Program Philosophy

The clinical program at Miami University integrates science and practice, following the scientist-practitioner Boulder Model of training. At each level of the curriculum, clinical and research training competencies are established via close supervision and monitoring by faculty. The program’s main focus is to produce graduates who are “capable of functioning as an investigator and as a practitioner, and may function as either or both, consistent with the highest standards in psychology” (Belar & Perry, 1992, p. 72), a goal consistent with the recommendations of the National Conference on Scientist-Practitioner Education and training for the Professional Practice of Psychology. The program aims to graduate psychologists who will possess advanced knowledge in psychology and human behavior and become leaders in our dynamic profession.

The clinical program provides a systematic, developmentally-sequenced, and individualized program of training that is graded in complexity. The program admits students for the doctorate program only; there is no terminal master’s degree offered, although it is included in the sequence of training. The program is designed such that training consists of five or six years of full-time training followed by a full-time, one-year predoctoral clinical internship. Students entering the program with prior graduate training may accelerate their training if the faculty approves the adequacy of specific program requirements. Prior to internship, all clinical and academic training is completed. Students are required to have their dissertation proposals approved prior to applying for internship, and are encouraged to have data collected and analyzed before leaving for internship. Throughout the curriculum, students are assessed for developmentally-appropriate competencies within the areas of science and practice. Progress through the clinical program is associated with three phases marked by sequenced, developmental clinical training experiences and completion of specific research milestones: master’s thesis, comprehensive examination, and dissertation.

The clinical training model has at its core general goals that support the scientist-practitioner model and fundamental competencies, while simultaneously allowing students to develop individualized specialties in areas of interest that are broadly reflective of the faculty areas of strength. These three basic goals include: 1) Advancing the science of psychology through original research scholarship; 2) Promoting mental health/well-being through application of knowledge and theories of scientific assessment, intervention and evaluation; and 3) Developing leaders in the field of psychology with advanced foundational knowledge in human behavior and specialized expertise relevant to a dynamic profession. Each of these goals is delineated with specific objectives, competencies and skills. Objectives are met through completion of the core clinical training experiences; multiple objectives can be met via a single training component. It should be noted that we endorse a developmental trajectory of skill acquisition, and as such, we expect competencies to progress and evolve throughout training.

Our program has identified two primary areas of strength upon which we plan to continue building in our recruitment of graduate students and future hiring of new faculty. These areas and their associated faculty are: a) adult psychopathology, trauma, and resilience (Clerkin, Messman-Moore, Smith, Wright) and b) children, families, schools, and communities (Flaspohler, Green, Kiel, Luebbe, Raval, Rubin). In addition, an interest in philosophy, methodology, and epistemology pervades the program.