PhD Clinical Psychology

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.

Program Details

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

Choose a research supervisor

Before you begin your studies at Dalhousie, we encourage you to visit our department or correspond by email with faculty members whose research interests you. The best way to find a research supervisor whose interests match yours is to:

  • Discuss ideas and projects with prospective supervisors
  • Ask faculty for descriptions of possible research projects

Program structure

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

Further information:

Read the Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations for detailed information about graduate studies programs at Dalhousie.


Class requirements

Candidates for the program in Clinical Psychology must have an honours degree in Psychology or a Psychology degree with equivalent research experience. The requirement for the undergraduate degree in Psychology is an admission requirement to get into our Clinical Psychology program. This is a requirement from the Position of the Association of Canadian Psychology Regulatory Organizations (ACPRO) and will not be waived.

If you are coming to Dalhousie with an MSc from another university, you may seek transfer credits for your class work after admission.


PhD Defence

A PhD defence is open to the public. The Faculty of Graduate Studies arranges and publicizes the PhD defence in consultation with the supervisor and the student.

The PhD candidate makes a 20-minute oral presentation of the work. Members of the Examination Committee then question the candidate. The external examiner, the members of the examining committee and the supervisor vote on the outcome of the thesis defence.

Application Deadlines

Applications must be received by November 15th.