Psy.D. Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about our program, admissions process, and culture!

About the Program

The doctorate of psychology is a practice-based degree that provides students with coursework and practical experience necessary to qualify for state licensure as a psychologist.

A Ph.D program tends to emphasize research, and a Psy.D. program tends to emphasize training for professional clinical practice. Both are based on scholarly theories and evidence-based practices.

No, the program is a 5-year intensive, full-time, and in-residence program. The first four years combine full-time coursework, with at least 10 hours per week of practicum training at community sites. The fifth year is spent in a full-time internship site away from SUU. Summer courses and practicum experiences are also part of the program.

You may request transfer credit(s) for certain courses you have already completed, but, because of the nature of this training program, your time in the program will most likely not be substantially shortened.

In addition to receiving grades on coursework and practica, students are engaged in other academic activities to facilitate professional development and assess readiness to progress through the program. Each year, students will receive an annual evaluation which will provide written feedback on their overall performance. Students engage in assignments regarding skills, competencies, ethical decision-making, sensitivity to cultural and individual diversity, and other aspects of professional identity formation. Throughout the program, there are many important benchmarks that assess a student’s progression. One is successfully completing the Clinical Competency Qualifying Examination, the second is completion of a Doctoral Research Project, and the third is a year-long predoctoral, full-time internship.

  • The Clinical Competency Qualifying Exam is a comprehensive, multi-part exam.
    • Phase I; Students will submit a written case conceptualization based on an evidence-based theory of change, that 1) incorporates assessment data, 2) explores relevant interpersonal and intrapersonal dynamics, 3) factors in ethical considerations, 4) reviews how knowledge of cultural relevance and diversity served as a framework for their conceptualization, 5), reviews and integrates graduate-level scientific knowledge from the current literature in two or more Category 2 Discipline Specific Knowledge areas (Affective Aspects of Behavior, Biological Aspects of Behavior, Cognitive Aspects of Behavior, Developmental Aspects of Behavior, Social Aspects of Behavior) covered in previous courses or other evaluated educational experiences into their conceptualization, (5) provides a follow-up plan for sustained health and wellness.
    • Phase II; Students will submit an abbreviated, integrated assessment report based on standardized data where they will be expected to synthesize information, present potential diagnostic conceptualizations and recommendations.
    • Phase III; Students will orally present and defend their case conceptualization and assessment reports to a committee of 2 core/associate faculty. As part of their oral qualifying exam, they will also respond to 2 vignettes specific to ethical dilemmas and multicultural competence.
    • Each students’ written and oral defense will be evaluated by a committee of 2 core/associated faculty, as assigned by the DCT and Executive Team and in accordance with an established rubric. If there is disagreement between the 2 evaluators, the DCT or Associate DCT will evaluate the materials (whichever is not on the original committee) and provide the tie-breaking score.
    • The Clinical Competency Exam will take place in the Spring of students’ 3rd years. Students will be expected to submit their written materials to the Psychology Department Office Administrator by March 1 each year. They will receive the assessment data 2 weeks prior to that deadline. Following submission of all written materials, the Psychology Department Office Administrator will assign 2-hour oral defense times during March through April.
    • Students will always use only de-identified information for their clinical competency exams. In addition, following their defense, students are not permitted to share information with other students who have not yet completed the exam. Students found to be sharing information regarding the vignettes or other context will be subject to disciplinary measures.
  • Students will complete a Doctoral Professional Project, under the supervision of a faculty mentor and support team/committee. The project will be scholarly in nature, and will involve appropriate collection and analysis of data for the type of project undertaken, a formalized mentor review of the process and findings, and a professional defense of the project. Professional dissemination of results to a local, regional, or national audience could result as well.

We are a newly approved program at SUU. A new program undergoes an intensive quality review using the American Psychological Association’s Accreditation Standards as a guiding document. We are applying for Accreditation on Contingency in the Spring of 2024. The APA will carefully review all of the program policies and syllabi for quality. Once this application is accepted, the program has full accreditation status. All students who graduate from our program will qualify for licensure as having completed a doctoral degree from an accredited institution.

We plan to welcome our new cohort to campus when the fall term begins .

The program will cost $600.00 per credit hour, plus student fees. The number of credit hours varies from semester to semester between 9 and 12. The entire program is 114 credit hours over 5 years ($68,400). As of May 2022, the SUU President's Cabinet approved Graduate Assistant positions to all Psy.D. Students for the duration of the program. The GA position requires 20 hours of work per week, and comes with a full tuition waiver, and a $1,000 per month stipend. Students will still be responsible to pay for all relevant student fees.

  • Students are responsible to pay SUU Student Fees at the current rate.
  • Students are expected to have and maintain professional liability insurance beginning Spring semester of their first year in the program.
  • Students are expected to purchase and maintain a yearly subscription to Time2Track at current contract rates ($99.00 per year).

Each student will receive a university graduate assistantship that is a full-tuition waiver for all four years of the program. Additionally, students will receive a $1,000 monthly stipend as part of the assistantship. These assistantships will require a 20 hour weekly on-campus work commitment. In addition, we anticipate some of the practicum training sites will consist of paid training hours. The 5th-year internship is fully compensated at a full-time rate.

Students will be responsible to pay current SUU student fees, secure a subscription to Time2Track at current contracted rates ($99 per year) at the beginning of Fall Semester in their first year, and purchase professional liability insurance by Spring of their first year.

Students will work with many types of clinical clients, including (but not limited to) SUU students, clients at local tribal agencies, low-income clinics, hospital settings, school settings, veterans, community members, children, adolescents, older adults, people with persistent mental illness, members of traditionally marginalized groups, and athletes.

About Admissions

Applications will be accepted via SUU's website. Applications are due December 15.

Psy.D. Application

  • You will submit a letter of intent describing how your personal and career goals match the aims of our program.
  • You will submit a statement on diversity and inclusion that describes your views on diversity, equity, and inclusion in clinical psychology, evidence of your contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and your commitment to these practices in your future career.
  • You will arrange for three letters of recommendation from individuals who know you well, and who can speak of your career interest, level of conscientiousness, potential for evidence-based clinical work, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and your propensity for success in the field of health services psychology.
  • A curriculum vitae outlining academic, occupational, and professional achievements and recognitions relevant to the pursuit of doctoral studies in health services psychology.
  • If you are an international student, you will need to include documentation of English proficiency.

No, there is no requirement to have a Master’s degree for SUU’s Psy.D. program.

No, but if you have an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than psychology, or if your undergraduate degree in psychology is more than 10 years old, you will have to demonstrate a knowledge-base in psychology by taking the Psychology Subject GRE, or the Psychology Major’s Field Test, and score at, or above the 50th percentile. You must also have maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in your undergraduate program.

You must have completed (with at least a B grade) courses in:

  • Psychological Statistics/Quantitative Methods
  • Research Design
  • Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology.
  • In addition, applicants must have successfully completed courses in at least two of the following areas: Biological aspects of behavior, social aspects of behavior, cognitive aspects of behavior, developmental aspects of behavior, and human diversity. You will be asked to describe these courses in your application materials, and submit official transcripts that verify your coursework.
  • We also strongly recommend applicants complete courses in personality theory, health psychology, psychometrics/tests and measurement, counseling and psychotherapy, and/or substance abuse. Additional coursework in psychology and in related disciplines is likely to strengthen a candidate’s application. A "B" grade or higher is preferred although a grade below C- is disqualifying."

If you earned your undergraduate degree in Psychology within 10 years of your Psy.D. application date, no GRE score is required. If your undergraduate degree is in a discipline other than psychology, and you have all of the prerequisite courses, you may still apply for the Psy.D. program, but you will need to score above the 50th percentile on the GRE Psychology Subject exam or the Major Field Test for Psychology

Our plan is to enroll a maximum of 10 students per year into the program.

About the Culture

Nestled at the foot of Cedar Mountain and with over 256 sunny days per year, the area is a mecca for outdoor activities and events. Twice voted the Most Outdoorsy School in the Nation, Southern Utah University is the only officially designated University of the Parks in the country. SUU is located within half a day’s drive to more than 20 national parks and monuments in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada , and within two hours drive to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell), Cedar Breaks National Monument, Sand Hollow State Park, Red Cliffs National Conservation Area, Three Peaks Recreation Area, and millions of acres of National Forest and BLM ground. World-class rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, canyoneering, camping , paddle boarding, fishing, golfing, and a myriad of  winter sports are just minutes away. In this area, you can literally snowboard in the morning, climb 5-15 routes at lunch, and cap the day off by water skiing, wakeboarding, or golfing in the evening. SUU is also home to the Tony Award Winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. There is no shortage of fun activities or events.  

Cedar City has just over 32,000 residents, and is a quiet and safe town located on interstate 15. We have a total of three bars or pubs in town. If fast-paced night life is your jam, St. George is 45 minutes to the south, and Las Vegas is an easy two-and-a half-hour drive, and Salt Lake City is three and a half hours to the North.

We have brought together a fantastic team to help create the best program possible!

Meet the Team

You are welcome to arrange a campus visit and meet with available faculty, staff, and students. Please contact a member of our staff at to make arrangements.


Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.)