For students wishing to pursue a career in child psychology, doctorate programs at some universities offer this subspecialty as an area of concentration. During the PsyD program, students can choose to focus their studies on normal and abnormal childhood development, research methods for assessing pediatric pathologies, and determination of optimal treatment.
Universities with a PsyD in Child Psychology
The PsyD program in school-clinical child psychology at Pace University in New York City combines a classroom curriculum with work in school settings. Students take general courses in different areas of psychology--social, developmental, and abnormal, for example--and examine them in relation to children. In addition, they study assessments given to children and the methods of scoring the tests and formulating results. Throughout the program, students will be involved with practicums in both school and clinical settings. The final phase of the program includes an internship and doctoral colloquium; at completion, the students will have taken all prerequisites needed to be able to sit for the New York State Licensing Examination.
At Pacific University, situated in Forest Grove, Oregon, the PsyD program in clinical psychology offers a child track wherein students are trained to create and administer assessments for the pediatric population as well as determine optimal treatments. Courses in both psychotherapy for children and testing and analysis methods represent integral parts of the curriculum. In addition, students can study Sabiduría coursework, which would familiarize them with the Spanish terminology needed to practice in the Latinx community. Through practicums, students are permitted to administer tests and implement therapy in clinical and school settings while being supervised by instructors. In their 5th year, students can apply for internships through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers; the pediatric settings to which they match often requires them to relocate. A dissertation is the final project of the PsyD program.
Located in Berkeley, California, the Wright Institute offers a child assessment focus area as part of its PsyD program. After taking general psychology classes, students can choose an area of concentration in their third year. Those who opt for the child assessment focus are instructed in how to give diagnostic tests, evaluate the results, and develop a treatment plan. Part of this training emphasizes communication with children and their families as well as an understanding of influences on the individual child, such as the cultural, socioeconomic, and health or developmental background. In addition, students can take an elective in child treatment, which allows them to follow the psychological procedures from meeting the child through implementation of the appropriate treatment. After several years of courses, and work inside and out of the classroom, students embark on a practical internship and dissertation.
Loyola University Chicago
At Loyola University in Chicago, PsyD students can pursue the child-clinical subspecialty track. In addition to enrolling in classes needed for a doctorate in psychology, those wishing to specialize in the assessment and treatment of children follow a distinct curriculum that includes courses in social and cognitive development, as well as psychological disorders, research methods, and different approaches to therapy. Intensive clinical fieldwork is a mandatory facet of the subspecialty, during which students will work directly with children and their families. Finally, a dissertation detailing pediatric psychology topics is required.
As part of the required PsyD curriculum at Denver University, in Denver, Colorado, students take classes that introduce them to child psychology. These courses focus on psychological growth from birth through childhood, including normal and abnormal development. Observation is part of these classes, as well as instruction on how to interact with children in an interview or assessment situation. Further, courses presenting research methods, test administration and interpretation, and treatment proposals are mandatory. Students then develop a course of study under a focus area, for example, child assessment and therapy, and devote 15 quarter hours to fulfilling the requirements of the subspecialty. While taking advanced classes in their focus area, students also work in clinical settings. A doctoral paper and participation in an internship is the culmination of this PsyD program.
Common Admission Requirements
When applying to a PsyD program, students often need to submit transcripts from all universities at which they have taken classes. Generally, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is mandatory, and a 3.5 could be required if students have earned a master's or attended a postgraduate school. Applicants usually must submit GRE scores taken within the last 5 years; some schools require the subject-specific test, in addition to the general exam. At least two letters of recommendation are usually needed, as well as a CV or resume. In addition, many PsyD programs ask for a personal statement in which an applicant elucidates his or her areas of interest and career goals; others supply prompts to which the applicant provides essay answers. Some schools require that students have taken such prerequisites as abnormal psychology, statistics, and developmental psychology. Finally, in most cases, students will be interviewed before final admittance to the PsyD program.
Students working toward a PsyD have the option of specializing in child psychology, as many schools offer this field as a focus area. While admission requirements are similar among schools, each has its own distinct path to this doctorate degree.