Program Requirements

Summary of Requirements:

Master’s Degree

WSPP’s Master’s degree is awarded to students en route to the Psy.D. degree. Students are granted the Master’s degree when they have: (a) completed 65 hours of required coursework with an acceptable GPA; (b) completed 500 hours of supervised practica with acceptable ratings; (c) passed the Preliminary Examination; (d) presented satisfactory writing samples; (e) paid all tuition and fees due the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. WSPP does not have a terminal Master’s degree program.

Psy.D. Degree

The Psy.D. (Doctor of Psychology) degree is awarded by the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology to students who, within ten (10) years have: (a) completed all required semester hours or the equivalent (including any transfers); (b) completed 2,000 hours of supervised practicum experience; (c) attended three ethics seminars; (d) successfully passed the Doctoral Comprehensive Examination as described in the Comprehensive Examination Manual; (e) finished a one year full-time or two year half-time approved internship in clinical psychology; (f) completed an original Dissertation; and (g) paid all tuition and fees due the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology.

Other Requirements:

Residency Requirements

In the course of their academic work, students must complete at least one academic year of full-time residence, which is defined as fall and spring semesters with six (6) or more academic credits and 50 or more clinical hours in each semester. Clinical hours reflect on-going, supervised clinical activity.

Time Limit

Students entering WSPP must complete all requirements of the Psy.D. program including coursework, practicum, exams, internship, and dissertation within ten (10) years of the date of matriculation as a degree-status student.

Class Scheduling

All required courses offered to first year students will take place during daytime hours Monday-Thursday. For all other students, required courses are scheduled from 6:30pm-9:00pm Monday thru Thursday and meet once per week to accommodate student practicum and employment schedules. Class size rarely exceeds 15 students in order to maximize opportunity for participation and discussion. Faculty advisors and instructors are readily available for student conferences.

Course Sequence

WSPP faculty, through its committee structure, deliberated to develop the best possible program with the most effective sequence of coursework. The first year emphasizes a firm foundation in theory and science that forms the basis for psychological principles. Clinical practicum work begins after the first summer with extremely close supervision that gradually decreases as the student gains skill. The second academic year emphasizes advanced skills in assessment and intervention. We believe that psychological assessment is a cornerstone of professional practice. There is also an increased emphasis on developing research skills during the second year. During the third academic year there is a focus on the application of advanced clinical skills. The student is also expected to develop and defend a Dissertation proposal. The fourth year of academic study provides for further progress on the dissertation and preparation for the clinical internship. Throughout all coursework, there is appreciation for and training in research. Multiple aspects of diversity are stressed in every class and all practicum experiences. Finally, professional standards and ethics are ingrained in student thinking throughout the curriculum.

WSPP Model Curriculum Progression for Full-time Students

View WSPP Course Descriptions

Transfer of Courses & Practicum Credit

Students are expected to complete all required courses. However, it is possible to transfer course credit under certain circumstances. A course may be transferred if a graduate level course, judged to be equivalent, was completed at another regionally accredited institution with a grade of “B” or better. Courses eligible for transfer are identified on the Required Course listing. The transfer requires written approval of both the WSPP course instructor and the Dean. No more than 18 credit hours may be transferred. Practicum courses, as well as those completed via distance learning, are not transferable.

Students may be granted a maximum of 400 clinical practicum hours from a previous training program provided those hours were supervised by a licensed psychologist. Transfer requires signature of the supervisor and approval by the Director of Clinical Training.

Course Load-Part-time or Full-time?

Students may elect to attend on a full or part-time basis. Courses are taken in the order designated in the Curriculum and are offered on the same evenings year to year, with all academic coursework completed prior to the initiation of the internship. Students are cautioned that the timelines suggested in the Model Program Course Sequence assume full-time enrollment with no outside work commitments.

All students, full or part-time, are required to complete all degree requirements within the specified time limits.

Practicum Hours and Opportunities

Clinical training is vital to the education of a professional psychologist. All students are required to accumulate at least 2,000 hours of supervised practicum experience during their tenure as Doctoral students. WSPP emphasizes practicum requirements in the training of clinical psychologists.

WSPP practicum opportunities are abundant and students receive all their supervision from licensed psychologists.

All students are required to see clients through the WSPP Psychology Training Center. One clinical hour is awarded per hour of direct client service, such as individual, family, group or couple therapy, psychological assessment or consultation, and indirect client service such as report writing, supervision, observation of direct client service and attendance at staffings and case conferences. Students may be granted a maximum of 400 clinical practicum hours from a previous training program provided those hours were supervised by a licensed psychologist and have been approved by the Director of Clinical Training.

WSPP also utilizes the facilities of a wide variety of community resources for practicum placements. These placements include: a drug and alcohol treatment center for women; a K-8 school located in the inner city; a day treatment program for patients with serious and persistent mental illness; a general medical hospital; a V.A. Medical Center; a private practice of neuropsychology; a correctional facility; a psychiatric hospital for children and adolescents, and numerous other settings.

Ethics Seminars

In addition to regular coursework, all degree students are required to attend at least three WSPP-sponsored seminars on professional ethics.

Diversity SEMINARS

All degree students are required to attend at least one WSPP-sponsored seminar on diversity issues presented by WSPP’s Multicultural Affairs Committee.

Preliminary Examination

All students are required to take an examination and submit a writing sample at the end of their second year of coursework. The examination covers the content of all required coursework taken in the first two years. The writing sample includes one term paper on a topic to be assigned. Students must pass both the examination and writing sample in order to receive a Master’s degree and continue with doctoral level classes. Students are given up to three opportunities to pass the Preliminary Examination.

Comprehensive Examination

The Comprehensive Examination is an oral examination designed to serve as a measure of the student’s mastery of the essential elements of the program. It may be taken anytime following the completion of, or current enrollment in, required doctoral-level assessment and intervention coursework (840/841; 845/846; 850/851-A; 850/851-B), but must be taken prior to the student’s beginning the pre-doctoral internship.  The Comprehensive Examination requires students to submit samples of their clinical work in the areas of assessment and psychotherapy. A panel of two faculty members serves as examiners and questions students about their written submissions. The emphasis of this examination is on the ability to synthesize what one has learned in the program at the level required for internship. Students are given up to three opportunities to pass both sections of the Comprehensive Examination and must pass both sections in order to receive the Doctorate.


WSPP requires of each student a 2,000-hour internship to be served in one year full-time or two year part-time basis. It is preferred that the internship be APA-accredited, but those accredited by APPIC (Association of Psychology Postdoctoral & Internship Centers) are also acceptable. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain admission to an internship, although WSPP assists in placement. Students have completed internships locally as well as at numerous internship sites throughout the U.S.


Completion of a dissertation is required. Students are required to successfully defend the dissertation proposal prior to applying for internship. The main criteria for an acceptable dissertation are that it be on a clinically relevant topic, of sufficient quality to be published in the peer-reviewed professional literature, and be of interest to a significant audience of professional psychologists. Guidelines for the dissertation process are found in the Dissertation Guide, which is found as an appendix in the Student Handbook. The dissertation must be successfully defended in open forum to the student’s Dissertation Committee and printed in final form before the project is considered completed.