Clinical Psychology

The PsyD Program at CIIS is unique. Located in the heart of San Francisco, ours was the first accredited university in North America to offer programs that connect the insights of Western psychology with Eastern spirituality. We continue today to present a dynamic clinical psychology curriculum that combines the latest scientific research with the world's great wisdom traditions. We believe that such a synthesis permits deep understanding of the human condition, as well as insight into the most effective ways of helping those in need.

The PsyD Program is carefully designed to prepare students for practice-focused careers in clinical psychology. As a member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP), our practitioner-scholar training model provides broad and general education in clinical psychology that, in addition, integrates depth-psychological, societal, ecological, and spiritual dimensions of human experience into the curriculum.

Full time students who enter the program with Regular Standing (those who enter with a BA) typically take three to four years to complete coursework. This is followed by the internship, which takes one year if it is a full-time internship (about forty hours a week), two years if it is a part-time internship (about twenty hours a week). The dissertation also follows coursework and, while it is possible to complete the dissertation in one year, students typically take two years to complete and write up their research. Realistically, a full time student admitted with Regular standing can expect to complete the degree in five to seven years, depending on their choice of internship and the nature of their dissertation project. Advanced - standing students (those who enter with a Master's degree in Psychology, or the equivalent) have the option of completing the program in four years, with three years of reduced-load coursework and concurrent dissertation work, followed by one year of internship. The majority of Advanced Standing students take four and a half to five years to complete the degree

Our distinctive approach to clinical psychology training is guided by a vision of clinical practice that emphasizes a holistic and relational approach to the human condition. We teach students the value of open inquiry into self and other. At the center of this inquiry is the whole person who exists in relationship with other persons, with communities, with cultural meaning systems, and with nature. We believe that psychological suffering often has to do with the fracturing of these crucial relationships. Consistent with the visionary CIIS mission, we view the educational process itself as holistic and relational, and we aspire to “walk our talk” as a learning community – one that is creative and transformative on both personal and professional levels.

Our course offerings reflect the broad-minded, integrative perspective pioneered at CIIS decades ago. Alan Watts, a leading figure in the transmission of Eastern spirituality to the West, described the American Academy of Asian Studies (which later became CIIS) as “one of the principal roots of what later came to be known, in the early sixties, as the San Francisco Renaissance." During that time, the Bay Area became synonymous with new currents in psychology that continue to transform the field. Like CIIS’s founders, our faculty and students continue to work at psychology’s cutting edge, in its deepest traditions, and toward the project of realizing our most profound human potentials.

CIIS is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WASC-SASC). The PsyD Program is a member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). Graduates of the PsyD program at CIIS are eligible for licensure as psychologists in California and many other states.

The San Francisco Bay Area is at the forefront of change in psychology, especially at CIIS. We welcome you to come visit us and learn more about the CIIS/Bay Area psychology experience.

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