Clinical Psychology (PhD)

Clinical Psychology (PhD)

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The Clinical Psychology training program offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree through integrated academic, scientific, and professional training. During the course of the PhD program, students also earn a Master of Science degree in Psychology. The program provides students with intensive instruction in the theoretical framework of psychology and broad experience in methods of practice in clinical psychology.

Our program is defined by the scientist-practitioner model. We believe that clinical psychologists should be both scientists – knowledgeable in formulating and solving scientific problems – and practitioners – experienced in the use of empirically supported clinical techniques. To this end, the core courses are organized as integrated theory-research-practice units with a problem-solving emphasis.

Our program develops bilingual clinical psychologists as experts in mental health assessment and treatment with Hispanic/Mexican American populations and addresses the needs of the population of the Rio Grande Valley which is 91% Hispanic. The majority of students will be bilingual but the program will admit some non-bilingual students who are committed to developing the research and clinical skills necessary to better understand and serve diverse populations. 

Within the context of a general clinical psychology program, the Department of Psychological Science offers specialized training in neuropsychology, integrated primary care and the study and treatment of trauma/anxiety. The training emphasis of the program involves both a neuropsychological and a behavioral approach to the understanding and treatment of human distress and dysfunction. The major program areas prepare students for teaching and research in medical, mental health, and academic settings, as well as for clinical service. Students receive training in a broad range of assessment procedures and intervention approaches with an emphasis on empirically-supported interventions. Students gain experience with a range of medical, neurological, psychiatric, and neuropsychiatric populations through clinical and research activities. Our graduates will be well-prepared clinicians and researchers because of the solid grounding in theory, practice, and research that our faculty will provide, The training ensures the development of broad-based clinical skills and encourages close, cooperative work with other healthcare specialists, such as pediatricians, internists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, geriatricians, and psychiatrists.

The clinical psychology program plans to seek accreditation on contingency status from the American Psychological Association (APA) in its second year. We strive to maintain a balance between academic course work, research training, and supervised clinical practice. In designing the core curriculum, the department has followed the recommendations of the Committee on Accreditation for Health Service Psychology. The course curriculum includes a sequence of required courses that address discipline-specific knowledge and profession-wide competencies as required by the American Psychological Association ensuring students develop competencies in these areas: 

  • Biological aspects of behavior
  • Cognitive and affective aspects of behavior
  • Social aspects of behavior
  • History and systems of psychology
  • Psychological measurement
  • Research methodology
  • Techniques of data analysis
  • Ethics and legal standards
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional values attitudes and behavior
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Consultation
  • Supervision

Students in the areas of integrated primary care, trauma/anxiety and neuropsychology are required to take additional courses and electives. A sequence of clinical practice and participation in research round out the pre-internship years.

Admission Requirements

Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at There is no application fee.

Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to or mailed to:

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The Graduate College
Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
1201 W. University Drive
Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

*Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB/TSC, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

Review and submit all Program Requirements:

1. Have obtained a bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting agency or foreign equivalent.

2. Have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours of psychology. Although a variety of psychology courses are acceptable, applicants will ideally have completed courses in Statistics, Research Methods, Abnormal Psychology, Personality, and Biological/Physiological Psychology.

3. Have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate coursework. Applicants who have completed graduate courses must also have a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

4. Submit GRE scores for both the General exam (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) and the Psychology subject exam:

  • The GRE General Test Score is due by the December 1st, 2019 deadline and proof of registration for the GRE Psychology Subject Test Score is due by January 31st, 2020.

5. Submit official transcripts.

6. Submit current resume/vita.

7. Submit a 1-2 page personal statement that addresses their professional goals, why they are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and what interests them about our program in particular. Applicants should state whether they are bilingual English/Spanish with respect to written and spoken language. Applicants should clearly identify which faculty members they are interested in working with, and why, and submit a rank order of their top three faculty members.

8. Submit a writing sample that best demonstrates their scholarly writing skills in psychology or a related field. This can be a class paper, thesis, conference paper, published article, or other written scholarly paper.

9. Arrange for three letters of recommendation to be submitted by former professors, or employers, familiar with the applicant's professional or educational capabilities. At least two of these letters must come from faculty who have taught you in a class and/or have mentored you in research

Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

  • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
  • Certified English translation of educational records.

Additional requirements for international applicants:

  • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
  • Certified English translation of educational records.
  • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
  • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.


  • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

Program Contact

Program Director: Dr. Arthur Cantos

Phone: (956) 665-5022

Office: Edinburg Campus, ELABN 339




Fall - January 6th

The GRE General Test Score is due by January 6th, 2020 deadline, and proof of registration for the GRE Psychology Subject Test Score is due by January 31st, 2020. 

Tuition Estimate

Residency Per 3-Credit Hour Course Semester (9-Credit Hours) Total Estimated Cost
Texas Resident $1,481.39 $3,894.17 $53,330.04
Non-Resident/International $2,708.39 $7,575.17 $97,502.04

*We estimate that tuition and fees will closely approximate the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change. Please note that the rates above are estimated for on-campus students and those enrolled in 16-week online programs. The rate is different for Accelerated Online Programs (AOP). Visit the tuition and fees page for detailed information.

Course Requirements

Year 1

A sequence of required courses is taken during the first year. Clinical practica also begin during the first year. It is anticipated that students will begin active participation in a research program with their advisor. During the summer, students can choose to take one of two courses in evidence-based intervention with either adults or children, which will prepare them for clinical work in the second year. Students are also advised to participate in research and clinical practica over the summer. However, this is optional.

Year 2

A series of required general courses are offered during the second year. Students may choose between taking the advanced statistics course and taking the other course in evidence-based interventions, which they did not take the previous summer. Continuation of clinical practica and research participation occur during this year. Completion of a thesis, along with satisfactory course grades, qualifies the student for the Master’s degree.  Students are required to submit their Master's thesis for publication in a peer-reviewed journal as part of their major program area requirements.  

Year 3 and Year 4

Students will be required to have completed a comprehensive exam by the end of year three.

Required courses, electives, clinical practicum and research activities continue during the third year. In the fall of the fourth year, students complete a supervision and consultation course. Upon satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examinations, students may develop their dissertation proposal. The dissertation proposal must be approved by August 15th, if the student is to be eligible to apply for internship the following year.

Additional didactic activities in which students may participate include: Department sponsored colloquia; a Visiting Speaker Series and individual case conferences; training conferences, special lectures and presentations sponsored by UTRGV and/or the medical school).


Students are required to complete a one-year, full-time, clinical internship, after having completed formal course work and a dissertation proposal. Students work with the Director of Clinical Training to ensure that they are applying to sites, which reflect their career goals. Students are required to participate in the APPIC national match. During internship, students function under supervision as clinical psychologists. The internship facility must comply with the American Psychological Association accreditation standards and must be approved by the Department of Psychology.


Year 1


PSY 8363: Professional Issues and Ethics in Psychology 3  
PSY 6312: Child Psychopathology 3
PSY 6301: Statistics for Psychological Research I 3
PSY 6332: Research Design 3
PSY 8164: Clinical Practica 1
PSY 7100: Research/Thesis 1
PSY 6302: Statistics for Psychological Research II 3
PSY 6305: Adult Psychopathology 3
PSY 6354: Individual Therapy/Clinical Fundamentals 3
PSY 8164: Clinical Practica 1
PSY 7100: Research/Thesis 1
PSY 8360: Empirically supported treatment with Children 3
PSY 8361: Empirically supported treatment with adults 3
PSY 8164: Clinical Practica (optional) 1
PSY 7100: Research/Thesis (optional) 1


Year 2

PSY 8320: Neuropsychological Models of Cognition and Emotion 3
PSY 6347: Assessment and Measurement in Children and Families 3
PSY 6346: Assessment and Measurement in Adults 3
PSY 8364: Clinical Practica 3
PSY 7100:Research/Thesis 1-3
PSY 8303: Advanced Statistics for Psychological Research III* 3      
PSY 8341: Assessment and Treatment in Mexican American Cultural Contexts 3
PSY 8364: Clinical Practica 3
PSY 7100:Research/Thesis 1-3
PSY 8164: Clinical Practica (optional) 1
PSY 7100: Research/Thesis (optional) 1

*Students more interested in Clinical can take the other empirically supported treatment course instead


Year 3

PSY 8340: Cross Cultural Psychology with an Emphasis on Studies of Hispanic/Mexican American Cultural Contexts 3     
PSY Elective 1 3
PSY 8365: Advanced Clinical Practica 3
PSY 7100:Research/Thesis 1-3
PSY 8330: Emotions and Cognitions: A developmental Perspective 3
PSY Elective 2 3
PSY 8365: Advanced Clinical Practica 3
PSY 7100:Research/Thesis 1-3
PSY 8165:Advanced Clinical Practica (optional) 1
PSY 7100: Research practicum (optional) 1

Note : Students will be required to have completed a comprehensive exam by end of year three.


Year 4

PSY 8372: Supervision and Consultation
PSY 8365: Advanced Clinical Practica 3
PSY 9300: Dissertation Research 3
PSY 8365: Advanced Clinical Practica 3
PSY 9300: Dissertation Research 3
PSY 8165: Advanced Clinical Practica (optional) 1
PSY 9300: Dissertation Research (optional) 3


Year 5

PSY 8365:Advanced Clinical Practica 1-3
PSY 9300: Dissertation Research 3
PSY 8365: Advanced Clinical Practica 1-3
PSY 9300: Dissertation Research 3


Year 6

PSY 8100: Required 12 month Clinical Internship 2    

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