PhD Program in Clinical Psychology

  • Nature of the Program

    The Clinical PhD program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation (contact information below).

    The program is integrated into the mission of the university as a whole, which values progressive social thinking, and the mission of The New School for Social Research, which values critical thinking, pluralism, diversity, and interdisciplinary dialogue. Our training philosophy is consistent with the scientist-practitioner model of clinical psychology. In following this model, our philosophy aligns with the values of The New School for Social Research, which emphasizes the importance of pursuing and maintaining integration between scholarship and real-world concerns. The program emphasizes respect for and understanding of cultural and individual diversity. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding the roles of culture and context (both social and historical) in mediating healthy psychological development, psychopathology, and psychotherapeutic change.

    In its clinical training, the program is pluralistic, with an emphasis on psychoanalytically informed practice.The psychoanalytic legacy of our program can be traced back to 1926, when Sandor Ferenczi, one of Freud's closest colleagues, taught a course at The New School. Other psychoanalytic pioneers who have taught at The New School include Alfred Adler, Ernst Kris, Karen Horney, and Erich Fromm. Our psychoanalytic legacy can also be traced to the origins of The New School for Social Research during World War II, when a number of its founding members were interested in the synthesis of social and political thought, psychoanalysis, and the humanities.

    Many of our basic clinical skills courses have a broad-based psychodynamic emphasis. Others have a cognitive-behavioral emphasis. Students are also exposed to other therapeutic orientations (e.g., humanistic, existential approaches). They are encouraged to approach clinical practice with an open and inquiring mind and avoid a doctrinaire outlook. Critical inquiry and debate are encouraged, and students are encouraged to seek out training experiences in a range of different orientations during externship placements. Our faculty represent a range of different theoretical viewpoints. Students are exposed to diverse orientations and taught to examine similarities, differences, and points of complementarity between them. They are taught to think critically about the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and to explore different approaches to integrating both interventions and theories from different perspectives (e.g., technical eclecticism, theoretical integration, common factors approaches, assimilative integration).

    Our clinical program is one of the few that combine a psychoanalytic emphasis with adherence to the scientist-practitioner model. In accordance with the scientist-practitioner model of training for clinical psychology, we are committed to teaching our students to integrate research and practice in a meaningful way. We teach them to view the activities of conducting research and engaging in clinical practice as mutually enhancing in nature—that is, to understand that clinical practice generates important questions and insights that can have a significant influence on the conceptualization and execution of research; and that both research findings and the process of conducting research can have an important impact on clinical practice. Consistent with the Gainesville conference on scientist-practitioner education, the emphasis in our training model is on the integration of science and practice in all activities a clinical psychologist undertakes. From this perspective, the hallmark of the scientist-practitioner model is thus not just publishing in scientific journals, but rather bringing the integrative perspective of the scientific-practitioner model to all professional activities. Many of our graduates choose to work in clinical settings, and when they do, we expect them to approach their work with the critical sensibility that is the hallmark of science; to value and seek out up-to-date information, including expertise in both clinical techniques and empirical findings regarding assessment, psychopathology, and therapeutic methods; and to evaluate this information critically. When they do research, we expect them to be attuned to real-world clinical concerns and to use their clinical experience to generate meaningful hypotheses.

    We also believe it is important for students to be aware from the outset that the practice of clinical psychology often falls short of the ideals of the scientist-practitioner model and that there is an increasing recognition in the field of a gap between researchers and clinicians. Research can fail to take into account the realities of clinical practice, and as surveys indicate, many practitioners are not interested in research findings. An important goal is thus to train students to think critically about the causes of the researcher-practitioner gap and to explore ways of reducing it. We attempt to create an atmosphere in which a critical spirit will flourish. Ongoing questioning and dialogue are encouraged, formally and informally, not only in class and seminar rooms but also at guest lectures, case conferences, research conferences, and various faculty and student meetings.

    The following program goals are consistent with our scientist-practitioner training model: to educate psychologists who are competent in scholarship in clinical psychology and who have the requisite knowledge and skills for entry into the practice of clinical psychology. The program seeks to educate psychologists who integrate science and practice, demonstrating competence in critical thinking about issues related to both scholarship and clinical work.

    Students learn research methods and statistics and learn to carry out research and communicate research findings. They acquire knowledge in the breadth of scientific psychology, its history of thought and development, and its research methods and its applications. In addition, students develop knowledge and skills necessary for the proficient practice of interviewing, assessment, and diagnosis. They acquire the skills needed to practice effectively with diverse others in assessment and treatment. They become competent in practicing ethically and within legal bounds. Students develop an understanding of the need for life-long learning, scholarly inquiry, and professional problem solving as psychologists in the context of an evolving body of scientific and professional knowledge.

    To summarize, our training philosophy emphasizes the importance of 1) integrating theory, research, and practice in a meaningful way; 2) developing a solid grounding in the breadth of scientific psychology and learning to integrate this knowledge with both research and practice in clinical psychology; 3) developing attitudes necessary for lifelong learning, critical thinking, and an ongoing ability to grow and develop as professionals in the field; 4) developing the requisite skills for entry into professional practice; and 5) developing an appreciation and respect for the values of diversity and pluralism (cultural, ethnic, theoretical, and methodological).

    The most recent American Psychological Association site visit, in December 2013, resulted in the PhD program's continued accreditation for a full seven years. The site visitors commented on the excellence of the program's training in scholarship, research, and practice and on our success in integrating the three realms. To quote the site visit report:

    The focus of the program is not only on present knowledge available but on understanding the value of developing a stance of lifelong scholarly inquiry and the basic value of science as an important part of clinical practice. There is an emphasis on the constant change in knowledge and ideas that occur in the field and on the importance of both being aware of these changes and of being involved in them. The advanced students appear to have developed a very strong attitude of lifelong learning and also assist in the development of this attitude by being models and passing on the attitude to the new students.

    The program excels in the area of clinical training. The New School-Beth Israel Center for Clinical Training and Research provides a strong beginning to the students' clinical experience. A wide range of agencies are used for advanced practica and all are required to provide adequate supervision and appropriate professional supervisors. The clinical training experience is integrated with all appropriate courses. The practica from the very first year Beth Israel placement on throughout the program are designed to fit with and be part of developing competencies and to meet both immediate and long term training during each year of the program. Since practicum training is part of the training during each year in the program, the amount, intensity and breadth of experience is well beyond what is expected by most internship sites.

    The program tracks placements of its graduates and is justly proud of the excellent jobs its students regularly obtain. In our interviews with supervisors in sites that support student placements and internships we learned that most of them consider New School graduate students to be the best graduate students they see.

    Download Student Outcomes, Admissions, and Other Data (PDF)

    Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to

    Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
    American Psychological Association
    750 First Street NE

    Washington, DC 20002-4242
    Phone: 202.336.5979


  • Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

    Admission to the Program

    Applications are accepted from students who are currently completing the MA in General Psychology program at The New School for Social Research only after they have passed part I of the PhD qualifying examination (or, for Research Master's Track students, made sufficient progress toward completion of the research master's theses, as confirmed by the applicants' research advisors). Apply directly to the Clinical Psychology PhD program. Application forms are available from the director of Clinical Student Affairs, 80 Fifth Avenue, room 601. The application must be accompanied by the results of the two faculty interviews evaluating the student's suitability to pursue clinical work that the student completed before sitting for part 1 of the qualifying examination.

    Applications are available in late November and due to the program on February 1. Applications should be handed to the director of Clinical Student Affairs if possible; applicants who are unable to do so should follow up before the February 1 deadline to make sure that their applications were received.

    Students who hold a master's degree in psychology from The New School for Social Research but are not currently enrolled must apply both to the Clinical Psychology program for PhD consideration and to the university office of graduate admission for readmission. The priority deadline for filing the application with the office of admission is mid-January. This deadline is important for scholarship eligibility and other funding. Contact the university Office of Admission for the exact date.

    Students begin their studies toward the PhD by obtaining an MA in General Psychology, which includes courses in psychopathology and the psychology of individual differences. Only after this can they apply for admittance to the Clinical Program. As part of their grounding in general psychology, students take courses in experimental psychology, human development, physiological psychology, statistics, social psychology, and personality. The background in general psychology and research design acquired during the MA portion of the program provides a baseline of "normal" psychological processes to support the study of clinical disturbances, distortions and deviations in cognition, perception, emotion, and social behavior. It also provides a research perspective toward clinical work that will be applied when designing research projects and doing dissertation research.

    Successful completion of the MA in General Psychology does not guarantee admission to the PhD program, but academically strong MA students have a very good chance of progressing to the PhD program. The Clinical program admits approximately 15 students per year. Clinical admission procedures are detailed in the Psychology Handbook, found in the right-hand sidebar of this page.

    Admission Data

    (Year entering program)2014-20152013-20142012-20132011-20122010-20112009-20102008-20092007-2008
    Applied to program2131283332292621
    Were offered admission1415151615161716
    Enrolled in academic year1511151615161715

    * The average GPA of successful MA applicants from 2008 to 2011 was 3.8.

    Program Overview

    The doctoral program in clinical psychology is a 90-credit program accredited by the American Psychological Association. The first 30 credits are earned in master's degree studies in general psychology, as described earlier, including the one-semester, noncredit proseminar. Prospective Clinical program students are required to take the psychopathology sequence, Assessment of Individual Differences, and Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience at the master's level. Once admitted to the Clinical program, students are expected to take courses in clinical theory and technique, diagnostic testing, evidence-based practice, and culture and ethnicity. They must also complete two full-year externship seminars, take a course on professional issues, and progress through a series of clinical training placements at the New School-Beth Israel Center for Clinical Training and Research and affiliated sites around New York City. The clinical component of training culminates in a paid, full-time APA-accredited internship, procured through a national match process (American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE; Washington, DC 20002-4242; phone 202.336.5979)

    Length of Program

    Completion of MAClinical PhD Coursework and Practicum RequirementsInternship
    Two yearsThree yearsOne year

    It is possible to complete the PhD degree in four years (not including the two-year MA program). The program is structured so that students spend three years completing academic and practicum requirements and one year completing an APA-accredited pre-doctoral internship. It is not unusual for students to take longer than four years given the many concurrent academic, clinical, and research experiences that the program affords, and given many students' desire to gain additional clinical experience in light of the current internship match imbalance.

    General Overview of Training and Major Deadlines Years I-III of Clinical Ph.D. Program

    Year ICore Clinical Coursework
    and Research
    Practicum at the Beth Israel Center for Clinical Training and Research
    Year IICore clinical coursework and researchFirst externship
    Year IIICoursework and researchSecond externship
    Year IVDissertationInternship


    Students are required to apply for APA-accredited internships. Students need permission from the Director of Clinical Training in order to apply to a nonaccredited internship program. The internship application process is time consuming, and students should allow themselves sufficient time for the planning and preparation of their applications.

    During the internship match process, students receive ongoing advisement from the Director of Clinical Student Affairs and the Director of Clinical Training.

    Faculty Research Interests

    Faculty research interests include

    • Ethnic minority mental health, domestic violence in immigrant communities, mental health care in the People's Republic of China,
      cultural issues in the psychotherapy relationship
    • Attention deficit disorder: effects on quality of life, medication effects, underlying brain mechanisms
    • Autism: underlying brain mechanisms, characterization of the attentional impairment
    • Laterality: Lateralization of emotions, anomalous laterality in Tourette disease, attentional factors in laterality testing
    • Consciousness: neurological bases, awareness of deficits
    • Health psychology
    • Women's health: an emphasis on gender/cultural influences on health behavior; feminism and body image, cultural differences in women's body image, and body image during pregnancy; body image among breast cancer survivors, including women's expectations for and satisfaction with breast reconstruction, and ethnic differences in the use of breast reconstruction after mastectomy
    • Developments in psychoanalytic theory, research, and practice
    • Research on psychotherapy process and outcome
    • Psychotherapy integration
    • Psychotherapy and Buddhism
    • The therapeutic alliance, therapeutic impasses, transference, and counter-transference
    • The internal processes of the therapist
    • The relationship between attachment processes and therapeutic change
    • Personality, personality change, personality disorders, psychological assessment
    • The development of attachment, in particular the bonds between parents and children and the intergenerational consequences of attachment; adoption and foster care
    • Children's understanding of mixed emotions, parent-child relationships, the effects of trauma and loss on children and adults, long-term consequences of early attachment experiences
    • Psychopathology and boredom
    • Individual and developmental differences in cognitive styles, creativity, and metaphor, with special emphasis on the influence of intelligence, personality, and gender
    • Substance abuse and ego depletion
    • Attachment across the life-span
    • Attachment and adoption

    Program Costs

    New School for Social Research Tuition Fee Schedule

    Financial support is available in the form of fellowships, partial scholarships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and teaching fellowships.