Program Descriptions and Timeline

Clinical Program


Research emphasis: The clinical program prepares students for careers involving teaching, research, and clinical service with adults and children. Some graduates go into university teaching positions. Others work in hospitals, clinics, and schools doing clinical work and research. We strongly believe that research training is important for students regardless of the career path they choose. Not only does this create new knowledge and inform clinical decision making, it gives the student the ability to translate and develop knowledge in the community. Most remain active in research following graduation whether this involves developing science-based clinical programs or more theoretical academic research. We are looking for students who are interested in leadership positions and making an impact in the world. Students who do not have a genuine enthusiasm for research will probably find other clinical programs more suited to their interests.

Program size: The program is relatively small. Only about eight new students of approximately 160 applicants are admitted each year. Since we accept a very small proportion of applicants, only those with excellent academic credentials are likely to gain admission. As the program places a strong emphasis on research training, prior experience conducting psychological research is essential.

Theoretical approaches: The program is not aligned with a particular “school” of psychology. As is evident from the broad research interests of our faculty, the theoretical approach is eclectic, with strong emphasis on diagnostic and treatment modalities that are supported by empirical evidence. A broad range of approaches is also represented in our practicum and internship settings. Similarly, clinical students can pursue research interests in many areas including but not limited to child and adult psychopathology and health psychology.

Training opportunities: Clinical students can work with any member of the Department. ANY staff member can supervise the research of clinical students, creating a large array of training opportunities. A number of teaching hospitals and services associated with McGill University also participate in the training of clinical psychology students. Practica involving medical and psychiatric inpatients and outpatients are available at approximately ten sites located in several general hospitals, a children’s hospital, a psychiatric hospital, and a neurological institute. More detail about Practica and Internships can be found here.

An unusual feature of the program is the existence of an “in house” internship program. That is, the requirement of a 1-year full-time predoctoral internship can be fulfilled locally. Some students complete their internships at sites outside the Montreal area, applying through the common Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (AAPIC) matching procedure. Our students have been successful in obtaining internships in this manner. However, most opt to do their internship in the McGill Psychology Internship Consortium (MPIC). MPIC is open only to McGill students. The Consortium is organized by the Clinical Program and consists of training in the Department and the hospitals noted above. In addition to taking advantage of a number of outstanding clinical training opportunities in the area, doing an internship in MPIC allows the student to further integrate their clinical and research training.

Accreditations: The clinical program is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). Applicants should be aware that the American Psychological Association will withdraw from accrediting programs in Canada as of September 1, 2015. This reflects a new policy of APA and is not specific to our program.

Office of Accreditation, Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Avenue West, Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario  K1P 5J3

Dr. Melissa Tiessen, Director, Education Directorate & Registrar, Accreditation 888-472-0657 (613-237-2144), ext. 333,   

Ms. Linda Rochefort, Administrative Assistant, Accreditation & Operations
888-472-0657 (613-237-2144), ext. 328,


Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association

750 First Street North East
Washington, D.C.  20002-4242

Dr. Susan Zlotlow, Director, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation & AED, Education Directorate
1-800-374-2721, ext. 5979,

The clinical program at McGill was one of the first programs accredited by PCSAS. We are especially proud of this accomplishment as the accreditation procedure is not only rigorous but reflects the values of the program. PCSAS “was created to promote superior science-centered education and training in clinical psychology, to increase the quality and quantity of clinical scientists contributing to the advancement of public health, and to enhance the scientific knowledge base for mental and behavioral health care”. The PCSAS accreditation system was recently recognized by the U.S. Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

The program is also a charter member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science.

Statistical information about the Clinical Program:
The Committee on Accreditation of APA requires that certain information be made available to potential applicants to our clinical program. As of September 6, 2012, there were 13 men and 30 women registered in the program. Current students ranged in age from 22 to 37 years old at time of entry into the program. While we do not classify students using categories such as "minority," "foreign," or "handicapped," the department accepts applicants from varied backgrounds and countries. All applications are welcomed and will receive equal consideration. Most students who are admitted to our program successfully complete their PhD. The average time to completion of the PhD degree in Clinical Psychology is 6 years.

Consistent with CUDCP guidelines for informing prospective students about applicants and program outcomes, we present the following information.


Graduate Programs - Clinical Psychology

Students entering the clinical program register as PhD candidates. Their progress in the program is assessed by evaluating examinations and reports, oral presentations, and supervisors' reports on practicum and internship experiences.

Clinical Faculty

However, supervision of clinical students is not limited to members of the clinical faculty. All faculty members of the Department of Psychology can supervise clinical students, i.e. many faculty members of the Experimental Program supervise clinical students.


The First Year

PSYC 601
(6 credits)
General Comprehensive Examination. First-year research and readings.
PSYC 615
(1.5 credits)
Diagnostic Methods (Children). A review of major assessment strategies for children.
PSYC 616
(1.5 credits)
Practicum Child Diagnostics
PSYC 617
(1.5 credits)
Diagnostic Methods (Adults). A review of major assessment strategies for adults.
PSYC 618
(1.5 credits)
Practicum Adult Diagnostics
PSYC 630
(3 credits)
Psychopathology: Review of major types of psychopathology with emphasis on current research findings
PSYC 660
(6 credits)
Psychological Theory: A general course taken by all new clinical and experimental students in the department. Covers the development of major current theoretical ideas about broad areas of Psychology in light of experimental and clinical evidence.
PSYC 728
(3 credits)
Clinical Psychology: Ethics and Professional Issues
PSYC 614
(3 credits)
Fundamentals of Interviewing and Intervention
PSYC 625
(3 credits)
Research in Clinical Psychology
PSYC 706
(15 credits)
Clinical Practicum 1: This course provides 455 hours of clinical experience. Often it is taken as a full-time 3-4 month experience during the summer. It is also possible to arrange to take the course as a 9 hour per week experience spread across 50 weeks. Other arrangements are also possible depending upon the placement. Students pursue the Clinical Practicum in a placement approved by the department through the Clinical Committee. A list of placements which have been “pre-approved" by the department is available from the Clinical Secretary and the Internship Director.  Placements in other settings may be undertaken with permission.

The Second Year

PSYC 620
(6 credits)
Practicum 2: Supervised experience in psychotherapy. This practicum is carried out at one of the hospitals affiliated with McGill University.
PSYC 641
(6 credits)
Psychotherapy Theory and Research: Conceptual foundations of individual, family, and group treatment modalities, especially empirically validated techniques; review of empirical evidence concerning treatment effectiveness and individual differences and cultural differences that affect outcome; political and organizational influences and constraints on mental health service delivery.
PSYC 650
(3 credits)
Advanced Statistics I
PSYC 651
(3 credits)
Advanced Statistics II
PSYC 752
(6 credits)
Psychotherapy and Behaviour Change: A case conference course and an associated practicum in psychotherapy (PSYC 620). The case conference course includes case formulation, discussion of treatment effectiveness, and consideration of issues around supervision.
PSYC 729
(3 credits)
Theory of Assessment: Major issues and related research findings in clinical psychology relevant to test construction, measurement, and assessment are reviewed.
(3 credits)
Students take two experimental seminars in years 2, 3, or 4.
(3 credits)
One of the experimental seminars must be in an area relevant to social psychology and interpersonal relationships. This course must be drawn from courses with the numbering PSYC 722 to PSYC 727. The other experimental seminar must be in the area of one of the following topics: cognition, learning, sensation, perception, thinking, motivation, or emotion. This course must be drawn from the following course numbers:  PSYC 532, PSYC 716 to 721, or PSYC 740 to PSYC 745. It is possible that Psychology courses with other course numbers could fulfill these requirements. A student wishing to take a course with a different course number to fulfill one of these requirements should discuss the appropriateness of the course to fulfill the requirement with the Director of Clinical Training; if the course seems suitable, the student will be asked to make a formal written request including a course description to the Clinical Committee.

The Third Year

PSYC 701
(6 credits)
Doctoral Comprehensive Examination. This exam is also referred to as the "Special Comprehensive" and is normally completed by students in PhD 3. The Clinical Special Comprehensive is a formal exam written in the fall by all clinical students. The Experimental Special Comprehensive is an in-depth review paper of 30-40 pages on a topic outside the student's thesis research area but within the specialty, e.g. behavioural neuroscience, cognition, language, or social psychology. The paper is due April 1st of the PhD3 year.
PSYC 730
(3 credits)
Clinical Psychology: Biological Methods
The focus of this seminar is on the biological bases of psychopathology. Students learn about techniques used to investigate the biological cases of behaviour (e.g., neuroimaging, genetics, psychophysiology, psychopharmacology.
PSYC 732
(3 credits)
Practicum 3: Practicum 3 is typically completed as a half-day clinical placement that spans 51 weeks. As in Practica 1 and 2, students agree on specific training goals with the clinical supervisors, and training is provided in relation to the students' interests and developing skill set.

The Fourth Year

PSYC 707
(15 credits)
The student may also undertake his/her internship (which can be undertaken as one full-year full-time experience or two full-year half-time segments) The course number for the first half  is PSYC 707D/H.  Internships must be completed at sites approved by the Clinical Committee. It is common for students to undertake their internships in year 4 and/or 5.
PSYC 708
(15 credits)
The course number for the second half of the internship (which can be undertaken as one full-year full-time experience or two full-year half-time segments) is PSYC 708D/H. Practica and internships must be completed at sites approved by the Clinical Committee.


The Practicum requirements of the programme include successful completion of three compulsory courses; Practicum 1 (706; 455 hours), Practicum 2 (620; 112 hours), and Practicum 3 (732; 153 hours). The three Practicum courses are essentially ‘rotations’ designed to provide students with the breadth and depth of training that will prepare them for their pre-doctoral internship. Rotations are determined through discussion with the Internship Director.  A practicum training plan is developed for each student.

Rotations can be selected from the different service units of a single training site, or can be selected across different training sites. The Internship Director guides the student in the choice of rotations in a manner that will both satisfy the student’s training preferences as well as breadth requirements of clinical practice. Students are encouraged to complete the three Practicum courses in three different settings such that they are exposed to different client populations, intervention approaches and supervisory experiences.

Students must complete a total of 720 hours through three rotations to satisfy the Practicum requirements. Rotations vary from 3 to 12 months in duration. In their first year, students enrol in Practicum 1 (706) which involves 455 hours of practical training. Training sites are aware that students enrolled in Practicum 1 are junior, and skill training is provided at a level commensurate with the students’ stage of development. Students typically complete Practicum 1 on a year-long part-time basis.

In Year 2, students enrol in Practicum 2 (620) which involves 112 hours of practice training. Practicum 2 is typically completed as a half-day clinical placement that spans 28 weeks. Students agree on specific training goals with the clinical supervisors. In Practicum 2, students are expected to bring a greater sense of confidence and autonomy to their practice involvement. In Practicum 2, practice training is provided in relation to the students’ interests and developing skill set.

In Year 3, students enrol in Practicum 3 (732) which involves 153 hours of practice training. Practicum 3 is typically completed as a half-day clinical placement that spans 51 weeks. As in Practica 1 and 2, students agree on specific training goals with the clinical supervisors, and training is provided in relation to the students’ interests and developing skill set. In Practicum 3, students are expected to bring a greater sense of confidence and autonomy to their practice involvement. In Practicum 3, training may also take the form of supervising junior practicum students.

Through the Practicum rotations, students are exposed to training experiences of increasing complexity. In addition, students are expected to show increasing levels of autonomy as they progress through the Practicum rotations. As students develop proficiency and autonomy, they are given opportunities to participate in supervision. Each rotation provides training in all essential components of the professional practice of psychology including: assessment, diagnosis and case conceptualization, treatment planning, psychological service delivery, outcome evaluation, file keeping, report writing, and consultation. Each rotation also addresses issues related to ethics and code of conduct.

Allocation of hours in Practicum courses 

Through all Practicum courses, students are expected to spend most of their time involved in direct service to clients. The remaining time is spent in indirect aspects of service provision (e.g., reading, skill acquisition, report writing, consultation, supervision).  A web-based software application ( has been developed to assist students in logging the time they spend in different activities.


The allocation of hours in each of the Practicum courses is as follows:

Practicum 1: 706 (Year 1)

- Total hours = 455. (35 hours/week x 13 weeks or 7 hours/week x 65 weeks).

- 230 hours (50% of total) of direct client contact.

- 125 hours (27% of total) of supervision including 91 hours of individual      supervision and 34 hours of group supervision.

- 100 hours (22% of total) of support activities.

Practicum 2: 620 (Year 2)

- Total hours - 112 hours (4 hours/week for 28 weeks).

- 56 hours (50% of total) of direct client contact.

- 28 hours (25% of total) of supervision including 21 hours of individual supervision and 7 hours of group supervision.

- 28 hours (25% of total) of support activities


Practicum 3: 732 (Year 3)

- 153 hours (3 hours/week x 51 weeks)

- 77 hours (50% of total) of direct client contact.

- 38 hours (25% of total) of supervision including 30 hours of individual supervision and 8 hours of group supervision.

- 38 hours (25% of total) of support activities.


Cumulative Total Direct Contact Hours = 363

Cumulative Total Hours of Supervision = 191

Cumulative Total Support Hours = 166

Cumulative Total Practicum = 720


For the purposes of the Practicum courses:

direct client contact’ includes the following activities: assessment, observation of therapy, co-therapy, individual therapy.

support activities’ includes reading, learning about new testing procedures and treatment methods, report writing, file keeping, case treatment planning, case presentations, consultation referral sources, attending rounds,.

individual supervision’ includes one-on-one supervision provided by a registered clinical psychologist.

group supervision’ includes supervision that is provided to a group of trainees by a registered psychologist.


Additional Program Opportunities

Psychosocial Oncology Option (PSOO)

The Department of Oncology, in conjunction with the School of Nursing, the Department of Psychology and the School of Social Work, has developed the cross-disciplinary Psychosocial Oncology Option (PSOO). This Option is open to doctoral students in the School of Nursing and in the Department of Psychology, who are interested in broadening their knowledge of psychosocial issues in oncology.


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