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Doctor of Psychology

Doctor of Psychology 

The faculty of the Department of Psychology are pleased to announce that our Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Applied Psychology program was approved by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education on November 21, 2014 and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges on June 22, 2015. This program has both a School Psychology specialization and a Clinical Psychology Specialization.  We will be pursuing APA accreditation. This is the 4th applied doctoral program for WKU.

The mission of the program is to train competent doctoral-level practitioner/scholars who have core foundations in interpersonal and scientific skills and mastery of clinical practice and evidence-based interventions, and who can apply their knowledge and skills within a range of settings, including rural and underserved populations.

For more information contact Dr. Rick Grieve (270-745-4417, GRH 3028).

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Applied Psychology focuses on evidence-based practice, and training supervisors, using a cognitive-behavioral orientation. The Psy.D. is an applied practice degree in the behavioral (or mental) health field. The program follows a practitioner/scholar model of training (also known as the Vail model), promoting application of the foundational knowledge of the science of psychology to clinical practice and the development of interpersonal and scientific skills for use in implementing and evaluating practice. 

Upon completion of the internship, graduates will be eligible to apply for licensure as psychologists. The program will require two capstone experiences—a dissertation and a pre-doctoral internship. The dissertation serves to document the student’s mastery of scientific skills while the pre-doctoral internship serves to document the student’s ability to integrate and apply knowledge and skills in community settings and evaluate practices.

Psychologists trained within this practitioner/scholar model program will be qualified to establish careers in the private and public sectors, including clinics, hospitals, community agencies and schools. They may also teach in colleges and universities and provide supervision to master’s level practitioners.

The program is a 48-hour program that will be completed post-master’s degree. It is expected that students will take 6 or 7 credit hours per semester and, thus, take three years to complete the didactic portion. There is also a one-year doctoral internship requirement. The program involves a 27-hour core set of courses and two possible  specializations: Clinical Psychology and School Psychology, each consisting of 21 hours. Students will select one specialization. Read more about specializations here.

The Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology program adheres to the Western Kentucky University Transfer Credit policy as put forth by the Graduate School (see http://catalog.wku.edu/graduate/enrollment/policies/). However, in order to achieve program-specific goals, it is expected that students in the program will complete their Advanced Classes at Western Kentucky University. Because of this, they will be in residence at WKU for three years.

The Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology program is designed to have a low student-faculty ratio so that admitted students can receive close individual mentoring from faculty members. Students will enter the program with a number of different needs and interests. Individual mentoring will allow students to select coursework that best matches their interests and allows them to pursue the career path they want to pursue.


The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Applied Psychology program is currently NOT ACCREDITED by the American Psychological Association (APA). The program is, however, designed to satisfy APA criteria. We are following the steps necessary to achieve accreditation in a timely manner and will apply for accreditation as soon as possible.

Graduation from a non-accredited program may impact eligibility for licensure in the state in which the student intends to practice. All applicants should investigate licensure requirements of the locale in which they intend to practice.  The WKU Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Applied Psychology curriculum does conform to licensure requirements for practicing as a psychologist in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

More information about APA accreditation:

American Psychological Association's Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123
Fax: 202-336-5978
Email: apaaccred@apa.org
Website: http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/

Can I maintain my current employment and complete this doctoral program?

This program will use alternative methods of delivery.  Classes will be offered in the evening and on weekends. For didactic courses the program will take advantage of existing interactive television and Internet tools to offer modes of instruction that help students continue in their work settings. The faculty are versed in technology tools ranging from software used for assessment scoring to presentation software and will naturally use what is appropriate to the particular course. Practica and internship instruction will take place in many locations, supervisor availability permitting. Greater diversity in settings is an advantage for students in this program. As available and with sufficient security for patient privacy, case supervision may also be conducted using videoconferencing via the Internet or interactive television. 

Students who complete the program will be able to:

  1. Function as competent behavioral health practitioners, skilled in developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based practices, particularly for rural and other under-served populations, in their chosen area of concentration.
  2. Provide ethical, competent, and professional supervision of psychological practice in their communities of practice.
  3. Contribute to the practice and scholarship of psychology consistent with the practitioner/scholar model with the capacity to review the scholarly literature, effectively integrate it with practice considerations, and evaluate outcomes.


The objectives of the program are to:

•  Provide training in empirically supported practices for the direct and indirect delivery of behavioral health services in the areas of clinical and school psychology.

•  Meet the demand for doctoral level practitioners in the western region of Kentucky, especially in underserved areas.

• Support the WKU service region through research, outreach, and collaboration for economic development, as well as service to the profession and building the capacity of inhabitants of the region.

• Support the mission of the Psychology Department and the university along with the strategic agenda of the Council on Postsecondary Education.




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 Last Modified 11/13/18