Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology Approved by State Coordinating Board

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Mega Doctor News

By Melissa Vasquez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS –The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley has received approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to establish a new degree program for a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in clinical psychology.

The new Ph.D. program, housed in the College of Liberal Arts in the UTRGV Department of Psychological Science, will focus on producing clinical psychology scientist-practitioners with knowledge about Hispanic cultures in the Rio Grande Valley and the United States.

“Providing new educational opportunities for the students of the Rio Grande Valley is one of UTRGV’s core priorities, so we’re excited to get this program underway,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said. “Furthermore, the Valley needs more clinical psychologists to meet demand, and this new program should address that.”

The proposed Ph.D. program consists of 89 semester credit hours (SCH) for students entering with a bachelor’s degree, and 74 SCH with a master’s degree. A minimum of four full-time years of coursework, research training, clinical training, and a one-year pre-doctoral internship, will be required for graduation from the program.

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In addition, an Integrated Behavioral Health Care option will be offered in collaboration with the UTRGV School of Medicine, which will provide training in the integration of behavioral healthcare with medical care provided in primary care settings. The option also will provide opportunities for research and treatment program development in the predominantly Hispanic region.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, licensed psychologists in 2014 worked in 110 Texas counties. Hidalgo and Cameron counties had 4.2 and 2.3 licensed psychologists per 100,000 residents, respectively, while Dallas County had 25.3 licensed psychologists per 100,000 and Brazos County had 37.5.

To ensure program success, some THECB prerequisites stipulates that UTRGV implement the new program within two years of approval, and hire at least three research-active faculty, including a clinic director, a clinical psychologist and quantitative psychologist.