Specialty Tracks & Dual Degree Ph.D. / M.P.H.

Students have the option of specializing in the clinical aging or clinical child and family tracks, or completing a MPH in Public Health. These specializations are a unique feature of our clinical science program and offer students concentrated research and clinical experiences.

The specializations enrich our program overall by providing a life-span developmental emphasis. Students from all tracks enroll in the same core courses and bring perspectives from both ends of the life-span. Thus, everyone benefits from the specialty tracks even if not formally enrolled in them.

Aging and child-family tracks, and the MPH program are overlays on top of the core of clinical coursework. Students are not required to designate one of these tracks — they may concentrate in general adult clinical psychology. Moreover, beyond the specialty tracks, students also have the option of developing areas of research concentration drawing on domains of faculty expertise that don't fall into the specialty tracks.

Clinical Geropsychology

The clinical science program offers a major area of study in clinical geropsychology that provides research training in the science of clinical psychology and aging along with sound clinical training in work with older adults. Both research and clinical training experiences emphasize interdisciplinary work and cooperation with colleagues from related research fields and professions. USC is one of the first clinical geropsychology programs in the country. Faculty and graduates are among the leaders in the field.

Clinical geropsychology students take coursework in adult development and aging to become familiar with normal aging — cognitive changes, biomedical aspects, and social context and policy — and with developmental research methodology. Approximately half of the required practicum work in assessment and psychotherapy involves older adult clients, primarily seen through the Older Adult Counseling Center located in the Psychology Services Center. On-campus experiences include working with individuals, families, and caregiver support groups, while experience in clinical neuropsychology is available at off-campus sites. Many of our students pursue training in neuropsychology at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center or at the Department of Neurology at USC.

Drs. Gatz, Knight, Nation and Prescott are affiliated with the clinical geropsychology major area of study. Other faculty can also advise clinical geropsychology students; currently Drs. Davison and Mather have clinical geropsychology students in their research labs. Clinical geropsychology students also benefit from interactions with other faculty who specialize in adult development and aging both in the Department of Psychology and in the School of Gerontology.

For further information, contact Dr. Bob Knight.

Clinical Child-Family Track

This track offers students research and clinical training in work related to children, adolescents, and families. The program emphasizes a developmental psychopathology perspective, incorporating a focus on both normal and abnormal development as related to family, community, and other contextual factors. Students in track enroll in courses in normal cognitive and social development, longitudinal research methods, cultural context, and policy that are taken in psychology, social work, education and law.

Drs. Huey, Margolin and Schwartz are affiliated with this track; however all faculty in the clinical science program can also advise students who enroll in this track. In addition, Dr. JoAnn Farver and Dr. Frank Manis from the developmental area can serve as research advisors for students who enroll in this track.

Students also benefit from interactions with faculty in the developmental area (Drs. Elaine Andersen and Toben Mintz, and Justin Wood), social work (Dr. Penelope Trickett), and adjunct faculty at Los Angeles Children's Hospital (Drs. Katz and Williams).

Assessment practicum experiences are available in schools, mental health clinics that provide services to youth, and our own Psychology Services Center. Required practicum work involves a year-long course in intervention with couples, children and families.

For further information, contact Dr. Gayla Margolin.

Dual Degree Program: Ph.D. / M.P.H.

USC allows students to work simultaneously toward the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (Clinical) and the Master of Public Health. The Ph.D./M.P.H. dual degree combines knowledge of clinical psychology research and practice with an understanding of health from a population perspective. The student enrolls primarily in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. During the second and subsequent years, course work is taken in both programs. The dissertation is undertaken through the Department of Psychology. Interested applicants must apply directly to the PhD program in Clinical Science first. During the first year of graduate school, students will be provided with additional information about this opportunity and will be given the opportunity to apply for the Dual Degree program.

For further information, contact Dr. Robert Chernoff.

  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2203