Doctor of Psychology


Program Description

You are not required to submit a TOEFL exam result in order to apply and be admitted into the University.


One of the most popular degree programs at CalSouthern, the Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) is an applied, clinically focused degree that meets the educational requirements for licensure as a clinical psychologist in the state of California. The PsyD program culminates in a doctoral project focused on a topic about which you are most passionate—it’s one of the most exceptionally rewarding academic experiences you can undertake.

The PsyD: Psychology’s Applied Doctorate

The Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) differs from the Ph.D. in that, whereas the Ph.D. is focused primarily on academic research and scholarly publication, the PsyD degree is an applied degree that is clinically focused. It emphasizes counseling and therapy and gives you great leverage and opportunity in your career—you can move into virtually any position in any organizational hierarchy with the PsyD.

The PsyD also is a degree that can lead to licensure as a clinical psychologist; CalSouthern’s online PsyD program meets the educational requirements for licensure in California and CalSouthern alumni have been successful in obtaining licensure via the PsyD program. (The requirements vary state-by-state, and we encourage you to inquire about your state’s policies. Of course, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have regarding licensure.)

CalSouthern’s online PsyD program attracts students from across the country and around the world. It’s an innovative degree program that combines a comprehensive selection of foundational courses as well as a variety of elective coursework that emphasizes the service orientation of a professional clinical degree.

The PsyD program culminates not in a dissertation, but in a doctoral project that is challenging and rigorous—and one of the most rewarding academic pursuits you’ll ever experience. The doctoral project—which may include a community-based action-research project, a critical analysis of the literature in a field of study, or a clinical application and analysis—can focus on a topic of the greatest interest to you and about which you are most passionate.


The program learning outcomes of the Doctor of Psychology degree program are:


Formulate and express advanced conceptualizations of psychological ideas through interaction with others, with the capacity to design, evaluate, and defend these concepts.

Critical Thinking

Construct and assess logical and/or empirical evidence from advanced clinical psychological theory and research, employing complex judgments drawn from inferential statistics and scientific methodology.

Cultural and Social Understanding

Critically weigh and consider the clinical impact that cultural and social institutions have on psychotherapy clients’ ethical systems, values, worldview assumptions, and presenting, psychological symptoms.

Information Literacy

Evaluate psychological sources and information, as well as generate psychological reports in professional and technically proficient language.

Personal Development

Critically appraise advanced psychological principles and findings from the clinical psychological literature, and generalize them to personal experiences so that the information is meaningful and organically applied to humanistic, grounded professional goals.

Quantitative Reasoning

Distinguish between advanced, statistically based reasoning processes and apply to complex psychological research and questions about clinical treatment and assessment

Scientific Reasoning

Design an advanced system of inquiry that is rooted in peer-reviewed, empirical research findings to describe, critically evaluate, hypothesize about, predict outcome, and intervene with clinical populations.

Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues

Justify and validate the rationale underlying ethical behavior as it relates to professional standards of practice in clinical psychology.

Additional Content Specific Competencies

Assessment and Diagnosis

Incorporate psychometric theory in designing assessment methods in clinical psychology, including critically evaluating established systems of diagnosis.


Create and evaluate evidence-based psychotherapeutic treatment plans to reduce psychopathological symptoms and improve clients’ adaptive functioning.

Biological Basis of Behavior

Evaluate and integrate advanced findings from brain science with clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.

Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior

Summarize and clinically incorporate research findings from cognitive science, affect theory, learning, memory, and motivation.

Growth and Lifespan Development

Distinguish between statistically normal and abnormal patterns of development across the lifespan, and discriminate between the various protective vs. risk factors that influence developmental outcomes for clinical populations.


The following Doctor of Psychology courses comprise the PsyD program at CalSouthern. The PsyD program includes 33 credit hours of required core courses, and 18 credit hours of elective courses, in addition to a doctoral project and other requirements. Although the PsyD and Ph.D. are both respected doctorates, they differ in that the PsyD is an applied degree, clinically focused, as opposed to the Ph.D., which is more focused on research and scholarly publication.

Core Course Requirements
  • PSY 87500 Advanced Theories of Personality - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87503 History and Systems of Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87504 Ethical and Professional Issues - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87506 Advanced Psychopathology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87508A Cultural Diversity - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87524 Cognition, Emotion and Motivation - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87540 Statistical Methods and Analysis - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87700 Psychopharmacology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87701 Physiological Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87702 Psychological Assessment I - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87127 Research Methods in Psychology - 3 Credits
Elective Courses
  • PSY 82307 Advanced Physiology and Pharmacology of Addiction - 3 Credits
  • PSY 82309 Advanced Ethical and Professional Issues in Addiction Counseling - 3 Credits
  • PSY 82316 Advanced Personal and Professional Wellness for the Substance Abuse Counselor - 3 Credits
  • PSY 82507 Advanced Case Management: Assessment, Treatment Planning, Relapse Prevention, and Aftercare - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87100 Applied Sport Psychology I - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87101 Applied Sport Psychology II - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87110 Current Issues in Sport Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87115 Psychology of Coaching - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87120 Enhancing Performance: Preparation/Motivation - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87125 Research in Sport Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87507 Human Sexuality - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87509 Advanced Psychology of Marriage and Family Systems - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87513 Psychological Tests and Measurements - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87514 Brief Therapy - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87515 Social Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87518 Hypnosis: Theory and Practice - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87519A Crisis and Trauma Counseling - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87521 Organizational Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87525 Cognition and Memory - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87527 Psychology of Stress and Stress-Related Disorders - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87528 Psychology of Violence and Domestic Abuse Reporting - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87529 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87530 Dream Analysis - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87533 Psychology of Death and Dying - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87534 Dual Diagnosis - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87536 Cognitive-Behavioral Psychotherapy - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87537 Psychology of Chronic Illness - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87538 Advanced Psychology of Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87539 Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity, Autistic Spectrum, and Neurodevelopmental Disorders - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87541 Psychology of Religion - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87542 Eating Disorders - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87545 Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87547A Career Counseling - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87550 Positive Psychology - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87552 Diagnosis and Treatment of Individuals with Intellectual Disability and Borderline Intellectual Functioning - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87560 Media Psychology: Writing, Publishing and Promoting a Self-Help Book - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87561 Interpersonal Conflict in the Workplace - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87600 Supervision and Consultation - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87601 Clinical Interviewing - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87703 Psychological Assessment II - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87704 Practicum I - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87705 Practicum II - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87707 The Psychology of the Mind: Mind-Body Connection - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87708 The Psychology of the Mind II: Mind-Body Connection - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87710 Integrative Therapy: From Orientation to Practice - 3 Credits

Comprehensive Examination

  • PSY 87800 Comprehensive Examination - 1 Credits
Doctoral Project Course Requirements
  • PSY 87991A Doctoral Project I - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87992A Doctoral Project II - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87993A Doctoral Project III - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87994A Doctoral Project IV - 3 Credits
  • PSY 87995A Doctoral Project V - 2 Credits
Internship (Optional)
  • PSY 88000 Internship - 0 Credits

Getting Started

Getting started on your Doctor of Psychology is a quick and simple process. There are no entrance examinations and courses start monthly throughout the year; you can begin your program as soon as your schedule permits. Just complete these five steps:

  • Complete Your Enrollment Application
  • Submit Your Official Transcripts of Your Undergraduate and Graduate Coursework
  • Write and Submit a Personal Statement
  • Pay Your $75 Application Fee
  • Upon Acceptance, Sign Your Enrollment Agreement

Once the signed enrollment agreement is received, you’ll be contacted by your academic support team including your academic advisor and student success advisor. They will confirm the start date for your first course and walk you through a quick, but thorough orientation process that will give you all the information you need to get started. And they will be there for you every step of the way to ensure that you successfully complete your degree program.

Previous Education Requirements

Admission to the PsyD program requires a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent completed at an appropriately accredited post-secondary institution as well as a master’s degree in the field of study or related field from an appropriately accredited post-secondary institution.

If the applicant has earned a master’s degree in another field, the applicant may petition the Admissions Committee to evaluate the foundational readiness to be successful in the program. In this case, the Admissions Committee may require the completion of six prerequisite graduate level courses for the PsyD degree:

  • Counseling Theories and Strategies
  • Therapeutic Boundaries
  • Psychopathology
  • Theories of Human Development and Functioning
  • Alcoholism/Chemical Dependency Detection and Treatment
  • Cross-Cultural Mores and Values

California Southern University may accept a maximum of 30-semester credits in transfer for courses completed at an appropriately accredited institution toward the PsyD degree program. The courses must be doctoral level courses completed with a grade of B or better and the courses must be directly related to the respective degree program at California Southern University.

Last updated Nov 2020

About the School

California Southern University is a regionally accredited, online university offering degrees in psychology, business, criminal justice and nursing at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral ... Read More

California Southern University is a regionally accredited, online university offering degrees in psychology, business, criminal justice and nursing at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Read less