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    Mar 29, 2023  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology Major, PhD

A student with a BA or BS may apply to the Department of Psychology for admission to the doctoral program with a concentration in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or experimental psychology. All students must submit an online application to the Graduate Admissions Office and scores from the Graduate Record Examination (general).

Clinical Psychology concentration

This program is designed to lay the groundwork for a career as a clinical psychologist capable of working in both academic and applied settings. The program emphasizes the theoretical foundations of psychology, as well as supervised experience oriented toward the development of practical skills. The program embodies a model of clinical psychology in which practice and research are integrated.


Clinical Program students should complete a thesis or pre-dissertation research project by the end of the second year. After forming the doctoral committee, each student must pass a comprehensive examination administered and evaluated by the committee. The comprehensive examination is organized around a research case study of one client who has been assessed and/or treated by the student in the Departmental Psychological Clinic. In addition to the case presentation, the paper presents the student’s comprehensive review of relevant research and theory as a context for procedure, results, and discussion of the case. All doctoral students must complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of graduate-level courses (24 if entering with a Master’s Degree), including all courses required by the Clinical Program, and at least 24 credit hours of PSYC 600 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation  . Finally, students must complete an acceptable doctoral dissertation and conduct a satisfactory oral defense of the dissertation.

Requirements are as follows.

• A written thesis or pre-dissertation research project (completed before forming a doctoral supervisory committee) reported in a form acceptable to the major professor and at least one other clinical faculty member (and approved by the Clinical Faculty for the pre-dissertation project).

• A supervised clinical placement two days (16 hours) each week during the second year and the following option during the third and fourth years – continued two day clinical placement in the third and fourth years in the community or teaching assistantship in the department in either the third or fourth year, and two-day clinical placement in the other year.

• Satisfactory completion of listed courses (or equivalents) in the following categories.

  1. Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC 527 )
  2. Developmental Psychology (PSYC 511 )
  3. Research Practicum (PSYC 509 )
  4. Colloquium in Psychology (PSYC 515 )
  5. Cognitive and Affective Bases of Behavior (PSYC 570 )
  6. Developmental Psychopathology (PSYC 597 )
  7. History and Systems of Psychology (PSYC 565 )
  8. Multicultural Psychology (PSYC 577 )
  9. Seminar in Applied Psychometrics (PSYC 607 )
  10. Advanced Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (PSYC 645 )
  11. Research Design (PSYC 580 )
  12. Psychological Assessment I and II (PSYC 594 -PSYC 595 ) and Laboratory (PSYC 596 )
  13. Analysis of Variance for Social Sciences (PSYC 521 ) and Multiple Regression for Social Sciences (PSYC 522 ) (or approved courses from Stats Department)
  14. Social Psychology (PSYC 550 )
  15. Field Placement in Clinical Psychology (PSYC 695 )
  16. Clinical Psychopathology (PSYC 599 )
  17. Ethical Issues in Professional Psychology (PSYC 598 )
  18. Psychotherapy I and II (PSYC 670 -PSYC 671 ) and Laboratory (PSYC 673 )
  19. Doctoral Research and Dissertation (PSYC 600 ), 24 credit hours.

• Students who choose a teaching assistantship in the third or fourth year must have satisfactorily completed PSYC 528 .

• Satisfactory completion of a one-year clinical internship at a site approved by the program.


Counseling Psychology concentration

The counseling psychology program is based upon the scientist-practitioner-advocate model of training which stresses an integration of scholarly research, counseling psychology practice, and social justice advocacy. Students are trained to work with people with: (a) a focus on working within a developmental framework across the whole range of psychological functioning; (b) a focus on assets and strengths; (c) an emphasis on brief counseling/therapy approaches; (d) an emphasis on person-environment interactions, rather than an exclusive focus on either person or environment; (e) an emphasis on prevention; (f) an emphasis on the educational and vocational lives of individuals; (g) attention to issues of and respect for individual and cultural diversity; and (h) evaluation and improvement through critical thinking and a commitment to the scientific approach. Students are eligible to concurrently earn a Master’s degree in Psychology with a thesis in route to earning the doctoral degree.


The counseling psychology program consists of a minimum of 110 semester credit hours of graduate credit. This includes a minimum of 80 credit hours of graduate course work, 6 credit hours of thesis research, and 24 credit hoursof dissertation research (see below).

Students are assigned a temporary faculty advisor upon admission to the program. By the end of their first calendar year, students are expected to have selected a Master’s committee. The function of this committee is to advise and approve students’ curriculum plan and Master’s thesis. Students then form their doctoral committee. The doctoral committee approves the students’ dissertation proposal and verifies that the dissertation is acceptable for the doctoral degree. Both the Master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation are original research that is theoretically based and psychological in nature. They must fulfill the requirements and procedures as stated in the current University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Graduate Catalog.

The counseling psychology faculty that comprise the doctoral committee also advise and approve students’ comprehensive portfolio. The portfolio covers various artifacts of the counseling psychology core. Students prepare and present both a written portfolio and hold an oral defense.

The following are required of all students. Students are required conduct supervised counseling practica and field placements in the community. These experiences must result in a minimum of 500 hours of Intervention and Assessment Experience, of which at least 300 hours must be in the category of Individual or Group Counseling. In addition, 100 hours of Supervision Received must be accumulated.

Satisfactory completion of the following curriculum.

A. Counseling Psychology Core (minimum 50 credit hours)

  1. Professional Orientation (8 credit hours)
  2. Multicultural Competencies and Human Diversity (6 credit hours)
  3. Social Justice Advocacy and Interventions (6 credit hours)
  4. Vocational Psychology (3 credit hours)
  5. Psychological Assessment (9 credit hours)
  6. Practicum Supporting Coursework (9 credit hours)
  7. Counseling Psychology Interventions (minimum 18 credit hours)

B. Research Core (12 credit hours)

  1. Research Design (3 credit hours)
  2. Quantitative Methods (6 credit hours)
  3. Qualitative Methods (3 credit hours)

C. General Psychological Foundations (15 credit hours)

  1. History of Systems of Psychology (3 credit hours)
  2. Biological Bases of Behavior (3 credit hours)
  3. Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior (3 credit hours)
  4. Social Bases of Behavior (3 credit hours)
  5. Developmental Bases of Behavior (3 credit hours)

D. Capstone Elective (3 credit hours)

E. Master’s Thesis (6 credit hours)

F. Doctoral Dissertation (24 credit hours)

Students are also required to complete a 2000-hour internship prior to graduation. In consultation with the student and the student’s doctoral committee chair, the training director approves the internship site, which must meet American Psychological Association Guidelines.

Students who wish to have experience as teaching assistants must first satisfactorily complete department’s teaching practicum course.


Experimental Psychology concentration

The PhD program in psychology with a concentration in experimental psychology is designed to allow students to select from a variety of specializations oriented toward careers in research, teaching, and application of psychology in academic, institutional, or industrial settings. The program is flexible, individualized, and emphasizes a professional apprenticeship model of training.


Twelve credit hours of quantitative course work, including:

  • 6 credit hours of Psychology PSYC 521 -PSYC 522 , Statistics STAT 531 -STAT 532 , Statistics STAT 537 -STAT 538 , or equivalent. 
  • 3 credit hours of Research Design PSYC 580  or equivalent. 
  • 3 additional credit hours of statistics course work (as enumerated in current experimental handbook). 

Nine credit hours comprised of one course from each of the 3 core area offerings:

  1. Biological
  2. Developmental
  3. Social

Six additional credit hours from any of the core course offerings, but that may also include:

And completion of the following:

  • 6 credit hours of Research Practicum PSYC 509 .
  • Two semesters of PSYC 515 .
  • PSYC 528 .
  • Two 600-level graduate seminars.
  • 6 credit hours of graduate level courses outside the Psychology Department
  • A Pre-dissertation research project involving the collection of original data or the original analysis of existing data reported in publishable form and accepted by the student’s advisory committee.
  • A comprehensive examination determined and evaluated by the student’s doctoral committee. The examination is comprised of an integrative review of theoretical paper and an oral exam or additional questions.
  • 24 credit hours of PSYC 600 - Doctoral Research and Dissertation .
  • An original piece of research in the form of a doctoral dissertation, proposed, conducted, and defended.