Psy.D. Program

Accredited as a Clinical Program in Psychology by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. The next site visit is scheduled for 2018. Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the following:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979
Program Overview

Program Chair and Director of Clinical Training: Jerry L. Kernes, Ph.D.
Psychology Department Manager:
Natalie Brown
Core Doctoral Faculty:
Aaron Baker, Glenn Gamst, Jerry Kernes, Luci Martin, Nadine Nakamura, Kristina Post, Rick Rogers

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association (APA), and the university awards program graduates the Doctor of Psychology degree (Psy.D.). It builds on the University of La Verne’s established tradition of community service, and prepares graduates to work competently and responsibly in a multicultural and pluralistic society.

Students receive a breadth and depth of training that combine practical experience with research and writing requirements, integrating knowledge and skills with scientific foundations of psychology. The program exemplifies the scholar-practitioner model of professional training and prepares clinical psychologists to promote mental health for the welfare of individuals, families, groups, institutions, and society as a whole.

The core mission of the program is to train scholar-practitioners who think critically, apply their knowledge diligently, and practice ethically and compassionately. Courses are taught by a cadre of respected scholars and seasoned clinicians.

The Psy.D. program at the University of La Verne is relatively small, with 10-14 students expected to enter each fall. The program takes five years of full time study to complete, at least four of which must be in residence, and includes 120 semester hours of study. Most 120-unit programs advertise a minimum of four years to completion, whereas our program is designed to be completed in five years. We believe that five years is realistic, and we expect the large majority of our students to graduate within 5 or 5 1/2 years of beginning the program. Our program operates on a cohort model, meaning that students entered the program take most of their courses with the same group of 10 students. The program emphasizes cooperation rather than competition between cohort members. Grades are awarded, and not everyone receives an ‘A’ in every class, but students are encouraged to work and to study with each other.

Masters in Psychology
Students may apply for an M.S. in Psychology at the completion of their second year of the Psy.D. program. This degree is intended only as an en route degree toward completion of the Psy.D. and is not a terminal master’s degree. Students must be in good academic standing at time of application and have successfully completed the first two years of required coursework. The M.S. degree is awarded during fall of students’ third year in the program and those awarded the degree may participate in the January commencement at the end of the fall Year 3 semester.

The program is designed to develop competence in the scientific foundations of psychology, clinical practice, research methods, and data analysis. The program requires students to conduct an empirical dissertation. The dissertation is designed during Year 3 and completed during Year 4, prior to the clinical internship.

Clinical Training
Clinical training consists of clinical practica and an internship. The practica occur during Years 2 and 3 of the program, and require a minimum of 1,500 training hours at two different sites. Students may elect to complete additional practica training during Year 4. The clinical internship in Year 5 requires a minimum of 1,500 clinical hours. The internship meets the pre-doctoral licensure requirements in California.

Graduates, following completion of post-doctoral clinical training, are eligible to be examined for licensure as psychologists. Psychologists trained within the scholar-practitioner model establish careers in clinical practice in the private and public sectors including clinics, hospitals, and community agencies. They may also teach and provide supervision in colleges and universities. Psychologists also serve as consultants to corporate, public, educational, and religious institutions, and conduct program evaluations.

Licensure Eligibility
The Psy.D. program is designed to meet all of the academic and pre-doctoral clinical requirements for California licensure in psychology. Because licensure requirements vary among states, students interested in practicing psychology outside of California should consult with the licensing board in the state where they intend to practice for information on eligibility in that state.

Clinical Network
The department has established a network with mental health agencies in the San Gabriel and Pomona valleys and the Inland Empire region, and has been obtaining placements for undergraduate psychology students and graduate counseling students for over 30 years. Many of these sites, as well as new ones, serve as practicum and internship training sites for the Psy.D. program. As an APA accredited program, students are eligible to apply for internships across the country.

Personal Psychotherapy
The capacity for self-awareness and an appreciation of the psychotherapeutic process are important aspects of an individual’s development as a clinician. The program encourages this process by requiring students to complete at least 20 hours of personal psychotherapy during the program and prior to the pre-doctoral internship. It is the responsibility of each student to meet the cost of their personal psychotherapy.The 2011-2012 student average cost for personal psychotherapy was $65 per session.

Student Groups
The department is fortunate to have several student groups. All Psy.D. students are automatically members of the Psychology Graduate Student Alliance (PGSA). Students may have opportunities for participation in other student groups as well.

Psi Chi
The department sponsors a chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. Doctoral students who meet the eligibility requirements are invited to join the chapter.

Teaching Assistantships
A limited number of teaching assistantships are available for highly qualified students to assist faculty on a variety of teaching and/or research projects. Students will receive partial tuition reimbursements for these assistantships.

The American Psychological Association Code of Ethics states:
7.04 Student Disclosure of Personal Information

Psychologists do not require students or supervisees to disclose personal information in course- or program-related activities, either orally or in writing, regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others except if (1) the program or training facility has clearly identified this requirement in its admissions and program materials or (2) the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training- or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.

Several courses in the program (such as practicum courses, the multicultural competency sequence, group therapy, and supervision) require students to explore their world view as it affects their work with clients. Because of the effect that students’ personal experiences and perspectives might have on their work with clients, these courses often include experiential activities such as self-disclosure, group process, role plays, and exploration of personal issues as they affect the therapeutic relationship.

Further Information
The Psy.D. program at the University of La Verne welcomes inquiries and applications from interested potential students.  If you would like more information, please feel free to contact the Psychology Department Manager, Natalie Brown, at, or by phone at (909) 448-4179.