Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data - PhD (PDF)

Residence and Coursework

Normally, four years of residency are required unless transfer of credit is brought in and advanced standing granted. While the doctorate is not awarded simply for completion of stated course work, there are basic unit requirements for the degree (133 semester hours). Each student has a faculty advisor who assists in the planning of each semester's schedule of courses and supervises the student's progress in the program. For transfer credit, see General Academic Information.

Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 78 semester hours of psychology in addition to a doctoral dissertation. These 78 units include 50 required units, 12 units of practicum that must be taken in residence, 4 units of Master's-level research apprenticeship, and 12 units of psychology electives. Students may apply up to 6 units of graduate coursework from the School of Intercultural Studies toward the total psychology hours requirement.

Psychotherapy Laboratory: 
Students in the Ph.D. track must complete at least 12 units selected from psychotherapy lab courses. These are taken during the second, third and fourth years.

Theology: All students must complete a minor in theology which includes a minimum of 17 semester units.

Integration Seminars: 
All students participate in a series of seminars (14 units) devoted to the integration of a variety of theological and psychological concepts in research, theory and practice.

Dissertation Research:
 12 units of dissertation research and successful defense of the dissertation are required prior to granting the Ph.D.

Second Year Evaluation (Preliminary Oral Interview)

All students have an oral interview with a faculty committee to evaluate their progress and potential for successful completion of the doctoral program. This interview is scheduled after the completion of three semesters in residence, including at least one practicum assignment. The results of this interview are reported to the faculty, which votes (1) allowing the student to continue, (2) allowing the student to continue studies with conditions, or (3) not allowing the student to continue in the doctoral program.

Comprehensive Examinations

All students must pass a set of doctoral-level comprehensive examinations covering the following areas: Psychological assessment, intervention, professional ethics, and integration.
 These examinations are given two times during the summer and serve as the major means of evaluating a student's suitability to continue studies toward the doctorate. The examinations may be taken after completion of 75% (100 units) of the course work and must be taken prior to the Professional Qualifying Exam.
 Only one retake of the examination is allowed. The dates of the Comprehensive Examinations are specified in the Academic Calendar.

Admission to Candidacy

Official candidacy for the doctorate signifies an advanced stage in the student's progress. In order to be admitted to candidacy the student must have:

  • Successfully completed the Second Year Evaluation
  • Passed the Comprehensive Examinations

  • Received approval of dissertation proposal by the Doctoral Committee

  • Completed training therapy

Professional Qualifying Exam

All doctoral students must successfully complete an examination that evaluates the student's readiness for a full-time internship. It may be taken any time after the comprehensive examinations have been passed and must be completed prior to acceptance of an internship. The examining committee may require the student to complete additional coursework, practicum, or other professional growth experiences prior to beginning the internship.


All students are required to successfully complete a one-year, full-time clinical internship prior to graduation. All internships are approved in advance by the Director of Clinical Training. There is some provision for students to complete this requirement in two years at half-time status.
 Completion of Training Therapy

All students must receive certification of completion of training therapy from the director of clinical training. A minimum of 50 hours of interpersonal therapy plus 50 hours of individual therapy is required.


A dissertation evidencing high attainment in original scholarship must be submitted by all Ph.D. candidates. All dissertation units must be accrued prior to internship. Three weeks prior to expected graduation the candidate must submit to the Rosemead dean the original and four copies of the dissertation approved by the dissertation committee and Biola librarian.

Final Oral Examination

The final examination is an oral defense of the dissertation before the doctoral committee and other invited professionals.

Featured Faculty

John H. Coe

Director, Institute for Spiritual Formation

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639