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Vanderbilt University Clinical Psychological Science

View list of Clinical Science Faculty here

 The Clinical Science Program in Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt University subscribes to the clinical scientist model of training, with the primary goal of training clinical scientists. The Clinical Science Program, which is ranked 14th in the country by US News and World Report , is part of the outstanding program in Psychological Sciences at Vanderbilt that includes over 60 faculty spanning two departments (the Department of Psychology and the Department of Psychology and Human Development).

All students complete a core set of required coursework, research, and clinical training. This includes courses in the biological, social, cognitive, and affective bases of behavior; human development; individual differences; research design and statistics; psychopathology; psychological assessment; psychological intervention; and professional ethics.

In addition to these core requirements common to all students, the program has sufficient flexibility to allow students to concentrate their training and to develop specialized expertise in given areas that draw on the strengths of our faculty and the opportunities for research and clinical training. Students can focus their training in the following areas:

  • Psychopathology , including the identification, etiology, treatment, and prevention of psychopathology in children, adolescents and adults. Within psychopathology students can further concentrate their training in any of three areas:
  • Developmental psychopathology , including the identification, etiology, treatment, and prevention of psychopathology in children and adolescents (particularly with respect to mood disorders), and the study of typical and atypical development (particularly with respect to autism and intellectual disabilities). Faculty who are involved in the mentoring of students in this area include Drs. Bachorowski, Cole, Compas, Dykens, Garber, Hollon, Smith, Tomarken, Walker, and Weiss.
  • Adult psychopathology , including the identification, etiology, treatment and prevention of psychopathology in adults including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders, schizophrenia, and psychopathy. Faculty involved in the mentoring of students in this area include Drs. Bachorowski, Compas, Davis, Garber, Hollon, Olatanji, Park, Schlundt, Tomarken, Walker, Weiss, and Zald.
  • Developmental disabilities , including the identification, etiology and treatment of autism, Prader-Willi Syndrome, and Williams Syndrome. Faculty mentors include Drs. Bachorowski and Dykens.
  • Clinical neuroscience , including neuropsychological, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging approaches to studying normal and abnormal behavior. Faculty mentors include Drs. Cole, Compas, Hollon, Olatunji, Park, Tomarken, and Zald.
  • Basic emotional processes , including the biological, cognitive, and interpersonal factors influencing basic emotion-related processes, as well as individual differences in affective traits. Faculty mentors include Drs. Bachorowski, Compas, Dykens, Garber, Hollon, Olatunji, Smith, Tomarken, and Zald.
  • Prevention and intervention , including the development and evaluation of optimal interventions for various psychopathologies, the prevention of diabetes and other biomedical disorders, and the identification of potential etiological or vulnerability markers that are linked to heightened risk for depressive disorders among children and adolescents. Faculty mentors include Drs. Compas, Garber, Hollon, Olatunji, and Weiss.
  • Health psychology , emphasizing a biopsychosocial approach to health and illness throughout the life span, including chronic and recurrent pain, cancer, and eating disorders. Faculty mentors include Drs. Compas, Garber, Olatunji, Schlundt, Smith, and Walker.
  • Quantitative analysis , including the application of advanced statistical techniques to the study of psychopathology and other clinical issues. Faculty mentors include Drs. Cole and Tomarken.


All students take the following courses as part of their core training in clinical science: Advanced Statistics (two semesters), Clinical Research Methods, Psychopathology, Psychological Measurement, Introduction to Psychotherapy, Cognitive Assessment, Psychological Assessment, Ethics and Cultural Diversity, and courses in the fundamental areas of psychological science (biological bases of behavior, cognitive/affective bases of behavior, human development, and individual differences). 

Applicants to Our Program

We typically receive from over 300 applications each year to our program. Applicants apply to the Clinical Science Program and can express an interest in any of the areas of concentration listed above.


Year

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Applicants

321

301

317

332

354

353

396

Offered Admission

11

16

14

13

13

10

9

Admitted

5

5

6

9

9

4

7

A number of criteria are considered in reviewing applications for admission. These include undergraduate grade point average and performance on the GRE. However, we also carefully consider applicants' research and applied experience and the degree to which applicants' research interests represent a good match with the research of our faculty. Characteristics of our admitted students for the last 9 years are:

 
2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013





Undergraduate GPA

3.72

3.76

3.67

3.78

3.93

3.70

3.75






GRE

Verbal

678

726

635

684

655

703

639
 


Quantitative

738

744

700

712

688

755

737
 


Total

1416

1470

1335

1396

1343

1458

1376
 

Program Costs.  For the 2011-2012 academic year, semester tuition rates are approximately $15,408 per semester for students taking a full graduate course load of 9 credits per semester. However, tuition costs for all students admitted to the program are covered through support associated with teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or fellowships for up to 5 years.

Program Costs

Description 2012-2013 1st-year Cohort Cost
Tuition for full-time students (in-state) $41,088 per year ($1,712 per credit hour)
Tuition for full-time students (out-of-state) $41,088 per year ($1,712 per credit hour)
Tuition per credit hour for part-time students (if applicable ) N/A
University/institution fees or costs  Health Insurance $2,382/year; Activity and recreation fee $202/semester
Additional estimated fees or costs to students (e.g. books, travel, etc.) $500

 

Financial Support

All admitted Ph.D. students receive funding for up to five years of study. The financial package includes full tuition, a monthly stipend that is highly competitive with comparable programs around the country, and a health insurance package. Based upon presented qualifications, selected students are nominated for additional honor scholarships and fellowships awarded by both the college and the graduate school. These merit awards supplement the baseline financial package. Financial support for students comes from a wide range of sources. Teaching assistantships and fellowships are available from Vanderbilt University. As of September 1, 2011, our program is supported by a training Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health that provide fellowships for several of our students. Students are also supported by research assistantships on grants awarded to our faculty; as of September 1, 2011, the Clinical Science faculty held over $20 million dollars in current research grants. Our students have been successful in obtaining individual predoctoral fellowships, including National Research Service Awards from the National Institutes of Health and predoctoral training fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

Student Financial Aid


Financial Aid Awarded

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013
 

1st year

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

2nd year

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%
 

3rd year

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%
   

4th year

100%

100%

100%

100%
   

5th year

100%

100%

100%
     

Attrition. Over the past 7 years, 46 applicants have enrolled in the Vanderbilt University Clinical Psychological Science program. Three of these students have left the program, an overall attrition rate of 6.5%. All 3 of these students, transferred to another psychology program at another university.

Attrition

Variable Year of First Enrollment
2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students for whom this is the year of first enrollment (i.e. new students) 6 - 7 - 6 - 9 - 4 - 7 - 7 -
Students whose doctoral degrees were conferred on their transcripts 1 17 1 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Students still enrolled in program 4 67 5 71 6 100 8 89 4 100 4 100 7 100
Students no longer enrolled for any reason other than conferral of doctoral degree 1 17 1 14 0 0 1 11 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

Research training

Our program offers training in research through a mentoring model in which students work closely with their primary advisor/mentor on research throughout their time in the program.

Clinical faculty research areas include:

  • Basic cognitive and emotional processes, including the biological, cognitive, and interpersonal factors influencing basic emotion-related processes, as well as individual differences in affective traits.
  • Clinical neuroscience, including neuropsychological, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging approaches to studying normal and abnormal behavior.
  • Developmental psychopathology, including the identification, etiology, treatment, and prevention of psychopathology in children and adolescents (particularly with respect to mood disorders), and the study of typical and atypical development (particularly with respect to autism and mental retardation).
  • Prevention and intervention, including the development and evaluation of optimal interventions for various psychopathologies, the prevention of diabetes and other biomedical disorders, and the identification of potential etiological or vulnerability markers that are linked to heightened risk for depressive disorders among children and adolescents.
  • Health psychology, emphasizing a biopsychosocial approach to health and illness throughout the life span.
  • Quantitative analysis, including the application of advanced statistical techniques to the study of psychopathology and other clinical issues.

Underlying each of these areas is a common philosophy that emphasizes theoretical development, empirical validation, methodological rigor, and the establishment of links between normal and abnormal processes using multiple methods and levels of analysis.

The Program faculty enjoy strong relationships with the John F. Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development; the Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience; the Departments of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Medicine in the Vanderbilt School of Medicine; the Vanderbilt University Institute for Imaging Science; the Vanderbilt Brain Institute; the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; the Center for Developmental Medicine; the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies; the Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer's Center.

A strong focus of Clinical Science at Vanderbilt is the integration of research with professional expertise. Students are actively involved in research on a continuing basis throughout their graduate training. The primary orientations are cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and neurobiological. The program is able to provide students with a wealth of training experiences, both scientific and professional, that is unmatched even by programs much larger in size. Students are involved in clinical practicum work at a number of Vanderbilt sites and more broadly throughout the Nashville community. They receive supervised research and clinical training in a wide variety of agencies that serve children, adolescents, and adults, and that address a wide spectrum of psychological problems.

Clinical Internship

As with practicum training, the clinical internship is carefully planned to meet each student's career goals and needs. Our students typically intern at highly regarded, APA-approved internship sites. The vast majority of our students are matched at the internship ranked as their first or second choice. Evaluations of internship placements indicate both that our students are well prepared for internship by our training program and that they find the internship experience to be highly rewarding.

Internship Placement - Table 1

Outcome  Year Applied for Internship
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014
N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students who sought or applied for internships* 6 - 6 - 5 - 7 - 8 - 6 - -
Students who obtained internships 6 100 6 100 5 100 7 100 7 88 5 83 5 100
Students who obtained APA/CPA-accredited internships 6 100 6 100 5 100 7 100 7 88 4 67 100
Students who obtained APPIC member internships that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Students who obtained other membership organization internships (e.g. CAPIC) that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable)  0 0 0 0  0 0 0 1 17  0 0
Students who obtained internships conforming to CDSPP guidelines that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable) 0  0 0 0 0 0  0 0 0 0
Students who obtained other internships that were not APA/CPA-accredited (if applicable)  0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0  0 0 0

*This includes students that withdrew from the internship application process

Internship Placement - Table 2

 Outcome Year Applied for Internship
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2031 2013-2014
N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students who obtained internships 6 100 6 100 5 100 7 100 7 100 5 100 5 100
Students who obtained paid internships 6 100 6 100 5 100 7 100 7 100 5 88 5 100
Students who obtained half-time internships* (if applicable)  0 0 0 0  0 0  0 0 0 0

*Should only include students that applied for internship and are included in the number that "sought or applied for internship" from "Internship Placement - Table1" for each year.

 

Our Graduates

Graduates of the Clinical Science Program over the last decade occupy important positions in academic as well as service institutions, and have research interests that are at the cutting edge of clinically and socially relevant issues. Their success is evidence of the effective combination of research and clinical training we offer, and of their own commitment to professional, research, and academic careers in clinical psychology.


Time to Completion for Students entering the Program with a Bachelor's Degree (if applicable)

Outcome Year in which Degrees were Conferred
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 Total
Total number of students with doctoral degree conferred on transcript 6 3 6 6 10 5 0 36
Mean number of years to complete the program 6.2 6.7 6.2 6.7 6.1 7.0 0 6.4 
Median number of years to complete the program 6 6 6 7 6 7 0  6
Time to Degree Ranges N % N % N % N % N % N % N % N %
Students in less than 5 years 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Students in 5 years 1 25 0 0 1 17 0 0 1 10 1 20 0 0 5 14
Students in 6 years 3 25 1 33 3 50 2 33 7 70 0 0 0 0 16 43
Students in 7 years 2 0 2 67 2 33 4 67 2 20 2 40 0 0 14 38
Students in more than 7 years 0 50 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 40 0 0 2 5

 

Psychology licensure

 Thirty-seven students graduated from our program between 2 and 10 years ago (i.e., between 2002 and 2009). Of these 37 graduates, 30 are currently licensed (81%). Of the 7 students who are not licensed, 3 are working in positions that are purely research positions, 2 are not working in psychology, and 2 graduated in 2009 and are currently preparing for licensure. 

Licensure

Outcome 2002-2003 to 2010-2011
Total number of students with doctoral degrees conferred on transcript in time period 48
Number of students with doctoral degrees conferred on transcripts who became licensed doctoral psychologists in time period 36
Licensure percentage 75%

 

"Our training program meets educational requirements for doctoral level licensure to practice clinical psychology.  Psychology licensure is obtained on a state-by-state basis.  For more information, see www.psychologist-license.com.

 


Accreditation

The graduate training program in Clinical Science is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (last accredited 2009; next site visit 2014). For more information concerning accreditation, contact:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
Website: http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

For more information, please contact the program Co-Directors: Bruce Compas  or Bunmi Olatunji 

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