Psy.D. Program Overview


The curriculum is requirement based not unit based. Courses are offered sequentially within a fixed curriculum. Students are expected to take four courses each trimester. The Wright Institute uses a flat-rate tuition based on a full course load. The flat rate is paid whether a student adds an additional elective course or withdraws from a required course (click here for tuition information).

Some students may be eligible to waive required coursework. Certain required courses, such as the Case Conference and Professional Development Seminar may not be waived. This is assessed on a case-by-case basis and to be eligible it must be graduate level coursework that has been completed within the last 5 years, from a regionally accredited institution, and is deemed equivalent in unit and content to a Wright Institute PsyD course. We do not place a limit on the number of courses waived; however, it is important to note that waived coursework will not result in shortening the length of the PsyD program as The Wright has a 3-year residency requirement prior to the 4th and 5th years designated for dissertation and internship requirements. Please note: evaluations of prior coursework will only be done if an applicant is admitted to our program. A copy of each course syllabus will be required for course evaluations.

  Fall Winter Spring
Year 1

Psychopathology and
Intervention: Cognitive-Behavioral
Lifespan Development
Case Conference I

Intervention: Psychodynamic
Biological Bases of Behavior
Intervention: Family Systems
Case Conference I
Multicultural Awareness
Tests and Measurement
Elective: Clinicians to Society or Group Therapy
Case Conference I
Year 2 Research Methods
and Statistics I
Assessment I
Sociocultural Issues
Case Conference II
Research Methods
and Statistics II
Assessment II
Cognition, Emotion and Personality
Case Conference II
Research Methods
and Statistics III
Assessment III
Advanced Psychopathology and
Case Conference II
Year 3 Neuropsychological Screening
Supervision and Consultation
Professional Development Seminar

Intervention: Brief Therapy
Advanced Ethics

Professional Development Seminar

History and Systems
Social Psychology    
Professional Development Seminar
Year 4 Dissertation/Internship* Dissertation/Internship* Dissertation/Internship*
Year 5 Dissertation/Internship* Dissertation/Internship* Dissertation/Internship*

* The length of the program is determined by how students choose to manage these last two program requirements.


First Year

Students begin to build their knowledge of the fundamentals of psychological science, clinical diagnosis, and intervention. The first-year practicum provides a context in which courses in psychopathology, lifespan development, and biological bases of behavior are immediately relevant. The Case Conference, Multicultural Awareness, and clinical intervention courses create a framework in which students can expand self-knowledge in their professional roles, and learn how cultural identity and worldview influence their work and clients.

Second Year

In the second year, fundamental clinical skills are expanded through a more extensive practicum experience, as students work in one of the Wright Institute's clinics or at a select community agency. The Wright Institute has a renowned psychodynamically oriented clinic that has provided mental health services to individuals for more than 25 years, and an innovative cognitive-behaviorally and mindfulness oriented clinic established in 2006. (Click here for additional information regarding Wright Institute operated clinical services.) Community agencies offer students the opportunity to perform certain kinds of work, and to access particular populations that would be unavailable in our own clinics. These include family service programs, forensic programs, and specialty clinics. Second-year students simultaneously develop greater assessment expertise in their fieldwork and academic coursework. Building on knowledge and skills developed in the Research Methods sequence, students learn how to critically review the literature about clinical problems, and learn methods for empirically exploring those problems. The Research Methods sequence advances students toward becoming practitioners who understand the interrelationships among theory, research, and practice. The third trimester of the second year prepares students to work on their dissertations.

In the second-year Case Conference, students refine their ability to conceptualize and present challenging cases. The Case Conference and Sociocultural Issues courses are especially useful in preparing students for the Qualifying Examination that occurs in the spring of the second year, because they help students to synthesize and balance the many elements of clinical work. Those elements include theory, case formulation, treatment planning, sociocultural sensitivity, and an interpersonal awareness of the processes between clinician and client.

Third Year

During the third year, students acquire additional scientific, foundational and theoretical knowledge. They finish the Intervention sequence, completing courses in brief therapy and supervision consultation, and continue to expand their repertoire of clinical practice through placements at many of the region's premier psychological service agencies, hospitals, and institutions. Clinical exposure in three years of practica ensures that Wright Institute students are effective providers in this changing landscape of the American healthcare system.

The third year also offers students the chance to shape the basic Wright Institute program to suit their individual needs by choosing electives that focus on areas of special interest. A broad and changing variety of courses is offered; some popular course offerings have centered on advanced courses in assessment or treatment, such as year-long courses in neuropsychological assessment, child assessment, empirically supported treatments, and object relations.

The Professional Development Seminar gives third-year students the opportunity to further integrate their clinical education with theoretical and practical considerations. The Seminar also addresses students' tasks of developing their professional identities by working on their dissertation proposals and preparing for internships.

Fourth and Fifth Year

Students work to complete their dissertation in their fourth year. Students must complete their dissertation proposal by mid-October in order to engage in the internship application process. Some students opt to continue gaining clinical experience by attending a non-required supplemental practicum. Students can take additional courses in their fourth year without additional tuition; for example, students who want to emphasize assessment can take one of two year-long advanced assessment courses (Child Assessment or Neuropsychological Assessment) in their third year, and the other in their fourth year. During the fifth year, students complete their internship training.

Fourth-year Option

Students who are highly organized, motivated, and prepared by their previous background can complete the program in four years. In order to do this, the student must successfully pass Qualifying Examinations, and the dissertation proposal must be approved as completed by mid-October of the third year. In addition, the student is eligible to apply for a fourth-year internship if they are in good academic and clinical standing, on track to successfully complete all coursework and practica by the end of the third year, and have received a letter of readiness from the Director of Clinical Training.


"Choosing a school that would not shelter me from the real demands of clinical psychology was a priority in my search for a graduate career. I knew I would feel uninspired if I had to sit in a classroom for one or two years without the opportunity to serve people. The type of student most likely to excel at the Wright Institute is curious, passionate, reflective, and a self-starter."

Matt Goldenberg, Class of '10