and Competencies please click HERE (pdf file). View the following documents to obtain more details concerning practical training experiences (HERE), the clinical qualifying exam (HERE),and the dissertation (HERE).
The program is designed to foster the intrapersonal and professional development of students. This process is aimed at helping the students cultivate balance within their personal and professional growth. In addition to academic requirements, students are encouraged to take initiative and responsibility for personal and professional growth through independent readings, interaction with fellow students and faculty, attendance at colloquia, and additional elective research and practica opportunities. Students are encouraged to seek experiences that enhance personal growth and awareness through self-exploration. To this end, all students are required to complete a minimum of 15 sessions of personal psychotherapy (individual, group, or family) with a licensed therapist during their time in the program. The sessions need not be continuous, with the same therapist, nor with the same style of therapy for the entire time. All psychotherapy issues are confidential and not shared with program faculty. The Psy.D. is a professional degree, and focuses on the development of applied practice skills. Because the program is an integral part of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences in a regional university, doctoral students engage in all aspects of scholarly inquiry, including substantive qualitative and quantitative research, and professional membership and discourse in state, regional, and national organizations.
Most students applying to a doctoral program in psychology look for an accredited program. Newly developed programs in psychology doctoral education cannot be accredited immediately and, for this reason, you are applying to a "non-accredited program." As a new program, we applied for accreditation last year and were invited to resubmit our self-study by May 1, 2013. Information about APA accreditation is available at http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/.
The Department of Psychology has the full support of Georgia Southern University in this endeavor and is fully engaged in the preparation and evaluation process needed to secure APA accreditation. Georgia Southern Psychology department faculty members are actively engaged in maintaining ongoing memberships in organizations that sponsor cross-collaboration relating to building, modifying, and maintaining program fidelity. Our curriculum has been carefully designed to meet the goals and objectives set forth by accrediting bodies so that appropriate competencies are established. Faculty members are engaged in processes that strengthen our involvement in the accreditation process, including attending workshops and conferences focused on accreditation preparation, serving as an accreditation program reviewer, and studying and visiting other programs that have been successfully accredited. While there are no guarantees regarding our status, we are vigorously pursuing the types of activities that lead to accreditation-granting status.
The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards / National Register Designation Committee (ASPPB) lists our program in the National Register of Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria.
- This program meets the Association of State & Provincial Psychology Boards/National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology "Guidelines for Defining 'Doctoral Degree in Psychology.'" Therefore, graduates of this designated program who decide to apply for licensing as a psychologist typically will meet the educational requirements for licensing. However, in each jurisdiction there are additional requirements that must be satisfied. For exact information, please contact the state or provincial licensing board in the jurisdiction in which you plan to apply.
- Once licensed, graduates are eligible to apply for credentialing as a Health Service Provider in Psychology. Graduation from a designated program means that the program you completed typically meets the educational requirements for credentialing by the National Register. However, there are additional requirements that must be satisfied prior to being credentialed by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. For further information, consult the National Register's web site: www.nationalregister.org.
Given the ongoing demand for doctoral level training in professional psychology and the limited number of students that we will admit per year, admission to the Psy.D. program is expected to be quite competitive. The Psy.D. program accepts eight students for admission each year.
Although academic background, intellectual potential and professional experience and skills will be key selection criteria, we intend to recruit students who are committed to providing service to predominantly rural regions. Therefore, students should carefully consider their interest in rural and underserved populations before applying to the program. Applicants will only be considered for admission to the Psy.D. program (i.e., students will not be admitted for a terminal masters degree in clinical psychology).
Application for Advanced Standing. Students may receive credit for graduate courses taken at a regionally accredited institution during the last five years. A maximum of 18 hours of graduate level coursework is allowed. All decisions on exempted courses lie with the faculty clinical committee, and require any student desiring course exemption to provide documentation (e.g., syllabi, tests, grades) from the previous course. Credit will not be given for clinical courses, with the exception of Assessment I: Psychometric Theory (PSYC 7231) and Assessment II: Intellectual Assessment (PSYC 7234). Students wishing to be exempted from these courses must demonstrate proficiency as determined by the clinical committee. Course equivalencies will be determined on a case by case basis. Any course deficiencies will need to be completed with attention to course sequences and prerequisites before a degree can be awarded.
Undergraduate Prerequisites. To be admitted to the Psy.D. program an applicant need not have an undergraduate degree in psychology. However, the student must have earned a minimum grade of B in the following courses: Introductory Psychology, Psychological Statistics, Research Design, Abnormal Psychology. In addition, students must have taken at least two of the following courses: Personality, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning and/or Cognition, Health Psychology, Tests and Measurement, Theories of Psychotherapy, Psychology of Substance Abuse. Additional coursework in psychology and in related discipline is likely to strengthen a candidate's application.
Part-time Admission. The Psy.D. program is designed to be a full-time program that can be completed in five years. However, we realize some students may desire to do a portion of the program part-time. To this end, students may be admitted to the program with part-time status. If they wish to do this, the following criteria must be met:
- Students must apply via the same admission procedures as full-time students
- Students can only begin the program in the Fall semester
- Students must be admitted with a minimum of 18 hours of course credit in non-clinical courses (i.e., they must come into the program with the maximum amount of transfer credit) Once admitted, part-time students must
- Enroll in a minimum of 6 credit hours of coursework each semester
- Be enrolled in the program every semester, unless a Leave of Absence is granted (see below)
- Enroll in necessary co-requisite courses when they are required
- Enroll in Foundations of Psychotherapy I, II, and Group Psychotherapy (PSYC 7232, 7433, and 7235) in consecutive semesters
- Switch to full-time enrollment (minimum 9 credit hours per semester) for at least one full year to meet the residency requirement (see ‘Residency Requirement’ section)
- Complete the Psy.D. program within the 8-year time limit allowed for all students
- More information regarding admission to the Psy.D program can be found by clicking HERE
- Applications will be evaluated once per year for Fall admissions. The deadline for applications is January 15.
- Applicants will submit an application on-line. The application packet is available at the following web site http://cogs.georgiasouthern.edu/future_students/grad_application.html
- An admissions committee, consisting of 5 program faculty elected by the entire program faculty, will review and rank order applications based on the criteria described below.
Student Selection/Admissions Criteria
- A successful completion of a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students' academic record will be evaluated based on official transcripts from all previous enrollments in higher education.
- Grade Point Average (GPA): A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.30 is required for consideration. The average GPA of successful applicants for the Fall 2012 class was 3.61 (on a 4.0 scale).
- A minimum grade of B in the following undergraduate courses: Introductory Psychology, Psychological Statistics, Research Design, Abnormal Psychology
- Record of having taken at least two of the following courses: Personality, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning and/or Cognition, Health Psychology, Tests and Measurement, Theories of Psychotherapy, Psychology of Substance Abuse.
- Current (within the last 5 years) scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
- GRE scores are to be submitted as a portion of the application. The average GRE score of applicants admitted to Georgia Southern in the last five years is 505 (Verbal) and 554 (Quantitative). In the new GRE scoring system these correspond to scores of 153.5 (Verbal) and 146.0 (Quantitative). Students admitted in the Fall 2012 had average GRE Verbal scores of 513 (old scale) and 154 (new scale), and GRE Quantitative of 505 (old scale) and 154 (new scale).
- Applicants to the Psy.D. program who do not have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Psychology are required to take the GRE subtest in Psychology. Any prospective student who has already earned a degree in psychology is exempt from taking this test.
- Three letters of recommendation from former professors or appropriate employers/advisors.
- A written statement of professional goals and a rationale for how the Psy.D. program will further the students' career objectives. This statement will help the committee evaluate applicants' commitment to providing professional service to the rural areas of this region, as well as their understanding of the time commitments involved in undertaking doctoral study.
- Based upon the recommendation of the Admissions Committee, a personal interview with applicants may be scheduled as part of the admissions process.
The curriculum covers the breadth of scientific psychology; the scientific, methodological, and theoretical foundations of clinical practice; diagnosing or defining problems through psychological assessment; formulating intervention strategies; and understanding diversity and multicultural issues. In the first year, students take didactic courses concurrently with experiential skill-building courses. The psychological assessment sequence is also offered in the first year. In the second year, students begin the Practicum experience. The third and fourth years include practica focused on rural practice (3rd year) and professional development (4th year). Other clinical courses are interspersed among years one through four. The typical course sequence for an individual entering the program with a Bachelor's degree may be viewed here. (pdf file)
Commitment to Diversity and Multiculturalism
The Psy.D. program is committed to promoting a welcoming and inclusive environment where students and faculty are aware of and demonstrate respect for cultural and individual differences. The program actively seeks to create and sustain a rich cultural environment, whereby diversity perspectives, research, and educational opportunities are cultivated, continually re-evaluated, and enhanced. To ensure continual growth, it is necessary that the Psy.D. program cultivate resources that support and give voice to diverse faculty and students as a means of appreciating and infusing their cultural needs and perspectives into the fabric of the program. In keeping with this goal, the Psy.D. program demonstrates its commitment to multicultural growth through mentorship, collaboration, assessment and service.
Mentorship. In light of the cultural, social, and personal challenges associated with relocating and adapting to a new geographic and academic environment, the Psy.D. program has identified mentoring as an interpersonal resource to help incoming students and faculty acclimate, invest, and find prosperity at Georgia Southern University. Our mentoring programs use a mix of formal and informal approaches to help connect newly enrolled students and incoming faculty to interpersonal resources that serve to ease adjustment into the unique cultural, social, and academic challenges associated with relocation and acclimation.
Collaborative Experiences. Both faculty and students are offered unique opportunities to collaborate with one another and other professionals at GSU. Commonly, faculty will invite students to collaboratively create and conduct research that promotes an appreciation for cultural processes underlying stigmatization, prejudice, and identity development. We offer students and faculty opportunities to become involved with research teams focused on ethnic identity and resilience development, religion and spirituality, stigma, gender and gender roles (e.g., masculinity), LGBT issues, and the promotion of wellness in rural communities. Another avenue of collaboration is through the Rural Health Research Institute (RHRI), which is an independent entity on campus affiliated with the Psychology Department and the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. The RHRI, an NIH Center of Excellence, engages in interdisciplinary, cross-college research and outreach focused on rural health issues. RHRI activities include faculty mentoring programs, faculty and student seed research funding, and active research and outreach programs that have engaged several psychology faculty and students in collaborative work.
Diversity Assessment Committee. In an effort to give voice to and appreciate the cultural needs and interests of diverse faculty and students, the Psy.D. program created the Diversity Assessment Committee (DAC). Although the DAC serves many functions within the program, the general mission is to create and maintain a community climate that is welcoming, inclusive, and appreciative of diversity-related issues, interests, and traditions. The DAC is a collaborative team comprised of elected graduate students and faculty/staff who promote social justice within the Psy.D. program and Georgia Southern’s psychological community as a whole. As a part of the DAC, culturally diverse faculty and students have opportunities to process issues associated with diversity, evaluate and address students’ experiences and concerns related to diversity training, identify and develop unique diversity training opportunities for both faculty and students, and collaborate with the Director of Clinical Training to enhance program policies and procedures.
The Psy.D. program is committed to fostering both knowledge of and appreciation for the science and practice of multiculturalism. This commitment is evidenced throughout the curriculum, faculty’s scholarly interests, required training and practicum experiences, and department sponsored opportunities that advance students’ awareness, knowledge, and skill in working with culturally diverse and underserved populations. The program’s emphasis on cultural and individual differences and commitment to the promotion of social justice is consistent with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct as well as the Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists. The program’s adopted model of multicultural training is expected to facilitate the development of competencies that enrich the effectiveness by which our students work with culturally diverse individuals.
Diversity in the Curriculum. The science and practice of multicultural and diversity theories and skills are covered comprehensively throughout the Psy.D. curriculum. Cultural processes and issues are integrated into the majority of the basic science and clinical courses within the curriculum. Two core courses (PSYC 9320 and PSYC 9330) have been designed to examine and evaluate cultural needs, identities, and processes relevant to underserved ethnic, cultural, and rural communities. Diversity Issues in Psychology (PSYC 9320) covers various empirically validated theories, concepts, and perspectives associated with cultural appreciation and development. Students are instructed on best practices associated with the selection, and implementation of culturally sensitive assessment procedures, working conceptualizations, and treatment plans. Culturally sensitive approaches to therapy are explored and practiced as a means of honoring a client’s worldview, incorporating a client’s healing traditions into the process of therapy, and restoring a client’s sense of dignity. Rural Mental Health (PSYC 9330) presents students with an in-depth exploration of the primary methods of service-delivery, challenges, and advancements in promoting wellness within rural communities. In keeping with this goal, students obtain a thorough review of the current state of rural mental health, unique barriers to working in rural areas, ethical and professional considerations, and research-driven recommendations for working with specific populations in rural communities. Advocacy efforts directed at the individual, small, and large organizational levels are explored and prepared to promote positive social change and wellness among rural residents.
Practicum Experiences. In their clinical training, students are required to engage in three one year practicum rotations. To ensure that students receive exposure to diverse populations, the Psy.D. program actively recruits and continually re-evaluates designated practicum sites on their access to diverse populations, resources available to meet the needs of diverse populations, and ability of their clinical supervisors to develop multicultural competencies within our students. Considering the importance of cultural and individual differences in selecting assessment batteries, developing accurate working conceptualizations of patient/client difficulties, and formulating sensitive treatment plans, students are asked to address how multicultural and diversity issues are relevant to their clinical practice through case reviews in their Practicum courses. Case reviews are designed to foster competence in working from an integrative and culturally sensitive framework, which is a necessary facet of service delivery in rural and underserved communities.
4th Friday Lecture Series. The Psychology Departments sponsors the 4th Friday Lecture Series, which is multi-disciplinary forum where guest speakers discuss relevant issues associated with the delivery of psychological and public health services to the rural communities of southeast Georgia. Speakers are experts drawn from the community who offer professionals and students informative, provocative, and inspirational information in a formal atmosphere. The 4th Friday Lecture Series was developed as a supplemental educational opportunity, presenting students with a robust and inclusive means of conceptualizing mental health service for work with rural communities. Generally, one or two 4th Friday events per year are reserved for diversity issues salient within rural communities, but in reality, the majority of the speakers discuss diversity issues at length. To date, the 4th Friday Lecture Series has hosted numerous guest lectures who have coached and trained our students on the best practices associated with delivery of mental health services to ethnically diverse, rural, and underserved populations.
APA Disclosure Information:
Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data
Data on Incoming Class
|Applicant data for academic year beginning in August of:||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012|
|Number of Applicants||N/A||8||16||25||48||40||29|
|Accepted for Admission||N/A||7||9||8||8||8||8|
|Incoming class size||N/A||4||8||5||8||8||8|
|Percent offered assistantship in first year||N/A||100%||100%||100%||100%||87.50%||100%|
|Percent offered financial aid in first year||N/A||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|Students entering in:||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012|
|Mean Verbal GRE||N/A||518||483||503||481||546||500|
|Mean Quantitative GRE||N/A||485||564||595||530||574||579|
|Mean Undergraduate GPA||N/A||3.28||3.33||3.66||3.35||3.61||3.44|
|Mean Graduate GPA||N/A||3.51||3.86||3.79||3.58||3.86||3.78|
Time to Completion for Students entering the Program with a Bachelor’s Degree
|Outcome||Year in which Degrees were Conferred|
|Total number of students with doctoral degree conferred on transcript||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|Mean number of years to complete the program||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||0|
|Median number of years to complete the program||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||0|
|Time to Degree Ranges||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%||N||%|
|Students in less than 5 years||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Students in 5 years||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||100||1||100|
|Students in 6 years||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Students in 7 years||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Students in more than 7 years||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Description||2012-2013 1st-year Cohort Cost|
|Tuition for full-time students (in-state)||9450|
|Tuition for full-time students (out-of-state)||37761|
|Tuition per credit hour for part-time students (if applicable)||263|
|University/institution fees or costs||2683|
|Additional estimated fees or costs to students (e.g. books, travel, etc.)||1000|
Internship Placement - Table 1
|Outcome||Year Applied for Internship|
|Students who sought or applied for internships*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||100||4||100||7||100|
|Students who obtained internships||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||50||3||75||7||100|
|Students who obtained APA/CPA-accredited internships||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||29|
|Students who obtained APPIC member internships that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||75||5||71|
|Students who obtained other membership organization internships (e.g. CAPIC) that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Students who obtained internships conforming to CDSPP guidelines that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Students who obtained other internships that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||50||0||0||0||0|
|*This includes students that withdrew from the internship application process|
Internship Placement - Table 2
|Outcome||Year Applied for Internship|
|Students who obtained internships||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||50||3||75||7||100|
|Students who obtained paid internships||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||100||3||100||7||100|
|Students who obtained half-time internships* (if applicable)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|*Should only include students that applied for internship and are included in the number that "sought or applied for internship" from “Internship Placement - Table 1” for each year.|
|Variable||Year of First Enrollment|
|Students for whom this is the year of first enrollment (i.e. new students)||0||-||4||-||8||-||5||-||8||-||8||-||8||-|
|Students whose doctoral degrees were conferred on their transcripts||0||0||1||25||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Students still enrolled in program||0||0||1||25||6||75||5||100||5||63||8||100||8||100|
|Students no longer enrolled for any reason other than conferral of doctoral degree||0||0||2||50||2||25||0||0||3||38||0||0||0||0|
|Outcome||2006-2007 to 2012-2013|
|Total number of students with doctoral degrees conferred on transcript in time period||1|
|Number of students with doctoral degrees conferred on transcripts who became licensed doctoral psychologists in time period||1|
Graduate Assistantships and Graduate Tuition Costs
Georgia Southern University is committed to supporting students enrolled in doctoral programs, and realizes that the completion of a doctoral degree is costly in terms of time and money. Therefore, the Department is prepared to offer doctoral-level graduate assistantships (GAs) to qualified students in each incoming student cohort depending upon availability of funds. Each GA position is renewable (based on student performance and availability of funds) until the student has completed all in-residence requirements for the degree. The position provides a stipend, along with an in- and out-of-state standard tuition waiver. Students awarded allocated GA positions are expected to devote 20 hours per academic week to service in the Psychology Department. Work schedules will revolve around the student’s class schedule, and specific duties will be determined by supervising faculty. Students not offered allocated graduate assistantships will be coached by the DCT and Graduate Admissions through the Graduate Assistant Interview Day. The DCT will maintain active relationships with other university resources who seek doctoral level graduate assistants for professional work in their departments and programs. Doctoral graduate assistantship positions provide a similar stipend along with an in- and out-of-state standard tuition waiver in exchange for a 20 hour work week during the academic calendar year. Only full-time students (i.e., those enrolled in 9 credit hours per semester) and in good academic standing are eligible for a GA position. The Psy.D. Admissions Committee and the Department Chair decide who will be offered allocated (departmental) GA positions. Decisions are made on the basis of information obtained from the student’s application to the program (i.e., GRE scores, pre-program GPA) and the admissions interview. All students who are invited to interview for the incoming cohort are considered for allocated assistantships.
Annual USG insurance fees are $1,102 for 2012-13, for students age 26 & under; $1433 for students age 27 & older; $3531 for students age 35 & older. 2012-2013 University System of Georgia (USG) Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) for Georgia Southern University.
Clinical Psychology in Rural Areas
If you are interested in some of the unique challenges facing clinical psychologists in rural settings, take a moment to read these articles from the Journal of Clinical Psychology. This special issue, examines some of the unique challenges and opportunities of psychological practice in a rural setting. In The Road Much Less Travelled: Treating Rural and Isolated Clients, Dr. Rainer considers what are considered to be the best practices of rural mental health care. In Rural Mental Health and Psychological Treatment: A Review for Practitioners, Drs. Smalley, Yancey, Warren, Naufel, Ryan and Pugh provide an overview of treatment challenges facing children, families and older adults in rural settings.
Individual questions may be e-mailed to
Dr. Bryant Smalley (Psy.D. interim program director) BSmalley@georgiasouthern.edu
Dr. Michael Nielsen (Department Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact us about the Psy.D. program.