Clinical Science Philosophy

The Ph.D. program in Clinical Science at the University of Southern California is dedicated to the integration of science and application. We aim to educate clinical scientists who conduct research that addresses problems of societal importance and who engage in empirically-supported clinical work. Our goal is to prepare our graduates to create new knowledge with the potential to advance the field in whatever setting they choose to work-- academia, research centers, medical centers, applied settings, or private industry.

Our program been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1948, and in 2011, we received a full seven-year renewal of our accreditation status. In addition, in 2010 we became from the one of ten clinical science programs receiving accreditation from the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). PCSAS provides an objective, empirically-based accreditation of Ph.D programs that meet the goal of promoting science-centered education and training in clinical psychology, increasing the quality and quantity of clinical scientists contributing to the advancement of public health, and generating a new knowledge base for mental and behavioral health care. PCSAS accreditation serves the public interest by indicating to prospective students, mental health care consumers, and policy makers that graduates of this program have received a high quality science-oriented education. The USC Clinical Science Program also is a charter member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science.

Our program and education model have several defining features:

  • Students simultaneously engage in research, clinical work, and course work in each year of the Ph.D. program.
  • Research requirements are designed to be a step-wise progression to skills needed to excel as an independent researcher.
  • Students do clinical placements at our on-campus training clinic, which provides psychological services to individuals, older adults, children, couples and families from the Los Angeles community, and also have opportunities for external assessment and intervention placements.
  • With sub-specialties in clinical-aging and child/family, life-span development is a prominent theme throughout our coursework and research.
  • Students receive high quality training in research methodology and data analysis.
  • Situated between downtown and South Los Angeles, our program offers considerable opportunities to conduct research and clinical work with persons from a wide range of economic, cultural, and racial backgrounds.
  • Clinical Science faculty conduct research on psychosocial issues associated with significant societal problems including substance abuse disorders and other addictions, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, health problems including cancer and cardiovascular disease, bullying and peer victimization, hate crimes, family and community violence, and the reintegration of juvenile offenders.
  • Cultural competence is addressed in clinical work and in research through culturally sensitive treatments for ethnic minorities, public health campaigns to help Spanish speaking family members recognize signs of psychosis, the study of quality of life among Latina women with cancer, and culturally responsive therapy for Asian Americans with phobias.
  • Clinical Science faculty conduct highly visible international research including studies on peer relations in China, the adjustment of orphan heads-of-households from the Rwandan genocide, and dementia in Swedish twins.
  • Annual program events include day-long workshops with world-renowned clinical researchers, our end-of year conference where students present research, and brown bags on professional, research, and clinical topics.

The Director of Clinical Training is Dr. Steve Lopez,

The Administrative Assistant is Erika Quinly,

The University of Southern California is a member of the National Name Exchange, a consortium of 54 nationally known universities that work to identify and exchange the names of talented undergraduates from underrepresented minority groups. USC has used this list in the past to identify students to invite for its annual visitation program. This program is coordinated at USC by the Assistant Dean and Director of the USC McNair Scholars Progam and EDGE Program, Dr. Richard Andalon ( The Clinical psychology faculty members are active participants in USC's minority recruitment efforts.

  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061