Clinical Science Program

Vision

The Clinical Science area is recognized as an elite program in the integration of science and practice through commitment to research, undergraduate education, and graduate training. We value rigorous scientific methods across multiple domains (e.g., biological, behavior, social, affective, cognitive) and using innovative technologies. We use scientifically informed methods to enhance mental and physical health, well-being, and healthy decisions through the interplay of research, application, and implementation across diverse and underserved populations.

Mission

Our program's mission is to advance clinical science. Clinical science is defined as a set of processes and methods directed at the promotion of adaptive functioning; at the prevention, assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems in behavior, affect, social relations, cognition or health; and at the application of knowledge in ways consistent with scientific evidence. Our 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 by this method. We seek to develop individuals who are committed to being productive leaders in careers in basic, applied, and translational research, and in evidence-based approaches to prevention, practice, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation. Our program is most suited to students who are interested in pursuing science-, research-, academic-, or training-related careers. Students whose primary interest and career goal is solely the direct practice of psychology would likely be more satisfied in a different training program.

Goal

Our program's goal is to produce graduates who are competent, productive, and successful at (a) conducting research relevant to the prevention, assessment, understanding, and treatment of health and mental-health disorders; and/or (b) using science methods and evidence to design, develop, deliver, evaluate, supervise, disseminate, and implement evidence-based prevention strategies, assessments, and interventions. Based on our program's model and a commitment to knowledge and competencies that are expected and measurable, we have set explicit degree, course, research, and practice competencies and milestones for students as they progress through the program. These competencies and milestones are part of the annual Student Activities Report (SAR) that serves as the basis for evaluating students' performance.

Clinics

Graduate students in the Clinical Science program complete their clinical training in a number of on-site clinics/centers, as well as through externships and a pre-doctoral clinical internship. The Department of Psychology offers on-site clinical training and services to the community through the Psychological Services Center (PSC), the Child Study Center (CSC), and the VT Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research (VTAC/CAR), including its Mobile Autism Clinic (MAC).

Commitment

Our program's commitment is to provide the highest standards in the education and training of clinical scientists. To ensure this we are actively committed to accreditation by and membership in national organizations that promulgate, evaluate, and recognize the quality and advancement of graduate education in clinical psychology. We are currently accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), and a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS), the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) and the Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Training Council (CCaPPTC).

Recognition

Our Clinical Science Ph.D. program is one of 39 elite programs accredited by PCSAS. A member of the prestigious CCaPPTC. Selected as Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 2017 Outstanding Training Program

Manual and Brochure

For detailed information about the Clinical Science program area, view our CS Brochure and the CS Manual. Questions can be directed to the Director of Clinical Training, Dr. Angela Scarpa, at ascarpa@vt.edu.

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