Ponce School of Medicine and
Health Sciences (PSMHS) (started) a Psychology
Doctorate (Psy.D.) program in 1999 with a focus on
providing education and training on evidence-based
interventions to diverse populations in different
health and social contexts. Since then, many
research projects have been developed by the
program’s faculty. Through these projects students
have had the opportunity to gain research experience
in the development of new psychological knowledge
and in adapting and creating psychological tests for
use with Latino populations. The scientific
activities and success of the Psy.D. program
provided the foundation for the creation of a Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Program (PhD-CPP)
The Psy.D. program has been a success by all
measures. The Commission on Accreditation of the
American Psychological Association (APA) accredited
the program within five years of accepting its first
class and granted a full seven years accreditation
in 2007. This accomplishment is the first of its
kind in Puerto Rico. By the second semester of 2007
all of the program graduates had passed the Puerto
Rico licensing examination. The standardization of
the WAIS III for use with the Puerto Rican
population was completed by 2007 and the new test
was published in 2009. A number of graduates have
completed post-doctoral training in prestigious
health centers in USA and many others have accepted
academic positions and/or begun successful clinical
practices, usually in collaboration with other
A certificate program in Family and Couples Therapy
was initiated in 2007 to expand the field of Family
Psychology in Puerto Rico. This post-graduate
program provides advanced training in family and
couples therapy to licensed professionals from
various health fields including medicine, social
work, counseling, and clinical psychology. The
beginning of the new Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
program is an additional step of the organizational
plan of the Psychology Program.
The PhD-CPP program is based on the
Scientist/Practitioner model of training and is
strengthened by the existing research resources of
the program and of the Biomedical Sciences program
of PSMHS. With these resources, the PhD-CPP has
implemented its mission of training a new generation
of clinical psychologists competent in the delivery
of clinical services and in the production of
psychological knowledge through scientific methods.
The clinical component of the Ph.D. program benefits
from the already proven model of clinical training
of the existing programs.
An overview of the Ph.D. program is presented below.
The program’s philosophy with its curricular
sequence and course descriptions, and the admissions
and graduation requirements, are included in the
following sections. We expect this information to
allow prospective candidates for admissions to make
informed decisions about applying to the program.
The PhD-CPP began its APA accreditation self-study
in 2010. The application will be submitted for the
September 2011 accreditation cycle.
Josť I. Pons, Ph.D.
Director of Psychology Programs