Thirty-One (31) Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is this program right for me?
CUE’s PsyD program is unique: it is one of only six Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programs in clinical psychology in Canada.
CUE’s program provides broad and general training in the field through its scholar-practitioner model. The program prepares students for research, practice, and registration as a psychologist. It not only focuses on functional competencies in clinical psychology, such as assessment, diagnosis, and psychotherapy, but it also focuses on foundational competencies, such as self-reflection, relationship building, and valuing diversity. Faculty and students conduct applied, real-world research. Advanced senior students conduct dissertation studies, teach undergraduate psychology courses, and supervise beginning students as part of a year-long course in clinical supervision.
Throughout the program, students engage in reflective practice and become increasingly mindful and self-aware of their clinical effectiveness. Routine Outcome Monitoring (ROM) and case-by-case analysis of process-outcome data are staples of the program and infused in all aspects of teaching, research, and clinical service. They are also infused in clinical supervision.
Graduates of the program will be community leaders in psychological assessment, diagnosis, psychotherapy, teaching and supervision, consultation, patient-focused research, relationship-building, as well as overall professionalism and ethical behaviour.
Note: The program is intended for applicants with bachelor’s degrees in psychology, as well as applicants with master’s degrees in clinical psychology, counselling psychology, or school psychology. It is also intended for Registered Psychologists and others with extensive graduate coursework, such as those with diplomas and certificates in psychological assessment, wanting to pursue additional training, research, and clinical supervision.
2. Am I qualified to apply?
In addition to meeting Faculty of Graduate Studies Admission and General Admission requirements (refer to section 13.1.1), students applying to the PsyD program must meet the following minimum requirements:
- Four-year bachelor’s degree in psychology from a recognized institution (thesis or equivalent preferred. By “equivalent,” CUE means a data-based research paper, conference presentation, and/or refereed journal publication.)
- Three credits of undergraduate or graduate biological/neuropsychological bases of behaviour
- Six credits of undergraduate or three credits of graduate-level cognitive-affective bases of behaviour
- Six credits of undergraduate or three credits of graduate-level social psychology. Group Counselling does not count in this category. Group counselling is a psychotherapy intervention course, not a foundational course in the field of psychology.
- Three credits of undergraduate or graduate psychology of the individual. Multicultural Counselling does not count in this category. Multicultural Counselling is a psychotherapy intervention course, not a foundational course in the field of psychology.
- Three credits of undergraduate or graduate research design/methods
- Three credits of undergraduate or graduate statistics/data analysis
- Three credits of undergraduate or graduate history and systems of psychology
For a list of suitable biopsychology courses, cognitive-affective courses, social psychology courses, and undergraduate courses in individual differences, click here.
Note: Students may apply to the program if they are missing required courses, like History and Systems of Psychology. However, they would be admitted as probationary graduate students and would need to present missing courses before taking Dissertation Research credits (PSY 898).
3. How are PsyD applications assessed and evaluated?
Applications are assessed and evaluated by the Clinical Psychology Training Committee, which consists of core PsyD faculty. Each application is evaluated by three faculty members, independently rated, and scores are aggregated across raters. Applications and aggregate scores are discussed amongst committee members. Top-rated students are shortlisted and invited for on-campus interviews.
Note: PsyD faculty are ideally looking for top-notch doctoral students – scholar-practitioners who want to be community leaders in the field. Specifically, PsyD faculty are looking for (a) good thinkers, writers, and communicators; (b) students with applied, real-world clinical interests and experiences; (c) students who are open-minded and self-reflective; (d) students who value diversity, (e) students with scientific attitudes and mindsets; (f) students with energy, enthusiasm, and social connectedness; and (g) students wanting to be part of an innovative program that emphasizes well-roundedness, quality assurance, and clinical effectiveness. The program’s overarching goal is to produce highly skilled, research-informed clinicians who are ethical, multiculturally sensitive, and work well with others.
Applications are rated on the above-mentioned qualities, as well as overall fit/match with PsyD faculty interests. Admission rating criteria may be found here.
Letters of recommendation should address these qualities, as well as applicants’ openness to constructive feedback, and should be submitted on employer letterhead. CUE does not currently have a required form or format for letters or recommendation.
Students may reapply if they are not accepted the first time.
If you have questions about the status of your application, or where to send documents, please contact CUE’s Admissions office at email@example.com.
4. What should my Statement of Intent look like?
Statement of intents should include the following:
- A brief introduction of you (as a person) and your background/interest in clinical psychology
- A summary of relevant work/volunteer and prior research experiences
- Discussion of your primary research and clinical interests, including your preferred PsyD faculty research supervisor (based on similar/overlapping interests)
- Discussion of what makes you a good applicant for the PsyD program (i.e., “Why should CUE admit you versus other applicants?”)
- Your short- and long-term goals/career objectives as a clinical psychologist
Note: Statements should be 12-point font and 2-3 double-spaced pages, maximum. Statements longer than three pages – or that compress fonts or margins – will not be reviewed.
5. What types of work/volunteer experiences are required?
Applied work and/or volunteer experience in the field is expected and an admission evaluation criterion. Examples include distress-line work, camp counsellor, youth and adult clinical programming, prior counselling experience, and assessment and testing experience (e.g., experience as a psychometrist, psychological assistant, etc.). Examples also include experience as a practicum student, clinical supervisor, and/or work as a Registered Psychologist (RPsych).
A reasonable attainment/benchmark is having three clinical psychology-related experiences. That said, the amount, or quantity, of experience is not as important as the quality of experience.
6. What types of research experiences are required?
Because the program utilizes a scholar-practitioner training model, research experience is expected. Similar to applied work/volunteer experience, research experience is an admission evaluation criterion. Examples include an undergraduate honours thesis, master’s thesis, having an RA position, volunteering in a faculty member’s research lab, completing an Independent Research Study, presenting a paper at a research conference, and publishing a research paper in a referred journal.
A reasonable attainment/benchmark is having 1-2 research-related experiences.
Note: Research experiences do not have to be in clinical psychology. They may be in related, or allied, fields like social work, nursing, education, and so on.
7. Can I apply if my bachelor’s degree is in a closely related (allied) field, like social work, nursing, or education?
Yes, but please know, per CPA (2011) Standard II.E, doctoral students must demonstrate (undergraduate and/or graduate) competence in general psychology. Such competence is deemed necessary for graduate training, research, and practice in clinical psychology, hence, the course requirements listed above.
If you do not have the necessary course requirements, you must take extra coursework as part of the PsyD program, including graduate-level courses in cognitive-affective bases of behaviour and social psychology. These courses must be taken before Candidacy Exams and starting dissertation work.
8. Can I apply if I have a master’s degree and am already registered as a psychologist?
Yes, please also see FAQ #1.
Note: Students with master’s degrees and/or RPsych’s may enter the program with “advanced standing” and start with year two coursework, as well as also taking PSY 801 and 810.
9. Before applying, should I contact potential PsyD faculty research supervisors?
Students do not have to contact potential PsyD faculty research supervisors. But they must review the PsyD website and identify a potential supervisor who has similar research and/or clinical interests.
Note: In year one, Dr. Hanson, Professor & Director of Training, will advise all new students in the PsyD program. Then, in years two and three, students will shift to other supervisors, depending on their research and clinical interests. Of course, students can work with other supervisors throughout their program of study (e.g., in a faculty member’s research lab).
10. What is the application deadline and how many students are admitted?
The application deadline is December 1st, and the PsyD program admits 10-15 new students a year – for Fall semester intake only. This year only: the application deadline has been extended to May 1, 2021.
Admitted students have until April 15th to accept offers of admission. After that, they automatically forfeit their offers. This year only: students have until June 30th to accept offers of admission.
Some shortlisted applicants will be wait-listed and, if spots open, may be admitted. Waitlisted students are rank ordered and admitted based on highest rank.
Note: Due to limited enrolment capacities of CUE’s graduate programs, admission is competitive; meeting minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission.
11. Is the program full-time or are part-time students admitted?
CUE’s PsyD program involves full-time, year-round study. Admitted students take 2-4 courses every semester, including fall, winter, and spring. Part-time students are not admitted because the program is cohort-based and students progress together (in standard course sequences), taking the same courses and having the same developmental training experiences along the way.
Note:Per CPA (2011) Standard V.F, “Students do not work more than an average of 20 hours a week in employment outside of the programme. These hours do not include teaching and research assistantships.”
Students must normally complete all program requirements within eight years of the term in which they first registered (see Academic Calendar 13.1.)
12. How long is CUE’s PsyD program and can I transfer graduate credits?
CUE’s PsyD program is five years long. It is a 123-credit program, including 28 graduate courses, dissertation credits, and a year-long (1600-hour) internship/clinical residency.
Subject to PsyD Training Committee approval, students may transfer up to 30 credits (10 courses) towards doctoral degree requirements (see 13.1.2 Transfers, Course Exemptions, and Substitution). Students with graduate coursework and/or master’s degrees in clinical psychology, counselling psychology, or school psychology may, for example, transfer courses related to eight of the 10 1st-year courses and theoretically complete the program in four years. Two 1st-year courses (PSY 801 & 810) are required of all new doctoral students and cannot be substituted/replaced by transfer credits.
PsyD course descriptions can be found in section 14.0, Course Descriptions, under subject heading Psychology (Graduate Studies). Note: Potential graduate-level transfer courses will only be evaluated post-admission; they will not be evaluated beforehand, for example, as part of students’ applications. After students are admitted, they will be informed about coursework that may transfer, thus allowing them to make informed decisions about accepting offers of admission.
13. What is the expected, or typical, course load?
PsyD students take 10 required graduate courses in year one, nine in year two, eight in year three, seven in year four, and pre-doctoral internships/ clinical residency in year five. In years 2-4, students may take extra elective courses if they want. In years 3-5, students also take dissertation credits.
Specific, year-by-year course loads include:
Year 1: students take four courses fall and winter semesters and two courses spring semester.
Year 2: students take three courses fall, winter, and spring semesters, including Doctoral Candidacy Exams.
Year 3: students take three courses fall and winter and two in spring, including dissertation credits/research.
Year 4: students take three courses fall and winter, including clinical supervision, and one in spring. Students also teach undergraduate courses year four, either two days a week for 1.5 hours/day or three days a week for an hour/day.
Year 5: students do 12-month, 40-hour a week internship/clinical residency and defend dissertations.
Note: First year courses introduce and develop foundational knowledge in clinical psychology. Second- and third-year courses further develop and refine clinical and research skills. Because students see clients in years two and three, they also move students towards clinical competency and, in some areas, mastery. Fourth- and fifth-year courses tie skills together and emphasize theoretical, empirical, and practical integration.
To see the PsyD’s curriculum, click here.
14. Do students have to complete a pre-doctoral internship/clinical residency?
Yes. PsyD students must complete a 12-month, 40-hour a week internship/clinical residency requirement in year five, even if they have already completed a supervised 1600-hour provisional placement. No exceptions.
Students must also complete practicum courses (PSY 838 & 839) and field-placements (PSY 841 & 842). No exceptions.
Note: Doctoral-level clinical training is, by definition, advanced – above and beyond masters-level training – with not only more depth of training, but also more breadth. Students will develop advanced skills and competencies in clinical psychology and become versatile, highly effective clinicians and supervisors.
15. Do I get a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology along the way?
No. Students get a doctorate (PsyD) after graduating from the program and may, after successfully defending their dissertation, be referred to as “Dr. XYZ.”
Note: During their doctoral training, students should not list their names as XYZ, PsyD Student (or PsyD Candidate), as it is potentially misleading to the general public. They should, instead, list their names as XYZ, Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, Concordia University of Edmonton.
16. After graduating from the PsyD program, can I register as a Psychologist?
Yes. The PsyD program meets registration requirements of the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP). It also meets registration requirements of other psychology regulatory bodies in Canada.
In the near future, the program will apply for CAP academic program approval, as well as membership in the Canadian Council of Professional Psychology Programs (CCPPP). It will also apply for accreditation by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).
17. Is the PsyD program accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)?
No, not yet. But the program is based on CPA’s recommended PsyD curriculum and adheres closely to CPA standards and procedures for accredited doctoral programs in clinical psychology. The program will apply for CPA-accreditation as soon as possible. However, it must first establish a 5-year record of faculty and student achievement, program compliance, and student intake and program completion. CPA-accreditation will be applied for in 2025-26.
For more information on CPA-accreditation, please visit: https://cpa.ca/accreditation/cpaaccreditedprograms/
18. What is the difference between a PhD and PsyD in clinical psychology?
As per CPA’s (2004) report on PsyD programs, “One of the more obvious differences, if not arguably the most obvious, between the PhD and PsyD models is the nature and role that research plays, initially in training and, later, in practice. Whereas PhD research training may include conducting either basic or applied research, PsyD training focuses clearly and explicitly on conducting applied research” (p. 9). Essentially, it is a matter of degree: conducting original, highly generalizable basic or applied research (PhD) versus research that addresses practical, everyday clinical problems (PsyD).
CPA’s report adds, “Irrespective of training model, PsyD or PhD, professional psychologists need to be competent in the areas of interpersonal relationships, assessment, intervention or ethics or in any other professional competency under consideration” (p. 9).
Note: PsyD degrees do not preclude graduates from becoming academics or University Professors. Students interested in pursuing faculty positions should – during their doctoral program – be actively involved in faculty research, present conference papers, publish refereed journal articles, and write tri-council and foundation grants.
Reference: Allon, R., Gauthier, J., Doyle, AB., Hutcheon, D. (2004). A model curriculum for a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) programme. A Report to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Psychological Association. Ottawa, CA: CPA.
19. Where do students typically do practicum placements?
Students do 10-hour a week practicum placement in CUE’s Psychology Training Clinic (fall and winter year two) and, in fall and winter year three, 16-hour a week field placements in community settings, such as Alberta Health Services’ Addiction and Mental Health unit. In year four, students may, if they want, do additional placements elsewhere, depending on their clinical interests and training needs.
20. How many clinical hours do students get in the PsyD program?
Students get 1,200-1,500 hours of supervised (pre-internship/residency) clinical training, including assessment, psychotherapy, supervision, and consultation.
Note: There are four practicum courses, two field placements, a year-long supervision course, and a 1600-hour pre-doctoral internship/clinical residency, all of which are required. No exceptions.
21. Do PsyD students do research, including a dissertation as part of the program?
Yes. Students do research as noted in FAQ #18.
Students not only do research with PsyD faculty but also conduct independent dissertation research (24 credits). Dissertations vary by student, but follow a generally consistent structure/outline, which involves conceptualizing a study, collecting and analyzing data, and discussing/writing up the results for defense and possible publication. Model dissertations are provided in PSY 810, Research Design and Thesis/Proposal Development (spring year one).
Dissertation research begins in earnest in year three, after successfully passing Candidacy Examinations. Students defend dissertations as part of PSY 899 (Dissertation Defense). Successfully defended dissertations are stored in CUE’s Education and Research Archives, as well as ProQuest’s Dissertation & Theses repository.
Note: Students’ dissertation committees involve a neutral “Chair,” two PsyD faculty members and a third external examining member. Students must successfully defend their dissertations before graduating. Possible defence outcomes include: Acceptable with no revisions, Acceptable with minor revisions, Acceptable with major revisions, and Unacceptable. Dissertations deemed unacceptable will be assigned a mark of “no credit.”
22. Is the PsyD program taught in-person, online, or hybrid?
The PsyD program is taught in person and on campus. That said, a few hybrid courses are offered to admitted PsyD students only. The program is not, though, designed/intended as an online program and is not administered as such.
23. Will the PsyD program be taught online in the future?
Online training in applied psychology is complicated and must be factored into program design/development, implementation, and evaluation from the beginning. Additionally, certain training-related questions must, first, be answered empirically.
For the foreseeable future, the PsyD program will not be taught online.
24. What types of psychological assessment experiences can I get?
Students get a wide range of assessment experiences and learn a variety of skills, including behavioral observation, clinical/diagnostic interviewing, Level-A, Level-B, and Level-C psychological testing, mental status examination, use of screening instruments and rating scales, integrative report writing, and test feedback and consultation. They also learn intellectual, personality, neuropsychological, and forensic assessment and testing, as well as collaborative/therapeutic assessment (C/TA).
On average, students will write 12-18 integrative psychological reports before internship/residency.
Major psychological tests learned include, among others, the MMPI-2, PAI-2, MCMI-IV, SNAP-2, WAIS-IV, WISC-V, and RBANS.
Additionally, students learn about treatment progress/process monitoring and integrating results into ongoing psychotherapy and clinical supervision.
Major progress measures include the CORE and PCOMS.
25. Can students take courses via open studies and/or audit courses?
No. You must be fully admitted to the PsyD program to take courses.
Note: Admitted students can audit elective courses with instructor permission, as well as permission from the Registrar’s Office.
26. As an international student, can I take part in IRCC co-ops and work-integrated learning experiences, like practicum?
Yes. International students are required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to have special permits to complete practicum placements, internships, etc. This permit is known as a co-op work permit. For students to be eligible for co-op work permits, practica must be mandatory requirements for program completion. In CUE’s PsyD program, practica, field placements, and internships are required.
If interested, you can read more about co-op work permit requirements on the IRCC website.
If you have other questions regarding international student status (e.g., Post-Graduate Work Permits), please contact CUE’s International Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
27. Do I need a criminal background check, including vulnerable sector clearance?
Yes. Criminal background checks, including vulnerable sector clearance, are required for practicing psychology in Alberta and taking PsyD practicum courses, field placements, and clinical internships.
Clearance is not only required for fully Registered Psychologists but also for those in training and/or under supervision. When students take practicum courses, they are engaged in face-to-face interactions with clients, many of whom fall under vulnerable sector definitions. Students may, for example, interact with clients who are a danger to themselves or others.
Note: Students do not need clearance before admission to the PsyD program. They need it by the end of the first year and before seeing clients in practica.
28. What are the teaching requirements and expectations and are students paid for teaching?
CUE provides unique teaching opportunities for PsyD students and pays them accordingly – at standard sessional rates. In year four, for example, PsyD students may teach 100-level introductory psychology courses (e.g., PSY 104, Basic Psychological Processes), as well as other undergraduate courses (e.g., University-wide course on ethics and academic honesty). They may also TA 200-, 300-, 400-, 600-, or 800-level courses for CUE faculty.
Typically, students teach one course a semester in year four, either Tuesday-Thursday (1.5 hours/class) or Monday-Wednesday-Friday (1 hour/class).
Note: PsyD students do not independently teach upper-level (i.e., 200-level, 300-level, or 400-level) undergraduate or graduate courses (i.e., 600-level or 800-level) in the Department of Psychology. Upper-level courses are taught by full-time faculty, as well as sessionals, with terminal doctoral degrees in the field.
29. What are the clinical supervision requirements and expectations?
In addition to being supervised in practica, field placements, and internships/clinical residencies, PsyD students are expected to supervise second-year students in PSY 838 and 839 as part of a year-long course in clinical supervision. They will, of course, receive supervision of their supervision (known colloquially as “sup of sup”) and develop competency in clinical supervision.
30. How much does the PsyD program cost?
The PsyD program costs $670.00CAD per credit hour, plus practicum and other mandatory student fees. Costs for international students are higher.
For up-to-date program costs, including costs for international students, please see:
31. Is there funding for PsyD students?
Yes, but it is not guaranteed.
CUE has a limited number of recruitment scholarships, academic scholarships, grant-funded research assistantships (RA), teaching assistantships (TA), and other teaching opportunities. There is also funding opportunities through CUE’s Office of Research.
Thank you for your interest in CUE’s PsyD program!
If you have additional questions, please contact Dr. Bill Hanson, RPsych, Professor and Director of Training, Clinical Psychology, at email@example.com.