PhD Clinical Psychology

The Clincal PhD program is a CPA accredited, structured, five-year program which follows the "scientist-practitioner" model. It considers clinical psychology as part of the science of psychology and therefore emphasizes research.

Research meets practice

Our Clinical Psychology program is based on the 'scientist-practitioner' model and is designed to give our graduates a thorough grounding in science, research and clinical practice. Students are focused on research from the beginning of the program and work toward a PhD dissertation. Students also start applied training in their first year and continue throughout the program, ending with a full-year internship.

Due to our emphasis on the science of psychology, our program produces clinical psychologists who blend the ideals of research and service.


Clinical training focuses on objective assessment methods and evidence-based clinical practice. The program’s generalist training allows students the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in working with individuals across the lifespan as well as with individuals from diverse backgrounds. 

Students are also provided with the opportunity to expand their learning into areas of interest (e.g., child psychology, adult psychology, neuropsychology, addictions, and health psychology). Students who want extensive training in both science and clinical practice are the best fit for our program. Our graduates are prepared to work as clinical psychologists in a range of settings and will be particularly valued in settings receptive to the integration of research and practice.

Our Principles

  1. Scientist-Practitioner Model of Training
    Professional psychology advances itself through the scientific method

  2. Faculty Mentorship
    Faculty who are scientist-practitioners model the values this program wishes to instil in students.

  3. Cultivated Critical Thinking
    Critical thinking skills are foundational skills for both science and practice and are fostered at all levels of training in the program.

  4. Climitized Learning
    A developmental model of supervision tailors feedback and supervision to a student’s level to advance their learning.

  5. Acceptance and Respect
    Ethical thinking and practice permeates all aspects of the program; hence, the well-being, dignity, and respect of others are paramount. 

  6. Collaborative Approch
    A collaborative framework where graduates learn to be effective members of interdisciplinary teams leads to better client-centred care

  7. Beyond the Classroom Learning
    Training is most effective if provided through multiple methods, including coursework, research (i.e., comprehensives projects and dissertation), practica, clinical workshops, and a full year internship/residency.

Our Goals

  1. To provide training consistent with the scientist-practitioner model, by providing graduate students with experience in and knowledge of the science and practice of psychology, and the integration of science and practice.

    Objective 1: To produce graduates who are skilled researchers
    Objective 2: To produce graduates who are skilled practitioners
    Objective 3: To produce graduates who view science and practice as integrated activities

  2. To provide generalist training that ensures breadth in research, practice, and teaching skills, thus making students competitive for internship and employment positions and prepared to take on a range of careers in the field of clinical psychology.

    Objective 4: To produce graduates who have a broad knowledge of clinical skills in order to work with clients of all ages

    Objective 5: To produce graduates who have a broad knowledge of clinical skills in order to work with clients who present with a wide range of difficulties related to mental health and general well-being

    Objective 6: To produce graduates who have a broad knowledge of clinical skills in order to work with clients from diverse backgrounds    

  3. To ensure that students develop skills, as described in the MRA, in each of the four foundational knowledge of psychology areas (i.e., biological, cognitive-affective, and social bases of behaviour; psychology of the individual), as well as the six core competencies areas (i.e., interpersonal relationships, assessment and evaluation, intervention and consultation, research, ethics and standards, and supervision), and as such preparing our graduates for careers as Clinical Psychologists. 

            Objective 7: To produce graduates who have a strong foundational
            knowledge in the core content areas to the level of preparedness
            necessary to enter the profession of clinical psychology.

            Objective 8: To produce graduates who have clearly developed all core
            competency areas to the level of preparedness necessary to enter the
            profession of clinical psychology

Program Details

First year:

  • Take and pass all first-year graduate-level classes
  • Present first comprehensive proposal to your committee
  • Carry out first comprehensive research study
  • Complete first in-class assessment practicum
  • Meet with Field Placement Coordinator to discuss your first field placement in summer
  • Present at annual departmental in-house conference (optional)

Second year:

  • Take and pass all second-year graduate-level classes
  • Defend first comprehensive project
  • Plan for remaining two comprehensives and obtain departmental approval
  • Implement second comprehensive project
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA)
  • Meet with dissertation supervisor and supervisory committee before year's end
  • Practicum in the summer months

Third year:

  • Take and pass all third-year graduate-level classes
  • Conduct third comprehensive research study
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA)
  • Continue to complete practica over academic year and summer
  • Meet with supervisor and supervisory committee before year's end

Fourth year:

  • Complete remaining course work, such as electives
  • Complete comprehensive research and have approved by department
  • Continue to work on dissertation research
  • Complete additional practicum during the academic year and summer
  • Apply for internship

Fifth year:

  • Complete dissertation research
  • Submit a PhD thesis and pass oral examination
  • Complete internship


Subject Code: PSYO
Department Tel: 902-494-3417
Department Email:
Department Address: Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dalhousie University
P.O. Box 15000
Halifax, NS, Canada, B3H 4R2
Director of Clinical Training: Dr. Shannon Johnson
Director of Clinical Training Tel: 902-494-1580
Director of Clinical Training Email:
Department Website: