James G. Murphy
Director of Clinical Training
The doctoral program in clinical psychology has been APA* accredited continuously
since 1972. The program is guided by the scientist/practitioner model and places a
particularly strong emphasis on research. Although diversity exists among the clinical
faculty with respect to methods of inquiry and areas of study, there is unanimity
in promoting scientific inquiry as the foundation of clinical psychology. Students
with strong current research interests and corresponding career goals present the
best fit with the clinical faculty and the educational opportunities available in
The emphasis on scientific inquiry is indicated by the clinical program's membership
in the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is an alliance of leading scientifically oriented doctoral training programs
and internships in clinical and health psychology in the United States and Canada.
Academy membership is open to doctoral programs with strong commitments to, and established
records of, successful clinical science training.
Our program offers three broad areas of research focus within clinical psychology:
Child and Family Studies, Clinical Health Psychology, and Psychotherapy Research.
As you explore the web sites of our faculty members, you will see how their research
and clinical interests tend to fit in these areas. Each of our students declares an
alliance with one of these areas or establishes a blended program tailored to their
needs, with faculty approval. To promote student growth and collaboration, students
in each area complete specific coursework consistent with their interests. Please
see our web site to learn more about our research areas.
To be accepted into the clinical program, students must apply for full-time studies.
Students enter our program from a variety of career paths: Some have recently completed
their undergraduate degrees, whereas others have spent time working after finishing
their undergraduate training. Still others have already earned a Master’s degree.
Consistent with our strong scientific emphasis, students are usually supported with
a research assistantship during their first year of graduate training. In addition,
students complete a second research assistantship in their area of interest during
their second or third year in residence. Our mentorship model allows students to receive
hands-on guidance from basic research training through their mastery of highly complex
Clinical training also begins in the first year, when students typically complete
their core classes in clinical psychology. This first year is highly structured with
required clinical and general psychology courses; subsequently, the content of study
is more flexible and determined by each student’s research area and interests.
After completing their first year, students see patients during years 2 through 4
in our training clinic, the Psychological Services Center (PSC), under the close supervision
of clinical faculty. Clinical orientations among our faculty include cognitive behavior
therapy, family systems approaches, and motivation interviewing, among other methods.
The orientation of all faculty members is empirical, emphasizing the relations between
research evidence and practical clinical applications. Students are encouraged to
develop their own conceptual synthesis.
In addition to their training in the PSC, students complete at least one year of clinical
assistantship, working in one of a variety of diagnostic and treatment facilities
within the community. Memphis provides a range of outstanding training sites, including
a multidisciplinary diagnostic center for developmental disabilities, a local psychiatric
hospital, our student health clinic, a federal prison, and the world famous St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital. In addition, our students often engage in short-term
training on a volunteer basis at the Memphis VA Medical Center and a number of other
Assistantship support is provided for a minimum of four years, at a rate of $13,000
for students without Master’s degrees and $14,000 for students with their Master’s. Tuition
is waived for students in good standing on assistantship support. Academic and financial
counseling for clinical students is available within the department and is also offered
through the Center for Student Development on campus. Students can receive reduced-fee
personal counseling from community professionals.
Once a student is accepted into the Clinical Program, every effort is made to provide
an environment conducive to his or her successful completion of the program. We try
to prevent attrition as much as possible through early detection of problems, either
academic or personal, and through providing early counseling and constructive feedback.
Students typically receive their doctorate after an average of 5.7 years of study,
including their year of internship training. In other words, our students usually
complete their pre-internship training in 4 to 5 years. A recent study of our students
indicated that they have an average of 3 publications and over 10 conference presentations
and posters by their fifth year. In addition, they have typically assessed and treated
a wide range of clients. Thus, our students are highly competitive for internship
Our program graduates work in a variety of settings. Recent data indicate that the
most common work environments for our alums are medical centers (23%) and academic
settings (22%). In addition, 11% are employed by VA Medical Centers, and about 9%
are in private practice. Smaller numbers of graduates are employed in diverse settings
such as correctional facilities, private general hospitals, university counseling
clinics, and military medical centers. We are extremely proud of the multiple honors
our former students have won for their professional service.
*Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242