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PhD Program in Clinical Health Psychology

Program Requirements

The Clinical Health Psychology PhD Program has six components: Core Courses & Electives, Master's Thesis, Clinical Practica, Comprehensive Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCCE), Doctoral Dissertation, and Pre-Doctoral Internship. Each component contributes to developing the scientist-practitioners who are the hallmark of clinical health psychology training.  It is possible to complete the program in five years.  Click here for CU Denver and Anschutz Medical Center course descriptions.

Required Courses

Personality Assessment Advanced Social Psychology
Cognitive Assessment Psychotherapy I
Advanced Psychopathology Psychotherapy II
Advanced Cognition & Emotion Health Psychology I
Advanced Developmental Psychology Health Psychology II
Diversity in Clinical Psychology Ethics & Professional Issues
Advanced Biological Bases of Behavior Historical & Philosophical Foundations
Clinical Research Methods Advanced Statistics
​Clinical Behavioral Medicine ​Multivariate Statistics
Clinical Practica ​Dissertation
Master's Thesis ​Pre-Doctoral Internship

Sample PhD Curricula

PhD Curriculum - Even Year 7-17-14.pdfPhD Curriculum - For Students Entering in an Even Year.pdf

Phd Curriculum - Odd Year 7-17-14.pdfPhd Curriculum - For Students Entering in an Odd Year.pdf


Master's Thesis

The Doctoral Program in Clinical Health Psychology requires students to complete a Master’s Degree en route to achieving the PhD. Students achieve this degree by completing a master’s thesis empirical research project that makes a significant contribution to the field.  

Clinical Practica

Students are required to complete a minimum of 500 face-to-face intervention and assessment hours and 1,200 total practicum hours (face-to-face intervention and assessment hours plus supervision plus support hours as defined by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers) in order to apply for pre-doctoral internships. Approximately 50% of required practica are typically conducted in medical or health care settings with the remainder occurring in the program’s own Psychological Services Center. Students work with the Coordinator of Clinical Training to select practica based on their personal and professional interests. All field placements must be approved in advance by the Coordinator of Clinical Training. 

Comprehensive Clinical Competency Evaluation

During spring semester of their third year, students must demonstrate their clinical competency by completing the Comprehensive Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCCE).  Successful completion of the CCCE demonstrates that the students' clinical competence is at the developmental level of readiness necessary to apply for clinical internship. This evaluation is designed to assess the developmentally appropriate broad and general clinical competencies in clinical psychology and does not necessarily evaluate clinical health psychology competencies per se. The CCCE is comprised of three sequential components:

  • Applied clinical diagnosis, conceptualization and assessment/treatment plan for a standardized patient
  • Intervention therapy session with a standardized patient
  • Oral defense before a clinical faculty committee

Doctoral Dissertation

Students must complete a dissertation that involves original empirical work and is distinct from other research projects and publications. The dissertation proposal must be completed and defended prior to applying for the pre-doctoral internship. Students must have a dissertation committee comprised of four members of the graduate faculty.  When the dissertation is completed to the satisfaction of the primary advisor, the student must orally defend the dissertation before the committee. 

Pre-Doctoral Internship

Students in the Clinical Health Psychology PhD Program are required to complete a 12-month, full-time pre-doctoral clinical internship, preferably at an APA-accredited site.  This internship is required of all clinical psychologists and is the capstone of clinical training in the doctoral program.  We desire that most of our students will pursue internships settings that have a health focus or that involve a health psychology rotation.