Psychology — Ph.D.

Director of clinical training
Holly Morrell

The APA-accredited Ph.D. degree program in clinical psychology has been informed by the traditional scientist-practitioner model, which emphasizes training in research and clinical practice.  The Ph.D. degree program is designed to be completed in six years (approximately twenty-four quarters of full-time enrollment).  

The specific objective of the Ph.D. degree program is to provide students:

  • a solid academic foundation (with a minimum accepted grade of B or Satisfactory (S),
  • high-level training in the empirical methods of science so that they are capable of conducting independent and original research,
  • the skills to be highly competent clinicians for whom research and practice constantly inform each other, and
  • preparation for academic or clinical careers involving research as a significant component.

Among the outcomes used to determine the Ph.D. degree program's success in achieving the above-mentioned objectives are the following:

  1. Psychological science foundation and clinical course performance, as well as successful completion of the comprehensive examination.
  2. Training in empirical methods of science—performance in research methods and statistics courses, dissertation, presentations, publications, and grants; research and teaching assistantships; teaching positions in area colleges/universities; and membership in scientific/professional organizations.
  3. Clinical skills—performance in general clinical, assessment, and treatment courses; ongoing clinical evaluations from practicum placements and internship; and successful completion of the comprehensive examination.


The Ph.D. clinical degree program requires completion of course work in the following areas: psychological science foundations, quantitative/research foundations, wholeness, general and elective courses, psychological assessment and treatment, clinical practice, and research.  The specific course requirements are predicated on the training model (i.e., scientist-practitioner).  The specific curriculum requirements associated with the Ph.D. degree program are indicated below.

All students are required to complete a specified number of elective units for the completion of their degree.  The department offers elective course work in specialty areas such as clinical health psychology, neuroscience and neuropsychology, clinical child psychology, and social/cultural health psychology, among other areas. 

Students have the option (but are not required) to utilize 12 units of their total elective unit requirement to fulfill a professional concentration.  In order to complete a professional concentration, students must submit a formal proposal to the Department of Psychology Academic Affairs Committee indicating the 12 elective units they propose to use toward the completion of their professional concentration, as well as the proposed title of the professional concentration.  The Department of Psychology Academic Affairs Committee will consider each proposal individually in making a recommendation to support/not support the proposed concentration.   

Under certain circumstances and upon recommendation of the Department of Psychology Academic Affairs Committee, a student may adjust courses or number of units taken during the current and subsequent academic year(s) to best fit their program requirements. Also, upon such recommendation, the student will be permitted to move forward as a member of the cohort with which he or she enrolled.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in clinical psychology is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Questions related to the program’s accreditation 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
telephone: 202/336-5979; e-mail:  <>; website:  <>.

In addition to Loma Linda University and School of Behavioral Health and the Faculty of Graduate Studies admissions requirements, the following minimum criteria are preferable to be considered for a pre-admission interview:

  • A bachelor's degree in psychology or a related discipline.
  • An undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale or a master’s degree G.P.A. of 3.3 or higher from a regionally accredited graduate program
  • Verbal and quantitative scores, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test: The sum of the GRE verbal and quantitative percentile rankings must equal or exceed 100, and neither percentile ranks can be below the 35th percentile.  Only the most current GRE scores are admissible (exam must have been taken within the last 5 years and the most recent dated exam will be considered).  The GRE psychology subject examination is not required.
  • Writing assessment, GRE general test: The GRE analytical writing section score must equal 4.0 or higher. 
  • Structured pre-admission interview by invitation:  The psychology department requires a structured pre-admissions interview.
  • Recommendation letters:  Three letters of recommendation from professionals unrelated to the applicant and qualified to assess the applicant’s potential for graduate education.  A minimum of two letters are preferred from current or previous professors.

Any exceptions to the established G.P.A. and GRE minimum criteria, or any other admissions criteria, are made at faculty discretion and grounded on faculty’s overall assessment of the applicant and his/her credentials (e.g., demonstrated record of scholarship and/or specialized research training, strength of the applicant’s prior academic training /institution, strength of applicant’s letters of recommendation, and previous clinical experience).

Core Curriculum I: Foundations of psychological science
PSYC 524History, Systems, and Philosophy of Psychology2
PSYC 545Cognitive Foundations4
PSYC 551Psychobiological Foundations4
PSYC 564Foundations of Social and Cultural Psychology4
PSYC 575Foundations of Human Development4
PSYC 591Colloquia (One unit each year for three years) 53
Core Curriculum II: Quantitative psychology research methodology
PSYC 501Advanced Statistics I4
PSYC 502Advanced Statistics II4
PSYC 503Advanced Multivariate Statistics (required only for M.A. of students pursuing the Ph.D.)4
PSYC 505Research Methods in Psychological Science4
PSYC 511Psychometric Foundations3
Core Curriculum III: Wholeness
PSYC 526Ethics and Legal Issues in Clinical Psychology3
PSYC 554Health Psychology4
PSYC 567Human Diversity3
Choose one course from each prefix9
Spirituality and Mental Health ((for Psychology Dept))
RELE 5__
Graduate-level Ethics 1
RELT 5__
Graduate-level Theological 1
Clinical psychology: General
PSYC 555Psychopharmacology2
PSYC 571Adult Psychopathology4
PSYC 681Clinical Supervision and Consultation2
Psychological assessment
PSYC 512Cognitive/Intellectual Assessment2
PSYC 512LCognitive/Intellectual Practice Laboratory1
PSYC 513Objective Personality Assessment2
PSYC 513LObjective Personality Practice Laboratory1
PSYC 516Neuropsychological Assessment2
PSYC 516LNeuropsychological Assessment Practice Laboratory1
Psychological treatment
PSYC 581Evidence-Based Psychological Practice I2
PSYC 581LEvidence-Based Psychological Practice I (Laboratory)1
PSYC 582Evidence-Based Psychological Practice II2
PSYC 582LEvidence-Based Psychological Practice II (Laboratory)1
PSYC 583Evidence-Based Psychological Practice III2
PSYC 583LEvidence-Based Psychological Practice III (Laboratory)1
PSYC 584Evidence-Based Psychological Practice IV2
PSYC 584LEvidence-Based Psychological Practice IV (Laboratory)1
Possible electives include, but are not limited to: 218
Cultural Psychology
Advanced Topics in Multivariate Analyses
Geropsychology 3
Clinical Supervision and Consultation Laboratory
Management and Professional Practice
Human Sexual Behavior and Treatment 3
Drug Addiction and Therapy 3
Child, Partner, and Elder Abuse 3
Seminar in Advanced Topics in Psychology
Directed Clinical Experience 4
PSYC 597Supervised Research8
PSYC 697Doctoral Research 543
Total Units157
Clinical practice 4
PSYC 721Practicum Preparation I3
PSYC 781Internal Practicum 58
PSYC 782External Practicum 516
PSYC 798Pre-Internship 516
Internship (any combination of PSYC 799A and PSYC 799B is acceptable)40
Total Units83

RELE 600 level courses will also be accepted


Students may meet their elective-unit requirement through any of the following:  1) any elective course chosen from this list, 2) any other elective course offered by the Department of Psychology that is not being used to meet another requirement, 3) any graduate-level course offered in any other department in the School of Behavioral Health, or 4) any graduate-level course offered in any other school other than the School of Behavioral Health with department approval.


California licensure courses


 700-numbered courses do not count toward total graduate units required for the degree


 Multiple registrations required to fulfill total required units.

Minimum required grade point average

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of B (3.0) in all courses taken for the degree. Furthermore, three failed grades (B- or below, or U) is grounds for dismissal from the program.

Comprehensive examination

Students in the Ph.D. program must successfully pass the comprehensive examination. The comprehensive examination is taken after completing the core curriculum.  Though the specific format of the comprehensive examination is subject to change, the department currently utilizes the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) as the comprehensive examination.  This examination covers the following domains:

  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Cognitive—affective bases of behavior
  • Social and multicultural bases of behavior
  • Growth and lifespan development
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Treatment/Intervention
  • Research Methods
  • Ethical/Legal/Professional issues

Doctoral research

Students in the Clinical Ph.D. program are expected to meet specified research requirements, among which is the doctoral dissertation.  The requirements for the  dissertation are delineated by the Department in accordance with standards established by the School of Behavioral Health (SBH) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS).  For the doctoral dissertation, a formal proposal must be submitted to and approved by a faculty supervisory committee.  Furthermore, upon completion of the doctoral dissertation, a public defense before the supervisory committee is required.

Advancement to candidacy

Students may apply for doctoral candidacy upon successful completion of:

  • the core curriculum
  • required practicum experiences
  • the comprehensive examination
  • the doctoral dissertation proposal

Normal time to complete the program

6 years — full-time enrollment required