Doctorate of Psychology

Location: Gladys L. Benerd Building

Degree Program

Doctorate of Psychology in Counseling Psychology (Psychologist License Eligible)

Admissions Requirement

  1. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for the last 60 units of college or post baccalaureate work.
  2. A Bachelor's degree from an accredited university.
  3. A completed application portfolio to Graduate Admissions, an essay indicating qualifications for the program, official transcripts from all college-level coursework
  4. including official verification of the awarding of degrees, and three letters of recommendation that attests to the candidate’s ability to undertake doctoral studies.
  5. Program Interview
  6. Evidence of qualities and character in keeping with the philosophy and standards of this University and Benerd Education Programs.

Program Stages

The approval of the dissertation proposal by the student's committee advances the student to Doctoral Candidacy.


An acceptable dissertation must be based on an original investigation. It must present either a contribution to knowledge and/or understanding, or an application of existing knowledge to the candidate’s special field of study. The dissertation must be submitted by the appropriate deadlines as stated in the current Graduate Academic Calendar. Students admitted to the PsyD program in the Benerd College require a minimum of 2 units and maximum of 5 units of Dissertation units (EDUC 399) that are completed after the dissertation proposal has been completed. After coursework is completed, students must register for at least one unit of EDUC 399 in each semester (including once during summer) to maintain active student status until the dissertation has been successfully defended, unless on an approved leave of absence. Students are not required to register in the semester immediately following a successful final defense.

Period of Candidacy

The maximum time allowed for completion of an PsyD program is governed by the following: All requirements for the Doctor of Psychology degree must be completed within the time limit outlined in the Residence and Time Limits section of the Academic Regulations page of the graduate catalog. Students who do not meet these deadlines are dropped from the doctoral program.

Final Oral Examination

A final oral examination, conducted by the candidate’s dissertation committee, is held in accordance with the deadline established by the university. This oral exam concerns itself with the candidate’s dissertation. Supplemental information is available in the Benerd College department offices.

Semester Hour Requirements

A minimum of 89 doctoral units is required for the PsyD degree. Some (usually no more than 6) post master degree units may be approved by petition for transfer from another university and count toward the 89 doctoral units. After successful completion of the first 32 units of the program, students who meet the requirements for the MA degree with a concentration in Counseling Psychology may apply for and be awarded the MA degree. Students who take PsyD courses at part of a MA or EdS degree completed at Pacific may count those units towards their PsyD. Credit value of the dissertation: Not less than 2 nor more than 5 units.

Grade Point Average Requirements

Grade point average of at least 3.0 in all work taken while in graduate studies is required. Preferably this should be 3.5.

Minimum Residence

The period of residence work represents an opportunity to secure additional competency in the area of specialization as well as the development of an acceptable dissertation. Residency requirement can be met by taking 18 units of coursework within 12 calendar months.

Doctorate of Psychology

The Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) requires a minimum of 89 units with a Pacific cumulative grade point average of 3.0. Students must complete the doctoral core courses as well as a dissertation proposal and defense. Based upon state and federal laws, additional requirements may be necessary for those students electing to earn a license along with the graduate degree (e.g. licensed psychologist). Students interested in earning a license should work closely with their advisor. Students will be required to complete a dissertation at the conclusion of the program.

I. Core
Minimum 21 units
EDUC 201Techniques of Research3
EDUC 202Statistical Thinking and Communication3
EDUC 304Program Evaluation3
EDUC 325Quantitative Research Design and Methods3
EDUC 326Applied Multiple Regression3
EDUC 327Structural Equation Modeling3
EDUC 352Applied Inquiry I3
II. Research and Dissertation
Minimum 5 units
EDUC 399Doctoral Dissertation2-5
Education Electives related to Dissertation at 200-300 level0-3
III. Counseling Psychology Concentration
Minimum 66 units
EDUC 329Advanced Human Development Across the Lifespan3
EDUC 333Career Counseling3
EDUC 334Theories of Multicultural Family Therapy and Collaboration3
EDUC 335Psychotherapeutic Interventions3
EDUC 336Group Counseling3
EDUC 337Crisis Intervention3
EDUC 338Consultation Methods3
EDUC 339Advanced Psychotherapeutic Interventions3
EDUC 341History and Systems in Psychology3
EDUC 342Law and Professional Ethics for Mental Health Professionals3
EDUC 343Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion3
EDUC 346Psychological Assessment3
EDUC 347Behavior and Personality Assessment3
EDUC 348Neuropsychology3
EDUC 349Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals3
EDUC 350Social Psychology3
EDUC 384Spousal and Partner Abuse, Detection, and Intervention1
EDUC 385Alcoholism and Chemical Substance Abuse Dependency3
EDUC 386Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting1
EDUC 387Human Sexuality1
EDUC 388Counseling Practicum6
EDUC 398Internship (6 units)1-3
Or any Special Topics course (EDUC 393)

Student Outcomes

  1. Research – Students will be able to contribute to the mental health field through conducting an original research study.
  2. Counseling – Students will be able to and apply major theories of mental health counseling to individuals, groups, and families, with diverse needs.
  3. Assessment – Students will be able to administer, interpret, and communicate findings from major assessment instruments and use assessment findings to generate and implement treatment plans.
  4. Theory – Students will understand predominant theories of psychology as they relate to practice in the mental health field.
  5. Diversity – Students will be able to interrogate structures of power from the standpoint of cultural inheritance and critically reflect upon their own cultural biases.