Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of British Columbia
The program's broad mission is to advance clinical science. We view "clinical science" as composed of research efforts and practice directed toward: (a) the promotion of adaptive functioning, (b) assessment, understanding, amelioration, and prevention of human problems in behaviour, affect, cognition or health, and (c) the application of knowledge in ways consistent with scientific evidence. The program's emphasis on the term science underscores its commitment to empirical approaches to evaluating the validity and utility of testable hypotheses and to advancing knowledge and practice by this method.
The Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at UBC is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. If you are interested in more information about our accreditation status, speak with the Director of Clinical Training (Charlotte Johnston) or contact:
Note that the American Psychological Association will stop accreditation for any program in Canada as of September 1, 2015, after which the Canadian Psychological Association will be the sole accrediting body for Canada-based clinical psychology programs. This includes our program. As of 2012, CPA and APA signed the First Street Accord which is a mutual recognition agreement on accreditation. It demonstrates that the APA views the accreditation standards and principles of the CPA as equivalent to the Commission on Accreditation guidelines and principles. The statement is available at: http://www.cpa.ca/docs/file/Signed_CPA-APA_Accord_2012.pdf.
This webpage presents an overview of important information about the clinical program. To fully understand the doctoral program in clinical psychology at UBC, please read the material in all the links on this page, especially the Graduate Student Handbook.
PROGRAM PHILOSOPHY AND GOALS
The program’s goals and objectives relate to the pursuit of the program's mission, described at the outset of this website. The program is designed to assist students acquire the knowledge base and skills set outlined in the objectives below.
Goal 2: Contribute to the knowledge base in domains that enhance clinical psychological science, including potential interdisciplinary collaboration.
Goal 3: Develop competence in knowledge and skills required for functioning in academic and/or clinical settings including a lifelong commitment to clinical science.
The clinical program receives approximately 130 applications each year and typically makes offers of admission to 4 to 7 students each year. The program encourages applications from qualified students from a diverse range of backgrounds and refrains from systematically excluding students on the basis of personal factors not relevant to probability of success in graduate school, including race, ethnic origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, or physical disability.
Please see Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data for information on the applicant pool and incoming class for the doctoral program in clinical psychology over the past 5 years as well as other important information about our students and program.
Admission to the Clinical program is highly competitive; preference is given to applicants who have demonstrated interest in the scientific basis of clinical psychology as well as practice. All students must complete an empirically-based master's thesis prior to being accepted into the Ph.D. program. Students who plan to terminate their studies at the master's level are not accepted into the clinical training program, and the master's program is not designed to prepare graduates for independent practice. Applicants with master's degrees in non-clinical specialty areas and/or from other universities are not automatically admitted to the clinical Ph.D. program. Equivalence of degrees is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Being the recipient of a fellowship substantially increases an applicant's chances to be admitted. Application deadlines for fellowships are between September and December of the preceding year. Agencies that should be considered by clinical applicants are SSHRC, CIHR, and NSERC as well as various provincial and specialty agencies (like the Cancer Society or Heart Foundation). Foreign students are eligible for university-based fellowships, and in some cases Commonwealth Fellowships or Government of Canada Awards; applications for the latter two must be made through the applicant's native country
In compliance with British Columbia's Criminal Records Review Act, students in the Clinical program must pass a criminal records check before admission and every 5 years thereafter. The Criminal Records Review Act is designed to help protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse or exploitation. Offers of admission to the Clinical program are contingent upon applicants consenting to and passing the criminal records check, which covers offences deemed relevant for those working with children and vulnerable adults. For information about which sections of the Criminal Code are designated as relevant offences, consult the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Applicants will receive detailed information about the criminal records check at the time of conditional admission.
Even though the Master's degree program is intended to be the first part of a joint M.A./Ph.D. sequence, students nonetheless must successfully complete the M.A. degree requirements (including an empirical thesis) prior to formal acceptance into the Ph.D. program. The general objectives of the M.A./Ph.D. program are (a) to provide intensive coverage of the knowledge base of psychopathology, assessment, and therapy, (b) the acquisition of clinical skills in assessment, therapy, and ethics, and (c) coverage of the broad field of psychology through courses in experimental design and statistics and the nonclinical areas of psychology. To accomplish these objectives, the plan of study includes a series of clinical and nonclinical courses and practica supervised by professional psychologists in university and community agencies. For 2 years, students carry out clinical work under the direct supervision of department clinical faculty. As they progress through the program, students are given opportunities to specialize in their area(s) of interest.
To satisfy accreditation requirements, graduate students in clinical psychology take a required curriculum that is designed to provide them with a breadth of knowledge in the science and practice of clinical psychology. The clinical program is a carefully integrated combination of training in science-based knowledge, ethics, and clinical skills. The courses are designed to build upon one another and must be taken as a unit; they may not be taken in isolation. All practical courses involve direct contact with clients or confidential client information. Faculty supervisors of these clinical courses are legally and ethically responsible for the work of the students under their supervision. For these reasons, courses involving diagnosis, assessment, treatment, and clinical ethics are restricted to those students who are enrolled in the complete clinical training program.
The UBC Psychology Clinic serves many of the Clinical Program's training and research needs. The Clinic operates throughout the year, providing assessment and psychotherapy services to members of the community. Several practicum teams function within the Clinic, allowing students to gain experience with diverse treatment issues and modalities of intervention. The Clinic also supports interaction with members of the professional community, hosting a variety of speakers and promoting clinical workshops. The Clinic provides training in cognitive-behavioural, motivational, and interpersonal therapy to treat addictive and impulse control disorders, anxiety disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, behaviour problems of childhood (e.g., bedwetting, school refusal), eating disorders, interpersonal problems, mood disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, perfectionism, psychophysiological disorders (e.g., headache, hypertension), and somatoform disorders.See the detailed description of the Clinical Program Requirements and Clinical Courses for the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees for the clinical program. Also consult the departmental guidelines in the Graduate Student Handbook.
Several courses in other departments on campus are of potential interest to clinical students. Students are encouraged to incorporate these courses into their programs of study where relevant and feasible. Program evaluation is an especially important tool. In addition to presentations on this topic offered within the program, graduate courses on this topic are available in Educational Psychology (Theory and Practice of Program Evaluation; EPSE 591) and in Health Care & Epidemiology (Health Services Research I: Evaluative Research; HCEP 540). HCEP also offers an advanced program evaluation course called Outcome Evaluation: Health Technology Assessment for Population Health Policy (HCEP 543) for those who want to seek specialized training. A course on supervision methods is available in Counseling Psychology (Supervision of Counseling Practice; CNPS 688). The College of Health Disciplines (of which our program is a member) offers interesting courses that may be of interest to clinical students.
UBC Psychology Clinic
Students will be assigned to a practicum team (PSYC 534) during their 2nd and 3rd years in the program. Each team usually consists of approximately 2 students who are supervised by a clinical faculty member, and students typically begin to see clients early in the course of the first practicum. Students are assigned to a new team for the second year of practicum. The aim is to provide students with a broad range of therapy experience (e.g., children, adults) to establish a foundation of clinical skills from which they can proceed with community-based practica and internship. Clinical Case Conferences also provide students with the opportunity to prepare and deliver case presentations concerning their ongoing clinical caseload.
Students are required to
do a community-based practicum fulltime during the summer after the 2nd or
3rd year of the program or parttime during the 4th academic year.
This practicum consists of a placement lasting at least 450 hours
(3 months or part-time equivalent) in an agency where the student is
supervised by registered Ph.D. psychologists. The sites of the
practica vary from year to year, as placement is dependent on funding,
the availability of supervisors, and student interests. Examples of
recent local practicum sites include:
Some students have chosen to go away for a summer practicum at sites such as Summit Psychology Group in Nelson, BC, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, or the Summer Treatment Program at Florida International University.
In addition to the required practicum, students typically engage in other community-based practica to round out their clinical skills in preparation for internship. Students are encouraged to assess their developing competencies using the Competencies Assessment form and discuss with their faculty advisor. Faculty advisors, in conjunction with the Clinic Director (who serves as a liaison between our program and the community-based practicum sites), make recommendations for practicum sites that fit the program's goals and training standards as well as the student's goals and developmental training needs. Students must obtain written approval for practicum placements well in advance of when they would like to begin the practicum. Most sites have a competitive process for selecting trainees and cannot accommodate late applications.
For both the required practicum and elective practica, students are advised to begin checking into the availability of practica for the upcoming summer in October or November. A Practicum/Internship night is held each year to facilitate an exchange of information between students and local agencies, and potential practicum students are strongly encouraged to attend.
One of the requirements for the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is a year-long internship completed. This is to be completed at a health or mental health agency accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association or the American Psychological Association. Students must be approved by the clinical program as ready for internship before they are eligible to apply. In addition to completing all required courses, the history requirement, and all data collection for their dissertation, students must also demonstrate broad-based competencies in relation to program objectives for clinical, professional, and scientific knowledge and skills. Students can obtain more information regarding these competencies by examining the Competencies Assessment Form and discussing with their faculty advisor or the Director of the Clinical Training Program (Charlotte Johnston). More information about practica and internships can be found in the Practica and Internships Policies and Procedures Handbook.
Students in our program have recently been placed in the following internships:
Alberta Health Services: Calgary Clinical Psychology Residency program
• University of Mississippi Medical Center/VA Medical Center Residency Consortium
• St. Joseph Healthcare Hamilton Clinical Psychology Residency Program
• Vancouver General Hospital/Vancouver Coastal Health Clinical Psychology Residency program
• London Clinical Psychology Residency Consortium
• University of Manitoba
• Michael E. DeBakery Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Houston, Texas)
• Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
• The Ottawa Hospital
The Clinical program employs an "apprenticeship" approach to research training. Each student is selected for his/her compatibility of research interests with a faculty member. The major theoretical perspectives represented in faculty interests are behavioural, cognitive, social learning, interpersonal and psychophysiological.
The student will work closely with that particular faculty member throughout his or her graduate program on faculty and/or student research projects. The system is designed to expose students to clinical research early in their graduate training and to equip them with the necessary research skills for conducting the Master's thesis and developing a program of research. The M.A. thesis should be completed by the spring of the second year. All research conducted at UBC must be approved by the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board.
In addition to the apprenticeship training, a firm academic background in clinical research design and methodology will be made available in first year coursework including Clinical Research Design and Advanced Statistics. Students orally present the results of their first research efforts (typically the MA thesis) at a departmental mini-conference (known as PsychFest), which usually occurs during the first week of May.
It is quite possible that students' research interests may change through the course of their graduate training. If students would like to switch research advisors or become involved in additional research with other faculty members, they should discuss this with all parties concerned. Students are also encouraged to explore the possibility of collaboration with faculty in other areas of the Department who may have interests that overlap with the students' areas of interest.
To provide a sense of research in the clinical program, below are some examples of titles of recent graduates’ dissertation titles:
Several avenues are available to assist students in resolving disputes or appealing evaluations of their academic status. As a first step, students are generally advised to attempt to work out any difficulties that may arise during the course of their graduate training with the relevant individual(s). The Director of Clinical Training (Charlotte Johnston) can also be helpful in resolving problems in most cases. In the event that a solution to the problem cannot be worked out informally, there is a formal hierarchy in place to handle these issues.
Information about student evaluation and appeals processes can be found in the following places: Clinical program website, UBC Department of Psychology Graduate Student Handbook (section on Organization of the Graduate Program); UBC Graduate Calendar (section on Academic Regulations); and the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedure Manual. Students may also consult the Director of the Graduate Program (Geoff Hall) or the Graduate Student Society Advocacy Office.
An overview of various appeal procedures can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook, in the UBC Calendar, or in the UBC Faculty of Graduate Studies Handbook of Graduate Supervision.
A variety of academic and personal assistance and support is available on campus for graduate students, including Disability Services, Student Health, the Equity Office, and the Office of Access and Diversity. Related to financial matters, check out the departmental information as well as university information on financial assistance.
Lynn Alden (Professor), Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana, 1975
Colleen Brenner (Assistant Professor), Ph.D. Indiana University, 2006
Boris Gorzalka (Professor), Ph.D. University of California, 1974
Paul Hewitt (Professor), Ph.D. University of Saskatchewan, 1988
Charlotte Johnston (Professor and Director of Clinical Training), Ph.D. Florida State University, 1987
David Klonsky (Associate Professor), Ph.D. University of Virginia, 2005
Brandy McGee (Director, Psychology Clinic), Ph.D. University of British Columbia, 2007
Amori Mikami (Associate Professor), Ph.D., University of California – Berkeley, 2004
Wolfgang Linden (Professor), Ph.D. McGill University, 1981
Sheila Woody (Professor), Ph.D. American University, 1992
Kenneth Craig (Professor Emeritus), Ph.D. Purdue University, 1964
Stanley (Jack) Rachman (Professor Emeritus), Ph.D. University of London, 1961
Student Office Space
In the clinical area, we have several dedicated rooms for students with assigned desk space. All first year students, as well as those students indicating they anticipate using their desk more than 10 hours a week, are assigned desk space. We are only able to guarantee assigned desk space to students through the fourth year of the PhD (typically this would be six years of graduate study). As student offices are managed by the areas (e.g., clinical, developmental), clinical students whose research advisor is not a primary member of the clinical area are counted in their advisor’s area for the purposes of student space.
In addition to the student office space, there is one room dedicated for TA activities (e.g., meeting with undergraduates) and three other rooms (1003, 1606 and 1703) that students or faculty can reserve for research or study purposes. Room 1703 is equipped with video recording equipment. As lab space is limited, students should not use lab space for TA activities unless their research advisor has given explicit permission. The booking system for TA and research rooms is online. For information about how to reserve rooms, contact the Clinic Assistant for the website and password information.
Please also note: The T.A. room can be booked by up to two students at once. The research rooms cannot be double-booked. The research rooms may only be booked by a single individual for a maximum of 2 full days per week. If you would like to request additional time in the research room (and time appears to be available), please email Charlotte Johnston for permission. Please also contact Charlotte if you have difficulties finding available time to use the room; she may be able to make arrangements for sharing the space. Please leave the research rooms unlocked when not in use (except for 1703 which is locked at all times). Leave these rooms as you found them – think of them like a hotel.UBC Psychology Clinic
Located on the ground floor of the Kenny Building, the Psychology Clinic is a teaching and research clinic that provides clinical training for clinical graduate students and research opportunities for students and faculty. The clinic provides services to members of the public as well as UBC staff and students. The clinic includes a secretary’s office; waiting area; therapy rooms equipped with observation windows, audio and video systems, observation galleries, a classroom, and a testing materials library.Kenny Building
The Psychology Department is housed primarily in the Kenny building. Some relevant features of the building:
Secretarial and administrative support services in the Main Office (Room 2509) is allocated for faculty members only. Because of secretarial work load and time constraints, these services do not extend to graduate students or research assistants. Front office staff will not perform the following activities for students or assistants: getting or delivering mail, taking or delivering messages (phone, oral, or written), getting or delivering supplies, running errands, typing, photocopying, allowing the secretarial phones to be used, or sending or receiving personal faxes. If a graduate student or research assistant is working on a project with a faculty member, any services to be performed for such a project should be submitted through the faculty member.
Photocopying: The photocopy machines are located across the hall from the Main Office in Room 2506. You can obtain an access code from the Main Office Receptionist, and then charge it to your thesis account. Master's students are allowed $25.00 by the Department for their thesis, and Ph.D. candidates are allowed $50.00 for their dissertation. Additional charges are billed at the end of each term.
Mailboxes: Snail mail can be picked up in the mail room (Room 2506) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Mailboxes are organized in alphabetical order according to students' last names. If you have something to mail, letters with stamps already affixed can be left in the "out box" in Rosemarie's office but your mail may be processed faster if you use mailboxes and postal outlets.
Audio/visual equipment: Speak to the staff in the Main Office about reserving audio or visual equipment for teaching and research (e.g., projectors, screens, tape recorders). The Psychology Clinic also has a projector and laptop that clinical students can use for presentations in the building; speak to the clinic assistant if you would like to use this equipment.
Suedfeld Lounge: The lounge is a meeting spot for faculty and graduate students. There is a fridge and a microwave. Warm your lunch in the microwave, and stay for a social break. The lounge is also the site for regular colloquia (Thursdays, 4 p.m.) with interesting speakers from all over the world.
Clinical program Governance
The clinical faculty share joint responsibility for program policies and procedures, graduate admissions, student progress reviews and administration of the Psychology Clinic. The Director of Clinical Training (Charolotte Johnston) leads the faculty in administering the program. Clinical faculty meetings are held throughout the year to discuss various issues associated with the program. Clinical graduate students elect 2-3 students to serve as student representatives at these meetings. For 2013-2014, these representatives were Alexis May, Karen Auyeung, and Morag Yule. These students attend area meetings and serve as a liaison between the clinical faculty and students. Student representation also occurs on various ad hoc area committees, and, at the departmental level, by the Graduate Student Council.
In the spring of every year, students complete an annual review of their progress toward the degree and their developing competencies. Forms for the review can be found on the department website; a current c.v. should be attached to the annual review of progress. Students complete the written review, including the departmental Student Progress Report, Competencies Assessment Form, and CV. They discuss these documents with their supervisor, and then submit them to the Director of Clinical Training. The clinical faculty and the department faculty then meet to discuss these progress reviews and draft feedback letters to students. Students receive a written evaluation of this annual progress review.
When students apply for admission to the PhD program, typically in the spring of their second year of the MA program, the clinical program conducts a formal review of the student's progress and determine whether to admit the student for doctoral studies. Although most students do proceed smoothly from the MA program to the PhD, admission to the PhD program is not automatic upon completion of the MA.
Review of an individual student's progress may also occur whenever requested by any clinical faculty member. Domains of faculty review include student progress toward well-defined academic milestones as well as student development of expected clinical and research competencies and professional behaviour. In addition, faculty review may be triggered by a critical incident. The clinical faculty consider all program requirements to be academic requirements, including performance and professional behaviour in all areas of the program (e.g., class, research, practicum). During a review of student progress related to any of these topics, if problems are noted, the clinical faculty will discuss the student's situation, often gathering additional information, before collaboratively deciding whether remediation is necessary and appropriate.
The student's faculty advisor provides ongoing supervision in all these areas. The advisor and student discuss developing student competencies as well as challenges and problems at least annually, although more typically these conversations happen throughout training as a part of routine guidance involved in student supervision. The student's faculty advisor provides support and suggestions for academic and professional growth. Open lines of communication and mutual respect between students and faculty facilitate this process and protect the rights and needs of each individual. Minor problems that have been resolved by the time of the annual progress review may have no written record, but major problems or persistent minor problems will be noted in the annual progress review.
Competence Problems: Remediation
In cases where competence problems (broadly defined) are identified, the clinical psychology faculty will consider the situation with the input of the student's advisor and recommend a course of action that will be communicated to the student orally and in writing. Such courses of action can range from requiring remedial work to formal termination from the program. A formal remediation plan will specifically outline requirements and a timeline for successful completion. Inability to resolve and complete the remediation plan satisfactorily will be followed by counseling toward voluntary withdrawal from the program or formal termination.
Formal remediation plans involve the following steps:
Remediation plans could include:
Competence Problems: Termination from the program
The Clinical program, the Psychology Department, and the Faculty of Graduate Studies have a multitude of reasons for terminating a student from the program. Examples include (but are not limited to):
Procedures for termination from the program:
Termination (i.e., involuntary withdrawal from the program without completion of the degree) may be initiated by the student's advisor or the clinical program by making a recommendation to the Department's Graduate Student Progress Committee. The Graduate Student Progress Committee may also initiate termination of its own accord. In all cases, termination of a student is made by a formal decision of the Department upon the recommendation of the Graduate Student Progress Committee. Such department decisions are then communicated to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for their deliberation and action. Termination may be instigated and enacted solely by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For more information, see the Faculty of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures.
Note: Students must demonstrate satisfactory performance during the MA to be recommended for admission to the PhD program. Most students who are not recommended for admission to the PhD program do complete their MA satisfactorily, so this is not considered termination from the program although it does mean completion of the MA represents the conclusion of the student's involvement with the clinical program.
Liability insurance is recommended for all clinical students engaged in provision of clinical services (including in-house and community-based practicum settings). This is available through the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) as a student member. See Dr. Brandy McGee for membership application forms and to discuss the pros and cons of having your own insurance. The University has declared it will cover legal costs for clinical students while they are taking clinical courses and engaging in supervised practica that are a component of the degree. However, the clinical area faculty judge the situation to involve sufficient “grey” areas to make students' independent liability insurance worth considering. Students should be aware that any practicum activities that are not approved by the program may not be covered by the university's liability insurance.
Don't wait for the professor to whom you are assigned to contact you. Track him or her down and get the specifics about what you are expected to do, such as marking papers or exams, or giving guest lectures. If the course to which you are assigned doesn’t have a final exam you will be assigned invigilation duties for another course.
Transportation to Campus
Students participate in a mandatory bus pass program through the Alma Mater Society. Fees are included in annual student fees, regardless of whether you use public transportation. The bus system to campus is pretty good, and you can find out info about bus lines all over the city at TransLink. If you prefer to drive, parking permits are available on a flexible basis, with many options for payment depending on how often you bring your car to campus. Check out the options at UBC Parking & Access Control. Note: If you park illegally on or near campus, expect to get a ticket. (If you accumulate three or four tickets, you are likely to find your car has been towed away.) UBC campus regulations prohibit traffic along certain roads. Vehicles found travelling in these areas are subject to an immediate fine.