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Department Information

The APA-accredited Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Southern Methodist University follows a clinical scientist model and is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science. As such, the primary goal of the program is to train clinical scientists, and the single most important component of doctoral training is research. To that end, we expect our students to be actively engaged in research throughout their training through collaborative, lab-directed studies as well as independent mentored projects. Students are expected to participate substantially in scientific publications, conference presentations, grant applications, and make other meaningful contributions to research.

Moreover, the clinical science model recognizes the reciprocal relationship between research and clinical application. Students should apply scientific knowledge to their clinical work as well as use their clinical work to inform their research. State-of-the-science training will be provided in evidence-based assessment, diagnosis, and intervention.

The SMU Board of Trustees recently approved a new graduate program in the Psychology Department. The program, an accelerated Master of Science degree in Organizational Psychology, will start in the Fall of 2019. It involves taking a set of special courses in the student's senior year followed by courses in the summer and over the next academic year.

Program Features

For more information, please refer to the Graduate Catalog.

Degrees Offered

Explore Our M.S. Program in Organizational Psychology

Explore Our Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology

Southern Methodist University Facilities

The Clinical Psychology graduate research program is well equipped to support graduate-level research. 

SMU Psychology Clinic

SMU Psychology Clinic


The SMU Psychology Clinic is a non-profit training clinic housed within SMU’s Department of Psychology. The mission of the Clinic is threefold: 1) to provide training in the competent and ethical practice of clinical psychology; 2) in service to the community, to provide high-quality, affordable psychological services to the Dallas-Fort Worth area; and, 3) to support clinical research and dissemination of evidence-based practice.


This Clinic works in part with the Clinical Training associated with the Ph.D. program. Clinical training is closely integrated with research training. Coursework addresses theory and research on clinical disorders/problems, evidence-based assessment and intervention techniques, and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of clinical practice. Internal and external clinical practicum experiences provide students with training and supervision in the application of evidence-based clinical practice and function to expose students to a breadth of client/patient populations.


Clinical training also takes place in many faculty research labs through research on clinical phenomena and evaluation of the effectiveness of specific assessment and treatment techniques. Thus, students often receive training in clinical practice (e.g., interviewing skills, training in the delivery of specific assessment or intervention techniques) as part of their involvement in faculty research as well as in their formal training experiences.

Research Training

Research Training


Research training is provided through coursework, active membership in the faculty advisor’s research lab, and completion of student-directed research. Courses covering research and quantitative methods and the foundations of clinical, developmental, social, biological, and cognitive/affective psychology are designed to familiarize students with the theoretical and research literature in these areas as well as the methods used to study psychological phenomena.

As a graduate student, you will work closely with one or more of our core faculty and will have the opportunity to be involved in important, innovative research on a variety of topics and to conduct your own, independent research under the supervision of an expert in your area of interest. Faculty research covers a variety of topics, including family violence, anxiety disorders, psychophysiology, psychological assessment, health behaviors, intimate relationships, couple therapy, schizophrenia, memory function, child depression, personality, and parenting. We also have two newly established foci in Child and Family Psychology and Health Psychology that provide additional research and clinical training to interested students.

All students are expected to be full members of their advisor’s research lab, to contribute to the design, completion, and presentation of research studies at professional conferences and in professional journals, and to attend department colloquia.

Finally, students complete at least two student-directed research projects in the form of their thesis and dissertation as well as a comprehensive review of the literature on a topic in their field of interest (the third year review paper). These activities are designed to expose students to psychological research and theory, as well as research methods in a variety of settings, and to train students to independently generate scientific knowledge.

Admission Requirements

To be eligible to apply, you must be a current SMU undergraduate in at least your junior year. Please visit the department's website for instructions on how to apply for this program. We recommend that you start looking into the process during your sophomore year. 

Applicants to the Clinical Psychological Doctoral program must submit the following:

  • Transcripts from all institutions attended (post high school; unofficial documents can be uploaded to your application).
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • Résumé
  • Statement of Purpose* 
  • GRE Scores
  • International applicants must provide English Language Proficiency scores if their degree does not meet our waiver requirements. 

*This personal statement should include the applicant's professional interests, graduate school goals, career goals, research experience (as well as other pertinent experience), and the names of 1-2 faculty members with whom they would like to work. 

Deadlines for Admission

The deadline for submitting application materials is December 1st to be considered for the following fall semester. Incomplete applications will not be considered. SMU requires the $75 application fee in order to process the application.

Departmental Assistantships

All graduate students who are making good progress in the program receive financial support for five years. In addition, there are other sources of support from the College and University. To see some of the other opportunities, please go to: http://www.smu.edu/graduate/Funding.

Ph.D. Guide Cover viewed on an iPad and iPhone.



A Guide to Choosing, Applying for, and Thriving in a Ph.D. Program


Degree Requirements

The program consists of 13 courses including internships. Students will take two courses (6381 and 6382) while still enrolled as undergraduates. These two courses will be followed by a May term course, a summer internship arranged through the department, and a full fall and spring semester.
For more information, please refer to the Graduate Catalog.

Student Spotlight


Noelle Smith

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, 2014

Noelle Smith completed her predoctoral internship at VA Connecticut. Then, she went on to her postdoctoral training at the National Center for PTSD, neurosciences division, and Yale University School of Medicine. After her postdoc, she took a position as a clinical psychologist in the PTSD Specialty Clinic at the James A. Haley VA in Tampa, Fla. Last February, she transitioned to her current position at the Northeast Program Evaluation Center.

Smith is currently the project director for the evaluation of the Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Programs. She is also Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine. Her research has been mainly focused on PTSD, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, as well as understanding components of mental health treatment of PTSD and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. 


Do not hesitate to contact your program of interest with any questions you might have!



Want to learn more about SMU’s graduate programs in Psychology?

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