Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Rosemead School of Psychology


Rosemead’s Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology program offers an integrated approach to the study of human behavior by bringing together the Christian faith and study of psychology. Those enrolled in the Ph.D. program are interested in combining clinical work with other psychological competencies, such as teaching and research. Research training in Rosemead's Ph.D. program is strong in selected areas of ongoing faculty research. Thus the Ph.D. is particularly appropriate for students who desire both to develop quality clinical skills and research skills related to clinical practice. The program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1980.

Why Choose the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology?

There are several key advantages to enrolling in Rosemead’s Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, such as:

  • Receive strong training in research and clinical skills to apply to clinical practice, research or teaching.
  • Earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology after the first two years of the Ph.D. program, pending fulfillment of all degree requirements.
  • Learn from distinguished Christian psychologists and philosophers, with a faculty-student ratio of 1:5.
  • Graduate with a minor in theology and biblical studies as you earn your master’s and doctoral degrees.

5-6 years
Standard Duration
This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary by student depending on background and courseload.
Total Program Credits
Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.
Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.

Program Structure for the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Residence and Coursework

Normally, four years of residency are required unless transfer of credit is brought in and advanced standing granted. While the doctorate is not awarded simply for completion of stated coursework, there are basic credit requirements for the degree (133 semester hours). Each student has a faculty advisor who assists in the planning of each semester's schedule of courses and supervises the student's progress in the program. For transfer credit, see General Academic Information.

  • Psychology: Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 79 credits of psychology in addition to a doctoral dissertation. These 79 credits include 53 credits in required courses, 12 credits of practicum that must be taken in residence, 4 credits of master's-level research apprenticeship, and 10 credits of psychology electives. Students may apply up to 6 credits of graduate coursework from the Cook School of Intercultural Studies toward the total psychology elective credit requirement.
  • Psychotherapy Laboratory: Students in the Ph.D. program must complete at least 12 credits selected from psychotherapy lab courses. These are taken during the second, third and fourth years.
  • Theology: All students must complete a minor in theology, which includes a minimum of 18 credits.
  • Integration Seminars: All students participate in a series of seminars (12 credits) devoted to the integration of a variety of theological and psychological concepts in research, theory and practice.
  • Dissertation Research: There are 12 credits of dissertation research required prior to granting the Ph.D.

Progress Evaluations

All students have an oral interview with a faculty committee to evaluate their progress and potential for successful completion of the doctoral program. This interview is scheduled after the completion of three semesters in residence, including at least one practicum assignment. The results of this interview are reported to the faculty, which votes on the following:

  1. Allowing the student to continue
  2. Allowing the student to continue studies with conditions
  3. Not allowing the student to continue in the doctoral program

Comprehensive Examinations

All students must pass a set of doctoral-level comprehensive examinations covering the following areas:

  1. Psychological assessment and intervention
  2. Integration of psychology and theology
  3. Ethics

These examinations are scheduled annually and serve as the major means of evaluating a student's suitability to continue studies toward the doctorate. The examinations may be taken after completion of 75 percent (100 credits) of the coursework and completion of the master’s thesis and must be taken prior to the Professional Qualifying Exam.

Only one retake of the examination is allowed. The dates of the Comprehensive Examinations are specified in the Academic Calendar.

Admission to Candidacy

Official candidacy for the doctorate signifies an advanced stage in the student's progress. In order to be admitted to candidacy the student must have:

  • Successfully completed the Second Year Evaluation
  • Passed the Comprehensive Examinations

  • Received approval of dissertation proposal by the Doctoral Committee

  • Completed training therapy

Professional Qualifying Exam

All doctoral students must successfully complete an examination that evaluates the student's readiness for a full-time internship. It may be taken any time after the comprehensive examinations have been passed and must be completed prior to acceptance of an internship. The examining committee may require the student to complete additional coursework, practicum, or other professional growth experiences prior to beginning the internship.


All students are required to successfully complete a one-year, full-time clinical internship prior to graduation. All internships are to be approved in advance by the Clinical Training Committee. For further details, refer to the Internship Guidelines in student handbook.

In addition, all students need to meet with a Graduate Graduation Counselor in the Office of the Registrar to have their internship eligibility confirmed one year prior to their internship. Internship Fees are listed in the Psychology course section (RSTN 731). There is some provision for students to complete this requirement in two years at half-time.


A dissertation evidencing high attainment in original scholarship must be submitted by all Ph.D. candidates. All dissertation units must be accrued prior to internship. Three weeks prior to expected graduation the candidate must submit to the Rosemead dean the original and four copies of the dissertation approved by the dissertation committee and Biola librarian.

Final Oral Examination

The final examination is an oral defense of the dissertation before the doctoral committee and other invited professionals.

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