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 and completion of all coursework not including dissertation and internship units advances the student to Doctoral Candidacy. Students may not hold their dissertation proposal meeting until they have completed 54 units in the program. Students must propose their dissertation before the start of internship.


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 (CPSY 399).  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.  Up to 9 semester units can be transferred at the Master's level and up to 12 semester units at the doctoral level. Additionally, up to 9 credits used toward a master’s degree earned at another institution may be approved by petition for transfer 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
CPSY 370Techniques of Research3
CPSY 371Statistical Thinking and Communication3
CPSY 377Qualitative Research Design and Methods3
CPSY 378Quantitative Research Design and Methods3
CPSY 382Applied Research in Psychology I3
CPSY 383Applied Research in Psychology II3
CPSY 384Applied Research in Psychology III3
II. Research and Dissertation
Minimum 5 units
CPSY 399Doctoral Dissertation2-5
Electives related to Dissertation at 200-300 level0-3
III. Counseling Psychology Concentration
Minimum 60 units
CPSY 305Advanced Human Development Across the Lifespan3
CPSY 329Career Counseling3
CPSY 328Theories of Multicultural Family Therapy and Collaboration3
CPSY 320Psychotherapeutic Interventions3
CPSY 325Group Counseling3
CPSY 332Crisis Intervention3
CPSY 340Consultation Methods3
CPSY 322Advanced Psychotherapeutic Interventions3
CPSY 310History and Systems in Psychology3
CPSY 313Law and Professional Ethics for Mental Health Professionals3
CPSY 363Psychopathology and Wellness Promotion3
CPSY 355Psychological Assessment3
CPSY 358Behavior and Personality Assessment3
CPSY 360Neuropsychology3
CPSY 316Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Professionals3
CPSY 315Social Psychology3
CPSY 334Spousal and Partner Abuse, Detection, and Intervention1
CPSY 337Alcoholism and Chemical Substance Abuse Dependency3
CPSY 335Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting1
CPSY 317Human Sexuality1
CPSY 333Abuse and Crisis Intervention for Families1
CPSY 336Trauma Counseling1
CPSY 341Education, Consultation, Advocacy1
CPSY 342Supervision1
CPSY 394Counseling Practicum6
Or any Special Topics course (CPSY 393)
IV. Final Culminating Field Experience
Minimum 6 units
CPSY 398Internship1-3

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.