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Clinical Psychology Doctoral Degree

Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology

Offered on campus

A Distinctive Approach to Clinical Psychology

Our Psy.D. program in clinical psychology is firmly situated in the human science tradition with a holistic, contextualized, reflexive approach toward human beings and their problems in living. Teaching psychology from this perspective distinguishes us from many other doctoral-level programs in the nation.  

Our faculty, influenced by myriad theoretical orientations, specialize in interpretive, qualitative research methodologies. The coursework exposes students to a range of perspectives in clinical practice, including: 

  • Humanistic 
  • Psychoanalytic
  • Phenomenological 
  • Feminist 
  • Community-focused 
  • Contemplative 
  • Hermeneutic 

Our program assumes that efforts to understand humans are fundamentally different than efforts to understand naturalistic phenomena. As such, they require an interpretive, meaning-focused epistemology as opposed to a causal, predictive tactic often found in psychological study. We also take a human science approach to situating experience in communal contexts, understanding people as embedded in families, communities, societies, culture, and ecosystems.

Our Psy.D. program in clinical psychology is firmly situated in the human science tradition, which means that we attempt to take a genuinely holistic, contextualized, and maximally reflexive stance toward human beings and their problems in living.  Specifically, our approach assumes that efforts to understand human beings are fundamentally different than efforts to understand naturalistic phenomena.  As such, they require an interpretive, meaning-focused epistemology as opposed to the more causal, predictive approach that is more often found in psychological study. We take a depth-oriented and critical lens to studying the human person, which is grounded in our profession’s philosophical roots.

Importantly, mainstream paradigms of psychological inquiry can frequently distort or attenuate our portrait of human existence by reducing it to either biology, sociology or the acontextual, isolated individual.  We aim to train students to understand the role of temperament and genetic inheritance without assuming that biology is destiny, to understand that people are socially and culturally embedded creatures without eliminating human dignity and agency, and perhaps most importantly, to offer an appreciation of individual idiosyncrasy that does not understand this as simply the product of an isolated mind.        

We are one of only a few doctoral-level programs in the nation to teach psychology from such a human science perspective, and we are certain that the flexibility and theoretical reflexivity inherent in this approach equips students with the skills necessary to pursue a variety of career paths in professional psychology and related professions. Our Psy.D. program also brings a human science approach to situating experience in communal contexts, understanding people as embedded in families, communities, societies, culture, and ecosystems.

Our faculty are influenced by myriad theoretical orientations, and students can expect to be exposed to psychoanalytic, humanistic, phenomenological, feminist, community-focused, contemplative, hermeneutic and entheogenic perspectives on clinical practice while at Point Park. In addition, our faculty specialize in interpretive, qualitative research methodologies, including interpretive phenomenological analysis, discourse analysis, metabletics, case study and creative arts-based methods.

To apply for admission into Point Park’s Psy.D. program, applicants must:

  • Complete the online application for admission. Application fee waived if submitted online. 
  • Request official transcripts from all previous institution(s) attended and have them sent to Point Park University. 
  • Completion of undergraduate degree. Students in the process of completing an undergraduate degree can apply. However, if accepted prior to completion of the undergraduate degree, admission is conditioned upon successful completion of the undergraduate degree by the start of the fall semester for the year in which the applicant applied for admission.
  • A minimum 3.25 cumulative G.P.A. at the undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate level is preferred for consideration for admission to the program (i.e., students may apply directly to the Psy.D. program with only a B.A. or B.S. level degree).
  • Psychology, social science or philosophy background (with a minimum of four psychology courses overall) is also required.
  • Students should understand that admission to the program is competitive, and that the average G.P.A. of students admitted is typically much higher. Successful applicants will typically have a strong academic background, at least one letter of reference from a prior faculty member, and also some type of experience working/volunteering with people in a "helping" context.
  • Please respond to the essay prompt: In referencing the full program description, describe why you are attracted to graduate clinical study in a human-science oriented program. Also tell us a bit about what thinkers or writers have been most influential in driving your interest in psychology. A two-page minimum, three-page maximum description should be emailed to
  • Please describe your thoughts about conceptualizing and working with people who are individually and culturally different than you. Please tell us about experiences when you have been successful in working across difference, broadly understood. A two-page minimum, three-page maximum description should be emailed to
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. All letters should address your ability to work successfully under multiple demands. Recommenders may be contacted by Point Park University.
  • Once all materials have been received and reviewed, selected applicants will be invited to participate in a required, on-site interview.

The decision to admit a student is based on a variety of factors including: 

  • Possession of minimum qualifications necessary to succeed in doctoral education (i.e., written and verbal communication skills, history of academic success, etc.) as determined through the application and interview process.
  • Fit with the program’s philosophy and training goals (i.e., demonstrated interest in and/or experience with humanistic/phenomenological and/or psychodynamic approach to psychology, a demonstrated interest in and/or experience with community engagement/activism, and career goals consistent with the practice of clinical psychology in a variety of settings, including community settings).
  • Social skills and emotional stability required of competent professionals in psychology (i.e., demonstrated through application, references, interview process and based on the professional judgment of clinical faculty members).

The clinical Psy.D. program is committed to creating and fostering an educational atmosphere that reflects and respects diversity. As such, the program actively encourages students from diverse backgrounds, in every sense of the term, to apply.

To further encourage a diverse educational atmosphere, the program has a limited number of graduate assistantships that are awarded annually on a competitive basis to the most qualified applicants representing diversity.

This policy affirms Point Park University's commitment to nondiscrimination, equal opportunity and the pursuit of diversity. Point Park University does not discriminate on the basis of: sex, race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, age (40 years and over), ancestry, individuals with disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, height, weight, genetic information, marital status, caregiver status or familial status, in the administration of any of its educational programs, activities or with respect to employment or admission to the University’s educational programs and activities.

This policy is in accord with local, state and federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the Pittsburgh Human Relations Act. Inquiries regarding these regulations and policies, or complaints, should be referred to Point Park’s vice president of human resources, equity and inclusion, phone number 412-392-3952. Complaints of discrimination can be filed via the Incident Reporting Form online at; and will be processed by the University Office of Compliance and Integrity according to Point Park’s policy on discrimination and harassment. Complaints may also be emailed to

Inquiries regarding Title IX and the Title IX regulations should also be referred to the University’s Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator, Stephanie Stark Poling, J.D., may be reached at, 412-392-8158 or 201 Wood Street, Student Center, Room 104A, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. A Title IX incident report can be filed via the Incident Reporting Form online at

Our Psy.D. program is a program in clinical psychology with special focus on the principles and practices of community psychology.

Clinical psychology is a subfield of psychology that is concerned with nurturing mental health and well-being.

Community psychology is focused on social and cultural influences on personal well-being, which include research and engagement at the community level to remedy unnecessary human suffering. Our program, therefore, teaches a clinical approach to psychology that emphasizes better understanding the role of socio-cultural factors in mental health and well-being, including the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental illness.

Ultimately, our program’s approach is one that seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, groups and communities through clinical practices, research, and community intervention. 

The aims of the Psy.D. program in clinical psychology are informed by the values of the American Psychological Association (APA). They are designed to prepare clinical psychologists for state licensure as practitioners informed by the community and cultural context of clinical issues. They are based, in part, on the “Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology” (SoA) by the APA Commission on Accreditation (CoA;

The aims of the Psy.D. in clinical psychology program are as follows:

  • PROGRAM AIM 1: To prepare practitioner-scholars who are well grounded in the discipline of psychology conceived broadly as a human science. 

  • PROGRAM AIM 2:  To educate and train students to apply the core components of clinical psychology for the prevention and amelioration of psychological struggles as well as the improvement of over-all health and well-being.  

  • PROGRAM AIM 3: To prepare students to be practitioner-scholars who select and employ research methods and skills to explore questions and help solve problems facing individuals and communities as well as disseminate this work. 

  • PROGRAM AIM 4: To educate students to conduct themselves with a professionalism appropriate to the complex nature of clinical psychology, and that is founded on reflexivity, interpersonal competence, ethical principles, and a deep respect for cultural diversity. 

  • PROGRAM AIM 5: To train students to engage with and assist communities by working collaboratively with members of the community and their existing resources, including programs already in existence, to reduce or eliminate social antecedents to psychological struggles and impoverished well-being.

APA Accreditation Status

The Point Park Psy.D. program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA).

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation 
American Psychological Association 
750 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002 
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail: 

Learn About Our Program in This Virtual Information Session:


Affordable Cost, Key Features of the Program

Our Psy.D. degree in clinical psychology is one of the most affordable doctoral programs in the Pittsburgh region. Tuition for students is locked in based on when they start the program while fees are subject to change each year.

Learn more about 2024-25 tuition and fees at Point Park University. (Please note: With its already affordable cost, the Psy.D. program is not eligible for tuition discount programs.)

Other key benefits of the Psy.D. program:

Psy.D. Curriculum

Our 90-credit Psy.D. program is a full-time program comprised of weekday courses. The program is designed to be completed in five years, including the dissertation and one-year, full-time clinical internship. For more information about the revised curriculum for current applicants, view this Psy.D. prospective students document.

The Psy.D. curriculum is comprised of a variety of theoretical, research, and clinical courses, including six clinical practicums and one community practicum.

Other courses include:

  • Psychopathology in the Context of Society and Culture
  • Mental Health and Well-Being: Individual and Collective
  • Psychology of Human Diversity
  • Qualitative Research
  • Groups, Couples and Family Therapy

Take a look at the program manual for detailed answers relevant to completing the Psy.D. degree at Point Park.

Completion of this doctoral degree requires student participation in a predoctoral internship.

Meet Our Core Faculty in the Psy.D. Program

Associated Faculty and Staff

Associated Faculty 

  • Dan Gittins, Ed.D., expertise in anger management and addictions
  • Robert McInerney, Ph.D., expertise in community psychology, clinical psychology, qualitative research, phenomenology, existentialism, post-structuralism, neurophenomenology and hermeneutics
  • Sarah Schulz, Ph.D., expertise in clinical social work, behavioral health, qualitative and mixed methods research, critical and queer theory, LGBTQ health and issues of diversity and multi-culturalism


Amanda Matthews, administrative assistant for the Psy.D. program

Career Opportunities

A Psy.D. in clinical psychology, like other doctoral programs in clinical psychology focused on clinical practice, prepares students for a variety of career opportunities including positions in independent practice, community clinics, medical and managed care facilities, and academic and research settings.  

However, the community focus of the Psy.D. program also introduces students to concepts and provides training experiences that prepare students for career opportunities more specifically focused on community intervention, including:

  • Administering/directing community programs in human services, mental health, prevention, community education, health promotion, and community development
  • Clinical work in community programs with a community/preventive perspective
  • Organizational training and development, with nonprofit groups or businesses
  • University teaching and/or research on social/community issues
  • Government or philanthropic foundation research or administration on social/community issues
  • Administering/directing community agencies or organizations
  • Policy advocacy for legal/social change efforts

Professional Affiliations

Point Park's psychology department is affiliated with the American Psychological Association's Divisions 32 and 27. Click on the links below to learn more.

Apply Now, Learn More

Applications are being accepted online.

For additional information, contact Nicholas Poprocky, assistant director, Office of Graduate and Online Admissions, at or 412-392-3807.