Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D) in Clinical Psychology

On-Campus Program

"Our PsyD program provides a distinctive touch that is offered nowhere else. Our curriculum extends the reach of traditional clinical psychology programs and their narrow focus on fixing problems to help clients access their strengths and find connection with something larger than themselves."

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology degree program at Sofia University provides formal training in the science and practice of clinical psychology as well as focusing on the human element of "what's right about you." Whole person education offers training in the theory and treatment inspired by positive psychology and both secular and spiritual concepts and interventions. Mindfulness, as a source of both clinician self-care and treatment interventions, is a core component of the curriculum.

Our Standard Curriculum covers:

  • Traditional clinical psychology
  • Interpersonal neurobiology, neuroplasticity and neuropersonal biology
  • Transpersonal, Depth, and Spiritual Psychology
    • East/West traditions
    • Creative expression
    • Aikido
  • Positive Psychology
    • Mindfulness
    • Compassion, gratitude, and forgiveness
    • Training in emotional regulation to improve clinical performance that includes meditation

What is the difference between a PhD and a PsyD?

The PhD in Psychology has been around for over a hundred years, but the PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) degree is much newer. The PsyD became popular in the early 1970s as a professional degree in psychology (similar to the MD in medicine or a JD in law). Programs conferring the PsyD degree focus heavily on the application of psychological science to provide a service to individuals or groups.

The rationale was that the PhD is generally a research degree, but many students seek a doctoral degree in psychology to practice and do not plan to conduct research. The PsyD is intended to prepare graduates for careers as practicing psychologists. The PsyD includes less of an emphasis on research than in PhD programs but offers a great deal of training in therapeutic techniques and includes several years of supervised clinical training experiences.

As a graduate from a PsyD program you can expect to develop competencies in practice-related knowledge and experience, be informed consumers of research-based knowledge, familiar with research methodology, be comfortable reading research articles, and be able to apply research findings to your applied clinical work.

Organizational Model

The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program includes the following

  • An accomplished faculty actively involved in clinical research and practice, with an emphasis on spiritual and positive psychology applications
  • A cohort-based community of learners
  • Two years of clinical practicum and one year (1,500 hours) of supervised internship experience
  • Research and dissertation focused on a clinical psychology topic relevant to the student’s interests and related to the domains of mindfulness, spirituality or positive psychology

Program Prerequisites:

A Bachelor’s degree or higher with a minimum 3.0 GPA in psychology or a related field is preferred for admission. Other majors will be considered on a case-by-case basis. If a student has graduate training in psychology they may apply to be admitted with advanced standing. Up to 45 quarter units of credit can be applied toward the Sofia PsyD program. Any student wishing advanced standing is free to ask for an individual transcript review by a department academic advisor or the PsyD Program Chair. .


Required Units:

  • 3 quarter system runs from Fall - Spring.
  • 9- 16 units per quarter
  • 120 units to graduate


  • $950 per unit
  • There are 4 years of paid tuition.
  • The fifth year is focused on your internship.
  • Estimated total cost of tuition for the degree: $114,000.00
  • Financial Aid available
Psukhe book cover

Download the e-book Psukhe Breath Life Soul with articles written by our PsyD Faculty and Professor Emeritas.

For more information, contact Sofia University Admissions at (888)-98-SOFIA(76342) or


Shani Robbins, Ph.D.


Myrtle Heery, Ph.D.


Kelly Yi, Ph.D.


Frederic Luskin, Ph.D.


Psy.D in Clinical Psychology Curriculum

Program Goals

Goal I

To educate students in foundational scientific knowledge and empirical research in order to foster effective and ethical clinical psychology practice with the ability to draw on a broad set of psychological interventions and theories to serve the needs of diverse clients.

Goal II

To produce graduates who identify as clinical practitioners who value professionalism, relationship, and the capacity for reflective self-assessment situated within appropriate ethical boundaries.

Goal III

To train students to understand clinical and theoretical knowledge of, as well as an awareness and sensitivity to, individual and cultural diversity in their academic, clinical, and professional work and relationships.

Goal IV

To train students in methods of psychological assessment that include interviewing techniques and skills, formal psychological tests and measurements, integration and synthesis of assessment data, and effective and sensitive communication of results.

Goal V

To develop graduates who have the ability to identify and address issues through the lenses of positive psychology and spiritual diversity in clinical psychology theory, research, and practice.


Psy.D. Clinical Psych 2017-18 Curriculum

PsyD 2017-2018 Course Catalog

Total Required Class Units: 114

Required Electives: 6


NOTE: To ensure that our students are able to be the most empathic to their clients and are prepared to be of service to the public, our program includes professional development outside of the program in the form of 40 hours of personal psychotherapy that must be completed by the end of the second year of the program.


Gates to Completion

  • Complete all required coursework (120 units total, with 3.0 electives)
  • 20 hours psychotherapy Year 1
  • 20 hours psychotherapy Year 2
  • Practicum Training, Year 2 – minimum 300 hours
  • Advanced Practicum Training, Year 3 – minimum 500 hours
  • Clinical Competency Exam – Year 3
  • Dissertation Proposal – Year 3
  • Dissertation Final Draft – Year 4
  • Internship (1,500 hours) – Year 5

What is unique about the Sofia PsyD Program

In addition to the basic clinical and scientific curriculum, the Sofia PsyD program incorporates cutting edge training involving spiritualty, mindfulness practices, and positive psychology.

Spirituality reflects a distinctive, in some ways irreducible, human motivation--the yearning for the sacred that contributes in unique ways to health and well-being. Spirituality is increasingly being studied in psychology as a virtue in positive psychology, and as a mechanism of change in mindfulness and acceptance based psychotherapies.

The spiritual orientation of the Sofia PsyD program is predicated on research demonstrating that the presence of spiritual and/or religious practices in a person’ life has significant and long-lasting benefits for psychological and physical health, and that sensitive and evidence-based incorporation of the client’s spiritual beliefs and practices builds the therapeutic alliance.

The spiritual orientation to clinical psychology that underlies the program is nondenominational. Spiritual and culturally-based religious beliefs and practices as well as an understanding of major world religions are integral to training to be a proficient clinical psychologist in research, assessment, and therapy.

Mindfulness practices enhance a training therapist’s ability to attend to and empathize with the client. They also cultivate qualities including compassion and unconditional positive regard that are among the common factors shown to strengthen the therapeutic relationship and improve outcome. Studies have demonstrated that therapists value mindfulness training and see it as helpful to their role as a clinician.

Mindfulness practices taught at Sofia University include qigong, aikido, and vipassana meditation. It may seem paradoxical to include aikido, a martial art, as a way to train psychology students in mindfulness and relationship building skills. However, aikido is a form of moving meditation that requires the mind to be focused in the here-and-now, and in harmony with the movement of the body. Also aikido emphasizes the importance of connecting, collaborating, and blending with a partner that provides experiential understanding of core psychotherapeutic relational factors that impact effectiveness such as unconditional positive regard (there is no competition in aikido practice, only collaboration), therapeutic presence, staying centered when challenged by clients, and blending empathically with clients.

Positive psychology is the branch of psychology that uses scientific understanding and evidence-based interventions to enhance well-being rather than focusing on treating psychological symptoms and problems. While having its roots in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, which focused heavily on happiness and fulfillment, positive psychology emphasizes the use of the scientific method to develop and assess interventions that further human functioning and flourishing. Forgiveness, compassion and gratitude are some of the topics covered in the Sofia PsyD curriculum.

Psy.D in Clinical Psychology - Stories of success

Begun in 2009, Sofia University’s Psy.D. program is designed to meet standards for California state licensure, giving students a broad and general training in clinical psychology while integrating theory and techniques from diverse spiritual practices with an emphasis on mindfulness and positive psychology.

Board of Psychology Exam Results (2006-2011)

In order to become a licensed psychologist in the state of California, all graduates are required to complete two exams, the Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). As the table below shows during the most recent six year period Sofia University graduates have passed the BOP exams at a rate higher than the overall state-wide pass rates.

Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP): 2006-11 Statewide Pass Rate:

Sofia University Graduates Pass Rate Statewide-Pass Rate
70% 63%

California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE): 2006-2011 Statewide Pass Rate:

Sofia University Graduates Pass Rate Statewide-Pass Rate
88% 85%


What Can You do with Your Clinical Degree?

After degree completion, you will be prepared for a career as a licensed clinical psychologist, which may include supervisory and program development positions in healthcare settings, substance abuse and mental health treatment settings, corrections agencies, private practice, teaching, and/or research. Just take a look at Dr. Meghan Fraley who is clinical director of the Sofia Counseling Center, now a unit of the Counseling Center for Health and Wellness (CCHW) and Dr. Mark Forman, author and clinical psychologist.

Meghan FraleyAlumna Meghan Fraley graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from Sofia University/ITP. She is now a licensed psychologist in California and is also actively engaged in grassroots organizing work addressing economic and social justice issues with the Raise the Wage South Bay & Peninsula Coalition, Politically Inspired Action, and the ACLU of Northern California

“Overall, my passion is to help people feel more connected to themselves and the people and world around them. My approach to therapy is warm, compassionate, and empowering. I support individuals in overcoming the obstacles that prevent them from living freely, authentically, and joyfully. My clinical specialties include: depression, anxiety, life transitions, spiritual/existential concerns, and women’s issues”.

Mark FormanAlumnus Mark Forman, Ph.D. is also a graduate of the Psy.D. program at Sofia and is now a licensed clinical psychologist with fifteen years experience working with individuals, couples, teens, and families. Mark has found success as the Clinical Director of Life Design Centre and Lead Trainer of the Certified Integral Psychotherapist (CIT) Training Program. He is currently on staff as an adjunct faculty teaching a course in Integral Theory based on his book A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy: Complexity, Integration, and Spirituality in Practice.

Psy.D in Clinical Psychology FAQ

What is required for licensure as a psychologist?

Licensure regulations differ from state to state. Most states require a license from the state to practice and see patients. Sofia’s PsyD program is designed to be compatible with requirements that will permit students to achieve licensure and practice professionally in the state of California and other states. Sofia graduates already work as licensed psychologists in many states and Canadian provinces.

However Sofia’s program is not accepted in every state. Students who wish to pursue licensure are strongly advised to contact the licensing board in the state/province in which they plan to practice in order to obtain their specific requirements. Students should follow the requirements of their chosen state or province (i.e., courses, faculty contact hours, internship) in planning and completing their degree program curriculum.

How do I survive psychology graduate school?

Graduate school is a stressful time for many—juggling competing demands of courses, clinical work, and research along with family and part time work. Sofia is unique among graduate schools in that it provides training in self-care skills starting the first quarter. Mindfulness, spirituality, compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude practices are integrated into the curriculum. These evidence-based skills enhance students’ self care and productivity along with providing a foundation for clinical interventions.

Internship Onsite