Welcome to Clinical Science at USC!

The Ph.D. program in Clinical Science at the University of Southern California is dedicated to the integration of science and application. Clinical science is viewed as an ideology, a perspective taking, that values critical thinking and evidence in informing one’s professional activities. Our goal is to prepare 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 has been accredited by the American Psychological Association as a doctoral program in clinical psychology since 1948, and in 2018, we received a full ten-year renewal of our accreditation status. Our next site visit is scheduled for 2027. In addition, in 2010 we became one of ten clinical science programs receiving accreditation from the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). In 2021, we were reaccredited by PCSAS for another 10 years. 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.

The tenets and expectations of PCSAS are highly consistent with our training goals and methods, and we plan to maintain PCSAS accreditation indefinitely. However, prior to the end of our APA accreditation, we will reevaluate whether APA accreditation is consistent with our program goals.  Based on our evaluation at that time, we may or may not decide to reapply for APA accreditation. Thus, although our program is APA accredited through 2027, it is possible that by the time future incoming cohorts graduate, our program may only be PCSAS accredited.

Our program and education model have several defining features:

  • We offer one of the few programs nationwide that takes a life-span approach to both research and clinical work. Research interests of faculty and clinical training span the developmental spectrum from children and adolescents to older adults.
  • Consistent with the life-span approach we offer sub-specialties in clinical-aging and child/family.
  • 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 alcohol abuse, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, early identification of psychosis, family environments and risk and resilience in youth, family and community violence, and the reintegration of juvenile offenders. Many of these research programs attend to cultural and ethnic factors.

Hear from our faculty and students!

For more detailed information about the Clinical Science Program, please consult the Clinical Handbook.