Academic Courses

The clinical science coursework sequence is designed to complement research experiences and clinical training and to equip students with the skills and competencies they need to succeed as professional psychologists. Coursework is divided into five categories as detailed below.

  1. Introduction to Psychological Clinical Science: This 3-semester (9 credits) sequence provides a historical perspective on science and, in particular, psychological clinical science. It begins with philosophy of science; covers the major developmental theories, systems, and ecologies that contribute to human behavior; introduces seminal readings; and familiarizes students with the most current tensions and controversies of our day. Required courses include Psychological Clinical Science I: Historical Perspectives and Current Controversies; Psychological Clinical Science II: Ecologies of Development and Theories of Psychopathology; and History and Systems.
  2. Assessment and Intervention in Childhood Psychopathology: This 3-semester (9 credit) sequence introduces the continuum of mental health care from assessment to treatment in the primary domains of childhood psychopathology. Courses are designed to cover (1) prevalence; phenomenology; disparities by race, ethnicity, or gender; onset age; and trajectory/course; (2) classification and evidence based assessment; (2) key influences in the development and maintenance of disorders, including genetics, learning, cognitive/information processing, and family and peer relationships, and; (3) evidence-based prevention and treatment intervention approaches. Required courses include Assessment and Treatment I: Internalizing Disorders (Note: During the first two years of our program this course was entitled Emotional Learning and Its Reversal); Assessment and Treatment II: Externalizing Disorders; and Assessment and Treatment III: Developmental, Learning, and Pediatric Disorders.
  3. Research Method and Design: This 2-semester (6 credits) sequence provides students with a foundation of knowledge related to research method and design for clinical psychology, with particular attention to the unique features associated with studies along the basic to applied research continuum. Course readings and materials integrate seminal papers in the field with current papers from peer-reviewed journals. Students will become familiar with a wide range of designs (e.g., randomized controlled trial, meta-analysis, mixed-method) and will become competent to select an appropriate design for their research questions, acknowledge inherent limitations, consider potential methodological artifacts and plan for studies with modified design to tease apart the most urgent and critical questions facing psychological clinical science. In addition to formal course requirements, students are encouraged to seek additional methods training through mechanisms such as the APA summer Advanced Training Institutes (e.g., Research Methods with Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups). Required courses include Research Methods in Clinical Psychology and Dissemination and Implementation Research.
  4. Analytic Requirements: This 4-semester sequence (12 credits) includes three required courses that comprise the department’s common core (for students across psychology programs) plus one advanced analytic elective selected by the students, in consultation with their mentors, based on the unique and specific analytic needs of their dissertation and overall research agenda. Required courses include Health Statistics, Quantitative Methods II, and Multivariate Analysis in Applied Psychological Research. Analytic electives may be selected from within or outside of the psychological department and include but are not limited to Structural Equation Modeling, Categorical Analysis, Longitudinal Analysis, Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, Qualitative Analysis, and Mixed-Method Research. In addition to formal course requirements, students are encouraged to seek additional quantitative training through mechanisms such as the University of Kansas Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis (CRMDA) Summer Institutes in Statistics (“Stats Camp” http:/crmda.ku.edustatscamp) and the University of Michigan Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research (http:/www.icpsr.umich.eduicpsrweb/sumprog/index.jsp).
  5. Breadth Requirements: Three breadth requirements are planned for students to develop minimal levels of competence in the areas of cognitive, affective, biological, and social bases of behavior, corresponding to APA Implementing Regulation, C-16, Broad and General Preparation for Doctoral Programs. Students are encouraged to select from an approved list of courses offered within the psychology department. Students select from the following two options to meet the cognitive bases of behavior requirement: Cognitive Development or Cognitive Neuropsychology. Students select from the following two options to satisfy the biological bases of behavior requirement: Biological Basis of Behavior Development or Biological Bases of Behavior. All students are required to enroll in Proseminar in Social Psychology to satisfy the social bases of behavior requirement. Training in Affective Bases of Behavior is integrated throughout coursework and practicum.
  6. Ethics and Diversity: We spend significant time, in an ongoing way, considering comprehensive and empirically informed methods by which to train our students on issues of ethics and diversity, as these represent foundational professional competencies of both research and practice that are critical to a successful career in psychological clinical science. Ethics is a broad area critical to both patient care (e.g., maintaining awareness of personal bias, managing uncertainty, privacy and confidentiality, team-based decision making and treatment planning, aligning practice with codes of professional conduct) and research activities (e.g., informed consent, representative sampling, inclusion of underrepresented minority groups, culturally meaningful measurement, familiarity and compliance with IRB policies and procedures). Ethical conduct is exemplified by respect for cultural diversity and individual differences that characterize patients, participants, and populations receiving and participating in prevention, treatment, and healthcare services and research. Informed by a rich body of literature on ethics and diversity in psychological clinical science, we have integrated training in these areas across multiple courses and throughout multiple years of training, thus providing students important opportunities to advance their knowledge and application of knowledge in an increasingly sophisticated way, reflecting an overall graded approach to curriculum design. In addition, by integrating ethics and diversity across multiple curriculum formats (coursework, practicum, and professional development), students receive opportunities to consider these issues in a variety of ways that include class discourse, clinical supervision, research meetings, and brown bag discussions that expose them to a wide variety of faculty experiences and perspectives, and ongoing opportunities for dialogue in small and large groups. Therefore, ethics and diversity are introduced early and revisited throughout training. Competence related to ethics and diversity is assessed annually with designated course assignments (Year 1: Psychological Clinical Science I, Year 2: Foundation Practicum II, and Year 3: Dissemination and Implementation Research) and upon completion of each advanced practicum through comprehensive student evaluations