Program Overview

The Clinical Child Psychology Training Program leading to the doctoral degree (Ph.D.) is an initiative jointly affiliated with the KU Departments of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. The program is housed in the Dole Human Development Center. This interdepartmental program involves the resources of faculty in both departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The program includes a core faculty with specialty interests in clinical child and pediatric psychology. Using the drop down list below, please explore the program's training goals, its structure, mentorship model, and resources.


The Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas fulfills the basic and traditional orientations to Clinical Psychology as a practice area in professional psychology with an emphasis in working with children, adolescents, parents, and families. While the program has historically adhered to the “scientist-practitioner model” of clinical training (Belar & Perry, 1990; Raimy, 1950), the CCPP has become increasingly oriented toward the clinical scientist model of training (e.g., McFall, 1991) and was recently inducted into the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS).  Our membership in APCS reflects our commitment to and activities in achieving a scientific clinical psychology, and underscores the program’s priority on research training and productivity.

The KU CCPP fulfills its training mission through its broad and general requirements and research training integrated with basic and advanced practica as well as in the didactic courses of psychopathology, assessment, and psychotherapeutic treatment. This fulfillment is evident from all aspects of the Program such as in the guiding principles, by its goals and objectives, through modeling by core faculty, via the integrated course requirements and syllabi, and in clinical research projects and clinical activities.

As noted above, the mission of the KU CCPP is to develop leaders in the research, dissemination, and practice of clinical science for children, youths, and their families.  In service of this mission, the program is designed to promote professional competencies in four specific domains (Research, Clinical Practice, Professionalism, and Leadership/Professional Communications) as well as broad and general knowledge across the substantive areas of the science of psychology.  A more complete description of these professional competency domains is available in the program training manual.

We expect that the development of these competencies in our trainees will will produce researchers who examine the causes, correlates, and treatments of the psychological and physical challenges facing children, adolescents, and their families; and clinicians who base their practice on sound scientific principles and the strongest empirical evidence available.

Regardless of the particular professional settings in which our graduates apply their skills, we anticipate that they will be leaders in the field—effective in shaping their work environments and the larger field of clinical science through their research, teaching, supervision, and advocacy. To this end, the CCPP places an extremely high priority on the development of research skills and competencies, and emphasizes the integration of science and practice in all of its endeavors.  Prospective applicants to the program should be aware of the Program's valuation of research and empirical dissemination of clinical findings.

We invite those who share our orientation to submit their applications, and we encourage those who are interested in other forms of professional work to consider different types of programs to achieve their goals.

The Clinical Child Psychology training program emphasizes the acquisition of general knowledge and skills in the behavioral, social, cognitive, affective, and biological bases of psychology, and a thorough knowledge of research methodologies and statistical analyses that support clinical science. A particular strength of the interdepartmental program is the lifespan developmental perspective presented through all aspects of training. Within the specialty's clinical training, students take courses in assessment and intervention, child psychopathology, behavioral and family therapy, and ethical/legal issues. Special consideration is given to ethnic and cultural diversity issues, prevention, public sector and social interventions, and professional issues.

Didactic and practical experiences prepare the graduate for the multitude of roles open to clinical child psychologists. Students are able to assume positions in research/ teaching in universities, medical schools, and internship training sites, and direct service delivery in mental health centers, hospitals, and schools. We anticipate that students who enter our training program will aspire to leadership positions in such settings.

The design of the program implements the recommendations of national training models. In doing so, the course work and research/clinical experiences in the curriculum provide the bases in development, psychopathology, assessment and diagnosis, and intervention in child mental health work with children, adolescents, and families. Furthermore, the accreditation criteria for the American Psychological Association* direct the specialized didactic and clinical experiences of the Clinical Child Psychology Program.

Students are expected to complete course work, practica, and research requirements for the doctorate within four years of full-time study followed by a required one-year pre-doctoral internship at an approved site. Students are expected to, and indeed want to, participate maximally in research and clinical experiences. A master's thesis, qualifying examination, and doctoral dissertation are formal milestones of progress through the program in addition to regular evaluation in courses, practica, and yearly faculty review. Additional information about the curriculum in Clinical Child Psychology is available upon request.

Although admitted by the CCPP faculty "as a whole" (i.e., and not by any one faculty member), students are admitted into the program with some idea of whom they are likely to choose for their academic and research advisor. Upon entering the program, students are prompted at the end of their first semester in the program to confirm a program faculty member to fill this roll. Students may work with or be supervised in research by any faculty member of the program or of the sponsoring departments with mutual agreement and approval by the program faculty. Students will be assigned to work on various clinical practicum teams to maximize their exposure to multiple styles of supervision and clinical decision making.

For more information, please visit our Student Admissions Outcomes and Other Data pages.

One of the orientations of the Clinical Child Psychology Program is to public sector programming and larger community considerations. Child problems are best considered in the context of the child's social, academic, family, and physical environments. Therefore, students have a number of excellent opportunities to participate in public service roles for psychologists on the KU campus, in the Lawrence community, and in Kansas City and Topeka. The Clinical Child Psychology Program has developed a specialized Child and Family Services Clinic in the Dole Human Development Center. The program maintains clinical and research training relationships with Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, the Lawrence Public School District (BEST Classrooms), Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, and the KU Medical Center, among others. These and other agencies serve the public in numerous mental health functions.

The doctoral program in Applied Behavioral Science offers a Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology with training in basic and applied research, including applied behavior analysis, community development, independent living, and rehabilitation. The doctoral programs in the Department of Psychology offer the Ph.D., with emphasis in clinical adult/health, cognitive, developmental, quantitative, and social psychology. The Department of Psychology and Research in Education (PRE) in the KU School of Education also provides resources and opportunities for students in the Clinical Child Psychology Program.

The student admitted to the Clinical Child Psychology Program has available the resources of the two departments, as well as those provided through the CCP program. These include the faculty of the Clinical Psychology Training Program as well as the faculty, research activities, and applied psychology facilities listed in the descriptive brochures for the Departments of Psychology and Applied Behavioral Science. The Pediatric Psychology Divisions at the KU Medical Center and at Children's Mercy Hospital are also strong resources for the CCPP.