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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Program Overview

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Admissions

Including the incoming class, we have 30 graduate students currently. We believe that the richness of a graduate program depends greatly on the variety of experiences and backgrounds of its students and faculty. Accordingly, our program includes students from Latino, Asian, and multiethnic backgrounds, and those of gay, as well as straight, sexual orientations. As is true of most clinical psychology programs, the majority of our students are women (77%). There is wide variation in social economic background, and students come from all over the nation and from other countries. Applications from students of diverse backgrounds are encouraged and carefully considered.

Because of the close supervision given to each student, we aim for a class of approximately six students from among the 350-400 applicants in any academic year. Considerable attention is given to upper-division coursework, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and the applicant's personal statement. Around a fifth of admitted students have a prior MA or MS degree. A strong interest in research and demonstration of an aptitude or potential for research are the major criteria for admission. Students will be accepted for full-time doctoral training only. The typical course of study is six years; this includes the year of pre-doctoral internship training.

For specific information on admissions procedures, please take a look at the Psychology Department's application instructions. The Clinical Area of The University of Texas at Austin follows policy guidelines of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Training (CUDCP) regarding admissions offers and acceptances; a copy of those guidelines can be found here.

Program Statistics: For specific information on applicants to our program, incoming class data, internship data, and graduation outcomes, please see Program Statistics. This link provides relevant "Full Disclosure Data" for our program.

Mentorship Training Model

The program embraces a mentorship training model. Individual faculty members select, from among the applicant pool, students with congruent research interests to consider for admission to the program. Thus a student's personal statement should indicate his or her research interests and training, as well as his or her choice(s) of the faculty mentor with whom they are most interested in working.

This mentor admissions system does not mean that each faculty member will admit one student each year. Some faculty may wish to admit more than one student. Faculty who are currently supervising a large number of students may not admit any. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact prospective mentors to learn whether or not that faculty member plans to accept new students for the coming year. Often that information will be available on the faculty member’s website: the clinical faculty and their research interests are listed in the faculty section of our website.

Neuroimaging Track and the Magnetic Imaging Research Center (IRC)

In May 2012, the university held opening ceremonies for its new IRC, with one of our psychology department faculty members, Dr.Russ Poldrack, as director. The IRC is considered a hub for translational research and will link pre-clinical research with human research. The facility includes an MRI scanner customized for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research and several other imaging technologies. The IRC is housed on campus in the Hackerman Building, located within easy walking distance of the Psychology Department.

The department offers a Neuroimaging Track in Psychology, detailed in Appendix 6 of our Clinical Student Handbook. About twenty percent of our students choose to gain exposure to this track by taking one or more of the associated courses (e.g., Foundations of Neuroimaging) and some are completing all requirements for the track.

Goals of the IRC include:

· Facilitate and support focused, long-term, basic and applied research.

· Support the development of innovative interdisciplinary educational programs.

· Support investigation of the fundamental scientific and technological issues involved in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

· Provide technical assistance in the performance and interpretation of MRI data and the analysis, interpretation, and sharing of imaging data.

· Cooperate with and participate in national multi-site studies of neural mechanisms of drug addiction, stress, and related mental health problems, as well as basic mechanisms of learning, memory, cognition, and motivation.

Program Attrition

It is our expectation that all students who are admitted will complete the clinical program. Attrition fluctuates since many unforeseen factors are involved in a student's decision to leave the program. Over the past ten years (2004-2013), eight of the 50 admitted students have left the program (16%). Of these, six left the program voluntarily and four were dismissed. Of those who left voluntarily, three left in their first year, two left after obtaining master’s degrees, and one switched areas of psychology and obtained a non-clinical Ph.D. Of the four who were dismissed, three left with a master’s degree and one obtained a doctorate in a non-clinical area of psychology.

Accreditation

The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association for training in clinical psychology:

American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First St, NE
Washington, DC  20002-4242
Phone: (202) 336-5979
TDD/TTY: (202) 336-6123
Fax: (202) 336-5978



Tuition and Financial Support

Tuition amounts for 2014-2015 for full-time registration are $8,016 per semester for non-Texas residents and $4,044 for residents. In practice, as part of assistantship appointments and the like, virtually all clinical graduates qualify for the equivalent of state resident tuition rates, and their assistantship appointments effectively cover that amount. Teaching Assistants (TAs) and Assistant Instructors (AIs), for instance, receive tuition assistance, indexed to the number of hours of their appointment, in the current award amounts of $6,708 for a 20-hour appointment for each long session (i.e., fall and spring) and $2,235 for each summer session. And for students who have masters degrees or who have completed 30 hours of graduate work, those amounts increase to $7,390 for the long session and $2,463 for the summer session.

Students employed for 20 hours per week are also eligible for premium sharing (the state and University's contribution to insurance premiums) which completely offsets the cost of health insurance for TAs, AIs, and Research Assistants (RAs). Students who work as TAs or AIs for 20 hours or more per week for a full spring semester are also extended medical coverage during the following summer at no cost and regardless of whether they are employed by the University. Additional information regarding TA/AI tuition assistance is available here: http://www.utexas.edu/ogs/employment/tuition/

Teaching Assistantships (TAs)

Almost all new students who do not have fellowship or RA support receive an offer of TA support at the time of their acceptance to the program. Continuing students apply for fall semester TA support in the preceding June. All students apply for spring semester TA support in October. Students may request a particular course or instructor when they apply for TA support. The list of prospective TAs is circulated to the faculty, who are then given an opportunity to indicate their TA preferences.

Research Assistantships (RAs)

Faculty members who have research grants often hire graduate students to work as research assistants (RAs) on their funded projects. The faculty members with grant support will select students for these appointments. RA appointments are either 10 or 20 hours per week. Most students with a 10-hour per week RA appointment also receive a 10-hour per week TA appointment. Currently, all pre-internship clinical students who have requested RA or TA support are receiving such support.

Assistant Instructors (AIs)

The Department of Psychology attempts to provide each graduate student who wants to have direct classroom teaching responsibility an opportunity to teach at least once as an AI. Clinical students usually teach Introductory Psychology or undergraduate Statistics and Research Design. AIs are generally fourth- or fifth-year graduate students. They must have taken the teaching course (398T) and have been a TA for the course that they plan to teach. The teaching course is offered during the school year and in the summer in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Educational Psychology.

Graduate Fellowships

An additional source of aid is provided by University Fellowships and other competitive fellowships and scholarships. The department recommends potential fellowship recipients to the Graduate School. Only a few such awards are available. The department also encourages students to apply for extramural fellowships and scholarships. Please see the Clinical Student Handbook for more information about the specific types of awards available. Additional information on financial assistance is available through the Office of Student Financial Services. The application for financial aid may require extensive processing and should be explored early, prior to official acceptance as a graduate student.


Curriculum

To receive a doctoral degree from the clinical area, students must: 1) complete four academic years of graduate study, 2) complete a second year research project, 3) complete clinical practicum requirements, 4) defend a dissertation successfully, and 3) complete a one-year APA-accredited internship.

Required department courses include two statistics courses and four core courses with at least one core course from each of four major content areas in psychology, specifically: Principles of Sensory and Behavioral Neuroscience, Fundamentals of Cognition, Fundamentals of Social Psychology, and Advanced Behavior Pathology.

Area coursework is designed to meet additional APA requirements and expose students to research, clinical practice, and professional issues. Required area courses include Research Methods in Clinical Psychology, Clinical Area Seminar (Topics in Clinical Psychology), Theory and Techniques of Assessment, the Assessment Practicum, Empirical Foundations of Behavior Therapy, Diversity Issues in Research and Practice, History of Psychology, and Ethical Issues in Psychology. In addition, students take the yearlong in-house practicum during their second year and must take an additional three semesters of practicum.

Please reference the Clinical Student Handbook for more detailed information about coursework in the clinical program.


Licensure Data

As a clinical science model program, a significant number of our graduates choose academic and research careers, for which a license to practice is not explicitly germane to their work. Nevertheless, of the 35 students graduating from the clinical program between 2006 and 2012, 26 had taken the licensing exam and all passed it successfully.


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