Inclusion of a qualifying examination is standard procedure among clinical psychology doctoral programs. The Qualifying Examination constitutes a marker event and is designed to assess attainment of psychological attitudes, knowledge, and skills related to professional practice, achievement of doctoral-level scholarship, and readiness to assume additional clinical responsibility.
The Qualifying Examination follows a treatment case model, similar to that used by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) for examining advanced doctoral-level practitioners applying for the diplomate. The student prepares a clinical work sample for evaluation by two faculty readers.
The Qualifying Examination includes three components:
Theoretical Essay Component, based on the assessment or treatment case
Clinical Component, which is a case study based on an assessment or treatment case, and which includes a video or audio tape, a transcript of the taped session, and an introductory memo
For the Theoretical Component, the student writes a theoretical essay of relevance to the Clinical Component of the Qualifying Examination.
For the Clinical Component, the student writes a paper describing the piece of clinical work selected for presentation, its theoretical rationale, outcomes, and reflections on the experience of working on the case.
The Qualifying Examination is taken during the second year of course work. Students who fail any part of the Qualifying Examination have an opportunity to retake that part of the examination. A second failure will result in termination from the program.