School of Psychology & Counseling

Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) - FAQ

  1. What is a Psy.D?
  2. Do I need to have a master's degree to be a good candidate for the Psy.D. program?
  3. If I have an M.A. in Counseling, may I skip some the coursework and shorten the program?
  4. May I transfer credits from a master's program into the Psy.D. degree?
  5. Is the GRE required if I already have a master's degree or am enrolled in a master's program?
  6. Am I required to attend full time, or may I go at my own pace?
  7. How many hours do you recommend a Psy.D. student work per week?
  8. I didn't major in psychology at the undergraduate level, what do I need to do to make up for this?
  9. How many applicants do you have each year, and how many applicants are admitted?
  10. What is the average age of the students?
  11. What is the path for licensure for graduates from your program?
  12. What types of clinical or practica training experiences do students gain in your program?
  13. What are some of the career options for graduates of your program?

1. What is a Psy.D?

The Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) is a professional degree designed to be responsive to society's need for Christian psychologists functioning in a variety of leadership roles. The Psy.D. program at Regent is housed in the School of Psychology & Counseling. The school also is a home for separate graduate training programs in counseling. The Psy.D. program shares with these neighboring counseling programs a commitment to promotion of well-being and the alleviation of suffering. Yet it does so from the unique professional and scientific identity of clinical psychology. The mission of the Regent Psy.D. program is encapsulated in the five statements below. We strive to:

  • Teach and evaluate students in the practitioner-scholar model of clinical psychology so that they will be capable of leadership in a variety of settings.
  • Educate students in accordance with the Christian faith.
  • Mentor professional development that balances the spiritual, personal, relational and intellectual components of life.
  • Facilitate the integration of Christian perspectives with scientifically-based clinical procedures.
  • Train students in service-oriented clinical modalities that include an emphasis on underserved individuals, families and communities.

A core faculty of psychologists are responsible for the administration and operation of the program. The program combines scholarship with intensive practitioner training that prepares graduates to provide scientifically informed servant leadership in their communities of practice. The Psy.D. program is a five-year full-time course of study consisting of 126 semester hours beyond the bachelor's degree. In some cases, students entering at the master's level are able to complete the coursework in three years with an additional year of internship for a total of four years. The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology is designed to provide students with a general and broad training in psychological practice. Students also have opportunities to pursue elective concentrations in specialty areas such as clinical child psychology, marriage and family therapy, health psychology and consulting psychology. The program has an integrative approach: integration of clinical work and coursework, integration of faith and practice, and integration of multicultural, ethical and diversity issues in both didactics and practice. The program culminates in a 2,000-hour internship and the dissertation project.

Admission into the Psy.D. program is limited to fall semester, due to carefully planned fixed-course progression and clinical training sequence.

As an APA-accredited Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, the Regent Psy.D. is designed to fulfill the typical training program requirements for licensure as a psychologist in the various U.S. and Canadian jurisdictions.

2. Do I need to have a master's degree to be a good candidate for the Psy.D. program?

Actually, most of the students enrolled in the Psy.D. program do not hold graduate degrees. The admission requirement is a completed four-year bachelor's degree from a post-secondary institution with state and regional accreditation (only the Ph.D. in Counselor Education & Supervision requires a completed master's degree).

3. If I have an M.A. in Counseling, may I skip some the coursework and shorten the program?

While a student with a master's in a mental health field (clinical or counseling psychology, counseling, social work) may generally be able to get the equivalent of about one year of credits waived, we recommend against shortening the duration of the program. For instance, the clinical training sequence is required for all students regardless of prior training. That sequence is set up over five years and to shorten the program requires that the third and fourth year of clinical training activities be done concurrently, which is not ideal. A better option is for students to take the five years to complete the program but to take lighter semesters or pursue more elective work. This will enhance their training experience. All students who do not already hold a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology earn the master's as part of their doctoral training sequence. The other issue to remember is that if your master's is not in clinical psychology, your training at Regent will be also aimed at helping you to reorient to a clinical psychology perspective on courses that you have already completed in a related discipline.

4. May I transfer credits from a master's program into the Psy.D. degree?

Our policy regarding transfer of credits is that an accepted student can transfer up to 25 percent of our program's credit hours as long as the credits have not been used to complete a degree and are at least 75 percent similar with our courses. 

Some courses from a completed degree can be used to "waive" certain ones in our program. Courses that are not transferable or that cannot be waived would be any type of clinically-focused course (practicum, therapeutic skills, etc.) and some required program didactic courses.

5. Is the GRE required if I already have a master's degree or am enrolled in a master's program?

Yes, we cannot waive the GRE requirement under any circumstances for our doctoral programs.

6. Am I required to attend full time, or may I go at my own pace?

Regent's Psy.D. program is set up in a cohort model and requires that you attend full time in a fixed-course progression. During the fall and spring terms, the course load is 12 credits hours, and in the summer term the course load is nine credit hours. Therefore, you would be enrolled in classes year round for four years with a full-time internship the fifth and final year.

7. How many hours do you recommend a Psy.D. student work per week?

Due to the number of hours you will be spending in and out of class studying, we suggest you work no more than 20 hours per week. There are a number of part-time graduate assistant positions available every semester at the university that allow for flexible schedules.

8. I didn't major in psychology at the undergraduate level, what do I need to do to make up for this?

If you did not major or at least minor in psychology at the undergraduate level it is very likely that you will need to make up about 18 credit hours of coursework in the field of psychology. Our admission requirements are at least 18 credit hours in undergraduate psychology; recommended courses include: Intro to Psychology, Research Methods/ Statistics, Personality Theory, Human Development, Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Test and Measurements, Social Psychology and Physiological Psychology.

9. How many applicants do you have each year, and how many applicants are admitted?

Every year we admit and enroll 23 students into the new cohort from a group of about 100 applications.

10. What is the average age of the students?

The average age of the entering class of Psy.D. students is 26.

11. What is the path for licensure for graduates from your program?

Licensure is different in each state. However, the general standard for licensure is completion of a doctorate, including the full-time fifth year internship, a year of residency, and state and national licensure exams, which are taken after graduating with the doctorate. Residency can vary widely in different states. Students should examine the requirements for licensure in the state or states they would like to practice in the future.

12. What types of clinical or practica training experiences do students gain in your program?

Please refer to the Psy.D. Clinical Training Handbook (PDF) for a detailed overview of the types of experiences gained during the five-year program.

13. What are some of the career options for graduates of your program?

Typically, clinical psychologists work in one of five settings after graduation: colleges and universities as professors; mental health centers as administrators, conducting assessment, diagnosis and treatment (psychotherapy); medical hospitals as a consultant or liaison to medical professionals, as well as perform similar duties to those at mental health centers; psychiatric hospitals and in private practice. A survey conducted by Norcross, Krag and Prochaska (1997) found that 15 percent of clinical psychologists were employed in academic settings, 30 percent in hospitals or clinics and 40 percent in private practice.

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