Course requirements for Clinical Psychology

Complete information about our program is available in the Guidebook 2018

Mandatory and core courses must be taken for a numerical grade. Breadth courses may be taken for credit/no credit.

See the Clinical Graduate Program Requirements table for a summary of requirements.

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Departmental statistics requirement

The departmental statistics requirement is as follows:

Students enrolled in Psychology doctoral programs must complete the department's statistics requirements. The statistics requirements may be met by satisfactory performance in at least one of two core statistics courses,

  • PSYCH 630:  Advanced Analysis of Variance
  • PSYCH 632:  Multiple Regression

plus one additional statistics course. The additional course may be the remaining statistics course listed above or a different statistics course, such as PSYCH 800: Psychometric Theory and Structural Equation Modeling or PSYCH 801: Advanced Structural Equation Modeling.

Particular Areas may specify that a particular statistics course, such as PSYCH 630 or PSYCH 632, is required.  Check the Area-specific degree requirements. Statistics courses required by the Area must be taken for a numerical grade.

Credit toward PSYCH 630 or PSYCH 632 may be granted if the student can present evidence of a particularly strong undergraduate or previous graduate-level statistics background. Consult with the Associate Chair, Graduate Affairs.

https://uwaterloo.ca/psychology/current-graduate-students/degree-requirements/phd-program-statistics-requirements

All Clinical students are required to take Psych 632: Multiple Regression.  To meet the departmental statistics requirement, they must also take one additional statistics course (e.g., Psych 630, 800, or 801)

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Breadth requirements

All clinical students must choose some elective courses to meet three sets of breadth requirements: (1) the departmental statistics requirement, (2) the departmental breadth requirement, and (3) the CPA-mandated clinical program breadth requirement.  Each of these requirements is explained below.

Departmental breadth requirement

The Departmental breadth requirement is as follows:

Students enrolled in doctoral programs must complete the department's breadth requirements which consist of four one-term courses (or approved equivalent) outside their Departmental Research Area. These courses must be taken from at least two different Areas, and no more than two courses from the same Area can count toward the requirement. Breadth courses may be taken for credit/no credit.

Any quantitative courses taken beyond those that fulfill the Departmental Research Area requirement can count toward breadth requirements (i.e. a third and even a fourth statistics course can count toward departmental breadth requirements). Statistics courses required by the Research Area must be taken for a numerical grade.

Those seeking permission to fulfill breadth requirements by counting courses offered by other departments at the University of Waterloo, or transfer credits from other universities, must submit the request in writing to the Psychology Associate Chair, Graduate Studies. Consent to take courses outside of the department must be obtained prior to enrolling in the course. Usually, no more than two one-term courses from such sources are allowed for credit towards breadth requirements.

https://uwaterloo.ca/psychology/current-graduate-students/policies-procedures/phd-program-breadth-requirements

Given that the practice of clinical psychology increasingly requires an understanding of the fundamentals of psychopharmacology, students are encouraged to take a graduate course in this content area. The School of Public Health offers a course entitled “Psychopharmacology and Addiction” (HSG 671). Although this course is not offered by the Psychology Department, it counts toward the departmental breadth requirement. Within the Department of Psychology, courses in the following areas would count toward the departmental breadth requirement: Social, Cognition and Perception, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, Industrial/Organizational, and Quantitative (i.e., a third and even a fourth statistics course count toward the departmental breadth requirement).  

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CPA-mandated Clinical Program breadth requirement

 CPA accreditation standards also specify certain breadth requirements that all students in clinical programs must complete.  Below are these CPA requirements:

The programme requires that each student has demonstrated an undergraduate or graduate competence in these areas in any of the following ways:

  • by passing suitable evaluations in each of the five areas, or
  • successful completion of at least one half-year graduate course, or a two-semester (or two, one-semester) senior undergraduate course.

The five core content areas are:

  1. Biological bases of behaviour (e.g., physiological psychology, comparative psychology, neuropsychology, psychopharmacology)
  1. Cognitive-affective bases of behaviour (e.g., learning, sensation, perception, cognition, thinking, motivation, emotion),
  1. Social bases of behaviour (e.g., social psychology; cultural, ethnic, and group processes; sex roles; organizational and systems theory),
  1. Individual behaviour (e.g., personality theory, human development, individual differences, abnormal psychology), and
  1. Historical and scientific foundations of general psychology (this content area can be fulfilled with a one-semester, senior undergraduate course).

Several of the CPA-mandated breadth requirements are covered by the required coursework in the clinical program, as follows:

  • The requirement in individual behaviour is met by completion of Psych 716: Adult Psychopathology, and Psych 724: Personality & Measurement Theory (both required of all clinical students).
  • The requirement in the historical and scientific foundations of general psychology is met by completion of a take-home exam shortly after entry into the program.

Thus, there are three CPA breadth requirements to which clinical students need to attend: (1) Biological bases of behaviour, (2) Cognitive-affective bases of behaviour, and (3) Social bases of behaviour.  Each of these requirements can be fulfilled either with one suitable graduate course, or with two suitable senior undergraduate courses. Any graduate course offered by the Cognitive Neuroscience area will satisfy the Biological bases of behaviour requirement, any graduate course offered by the Cognitive area will satisfy the Cognitive-affective bases of behaviour requirement, and any course offered by the Social area will satisfy the Social bases of behaviour requirement. Other courses will be considered for satisfaction of either of these requirements in response to a petition from a student.  Decisions about the suitability of a course will be made by the DCT, in consultation with the course instructor and the clinical faculty.  (Note that a course may count for both a CPA breadth requirement and a departmental breadth requirement, so long as it fits both criteria.)

Students wishing to receive credit for CPA breadth based on senior undergraduate courses need to submit a petition to the DCT, providing a brief justification and a copy of the syllabus for each course.  As an example, at the University of Waterloo the combination of Psych 253: Social Psychology and Psych 395: Research in Social Psychology would satisfy the Social bases of behaviour requirement.  Such petitions must be approved by the DCT, in consultation with the clinical faculty.

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Year one

Coursework

  • Psych 632: Multiple Regression
  • Psych 716: Adult Psychopathology (in Year 2 for the cohort starting the program in Fall 2014)
  • Psych 717: Psychological Assessment I
  • Psych 718: Psychological Assessment II
  • Psych 719: Ethics, Diversity, and Professional Issues in Clinical Psychology (in Year 2 for some students)
  • Breadth-requirement course (may be deferred to second year)

Clinical practicums

  • Psych 720A & B (fall & winter): Practicum in Interviewing & Cognitive Assessment I & II
  • Psych 721A & B (fall & winter): Diagnostic Assessment Practicum I & II
  • Psych 722C (spring): Clinical Fieldwork Placement I

Research activities

  • Psych 621:1 (fall & winter): Advanced Clinical Research Forum I
  • Research team (beginning Master’s research) 

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Research training in year 1

  • In close collaboration with the research supervisor, each student outlines an initial research program and submits it as part of a fellowship application (OGS, SSHRC, NSERC, etc.).  Because these applications are typically due in mid- to late-September, this matter needs immediate attention. The Administrative Coordinator for Graduate Studies always sends e-mail notices with specific dates during the first week of term.
  • By December 1st, each student submits a formal research plan for the upcoming academic year, outlining expected stages (with a timetable) of the student’s work. This plan is developed in collaboration with the student’s research supervisor.  Please submit a copy of the plan, signed by both the student and the supervisor, to the Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Program, for review by the DCT.
  • It is expected that students in their first year will involve themselves immediately with their MA research projects. Students are strongly encouraged to begin writing their review of the relevant literature in the first year of their Master’s, rather than waiting until the second year to begin the writing process. At an early stage in Year One, each student is strongly encouraged to discuss a specific MA thesis writing timeline with his/her research supervisor.
  • Toward the end of the winter term, as part of Psych 621:1, each first-year student makes an oral presentation on his/her developing research project and answers questions from the faculty and students.
  • First year students also complete one of the two departmental statistics requirements by taking Psych 632 in the fall term. A satisfactory grade is expected in this course, as is successful research progress over the summer, as assessed by the student’s research supervisor.

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Clinical skill training in year 1

  • The clinical centerpiece of the first year is a year-long course: Psychological Assessment I & II (Psych 717 & 718), together with its associated practicums (Psych 720A & B).  Students learn basic psychological assessment skills, including interviewing and intelligence and achievement testing, and participate in Psychological Assessment Teams (PAT), which conduct assessments of clients in the CMHR. We cover the assessment of both adults and children, and we emphasize practice in writing and presenting client-focused assessment reports. Please see the PAT Manual for more information on this aspect of training.
  • In the first year, students will also learn diagnostic assessment (Psych 721A & B) as part of their work in the CMHR. These practica provide critical groundwork for future clinical work.
  • In the first (or sometimes second year), all students take a course covering ethics, diversity, and professional issues, as they affect clinical psychology (Psych 719).  
  • Psych 722C: In the spring and summer of the first year, students take a required four-month fieldwork placement.  This placement provides practical experience in diagnostic assessment in an institution off-campus, as well as some exposure to psychotherapy.
    •  Important information about this placement is provided in the syllabus for Psych 722C, attached as Appendix C.  It is the individual student’s responsibility to find a suitable field experience from among the list of recommended practicum placements. Please consult with the Director of the CMHR for guidance on the application process, and be prepared to begin the application process early in the fall term of first year.  The application deadline for many practicum sites is Feb. 1, but some practicum sites start accepting applications earlier than that.
    • Prior to commencing the Psych 722C placement, the student must submit to the DCT a Clinical Practicum Information and Approval Form that briefly outlines the plans for the practicum and the arrangements for supervision (see Appendix D for the required form). 
    • In addition, at the conclusion of the Psych 722C practicum, the student’s on-site supervisor needs to fill out the form, Practicum Evaluation for University of Waterloo Clinical Student (see Appendix A), and a copy of this form, signed by both the supervisor and the student, needs to be provided to the DCT.

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Breadth requirement option in year 1

  • Depending on the time demands of their research, clinical students may possibly want to consider the option of taking a breadth course.  See the preceding section on Breadth Requirements, and check the particular courses that the department is offering in the winter term.

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Year two

Coursework

  • Psych 725: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
  • A second statistics course (fall or winter)
  • Breadth-requirement course (fall or winter)

Clinical practicums

  • Psych 726A (fall) or Psych 726B (spring): Practicum in Integrated Assessment I and II (students are required to take only one)
  • Elective: Psych 738A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II (requires approval)

Research activities

  • Psych 621:2 (fall & winter): Advanced Clinical Research Forum II
  • Research team and Master’s thesis

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Research training in year 2

  • Depending on the need for scholarship funding, the student, with the assistance of his/her supervisor, will submit the program of research as part of a fellowship application (OGS, SSHRC, NSERC, etc.), typically due late in September.
  • By December 1st, each student submits a formal research plan for the upcoming academic year, outlining expected stages (with a timetable) of the student’s work. This plan is developed in collaboration with the student’s research supervisor.  Please submit a copy of the plan, signed by both the student and the supervisor, to the Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Program, for review by the DCT.
  • As part of Psych 621:2, each second-year student makes an oral presentation on his/her research and answers questions from the faculty and students.
  • Master’s thesis: See Master’s thesis requirements described earlier.  

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Clinical skill training in year 2

  • Second-year students study child psychopathology and methods of intervention with children (Psych 723). (In some academic years, this course may be offered in fall of Year 3, instead.)
  • Second-year students are introduced to major personality theories and their associated assessment instruments for use in clinical work. These topics are covered in Psych 724.
  • In Year 2, students begin their training in adult psychotherapy skills with the course on cognitive behaviour therapy (Psych 725).  This course includes closely supervised mini-skills components which the student must pass successfully before proceeding to treatment work with clients.
  • In Year 2, students work one-on-one with a clinical supervisor to complete a comprehensive psychological assessment (Psych 726A or B), emphasizing administration and interpretation of interviews and diverse types of tests, and the development of students’ skill in conceptualizing cases and writing sound integrative assessment reports. Students only enrol in one of thse practicum courses that correspinds with when they are completing their assessments. If a student is completing their assessment in the Fall, they enrol in Psych 726A in the Fall. If a student is completing their assessment in the winter, they enrol in Psych 726B in the winter. If a student is completing their assessment in the spring, they enrol in Psych 726B in the spring.

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Breadth requirements and other options in year 2

  • In their second year, most clinical students take a second statistics course to complete the departmental statistics requirement (e.g., Psych 630, 800, or 801).
  • Second-year students should also attempt to meet one or possibly two breadth requirements.  See the preceding section on Breadth Requirements, and check the courses that the department is offering in this particular academic year.
  • Optional spring/summer clinical activities: If the student’s research supervisor deems that the Master’s thesis is advancing sufficiently, in the spring/summer term the student may consider either of two clinical possibilities, as follows.  Note that these clinical opportunities are optional and require consultation with and approval by one’s research supervisor.
    1. Starting in the spring, the second-year student may choose to see a therapy client in the CMHR.  The advantage of this option is that it allows the student to put the CBT skills just learned in Psych 725 into practice without any delay.
    2. Alternatively, the second-year student, by enrolling in Psych 738C, may do an optional, part-time external practicum over the summer.  Note that finding a suitable placement may require some lead time and searching (as with Psych 722C in Year 1).  A student wishing to pursue this possibility must submit to the DCT a Clinical Practicum Information and Approval Form that briefly outlines the plans for the practicum and the arrangements for supervision (see Appendix D for the form).  In addition, at the conclusion of the practicum, the student’s on-site supervisor needs to fill out the form, Practicum Evaluation for University of Waterloo Clinical Student (see Appendix A), and a copy of this form, signed by both the supervisor and the student, needs to be provided to the DCT.

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Year three

Coursework

  • Psych 723: Child Psychopathology and Psychotherapy
  • Psych 727: Efficacy & Program Evaluation (only offered every 2 years; students will take in Year 3 or in Year 4)
  • Psych 728: Psychotherapy: Classical Roots and Contemporary Developments
  • Breadth-requirement course (in Year 2 for some students)

Clinical practicums

  • Psych 729A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Practicum I, II, & III
  • Psych 730A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Adult Psychotherapy Practicum I, II, & III
  • Elective: Psych 738A, B, C, or 739A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II or III (requires approval)

Research activities

  • Psych 621:3 (fall & winter): Advanced Clinical Research Forum III
  • Research team and Ph.D. thesis

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Research training in year 3

  • If needed, the student, with the assistance of his/her supervisor, should submit the program of research as part of a fellowship application (OGS, SSHRC, NSERC, etc.), typically due late in September (see Year 1 description for deadline information).
  • By December 1st, please submit a copy of a formal research plan, outlining expected stages (with a timetable) and signed by both the student and the supervisor, to the Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Program, for review by the DCT.
  • As part of Psych 621:3, each third-year student makes an oral presentation on his/her research and answers questions from the faculty and students.
  • Dissertation Committee: See dissertation requirements described earlier. During the third year, each student forms a doctoral dissertation committee, which consists of the research supervisor and two other regular or adjunct faculty members.  (Additional committee members are permissible.)  If the supervisor works primarily in an area other than Clinical, or is from a department other than the University of Waterloo Department of Psychology, the three-person committee must include a member of the Clinical Program, who will serve either as a co-supervisor or as a clinical program research advisor to monitor the student’s progress on behalf of the Clinical Training Program.  The dissertation committee is responsible for formally approving the student’s dissertation proposal and provides regular consultations during the course of the dissertation research.

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Clinical skill training in year 3

  • Students learn the clinically relevant skills of assessing efficacy and program evaluation (Psych 727).  This course is offered in alternating years; thus, some students will take it in their 3rd year, while others will take it in their 4th year.
  • To round out the therapeutic skills that students learned in the CBT course, in their third year students are introduced to various other approaches to psychotherapy (Psych 728) (some students will have taken this course in their second year).
  • Practicum training in the third year is devoted to advancing therapy skills in treating both children (Psych 729A, B, & C) and adults (Psych 730A, B, & C) in the CMHR.  These therapy cases are conducted under close supervision: We require hour-for-hour supervision, with cases in the third year observed by core faculty and followed up with an hour of supervisory discussion (thereby offering two hours of supervision per hour of client contact, especially in the opening phases of therapy).
  • Students are assigned their first therapy case—an adult case—either in spring of Year 2 or at the beginning of fall of Year 3.  In addition, they are assigned one child therapy case early in fall of Year 3.
  • Choice of caseload composition: In winter of Year 3, the student picks up another case to move to a full caseload of three.  Students may decide whether they would like to be assigned an adult or a child for their third case.  It is typical to pick up an adult as the third case, but students planning a child-oriented career should consider picking up a child as their third case to help amass hours to be competitive for child-clinical internships.
  • Cases are replaced as clients leave the service, so that the expected load is three cases continuously.  We offer a mix of CBT and other approaches in adult and child cases, and students are rotated among supervisors as one case is concluded and another begun.

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Breadth requirements and other options in year 3

  • Third-year students are well-advised to make a reasonable attempt to complete their breadth requirements.  See the preceding section on Breadth Requirements, and check the courses that the department is offering in this particular academic year. 
  • Over the spring and summer, third-year students may wish to consider the possibility of doing an optional, part-time external practicum, which requires enrolling in Psych 738C or 739C.  (Enroll in Psych 738C unless you have already done a second summer external practicum; in that case, enroll in Psych 739C.)  Psych 738A, B and 739A, B can be used for other optional, part-time external practicums; use 738A or 739A for a fall-term practicum, and 738B or 739B for a winter-term practicum.  Note that these options require consultation with and approval by the student’s research supervisor.  A student wishing to pursue this possibility must submit to the DCT a Clinical Practicum Information and Approval Form that briefly outlines the plans for the practicum and the arrangements for supervision (see Appendix D for the form).  In addition, at the conclusion of the practicum, the student’s on-site supervisor needs to fill out the form, Practicum Evaluation for University of Waterloo Clinical Student (see Appendix A), and a copy of this form, signed by both the supervisor and the student, needs to be provided to the DCT.

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Year four

Coursework

  • Psych 724: Personality & Measurement Theory
  • Psych 727: Efficacy & Program Evaluation (only offered every 2 years; students will take in Year 3 or in Year 4)
  • Psych 731: Emotion-Focused Therapy
  • Unfulfilled breadth requirement (if any remains)

Clinical practicums

  • Psych 732A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Practicum I, II, & III
  • Psych 733A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Adult Psychotherapy Practicum I, II, & III
  • Elective: Psych 738A, B, C, or 739A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II or III (requires approval)

Research activities

  • Psych 621:4 (fall and winter): Advanced Clinical Research Forum IV
  • Research team and Ph.D. thesis

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Research training in year 4

  • If needed, the student, with the assistance of his/her supervisor, should submit the program of research as part of a fellowship application (OGS, SSHRC, NSERC, etc.), typically due late in September.
  • By December 1st, please submit a copy of a formal research plan, outlining expected stages (with a timetable) and signed by both the student and the supervisor, to the Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Program, for review by the DCT.
  • Each student makes an oral presentation on his/her research as part of the Psych 621:4 course and answers questions from faculty and students.
  • The dissertation study should be fully underway with the hope that data collection and analyses will be completed in a timely manner. See dissertation requirements described earlier. It is expected that senior students will make good progress in writing their dissertation, and also give conference presentations and submit articles for publication.

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Clinical training in year 4

  • Note about Psych 727: Efficacy and Program Evaluation: If this required course, offered in alternating years, was not offered in the student’s third year, it will need to be taken in Year 4.
  • Senior students further expand their knowledge of psychotherapy by learning principles and techniques of Emotion-Focused Therapy (Psych 731). 
  • Choice of caseload composition: We allow students in their fourth and fifth years to select the age composition of their clinical work. Students may choose any of the following possibilities: (a) the usual regimen of two adult cases and one child case; (b) two child cases and one adult case, (c) all adult cases; or (d) all child cases.  This important choice should reflect the particular student’s internship and career goals.
  • Students who choose to see child therapy cases exclusively should not enroll in Psych 733A, B, & C.  Students who choose to see adult cases exclusively should not enroll in Psych 732A, B, & C.  
  • As part of the student’s year-end review meeting in April, the student and research supervisor should discuss whether the student should plan to apply for internships in the following November (in Year 5), or, alternatively, wait another year before applying. See the succeeding section, Full-Year Predoctoral Internship/Residency, for more information about this important decision.

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Breadth requirements and other options in year 4

  • If the student still has any unfulfilled breadth requirements, these should be attended to.
  • Option of a one-off assessment case: Senior students are encouraged to consider completing a short-term assessment through the CMHR in the interval between therapy cases. This may be especially advisable for students interested in child clinical work who may need to boost their assessment hours in preparation for applying for the pre-doctoral internship.  Interested students should discuss this option with the Director of the CMHR.  Students typically find that an assessment case takes substantially more time each week than a therapy case; thus, plan accordingly.
  • Senior students may wish to consider the possibility of doing an optional, part-time external practicum, which requires enrolling in Psych 738A, B, C, or 739A, B, C, for the appropriate term or terms.  (Use Psych 738 unless you have already used it for an external practicum in the past; in that case, enroll in Psych 739.)  Note that these options require consultation with and approval by the student’s research supervisor.  A student wishing to pursue this possibility must submit to the DCT a Clinical Practicum Information and Approval Form that briefly outlines the plans for the practicum and the arrangements for supervision (see Appendix D for the form).  In addition, at the conclusion of the practicum, the student’s on-site supervisor needs to fill out the form, Practicum Evaluation for University of Waterloo Clinical Student (see Appendix A), and a copy of this form, signed by both the supervisor and the student, needs to be provided to the DCT.

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Year 5 (and beyond)

Clinical practicums

  • Psych 734A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Practicum in Supervision (required of all students)
  • Psych 735A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Practicum I, II, & III
  • Psych 736A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring): Adult Psychotherapy Practicum I, II, & III
  • Elective: Psych 738A, B, C, or 739A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II or III (requires approval)
  • Elective: Psych 740A, B, C, or Psych 741A, B, C, or Psych 742A, B, C: Senior Practicum I, II, or III (requires approval)

Research activities

  • Research team and Ph.D. thesis

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Research in year 5 (and beyond)

  • If needed, the student, with the assistance of his/her supervisor, should submit the program of research as part of a fellowship application (OGS, SSHRC, NSERC, OMHF, etc.), typically due late in September.
  • By December 1st, please submit a copy of a formal research plan, outlining expected stages (with a timetable) and signed by both the student and the supervisor, to the Administrative Coordinator, Clinical Program, for review by the DCT.
  • This year (and any subsequent ones) is principally devoted to completing the student’s doctoral dissertation. We urge the student to maintain close contact with his or her dissertation committee. 
  • Students who have completed all of their dissertation requirements and are waiting to go to an internship, or are waiting for job opportunities, can use time on campus to enhance research skills and to further develop their publication portfolios.  If they continue in the program after the internship, we try to accommodate them with laboratory space and other resources that would assist career development.

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Clinical skill training in year 5 (and beyond)

  • In Year 5, students participate in a supervision practicum (Psych 734A, B, & C) which involves supervising the clinical work of a junior student and meeting regularly with a faculty supervisor for case rounds and supervisory skill development and discussion.
  • In spring term of Year 5, students are not normally assigned any further CMHR cases; instead, casework winds up as cases terminate and are not replaced.
  • If the student did not already arrange a full-year predoctoral internship, then as part of the student’s year-end review meeting in April, the student and research supervisor should discuss plans to apply for internships in the following November (in Year 6). See the succeeding section, Full-Year Predoctoral Internship/Residency, for more information.

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Options in year 5 (and beyond)

  • There are several possibilities available to fifth-year students for extending their clinical experience.  These options include the following:
    • Seeing a couples case in the CMHR (Psych 737A, B, & C)
    • A one-off assessment case in the CMHR
    • Taking a part-time external practicum (Psych 738A, B, or C, or 739A, B, or C). 
  • See Breadth Requirements and Other Options in Year 4 for further details about these possibilities.

  • Another option for students in their fifth year and beyond is a senior practicum, offering advanced training in assessment and treatment procedures, which requires enrolling in one or more of Psych 740A, B, C, or Psych 741A, B, C, or Psych 742A, B, C.  (Use the lowest course number you have not used before.  A, B, and C should designate the term or terms in which the practicum occurs.)  A student wishing to pursue this possibility must submit to the DCT a Clinical Practicum Information and Approval Form that briefly outlines the plans for the practicum and the arrangements for supervision (see Appendix D for the form).  In addition, at the conclusion of the work, the clinical supervisor needs to fill out the form, Practicum Evaluation for University of Waterloo Clinical Student (see Appendix A), and a copy of this form, signed by both the supervisor and the student, needs to be provided to the DCT.  There are two different types of senior practica:
    • Working part-time in a local private practice.
    • Doing a block placement in the CMHR.  Students interested in this possibility need to consult with the Director of the CMHR, Ian Nicholson, for current information.

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Full-year predoctoral internship/residency

All clinical Ph.D. students are required to take a full-year predoctoral internship (also called a predoctoral residency).  Accreditation of internships is based on standards developed by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs (CCPPP), and the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC).  Because these standards help to ensure a high-quality internship experience, it is greatly to the student’s advantage to attend an accredited internship, and, indeed, we expect our students to apply widely to accredited programs.  Hence, the clinical program strongly holds the position that all internships should normally be CPA-accredited.

In the rare case that a student proposes to go to a non-accredited internship, he or she must submit a petition to the DCT, who will consult with the clinical faculty in determining whether to approve the request.  Any such internship must at least meet the minimal criteria stipulated for internships by APPIC, which include being paid, having at least four hours per week of supervision by a doctoral-level registered psychologist who has competency in the area that he or she is supervising, and providing appropriate educational opportunities to a class of at least two interns.  If the proposal is approved, the DCT will provide appropriate evaluation forms for tracking the intern’s progress and development.

Students should be aware that the internship application process is time-consuming.  They need to get started with the application process by late summer of the year before their intended internship.  It takes quite a lot of work to complete the internship applications, in which students are required to document all their previous clinical practicum experiences (e.g., total hours broken down by numerous categories) and write essays and cover letters.  Applications are typically due in late October and early November. Submitting all the materials successfully on the APPIC site can also be a challenge, and students need to have their eligibility and readiness for the predoctoral internship year verified online by the DCT.  In addition, the completion of the subsequent internship interviews often consumes much of the month of January.

Students should also be aware that in recent years successfully securing an internship position has unfortunately become a highly competitive endeavor.  Up until a few years ago, the number of internships available in Canada consistently tended to be somewhat larger than the number of applicants.  For example, in 2008 there were 127 internship positions in Canada and 120 Canadian applicants.  However, the present situation is sharply different from this.  For example, in 2012 there were 150 Canadian internship positions (including unaccredited ones) and 213 Canadian applicants.  Thus, even counting unaccredited internships, there are simply not enough internship positions available for about 30 percent of Canadian applicants.  In addition, it is clear that this imbalance will continue for at least the next few years.

The people making applicant selections at internship sites are acting in good faith and doing their best to cope with these impossible circumstances.  However, the present conditions mean that optimizing internship applications and students’ interview performance is more critical than it was just a few years ago.

To help our students navigate these shark-infested waters, the clinical program now appoints two faculty members as Residency Co-coordinators.  The Residency Co-coordinators assist students with preparing their internships applications, answer questions and offer advice with respect to internships, and arrange practice internship interviews for the current group of internship applicants. 

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Planning when to do the internship

If a student has entered the clinical program with advanced standing (e.g., already having a Master’s degree from another program), it might be possible to be ready for the internship after Year 4 in our program.  Far more typically, students need to decide whether to plan to go on internship after Year 5 or after Year 6.  In all cases, the student must consult with his or her research supervisor and the DCT to obtain formal permission of the clinical program to go ahead and apply to internships.  Please see the next section, Obtaining Permission to Apply to Internships, to see what criteria must be met.

One important consideration is whether the student has amassed sufficient clinical experience and relevant hours to be competitive for internship applications.  At the end of this section (see the next page) appear guidelines set out by the Canadian Council of Professional Programmes in Psychology (CCPPP), and these may be helpful in making this determination.  However, students would be well advised to check on the minimum eligibility criteria of the particular internship sites in which they may be interested.  These criteria, stated in the internship program websites and brochures, may vary considerably from one program to another, not only in total hours but also in more detailed breakdowns of the clinical experiences expected of strong candidates.

Other important considerations in when to apply for the internship have to do with the student’s intended career path.  As one example, for a student planning for an academic or other strongly research-orientated career, a sixth year at home in the clinical program might be crucial for building a strong publication record and CV.  

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Obtaining permission to apply to internships

Students intending to apply for internship are required to express this intent to their supervisor and the DCT.  Students will meet with their supervisor and the DCT to review the status of their dissertation research, coursework, and practicum hours.  Students may apply for internship only if they meet the following requirements:

  1. Their doctoral thesis proposal has been approved;
  2. All dissertation data are collected or will be collected by the end of December in the year prior to the student’s intended internship year.  Students whose data are not collected by the end of December will be required to withdraw from the APPIC match except in very unusual circumstances (e.g., if additional data collection seems warranted based on analysis of the complete data);
  3. All coursework is completed (with the exception of practicum courses which may continue);
  4. Practicum hours are sufficient to ensure eligibility for the internships to which the student wants to apply, and sufficient for CPA requirements.

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Tuition arrangements while on internship

The Graduate Studies Office has approved the possibility of tuition reduction while on the year-long internship. You may choose to apply for a change to part-time status for the duration of the internship, but you need to consider the following implications of part-time status while on internship:

1. If you hold an Ontario Student Loan or Canada Student Loan, you will not be able to maintain interest-free status.

2. During the internship, you cannot be a recipient of a UW or external award requiring full-time status.

If the foregoing restrictions are unacceptable, you can alternatively choose to enroll for the usual full-time status while on internship. In either case, you will need to inform the Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies, which option you would like to pursue.

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Professional liability insurance while on internship

The University of Waterloo’s general liability insurance does not provide coverage for a paid year-long internship.  Typically, your internship will require you to obtain your own professional liability insurance.  This personal insurance, sponsored by the Canadian Psychological Association, is available through BMS Group Inc.

Clinical Graduate Program Requirements
Year Requirement
Year 1 - MA

Psych 632

Psych 716

Psych 717

Psych 718

Psych 719

Breadth-requirement course (may be deferred to second year)

Psych 621: Advanced Clinical Research Forum I (F&W)

Practicums Fall & Winter: Psych 720 A&B, Psych 721 A&B

Practicum Spring: PSYCH 722C - 4-month fieldwork practicum
Year 2 - MA

Psych 725

A second statistics course (fall or winter)

Breadth-requirement course (fall or winter)

Psych 621: Advanced Clinical Research Forum II (F&W)

Practicum 726A (Fall) or Psych 726B (Spring) – only 1 is required

Optional Elective: Psych 738A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II (requires approval)

Year 3 - PhD

Psych 723

Psych 727 (only offered every 2 years, so take in either Year 3 or Year 4)

Psych 728

Breadth-requirement course (in Year 2 for some students)

Psych 621: Advanced Clinical Research Forum III (F&W)

Psych 729A, B, C

Psych 730A, B, C

Optional external practicum in Spring or Summer: Psych 738C or 739C (requires approval)

Year 4 - PhD

Psych 724

Psych 727 (only offered every 2 years, so take in either Year 3 or Year 4)

Psych 731

Unfulfilled breadth requirement (if any remains)

Psych 621: Advanced Clinical Research Forum IV (F&W)

Clinical Practicums:

Psych 732A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring)

Psych 733A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring)

Elective: Psych 738A, B, C, or 739A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II or III (requires approval)

Year 5 - PhD

Clinical Practicums:

Psych 734A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring; required of all students)

Psych 735A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring)

Psych 736A, B, & C (fall, winter, & spring)

Elective: Psych 738A, B, C, or 739A, B, C (fall, winter, spring; terms to be arranged): Clinical Fieldwork Placement II or III (requires approval)

Elective: Psych 740A, B, C, or Psych 741A, B, C, or Psych 742A, B, C: Senior Practicum I, II, or III (requires approval)

Year 6 - PhD

Full-year Predoctoral Residency/Internship

 

Academic Integrity Workshop

 

Thesis

 

Apply to graduate in Quest

Statistics Requirement: at least 1 of PSYCH 630 or PSYCH 632 (or credit granted for evidence of a strong undergraduate statistics background) plus one additional statistics course. The additional course may be the remaining core statistics course or a different statistics course such as PSYCH 800 or 801. Statistics courses fulfilling the requirement must be taken for a numerical grade.

All Clinical students must take PSYCH 632: Multiple Regression.

Breadth Requirement: 4 one-term courses outside their area, from at least 2 different areas and no more than 2 courses from the same area. Extra departmental courses as well as transfer credits from other universities may be considered (usually no more than 2 one-term credits are granted toward the breadth requirement from this source). Students are encouraged to take a psychopharmacology course such as HSG 671. A 3rd and even 4th statistics course counts. Breadth courses may be taken for credit.

CPA Breadth Requirement: There are three CPA breadth requirements to which clinical students need to attend: (1) Biological bases of behaviour, (2) Cognitive-affective bases of behaviour, and (3) Social bases of behaviour.  Each of these requirements can be fulfilled either with one suitable graduate course, or with two suitable senior undergraduate courses. Any graduate course offered by the Cognitive Neuroscience area will satisfy the Biological bases of behaviour requirement, any graduate course offered by the Cognitive area will satisfy the Cognitive-affective bases of behaviour requirement, and any course offered by the Social area will satisfy the Social bases of behaviour requirement. Other courses will be considered for satisfaction of either of these requirements in response to a petition from a student.  Decisions about the suitability of a course will be made by the DCT, in consultation with the clinical faculty.  (Note that a course may count for both a CPA breadth requirement and a departmental breadth requirement, so long as it fits both criteria.)

Students wishing to receive credit for CPA breadth based on senior undergraduate courses need to submit a petition to the DCT, providing a brief justification and a copy of the syllabus for each course.  As an example, at the University of Waterloo the combination of Psych 253: Social Psychology and Psych 395: Research in Social Psychology would satisfy the Social bases of behaviour requirement.  Such petitions must be approved by the DCT, in consultation with the clinical faculty.   

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Last updated: June 24, 2019