The doctoral program in clinical psychology at Northern Illinois University is based on the scientist-practitioner model of training. The faculty believes clinical psychologists trained in this model are uniquely able to bring a scientific approach to professional practice and a clinical perspective to research. We also believe the scientist-practitioner model prepares today’s students to guide the future course of the profession by providing them with a strong foundation in experimental and clinical psychology; research skills to conduct scientific studies and evaluate clinical practice; clinical skills for entry into the practice of clinical psychology; flexibility in attitude and approach; and a commitment to life-long learning.

In accordance with the scientist-practitioner model, students are continuously encouraged to integrate research and practice in their professional conduct. Because our program attracts students with a variety of career aspirations in practice, teaching and research, the scientist-practitioner model allows our students to obtain broad training while maintaining a high degree of individual focus consistent with their chosen roles in the profession. Moreover, the diversity of student career paths facilitates the integration of science and practice in the daily activities of the training program.

The clinical area’s dedication to a diverse multicultural environment is reflected at every level of the program including the recruitment and retention of students and faculty, coursework, research, mentoring and clinical training. The faculty tries to meet, in a sensitive manner, the needs of all students, including those who bring diversity to our program through their ethnicity, language or other characteristics. Visit our diversity page for more information on how we approach diversity in our program.

While the doctoral program in psychology is structured with respect to course content and sequence (see degree requirements), the specific courses and training experiences are shaped by on-going program evaluation. To promote student input in this process, students are actively involved in decision-making concerning the clinical area, as we use an iterative process listening to student input and soliciting feedback on multiple issues related to the curriculum and the program more broadly. Students are involved in recruiting and orienting incoming clinical students, evaluating candidates for positions on the clinical faculty and providing input to the clinical faculty regarding area revisions.

The three primary aims of the training program are listed below.

  1. Graduates will have broad knowledge of psychological theory and research relevant to work in both clinical and research settings in the scientist-practitioner tradition.
  2. Graduates will be able to apply scientific methods to answer theoretical and applied questions.
  3. Graduates will be prepared for entry into the practice of clinical psychology.
Consistent with these aims, the program trains students to become competent in the following areas that are essential for success in the field of clinical psychology:
  • Research
  • Ethical and Legal Standards
  • Individual and Cultural Diversity
  • Professional Values, Attitudes, and Behaviors
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills
  • Assessment
  • Intervention
  • Supervision
  • Consultation and Interprofessional/Interdisciplinary Skills


Contact Us

Department of Psychology
Psychology-Computer Science Building room 400

Director of Graduate Studies
Kevin Wu, Ph.D

Graduate Studies Assistant

Admission Questions