PsyD in
Clinical Psychology

Mission Statement

Consonant with the concept that Clinical Psychology is an integral component of the Health Sciences, the Clinical Psychology Program at Ponce School of Medicine aims to develop a new generation of Professional Psychologists with a strong foundation on the biological bases of behavior, a broad understanding of the psychological processes and of the socio-cultural dimension of normal and abnormal behavior. The students are immersed into a rich scientifically-based curriculum harmonized by a multidisciplinary faculty from the fields of Psychology, Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, and other disciplines of the health and social sciences, in order to provide a broad understanding of human behavior and to develop clinical skills applicable in multiple socio-cultural contexts.




The PSY.D. in Clinical Psychology Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association

The next APA accreditation site visit for the Psy.D. program is scheduled for the Fall of 2020 and will include de San Juan Center. 

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979/E-mail: apaaccred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

Program Goals

The goals of the PsyD Program are:

  • Develop in our students an in-depth understanding of the psychological (cognitive, affective and motivational), biological and socio-cultural bases of normal and abnormal behavior that serves as the foundation of clinical practice.
  • To prepare clinical psychologists for the ethical delivery of empirically supported psychotherapeutic interventions, assessment, diagnosis, consultation, education, supervision and management when assuming the contemporary roles of the profession while adopting a life- long commitment to professional growth based upon the evolving scientific knowledge and expanding scope of practice.

Goals & Objectives

Reflective Practice-self-assessment Competencies

Program graduates will conduct themselves professionally within the boundaries of competencies, with a commitment to lifelong learning, engagement in scholarly work, critical thinking, and a commitment to the development of the profession.

Interdisciplinary Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate ability to recognize and engage in opportunities for effective collaboration with other professionals toward shared goals and actively enhance team interdisciplinary functioning.

Scientific knowledge- methods Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate scientific mindedness and apply scientific methodology in their professional practice.

Assessment & Testing Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate understanding and solid command of clinical assessment and use of psychometric and personality tests.

Relationship Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate ability to form and maintain professional relationships with clients, colleagues, supervisors, faculty, other multidisciplinary healthcare team professionals, and community members in accordance with the ethical standards and values of the profession.

Therapeutic Intervention Competencies

Program graduates will be able to appropriately select and implement psychological interventions and document therapeutic progress accurately.

Ethical Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate independence and confidence in complex ethical reasoning and decision making in their clinical practice.


Program graduates will effectively articulate, implement, and evaluate consultation services/ interventions, applying a variety of intervention models appropriate for a broad range of settings.

Individual- cultural Diversity Competencies

Program graduates will demonstrate awareness, attitudes of respect, and appropriate responses regarding intersecting and complex dimensions of diversity (e.g. gender, socioeconomic status, affectional orientation, ethnicity, physical and mental capacities, religion, spirituality, and age) in their professional practice

Education and Supervision competencies

Program graduates will utilize appropriate supervisory and teaching strategies/skills in enhancing the professional functioning of the more junior colleagues and monitoring the quality of professional services.

Research Competencies

Program graduates will be able to apply current research to their clinical practice, to exercise command of different methods of scientific inquiry and to develop new knowledge on issues relevant to the understanding of the psychological, neurobiological and psychosocial determinants of human behavior.

Management and Administration Competencies

Program graduates will be able to serve as competent managers and administrators by applying a variety of models appropriate to lead direct delivery of professional services in a broad range of settings..

Young woman visiting her psychologist

Program Description

The doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology (PsyD) has its theoretical foundations in the Biopsychosocial model and aims at preparing Health Services Psychologist.  To reach its goals, the program adscribes to the Practitioner/Scholar model of training in professional psychology. The program’s curriculum is competency-based emphasizing on the development of the clinical competencies used by practicing and academically oriented Clinical Psychologist and these are consonant with APA accreditation standards. The curriculum is implemented in a lock-step manner allowing students to acquire these clinical competencies in a graded and sequential manner.  Therefore, the student progresses from an entry level through an intermediate level up to the advanced level of competencies achieved upon completing the academic program and the one-year full-time clinical internship.


  • Bachelor’s degree (BS/BA)
    Present evidence of the successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from a college level institution accredited by the PR Council of Education or by a US accrediting organization with a minimum of 15 credits in psychology including the following courses:
Course Credits
General Psychology 3
Developmental Psychology 3
Abnormal Psychology (Psychopathology) 3
Experimental Psychology (or Scientific Research) 3
Statistics 3
  • GPA – 3.00 or above (on a four-point scale)
  • GRE minimum score of 279 or EXADEP minimum score of 500, no more than five years old. www.ets.org
  • Submit the following documents:
    • Official transcript from all institutions attended (undergraduate and graduate)
    • Three letters of recommendation written by professors or individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills using the format provided with the application form.
    • Official scores of GRE or EXADEP www.ets.org
    • Certificate of No Penal Record (Criminal Background Check)
    • A non-refundable USD $85.00 application fee

Applicants with master’s degrees in Psychology, Psychiatric Nursing, Social Work, Counseling or other mental health related fields, are accepted. The same admission requirements still apply. Up to 24 credits may be transferred from other graduate programs or from a master’s degree. The following requirements will guide (but not restrict) the evaluation process of those courses submitted for approval:

  1. Courses need to be relevant to the field of Clinical Psychology
  2. The student must have approved the course with a minimum of a “B” grade.
  3.  The student must demonstrate in an objective manner, or through formal written and/or oral examination, that he/she has the skills expected of such courses.

It is the student’s responsibility to provide the course description from the official catalog of the institution in which the courses were taken.

PHSU has a number of courses and practicum that are not substituted with courses or practicum transferred from other institutions, unless the student demonstrates specific competencies in such areas. However, many of the elective courses may be waived based upon the number of credits transferred. This will allow students who enter with a Master’s degree to complete the academic portion of the program faster, allowing them more time to work on their Dissertation or Case Study and with the internship requirements.

Upon acceptance, all students are required to submit the following:

  • Written confirmation of acceptance and a non-refundable deposit of USD$100.00 to secure the seat in the entering class.
  • Physical Exam (using a form provided by Admissions Office)
  • Health Certificate from the Department of Health of PR
  • Evidence of up to date immunization record (must include Varicella, Td Adult, MMR and three doses of Hepatitis B).
  • Policy on Technical Standards
  • Other documents will be notified as pertinent.

Residency Requirement

The Clinical Psychology Program requires a minimum of 3 full-time academic years of graduate study plus a 2,000 hours internship, prior to receiving the doctoral degree. At least 2 of the 3 academic training years must be completed in the program.

Click Here to see the curriculum

Course Descriptions

PSY 5270 History of Psychological Thought

This course provides a survey of the history of Psychology with emphasis on the philosophical, scientific, sociopolitical and cultural background of each psychological era/movement.  The manifestation of the innate vs. environmentalist approaches throughout history will serve as the frame of reference to the analysis of theories and school of thought.  Specific philosophical and scientific issues germane to clinical practice will be discussed including the history of the mind-body dualism.   Principles of the Philosophy of Science as they apply to psychological thought, theory building, and psychometrics will be presented.


The course will end with an overview of the systems that have most impacted the field of psychology during the last few decades including: humanism, cognitive, systems theory, cybernetics, constructivism, etc.


PSY 5140 Neurobiology and Psychology of Emotion and Motivation

This course explores the basic dimensions involved in the understanding of emotional processes: neurobiological, cognitive/psychological and social.  It begins with an analysis of the neural structures that underlie and subserve emotional processes.  Once this information is mastered, the student is exposed to the main psychological theories that explain the interaction between appraisal of external situations and the biological (emotional) reactions to the nervous system to such evaluations.  The classical as well as the contemporary theories of emotion will be explored.  The course also explores the neurobiology of motivation and the behavioral manifestations of motivated behavior.  The main psychological theories of motivation are also explored within a historical perspective. The course will also explore the neurobiological and psychological relationships between emotion and motivation


PSY 5150 Human Growth and Development

This is one of the core theoretical courses of the program that also provides an opportunity for the student to develop competencies in the assessment of diverse developmental milestones and neurodevelopmental functions in infants and children.  The course begins with a presentation of the process of birth and of the clinical methods utilized to assess normal development during the perinatal stage.  It follows with a description of the normal progression of the basic areas including motor, sensory, language, cognitive, social and emotional, throughout the different stages of development; from childhood to senescence.


PSY 5220 Psychology of Personality

The three main areas of interest of the field of Personology will be covered through this course.  Emphasis is given to the holistic theories of personality and their clinical application.  However, many of the issues studied by Trait Psychologist and constructs utilized to describe and explain human behavior by Social Psychologist and Social Learning Theorists will be addressed also including: locus of control, attribution, neuroticism, field dependence, etc.  Other concepts emanating from depth and personality-developmental psychology will be discussed in detail.  The course attempts to develop the capacity to apply such theories and construct to everyday life and to clinical situations.   During the process of learning about human personality, the student will become familiarized with a number of scales and tests that are utilized to measure various personality variables.


PSY 5810 Introduction to Clinical Practice (50 hrs.)  Year I: First Semester

This is the first of a series of practicum designed to foster in the student the development of practical clinical skills.  Through multiple exercises, the student will learn most of the basic skills needed to conduct initial interviews and to begin a therapeutic intervention.  The practicum focuses on the development of an in-depth understanding of all the main components of the clinical interview.  It develops full awareness of the different dynamics of the Patient-Clinician relationship.  The ethical handling of records and of confidential information will be addressed throughout the semester.  The students will master basic skills in the logical and sequential organization of clinical data so that the information obtained through interviews may become meaningful and useful for clinical intervention.


PSY 6250 Test Construction

This course provides the student with a more in-depth exposure to the process of test construction and validation.  It intends to foster a better understanding of the psychometric properties of psychological tests and to develop specific skills in the adaptation of different psychometric instruments to populations different from the one for which the test was constructed and standardized.


PSY 5110 Fundamentals of Neuroscience

Starting with a general exploration of the intrauterine development of the neural tube and crest, the course explores the anatomical and physiological foundation of the nervous system within a developmental context. It provides a general overview of the chemical basis of behavior.  The lectures will mostly address normal neurological development and functioning but will make reference of the clinical implications of various endogenous and exogenous abnormalities such as genetic and neurodevelopmental variations and morphological abnormalities.  The sensory, motor and arousal systems will be examined in detail as well as those subcortical and cortical functions most related to psychological and behavioral processes.


PSY 5120 Neuroanatomy Laboratory – To be taken concomitantly with PSY 511.

The laboratory experience will allow the student to observe the morphological characteristics of the CNS including the spinal cord and its projections, the cranial nerves, the brain stem and peripheral vasculature of the brain.  The student will observe the internal structure of the brain at the same time that such information is provided through PSIC 511. Special attention will be given to those hypothalamic, Limbic and cortical zones that sub-serve the major neurocognitive and neurobehavioral functions.


PSY 5230 Cognitive Psychology

The study of the diverse psychological systems that allows the human being to gather information/knowledge from his/her internal and external world is the main focus of this course.  The psychology of sensation, perception, cognition, psycholinguistic and information processing provide the experimental and theoretical background to the study of the following topics: attention, thinking, problem solving, language and memory. The student is exposed to the main concepts of each area, to the main research methods utilized to examine hypothesis and to the practical application for clinical practice of such body of knowledge.


PSY 5730 Ethics in Professional Psychology

All professional activity performed by a Clinical Psychologist involved other individuals who is part of society and who is probably served by an organization.  Many ethical situations involve conflictive decision making which intends to protect all participants of the issue.  Such interactions and the need to safeguard the needs and rights of those being served in the professional context will be a major component of this course.  The nature and types of ethical dilemmas will be examined from a conceptual as well as from an applied perspective.  The course will gear around multiple cases that by themselves illustrate the different ethical issues that are most confronted in clinical practice.


PSY 5410 Fundamentals of Clinical Psychopathology

This course provides the foundation for the rich sequence of courses on psychopathological conditions in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.  It starts with a presentation and analysis of the theories about normality found within the literature and implicit within many psychometric scales and instruments.  It follows with an analysis of the experience of stress, loss, trauma, dissociation and other non-pathological human experiences that reflect the borderline between normalcy and psychopathology.  It concentrates on the techniques utilized to assess psychopathology within clinical settings with special and detailed attention to the Mental Status Evaluation.  The main concepts utilized in the field of psychopathology will be explained.  The student will learn the meaning of symptoms, signs and syndromes as these related to normal and abnormal dynamics of both organic and psychological nature.  The course ends with an exploration of the Adjustment Disorders, of DSM-IV “V” codes, of the DSM IV culture-bound syndromes (e.g. nervous breakdown) and of the milder forms of psychological dysfunction.


PSY 5820 Fundamentals of Clinical Interventions and Emergency Psychology Year I: Second Semester (50 hrs.)

The course focuses on a detailed discussion of all major psychiatric/psychological emergencies that usually present to the emergency room or outpatient settings.  A detailed discussion of suicide/aggression focuses on both psychological and social aspects that complicate this extreme emergency.  Emphasis will be placed on psychological interventions, theoretical background and the medical management of emergencies associated to alcohol and substance abuse as well as major psychiatric disorders that may present for evaluation in the emergency room setting. The students practice their interviewing and intervention skills through the standardized patient program.


PSY 6860 Introduction to Psychological Assessment and Testing

This is the first of the sequence of practica offered for the development of assessment and testing skills.  The first portion of the practicum focuses on the basic attitudes and skills needed to conduct an assessment.  The practicum follows with a presentation of the common assessment techniques with special emphasis on the utilization of data gathering instruments including interview schedules and outlines, assessment scales and brief paper and pencil, thematic and projective techniques.


PSY 6200 Applied Research for Psychologists (2 credits)

This course will provide the foundation for the acquisition of practical research skills.  The course expands from the selection of a definable problem, through the literature search, to the elaboration of hypothesis and initial methodological considerations.  After learning about the basic principles and the specific steps utilized to conduct applied psychological research, the student will be able to write the introductory section of his/her research project.


PSY 6600 Behavior Modification: Theory and Practice (2 credits)

This course serves as an adjunct to the Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy course also to be taken during the first semester of the second year. Its main goal is the development of an advanced understanding of the multiple ways in which behavior may be altered through interactions with the environment.  Students will be able to gain a solid working knowledge of Learning Theories as they apply to real life contexts and to clinical settings.  The course will introduce the student to the different theoretical traditions of the field.  The student will learn the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis.  They will also learn about other technological advances of the field based on Respondent/Classical and Social Learning approaches.  By the end of the course the student will be able to design a behavior modification program for a particular problem or situation.


PSY 6520 Cognitive Assessment (3 Credits)  Prerequisite: PSY 625

After exploring some of the basic theoretical and psychometric issues surrounding the “intelligence” construct, the course will examine the evaluation of intelligence and other cognitive functions and academic achievement.   The main instruments presented are: Wechsler scales (Pre-School, Child, Adult), Test of Non Verbal Intelligence II and K-ABC.  Through this course and its concurrent Cognitive Assessment Practicum, the student will acquire the necessary skills to ethically and competently administer these test and other psychometric instruments. The course will also concentrate on the scientific method of hypothesis generation, on the type of inferences that may be drawn from these tests and on the different models of data interpretation available through the scientific psychometric literature.


PSY 6810 Cognitive Assessment Practicum (30 hrs.)  To be taken concomitantly with PSY 652

Supervised practice in the administration, correction and interpretation of cognitive assessment instruments.  The student will acquire the necessary skills to ethically and competently administer this tests.


PSY 6450 Mood and Anxiety Disorders prerequisite: PSY 541

This course focuses on the different types of mood/affective disorders including depression, mania, anger and its multiple clinical and syndromal manifestations.  It provides the student with an organized clinical frame of reference to diagnose and differentiate these conditions and the theoretical background necessary to understand its etiology and clinical course.  Implications for psychodiagnosis and treatment will be explored. The major theories explaining depression and some of the other affective disorders will be introduced including Beck Cognitive Theory, Freud’s conceptualization of Morning, Attachment theories of depression, Learned Helplessness paradigm from Learning theories and others.


The role of anxiety in our lives will provide the foundation for the analysis of the more disturbing anxiety-related syndromes that frequently presents in clinical practice.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, Panic Attacks, PTSD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Somatoform disorder and other Anxiety-related syndromes will be explored throughout the course.  Clinical manifestations, differential diagnosis and the somatic and psychological treatment approaches to these syndromes will be emphasized.  The Neurophysiology of anxiety will be explored together with the somatic interventions utilized to control it.


PSY 6850 Conceptualization and Intervention Planning (250 hrs.)  Prerequisite: PSY 683

This is the practicum experience for the second semester of the second year.  Once per week, the students will meet with their practicum supervisor to discuss cases and relevant issues related to their experience.  At the didactic level this practicum will attempt to develop in the student, conceptualization and intervention planning techniques.   Therefore, the student will develop the capacity to understand clinical cases and to develop a coherent intervention plan through these didactic experiences and case presentations.  To achieve these clinical skills the student will be able to integrate the theoretical knowledge and the skills accumulated from previous practica and theoretical courses with the experiences they are having at their practicum site


PSY 5180 Principles of Psychoneuroimmunology (1 credit)

Psychoneuroimmunology emerges as a science that attempts to provide a scientific explanation to the issue of mind/body relationships.  In this sense, it proposes, studies and explains the existing communication between diverse body systems that are responsible for maintaining the equilibrium that allows for a harmonic and healthy functioning of the human body.  Students will explore the area of psychoneuroimmunology through a review of the principal concepts on the topic, of the scientific literature and through the most current areas of research.  The effect of stress upon the immune system is examined. Specific psychological and CBT techniques utilized by the field of psychoneuroimmunology to treat patients with stress and immune disorders are introduced as well. HIV is explored as an example of a condition that through psychological intervention the Psychologist can impact the psychoneuroimmunological status of the person treated.


PSY 6620 Cognitive and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT has become one of the main therapeutic approaches utilized by Professional Psychologists.  Backed by an impressive body of scientific research, CBT serves as the intervention backbone for many other subspecialties in the field of Clinical Psychology including Health Psychology, Addiction Psychology, Child Therapy and others.  Based upon the extensive literature on Learning Theories, Cognitive Psychology and Behavior Modification, the most effective Cognitive and Cognitive Behavioral therapeutic modalities will be presented throughout this course; e.g. Cognitive Therapies, Rational Emotive Therapy, Multi-modal therapy, Cognitive-Developmental Therapy. Some of the techniques emphasized during the course are: Systematic Desensitization, Behavior Rehearsal, Cognitive Restructuring and Cognitive Restructuring.  Multiple behavior and cognitive assessment techniques will be demonstrated and fully covered.


PSY 6580 Projective Assessment of Personality – Prerequisites: PSY 522, 541 and 652

Projective techniques constitute an important component of the Clinical Psychologist armamentarium of diagnostic tests.  The newer Rorschach system is one of the most widely utilized of these techniques.  This course will focus on the Rorschach method as perceptual-cognitive problem-solving tasks with an incomparable projective potential.  Learning the administration and scoring of the Rorschach will be the main objective of the course.  The thematic techniques (TAT, CAT) and various Paper-Pencil projective techniques will be presented as secondary and/or alternate personality assessment methods.


PSY 6880 Practicum Projective Personality Assessment (30 hrs.)  To be taken concomitantly with PSY 654.

It is the main purpose of this one semester practicum to familiarize the student with the most commonly utilized projective techniques, with primary emphasis on the Rorschach.  Most of the time available will be devoted to the development of competencies handling the Rorschach Comprehensive System as developed by John Exner and his associates.  The student will also learn the administration, scoring and interpretation of various thematic tests such as the TAT and the CAT.  The Hutt Adaptation of the Bender Gestalt will be utilized also, emphasizing its psychodiagnostic more than its neuropsychological characteristics. These tests serve to complement the Rorschach and will be presented as part of the standard personality battery that the student will learn to utilize through this practicum.


PSY 7670 Family Therapy and Systemic Interventions

A brief review of the history of Family Therapy will provide the initial approach to the course and to the analysis of the different types of family therapies.  Special attention will be given to structural, systemic, strategic and trans-generational orientations.  The student will learn specific Family Therapy techniques needed to assess families (genograms, joining techniques, etc.), will learn to elaborate treatment plans and to organize and conduct family sessions.


PSY 6230 Qualitative/Quantitative Methodology and Descriptive Statistics – Prerequisite: PSY 620

As a continuation of PSY 620, the student will obtain a more detailed exposure to psychological research methods through this course.  Qualitative and quantitative approaches will be compared and contrasted.  The type of statistics applicable to the analysis of data is discussed.  The students will utilize statistical computer programs to process data and obtain statistical values.  By the end of the course the student will be able to write the methodology section of his/her research project.




PSY 6830 Psychotherapeutic Techniques (250 hrs.)

Students will be placed in a community practicum site during the first semester of the second year.  Once per week, the students will meet with their practicum supervisor to discuss cases and relevant issues related to their experience.  They will attend the didactic component of the practicum to acquire therapeutic skills based upon the Learning Psychotherapy system.  Multiple exercises will be performed by the student in the process of developing a solid and coherent set of readily accessible therapeutic competencies. The student will also share their experiences at their practicum sites and will learn how to integrate the skills learned in class to the work being done with patients.


PSY 6480 Psychopathological Disorders in Children and Adolescents – Prerequisite:  PSY 541

A general exploration of the different psychological and neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood and adolescence including Autism, ADHD, elimination and eating disorders, behavioral disorders, affective and anxiety disorders.  The main theoretical positions available about each condition will be presented to assist the student to gain an adequate understanding of the underlying dynamics of each condition, in addition of their clinical manifestation.


PSY 655 Objective Personality Assessment (2 Credits)-Pre-requisite PSY 652 and PSY 654 or taken concurrently

The different types of Objective Personality tests have made a significant impact on the practice of Professional Psychology as they have become an important component of the Psychologist’s assessment techniques.  This course will provide the basic knowledge and skills necessary to administer, score and interpret some of the most commonly utilized non-projective personality assessment techniques.  The main emphasis of the course will be on the MMPI-2 and the Millon Health and Personality Inventories.


PSY 7860 General Clinical Practice: Integration I (250 hrs.)  Prerequisite: PSY 685

During the first semester of the third year the student will be placed in a community site to gain additional clinical experience.  They will also have a two-hour didactic session where they will share their experiences with the cases they see at their practicum site.  Through these discussions, the student will develop the capacity to integrate multiple sources of information to help the clients served. The student will integrate information obtained through interview with data obtained through tests, together with their personal experience with client.  Through this integration, they will be able to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the clinical cases they are treating at their practicum site.


PSY 7310 Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity (3 credits)

The main goal of this course is to provide a broad view of issues involving the role of psychologist in areas such as Culture, Race, Gender, Sexual/Political Orientation, Religion/Spirituality and Age, among others.  The student will be exposed to theory, research, practice, professional issues, challenges and potential solutions to issues involving marginalized individuals or groups.  Through lectures, guest speakers, class presentations and group reflections students will have the opportunity to be exposed to or learn about themes such as:  disability, religion, spirituality, social class, the elderly, sexual orientation and gender, ethnicity, race and culture.


PSY 7550 Psychoeducational Assessment and Consultation

Most psychologists provide services to school age children under different circumstances and for different reasons. This course will prepare the student to respond and to intervene effectively in this type of professional setting. It will also provide advanced skills in psychological testing with children, integration of clinical data and methods of consultation in school settings. The student will learn about additional psychometric instruments and scales useful to address the type of referrals most frequently triggered by the learning problems of school age children. In accomplishing this, the course will examine theories of learning disability (language based, visual-spatial, etc.), neurodevelopmental conditions that interfere with academic performance, behavioral problems usually manifesting in academic settings and the law that regulate the delivery of special education services to qualified students. The dynamics of professional work in school setting will also be addressed in preparing students for a role in these community scenarios.


PSY 7660 Group Processes and Group Psychotherapy

Basic psychological processes of small groups are initially explored as a foundation to introduce the main theoretical approaches to group therapy.  The course provides an in-depth examination of the steps usually conducted to determine the type of group to form and the selection process.  The different stage of development of the therapeutic group follows together with the manner in which the different curative factors of group therapy are activated and maintained during treatment. The role of the therapist is emphasized throughout each topic.


PSY 7470 Personality and Psychotic Disorders – Prerequisite: PSY 645

Through this course the student will be guided through the exiting literature on Personality Disorders to read the theories that best illustrate these complex clinical syndromes.  Through this approach the student will be able to compare various approaches to the diagnosis, understanding and treatment of the different types of personality disorders including borderline, antisocial, narcissistic, avoidant, schizoid, schizotypal and others.   Various general theoretical orientations created to facilitate the understanding and clinical work with PD patients will also receive special attention including those of Shapiro, Millon, Kernberg and others. The student will obtain a detail understanding of psychotic processes based upon their readings, the lectures provided and upon the examination of recorded interviews with psychotic patients.  This will allow the student to obtain an in-depth understanding of the different manifestations of psychotic symptoms.  The main types of psychotic disorders will be presented with emphasis on Schizophrenia, Affective Psychosis, Brief Reactive Psychosis and Paranoia.


PSY 7170 Clinical Psychopharmacology

The initial portion of the course provides an introduction to pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.  It explores de main neurotransmitter systems of the brain and the role they play on normal and abnormal behavior. The rest of the course focuses on the basic pharmacological properties and clinical action of the main psychotropic medication including: Antidepressants (SSRI, Tricyclics and newer agents), Anxiolytics (with emphasis on BenzoDíazepines), hypnotics, mood stabilizers, high and low potency neuroleptics (emphasis on the newer generation of antipsychotic medication).



PSY 7870 General Clinical Practice: Integration II (250 hrs.) Prerequisite PSY 786

During the second semester of the third year the student will met with their practicum coordinator to further explore ways of integrating clinical material in such a way as to allow them to gain better understanding of cases and to elaborate comprehensive and realistic treatment plans. During this practicum, the student will develop further competencies in the utilization of Empirically Validated Procedures (EVP).  Cases will be presented and discussed with the intention of further delineating clinical syndromes utilizing psychometric and historical information together with patient’s response to the intervention.  This module will also help the student to gain a broader perspective of the context in which treatment occurs, being this learning objective consonant with their third-year academic program. they This entails the capacity to integrate different types of treatment modalities including child therapy and systemic interventions, family therapy, advanced psychopathology as well as theoretical information obtained through the other courses of the third-year program.  Therefore, the student will learn to integrate knowledge from multiple sources within the field of psychology and mental health with the information obtained from the patients being served at the practicum sites, to derive a deeper understanding of their professional roles and of the intervention strategies available within our understanding of EVP.


PSY 8320 Social Bases of Behavior

Social Psychology is an area of psychology that fosters our understanding of how society influences the psychological, behavioral and biological dimensions of human beings.  Individuals are socialized within particular contexts and this process manifests itself through his/her perceptions, cognitions, attitudes, emotions, embodiments and behaviors.   This course provides an overview of the contributions of Social Psychology to different areas of studies, particularly to Clinical Psychology.  Special emphasis will be placed on philosophical, cultural, economic and sociopolitical elements that have influenced its transformation through history. The study of Social Psychology is essential for the understanding of individual and collective phenomena, which is an indispensable tool for mental health professionals.  In this course students, will explore Social Psychology’s theory and practice.  Also, they will identify and reflect on the advantages and obstacles that social psychologists face as agents of social change.  This will be done with special emphasis of the implications for clinical practice and research.


PSY 8260 Doctoral Dissertation

The student will register in Psychology 8260 during the 4th year and will meet regularly with his/her thesis advisor and other committee members.  Through these meeting the student will be guided toward the completion of his/her dissertation project


PSY 7730 Supervision and Consultation (3 credits)

This course explores the historical context and the philosophy of supervision.  It analyzes the major supervision models and their application to psychotherapeutic and educational/training settings.  The differences between the supervisor and consultant role will be explored in the context of the relationship with the supervisee and the consultee. Most common consultation settings for psychologists such as schools and organizations will be emphasized, exploring contemporary strategies and techniques such as coaching and mediation.  Students will be given the opportunity to supervise at least one student in their initial clinical practice.  Their supervisory work will be monitored and supervised by the course professor.  The student will provide a written report on the experience.  Other work related to supervision and consultation may be required depending upon the opportunities available in the community and with different organizations.


PSY 9000 Doctoral Internship

This is a 2000-hour per year intensive clinical experience.  The student will be placed for 40 hours per week for 12 months (or 20 hours for 24 months) in a clinical setting where opportunities for further grow are abundant. Such work will be closely supervised given that this is the last experiential component of their program.


PSY 7890 Advanced Clinical Practicum: Child and School Psychology.  May be taken instead of PSY 787.  Requires authorization

This is the module that follows the course on Psychoeducational Assessment and Professional Consultation in Academic Settings.   The main focus of this practicum is to assist students in integrating the knowledge obtained in that course and in the child psychopathology course to the actual work with students in academic settings.  Placements will be in school throughout the southern part of the island.


PSY 8360 Psychology of Gender

An exploration of adult personality development forms the foundation of this course with special reflection on gender differences as identified through relevant research and humanistic literature.  The different stages of adult development will also serve as the foundation to explore the psychosocial and psycho-cultural issues that have affected adults in traditional and contemporary societies.  The course will address the following topics, among others: choosing life styles and sexual orientation – the GLBT movement; multilateral and multigenerational relationships and connectedness; social roles, work and community; marriage, pregnancy, mothering and fatherhood, health and health psychology of women and men.  Gender issues, gender roles and gender differences will be of primary concern for this course.  The psychotherapeutic implications of these issues will be addressed throughout the course.


PSY 8880 Advanced Clinical Practicum: Clinical Health Psychology. (250 hrs) Prerequisite: PSY 818 Requires authorization

This is an elective practicum that allows students concentrating on Clinical Health Psychology to obtain specialized supervision for the experience they will be having during the semester.  The student will be placed in one of the health facilities affiliated to the school through which they will have the opportunity to provide psychological services to medical patients.   This Practicum will help the student integrate the theoretical knowledge obtained through the Clinical Health Psychology course with the experience they have at their practicum site.

PsyD Clinical Program


The STUDENT’S EDUCATIONAL BUDGET represents an approximation of the amount of expenditures for a particular Class and Year of studies (FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, OR FOURTH). The Student’s Educational Budgets is the foundation for the determination of financial aid awards. These budgets are distributed annually and are available in the OSFA for review. The financial obligation is primarily the responsibility of the student and his/her family. That is why it is extremely important to discipline yourself with a well-thought-out budget for using your money during the academic year. Developing a realistic budget—and sticking to it—gives you a head start towards a financially secure future.

NOTE: (*) Includes: Cultural Activities (optional), Building & Maintenance, Clickers (applicable only to incoming class), Diploma & Graduation (only first two years), Disability Insurance (variable), Endowment, Educational Services Resources, Health Insurance (variable), ID card (new issued), Information Technology, Library, Malpractice, Orientation/Seminar (entering student) and Student Center & Activities.

For more details of PHSU tuition and fees please refer to: 2018-2019 Tuition and Fees  or 2019-2020 Tuition and Fees


Ponce Health Sciences University reserve the right to increase the tuition or other fees as deemed necessary.

The requirements to obtain the Psychology Doctorate degree are:

  • Approve all required and elective courses, as well as all practicum and seminars while maintaining a good standing in the University. A minimum of 86 credits is needed to satisfy the academic requirements. Additionally, the student will complete all required clinical training hours and a 2000 pre-doctoral internship hour. The doctoral dissertation and the pre-doctoral internship do not carry credit value as they are computed by the hour.
  • Successfully complete 1100 hours of clinical practice during the first 6 semesters of the program as follows:


  • 2 hours per week for 25 weeks of the first and second semester of the first year attending PSY 5810/5820 for a total of 50 hours per semester
  • 2 hours each week of the first and second semester of the second year attending didactic sessions (PSY 6830 / 6850) and 8 hours per week of direct clinical contact during 25 weeks for a total of 250 semester hours.


  • Approve the Comprehensive Examination offered by the end of the second year and the Clinical Practice Examination (CPX) to be taken by the end of the third year.
  • Complete 2000 hours of a doctoral internship. The internship may be completed in 40 hours per week during a 12-month period (Full Time) or 20 hours per week in a 24-month period (Half Time).
  • Present a research project (doctoral dissertation) directly related to the field of Psychology, preferably, on a topic related to Professional Psychology, or an Intensive Case Study.

Grading System

All courses and grades obtained will appear on the student’s academic record, including transferred courses from other institutions.


The Program has established evaluation criteria for the successful completion of courses.  These criteria are made available to the students at the beginning of the course.  The grading system for graduate students is as follows:


Letter Grade
A 100% – 90%
B 89% – 80%
C 79% – 70%
F Failed (below 70%)
E Extended
I Incomplete
IP In Progress
P Pass
NP Not Pass
W Withdrawal
AW Administrative Withdrawal


Satisfactory Academic Progress

This policy has been established to ensure an acceptable time frame for completion of the academic program and the minimally accepted quality of performance. This policy also ensures that the Student Financial Aid requirements, set forth by federal regulations, are met.


This policy applies to students enrolled in the Masters in Science in School Psychology at Ponce Health Sciences University.

General Requirements

  • Time Frame for completion of the Academic Program


A Clinical Psychology PhD Student will be allowed a maximum time frame of three years of enrollment beyond the standard required for the completion of the program (five years).  Summer enrollment is considered part of the academic year for the purpose of this measure.


The total years for completion of a degree include those graduate courses accredited on admission to our program.


Program Standard Maximum
Clinical Psychology PhD 5 years 8 years


  • Definition of a full time: Students with an academic load of 6 credits or more per semester will be considered full time doctoral students.  Students registered in doctoral dissertation are also considered full time students.


  • Definition of half time: Students with an academic load of 3 to 5 credits per semester will be considered half time students.


  • Definition of less than half time: Students with an academic load of less than 3 credits per semester will be considered less than half time or part-time students.


  • Completion of Program Requirements


  • Course Requirements

Students must complete all courses within the established time frame.  The Program requires a total of 86 credits.


  • Performance Requirement

A student must complete each academic year with a minimum grade point average of 3.00. Any student failing to meet this standard of performance will be referred to the Student Promotion Committee.


  • Comprehensive Examination Requirement

A Comprehensive Examination must be taken upon completion of the second academic year. A passing score in the exam is a requirement for candidacy to the Doctoral Degree.


  • Clinical Practice Examination (CPX)

Approval of the Clinical Practice Examination is required upon completion of the last academic year before the Clinical Internship.


  • Dissertation Proposal


Approval of Dissertation Proposal by the Dissertation Committee and submission of the proposal to the institution’s IRB is required before submitting the application for internship.


  • Doctoral Dissertation Requirement

A Doctoral Dissertation with oral defense is required for graduation. The data obtained from the dissertation project will be organized in an article format, per APA publication guidelines and submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed journal, with the approval of the Dissertation Committee.


  • Professional Behavior Requirement

The students should conduct themselves in accordance with the norms for professional conduct set forth by Ponce Health Sciences University, the corresponding accreditation agencies and the Clinical Practice Manual of the Ph.D. Program.

Grade Requirement

Grade Requirement

In order to graduate, the student should complete all requirements and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00. Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is required for financial aid eligibility and will be reviewed on a yearly basis.


  • A grade of “C” in any of the Clinical Courses (as identified in the program’s handbook) is not allowed. Any “C” grade in a Clinical Course means that the course must be repeated.
  • No more than two courses can be repeated in the entire program.
  • Repeated courses with “C” grades will remain on record, but the new grade will be used to compute the grade point average.
  • A grade of “F” in any course will result in referral to the Students Promotion Committee and considered for dismissal based on overall academic performance.
  • Grades of “P” (Pass) or “NP” (Not Pass) are applicable to dissertation When the dissertation activity requires more than one semester for its completion, the student receives a notation of “In Progress” (IP) for each semester and until the dissertation is approved.
  • Grades of “P” (Pass) or “NP” (Not Pass) are applicable to Practica and Internship. A grade of “NP” requires repetition. In case of a second “NP” grade in the same practicum or internship, the student will be referred to the Students Promotion Committee with a recommendation for dismissal.
  • An “I” (Incomplete) grade will only be allowed under very special circumstances as determined by the professor. The student must remove the “I” (Incomplete) by the following semester.

Academic Probation and Financial Aid Eligibility

Academic Probation and Financial Aid Eligibility

A student failing to meet the grade requirements will be placed on academic probation for one semester, but will be eligible for financial aid. At the end of the semester, if the student has not regained SAP, he/she loses financial aid for the following semester.


If the student is dismissed, but the dismissal decision is reversed by the due process, the student loses financial aid until SAP is reestablished.

Appeal Process for Academic Probation

Students notified that they are to be dismissed from the Ph.D. program, have the right to appeal the case in writing to the SBBS Dean within seven working days after receiving the notification.


The Appeal or Due Process for Dismissal presented below must be followed:

The SBBS Dean will evaluate the appeal and the student’s academic record. Rejection of the appeal by the Dean is final. If the Dean has a reasonable doubt about the student’s capacity or academic record, he/she can appoint a three-member Ad-Hoc Committee to re-evaluate all evidence.


The Ad-Hoc Committee will notify the student in writing of the date and time when the case will be heard. The Ad-Hoc Committee has forty-eight (48) hours to submit the report.


The SBBS Dean will consider the Ad-Hoc Committee recommendation, and make the final decision within forty-eight (48) hours. Any decision will be reported to the student in writing.  All decisions made by the Dean are final.


The same process described above will be followed in cases of unacceptable professional behavior. The corresponding Program Coordinator or the SBBS Dean will refer the case to the Promotions Committee. If the recommendation of the Promotion Committee is to dismiss the student, the appeal process described above will be activated.


In the event that an adverse decision is made due to non-academic reasons and the SBBS’s Dean sustains the decision after the appeal process, the student may appeal to the Vice-President for Academic Affair. Any additional appeal should be submitted to the PHSU President.

Ponce Health Sciences University is pleased that you have selected our institution to continue with your academic and professional goals. The Office of Student Financial provides you with the information and tools to assist you in reaching educational goals. Please take your time to navigate through the various links we have provided and feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you need more information: psmfinstu@psm.edu

Financial Aid Application Process Links
Important Links (External):

Important Links for PHSU application forms and manual

PHSU Financial Aid Application – click to download the form
– Request for Aid and Loans
– Student Authorization

Click here to download your
– Student Financial Aid Manual

Federal Financial Aid Programs

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loan: students who meet the requirements established by the US Department of Education may receive a Direct Loan, according to the academic program: graduate and professional students are eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year. As an institution that previously participated in the HEAL Programs our MD, Doctorate and PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as certain Master Degree Programs might be eligible for additional amount of loan. The amount is established annually by Federal Regulations. The Financial Aid Office provides orientation about the application process for student loans, the student’s qualifying requirements and the specifics regarding interest rate, orientation fess, repayment process, etc. The student must submit an agreement form known as a Master Promissory Note, and complete electronic entrance counseling, both on-line: www.studentloans.gov.
  • Direct Loan-Plus Graduate Loan: This is a federal fixed-interest loan for graduate and professional students, beyond the DL Unsubsidized award, to cover any additional cost of attendance. The interest rate and origination fee, which is annually fixed by the Federal Government, begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement. The loan qualifying process requires a credit check verification, on-line entrance counseling and an on-line submission of a Master Promissory Note: www.studentloans.gov
  • Private Loans (Alternative Loans). These are credit-based loans that may be used to supplement other types of financial aid programs. The loan amounts vary according to amount requested and approved for the student. The interest rate is variable, accrued while in school and usually based on the current “Prime Rate” plus a lender’s predetermined interest rate. Repayment may be up to 20 years. These Private Alternative Loans provide funds to complete the remaining need after the student is awarded other financial aid. Due to the high interest rate that these loans represent, the student should consider these loans as a last resource to their financial need. PHSU does not recommend any specific lender, the evaluation and selection is a student’s individualized decision.
  • Historical Private Lender List
    PHSU does not deny or otherwise impede the student’s choice of an alternative lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification of these loans. The following is a list of the three private loans that have been most commonly selected by our students during last two previous academic years, however, we reiterate that the student may select any other lender they esteem will meet their financial need.

Other Financial Aid Options:
Military Scholarship Programs: Students interested in a military career may consider apply for one of the scholarships programs for healthcare professions offered by the US Army, the US Air Force, Navy or the National Guard. The students must contact the desired program:

National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program: available for students in the primary health care specialties and committed to serving part or their entire career in federally designated health professional shortage area. Learn more about this program at: nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov

Financial Aid Application Process

Direct Loan Application Process
Students interested in applying for a Direct Loan must comply with the federal requirements and following requirements:

      1. Have financial need.
      2. Be an US Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
      3. Have a valid social security number.
      4. Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student working toward a degree.
      5. Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
      6. Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
      7. Certify that are not in default on a federal student loan and that do not owe money on a Federal student grant.
      8. Student cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit established by the Department of Education.
      9. Comply with the Entrance Interview/Counseling.
      10. Provide all the documents and information required by the Financial Aid.

Students must fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding academic year, in order to be evaluated to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. It must be submitted on line at www.fafsa.gov no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at www.pin.ed.gov.

Once the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to the school, which will be used for evaluation and analysis.

Students with a FAFSA application selected for verification by the Department of Education will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Complete a Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office)
  • Copy of the Tax Return (IRS or PR tax return form) or
  • W-2 form(s) (if apply)
  • Evidence of wages, salaries, tips, etc., reported on the FAFSA
  • Others

If the student (student’s parent or spouse) is not required to file income tax return, he/she will be required to complete and sign a Certification of Income, provided by the Financial Aid Office, among other documentation. Note: No loan will be process until the verification process is completed.

As part of the evaluation, the Financial Aid Office will take in consideration the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount that the student should contribute towards his/her cost of education, and it is determined by the Federal Government. The need analysis consists of the following basic calculation: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals Financial Need. As part of the analysis, it will be considered any other expected financial aid (external funds such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Administration, military scholarships, and any other grant or scholarship). Note: A student cannot receive financial assistance in excess of the determined Financial Need.

Awarding and Notification
The next step is the awarding of financial aid amounts by PHSU and preparing the award notification for the student. Once the awarding process is completed, a Notification of Award is sent to each student.

Return Policy and Requirement for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid (see PHSU catalog refund policy section)

Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses
If convicted of any offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will be denied for:

  • One year after the first conviction
  • Two years after the second conviction
  • Indefinitely after the third conviction

Eligibility may be restored if the student partakes of an approved Federal Government Rehabilitation Program.

Please refer to the Student Financial Aid Manual for specific information regarding all the dynamics of financial aid as it applies to new and continuing students.

Financial Aid Contact Information:

Financial Aid Personnel:
Mrs. Myrian Gaud Maitín, MBA
Financial Aid Manager

Mrs. Nicole Vázquez Colon, MSS
Financial Aid Officer

Ms. Mariannette Cruz Rentas, BS
Administrative Assistant

Office Hours
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-11:30 am – 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday: Administrative Work (By appointment only)

Financial Aid Office Contact Information
Phone Number: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2134, 2135 or 2136
E-mail: psmfinstu@psm.edu
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
Physical Address: 388 Zona Ind. Reparada 2 Ponce PR 00716-2347

Applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Official transcript from all undergraduate and graduate universities attended
  • Letter of Recommendation Format – Written by individuals familiar with the applicant’s professional work and skills
  • Certificate of No Penal Record (Criminal Background check)
  • USD $85.00 Application Processing Fee (check or money order payable to Ponce Health Sciences University)
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Deadline to submit a complete application – May 30

Procedure to Apply

Readmission Application


  • ASSMCA Drug Court
  • Canas Medical Center
  • Casa Belén- Madre Dominga Center
  • Centro de Ayuda Psicológica y Servicios Integrales (CAPSI)
  • Centro de Ayuda Víctimas de Violación (CAVV) (diferentes pueblos de PR: Ponce, Caguas, Arecibo, Fajardo y Mayagüez)
  • Centro de Consejería “El Sendero de la Cruz, Inc.” en Hato Rey
  • Centro de Recuperación del Caribe en Villalba
  • Centro de Salud Deportiva y Ciencias del Ejercicio (SADCE) Albergue Olímpico
  • Centro de Servicios Comunitarios Vida Plena en Cayey
  • Centro de Servicios Psicológicos Raigambre en Guaynabo
  • Centro Interdisciplinario de Salud Mental, CISME Inc.
  • Centro Médico en Salinas
  • Centro Ponceño de Autismo (CEPA)
  • Centro Psicológico y de Desarrollo en Aguadilla
  • Centro Psicoterapéutico Multidisciplinario Inc.
  • Clínica de Servicios Psicológicos, PHSU
  • Coalición de Coaliciones para Personas sin Hogar de PR
  • Cognitive Wellness Center, Mayagüez
  • Correctional Health Service, Cárcel las Cucharas
  • Costa Salud, Rincón
  • Descubriendo Caminos-Centros Sor Isolina Ferré
  • Faro de Esperanza
  • Fundación Forjadores de Esperanza Inc. en Canóvanas
  • Fundación Pediátrica de Diabetes, San Juan
  • Greistar Mental & Physical Health, GF Solutions
  • Grupo de Servicios Especializados en Psicología e Integrativos, Corp. (Grupo SEPI) (diferentes pueblos en PR: Bayamón, Caguas, San Lorenzo, Ponce)
  • Head Start & Early Head Start
  • Health Assessment and Psychological Innovation Gogo Pediatric Institute
  • Hospicio La Guadalupe
  • Hospital Auxilio Mutuo
  • Hospital Damas
  • Hospital del Maestro
  • Hospital Menonita en Aibonito
  • Hospital Psiquiátrico en Aibonito (CIMA)
  • Hospital Psiquiátrico Estatal de Niños y Adolescentes en Bayamón
  • Hospital Psiquiátrico Estatal, Manuel Fernández Marina, San Juan
  • Hospital San Lucas
  • Instituto de Desarrollo Integral, IDIIFCO en Guánica
  • Instituto de Medicina de Familia del Sur
  • Instituto Sexológico Educativo Psicológico (ISEP)
  • InterCede, Ponce
  • Jeshua Community Mental Health Center, Cidra
  • Love Lines
  • National University College
  • New York Foundling Head Start en Coamo
  • Ponce Hematology Oncology/Salud Holística para la Mente
  • Portal de Amor en San German
  • Programa de Re-educación y Orientación a Personas Agresoras (PROPA)
  • Programa de Recuperación, ASSMCA (diferentes pueblos de PR: Ponce, Mayagüez, Cayey, Trujillo Alto, San Patricio y Moca)
  • Programa Psicología Cuidado Primario Clínica de Inmunología
  • Restaurando Portillo
  • San Jorge Children Hospital
  • Universidad Interamericana Guayama
  • UPR Ponce
  • UPR Rio Piedras, Recinto de Ciencias Medica (RCM)
  • Wellness Center PHSU

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