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Vancouver | Doctorate

Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in
Clinical Psychology

Program Overview

Program Overview

Adler University’s Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology program prepares students to be professional clinicians who empower individuals and address acute and chronic social justice issues that plague our society. Graduates are prepared to work with diverse populations, including children, adults, seniors, those with developmental disabilities, and the severely and chronically mentally ill.

Our trailblazing Vancouver program is approved by the Ministry of Advanced Education, and is designed to meet the curricular requirements of most provincial and state licensing and registration bodies.

As highly trained practitioner-scholars, graduates complete the program equipped to tackle the most pressing needs of today’s society.



The Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program is structured as a five-year program. Successful completion of this program includes the courses listed below.

Course offerings include:

  • Group Psychotherapy
  • Introduction to Adlerian Psychology and Psychopathology
  • Basic Intervention and Assessment Skills
  • Psychometric Theory
  • Applied Research Design in Clinical Psychology
  • Community Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Trauma Assessment and Intervention
  • Doctoral Professional Development Seminar I & II
  • Social Justice Practicum I & II
  • Assessment I: Cognitive and Intellectual Assessment (with lab)
  • Assessment II: Personality Assessment
  • Assessment III: Integrated Assessment (with lab)
  • Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches to Intervention
  • Cognitive/Affective Bases of Behaviour
  • History and Systems
  • Biological Bases of Behaviour
  • Social Psychology and Individual Diversity
  • Biopsychosocial Bases of Health and Dysfunction – Adult
  • Biopsychosocial Bases of Health and Dysfunction – Child
  • Ethics and Professional Practice in Psychology
  • Humanistic/Existential Approaches to Intervention
  • Introduction to Child and Family Interventions
  • Psychodynamic Approaches to Intervention
  • Structural and Sociocultural Bases of Health and Dysfunction
  • Supervision and Consultation
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Doctoral Clinical Qualifying Exam – Intervention
  • The Role of Psychologists in Management, Administration, and Leadership
  • Assessment Practicum I, II & III
  • Therapy Practicum I, II & III
  • Assessment Practicum Seminar I, II & III
  • Therapy Practicum Seminar I, II & III
  • Doctoral Dissertation Seminar: Proposal I & II
  • Doctoral Dissertation Seminar I, II, & III
  • Doctoral Clinical Qualifying Examination—Assessment
  • Clinical Elective
  • Doctoral Internship

Find course descriptions and more information in the Adler University course catalog here.

Social Justice Practicum

Social Justice Practicum

Doing is learning. A unique and proven program designed to give students real world experience throughout their time at Adler University, the Social Justice Practicum is a required 200-hour internship that spans four courses (or terms for online programs). Every student is given a number of civic-minded categories to choose from. They submit their desired areas of interest. After which, they are assigned a specific and aligned community outreach site where they will work 8 to 10 hours per week.

Student Outcomes

Student Outcomes



Our program is designed to prepare clinicians to work with diverse populations, including children, adults, seniors, those with developmental disabilities, and the severely and chronically mentally ill. Our graduates will serve as clinicians in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Clinics and outpatient care centres
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Substance abuse and drug treatment centres
  • Schools
  • Military organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Academia
  • Private practice

Applicants are encouraged to consult the registration requirements of the jurisdiction in which they hope to become licensed or registered to confirm our program meets their specific jurisdiction’s guidelines.

Professional Development & Training

Train with leading practitioners and scholars in the field and shape your career through unique professional development opportunities tailored to your goals. Along with individualized mentorship, our program features in-depth experiential training that gives students the tools to create real change.

Students hone their clinical skills through a minimum of 600 hours of clinical practicum experience and 300 hours of direct client contact. This experience occurs within supervised clinical practicum experiences throughout the University’s network of community partners, including clinics, hospitals, mental health centres, and government agencies.

Students also gain research training and knowledge through the dissertation, a rigorous scholarly study of a clinical issue relevant to the field, as well as the 1,600-hour full-time internship geared toward their clinical interest. As highly trained practitioner-scholars, they complete the program equipped to tackle the most pressing needs of today’s society.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is a Psy.D. different from a Ph.D.?

The Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) program is comparable to a Ph.D. in that both can lead to eligibility to be registered or licensed as a Psychologist. Traditional Ph.D. programs are based on the scientist-practitioner model and put equal emphasis on training as a scientific researcher and as a clinician. In contrast, the Psy.D. is based on the scholar-practitioner or local clinical scientist-practitioner model where the primary goal is to prepare Practitioners of Clinical Psychology. The Psy.D. places proportionally greater emphasis on training as a clinician and as a consumer of scientific research in order to apply that knowledge to clinical practice.

What is clinical psychology?

Clinical psychology is a domain of professional psychology that focuses on the assessment and treatment of human functioning and impairments in human emotional and behavioral functioning. In comparison with counselling psychology, clinical psychology places a greater emphasis on assessment, diagnosis, and treatments that have been empirically supported for given diagnoses.

Can I be registered as a Psychologist in Canada after graduating?

The Psy.D. program at Adler University’s Vancouver campus is specifically designed to meet the requirements of Colleges or Boards of Psychologists in most jurisdictions in North America. For example, view the registration requirements for the University’s Vancouver campus registration/licensing jurisdiction.

Psy.D. graduates of the Adler University’s parallel Chicago-based Psy.D. program have become registered in Canada as Psychologists, including in British Columbia. Applicants hoping to register with other jurisdictions should consult the registration criteria for their local Colleges. Registration/licensing bodies evaluate applications on a case by case basis and it is important for prospective graduates to familiarize themselves with licensing requirements in the province or state in which they expect to practice to ensure their training experiences meet all necessary requirements.

Is Adler University’s Vancouver-based Psy.D. program CPA-accredited?

Not at this time. The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) has taken the approach of excluding independent universities in their eligibility criteria which mandates that only “provincially or territorially chartered institutions” (p.28) are able to apply for accreditation.

However, a lack of CPA accreditation does not affect the opportunity for students of Adler’s Psy.D. program to graduate and pursue registration/licensure. CPA has stated that accreditation status does not impact a programs’ ability to graduate students, nor does it impact students’ ability to gain registration/licensure. Graduation from an accredited program is not a requirement for registration/licensure in any Canadian jurisdiction.

An advantage for graduates from CPA accredited programs is that their programs more quickly meet registration/licensure requirements by the licensing bodies. Graduates from non-accredited programs, such as Adler’s Psy.D., have the same opportunity to apply for registration and their applications may be reviewed by Colleges’ Registration Committees to ensure that they satisfy the registration requirements. As previously noted, Adler’s Psy.D. program has been specifically designed and developed to meet the registration requirements of Colleges or Boards of Psychologists in most North American jurisdictions.

Can the Adler Vancouver Psy.D. program apply for APA accreditation?

No, the program is not eligible to apply for American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation because we are a Canadian program.

How big are the classes? What is the class size?

Each of our students enters with a cohort of a maximum of sixteen (16) other students. The program is “lock-step” in that typically students will take courses only with other students from the cohort with whom they enter.

When is the application deadline, how do I apply, and what are the application requirements?

For the most current admissions information, please refer to our Admissions page. Please keep in mind, there are specific pre-requisite requirements for the Psy.D. program. And, please note, the admission’s instructions for requesting transfer credit are not specific to the Psy.D. program (once accepted to the Psy.D. program, you will be contacted to apply for transfer credit, if applicable). If you have additional questions, please contact our Vancouver Office of Admissions via email or at 236.521.2411.

What does the Admissions committee consider when they are accepting students?

Our students are a diverse group and we define diversity broadly to include persons from visible (e.g., race/ethnicity) and non-visible minority groups (e.g., sexual orientation, geographical location); our students come from across Canada and we have been fortunate in attracting the successful applications of several international students. Other important aspects of the application review are the more traditional academic requirements such as GPA, GRE scores, reference letters that can attest to an applicant’s ability to excel in a doctoral program, and a statement of intent from the applicant (for a listing of all of the requirements for application to the Psy.D. program, please review the Program Overview.

A final important component of a successful application is an applicant’s interest in and understanding of the concepts of social justice and social responsibility which takes shape in many different ways.

Do I need research and/or clinical experience in order to apply for the Psy.D. program?

The Admissions committee considers a range of experiences in an applicant’s background. Beyond the requirements detailed above and on the Adler website, we look for well-rounded applicants who will bring diverse experience and backgrounds to the program. Research experience is not required but could be of value to you as an applicant. This is also the case for clinical experience. There is no one type of clinical experience that is most sought after. We believe that having some involvement in clinical work or volunteer work in community and mental health settings will provide the applicant with some context for the work ahead of them in the doctoral program.

Do I need to find a supervisor before applying to the program?

Applicants do not need to find a faculty supervisor in order to apply to the program. The Psy.D. degree is based on a scholar-practitioner model. We are the first of our kind on the West Coast of Canada and because it is a new model to Canada, it is our responsibility to make sure that students know what makes our program different from more traditional Ph.D. programs (scientist-practitioner model). One of the main differences is the emphasis on research that is found in the traditional Ph.D. program. Students in Ph.D. programs usually seek a supervisor with whom they want to do research prior to applying. With a practice-based program (where the emphasis is on training clinicians), being able to understand and utilize research is more of the goal. With that goal, you will need to do a doctoral dissertation but this will likely be an applied project and students typically choose a supervisor once they are already in the program.

Can I obtain credit if I already have a Master’s degree in Psychology?

Students who enter the Psy.D. program with a master’s degree which was completed within the last five (5) years are eligible to transfer up to a maximum of 24 credits of graduate coursework to apply toward the Psy.D. degree, excluding practicum. Students must have received a grade of B or higher in these courses and must demonstrate course equivalency with the corresponding Adler course requirements in order to receive transfer credit.

The Transfer Credit Committee must take into account many factors when considering applications for transfer credit. Process of applications for transfer credit occur following admission into the program; the Program faculty will contact accepted students prior to beginning the program in order to initiate the process of evaluating transfer credit. Unfortunately, transfer credit evaluation cannot occur prior to acceptance into the program as this process is very time-intensive for the Transfer Credit Committee. Please contact Admissions to obtain more information.

How long does the Psy.D. program take to complete?

The Psy.D. program at the Vancouver campus is designed to be completed in five years, including four years of course-work and a one year pre-doctoral internship. Students entering the program with a master’s degree can anticipate having a lighter course load in their first year, but may not be able to reduce the number of years to completion due to the cohort-based lockstep sequence.

How does the course scheduling work? For example, are classes held during the day, each day of the week?

Courses for the Psy.D. have been planned to occur primarily during the day and early evening with additional demands on students’ time during the week, such as working on group assignments and practicing skills. Social Justice and Clinical Practica also occur during the week. The expectation is that students are enrolled full-time in the program and will not be employed more than part-time hours outside of school (less than 20 hours/week).

How successful have students at Adler University been in gaining good clinical practicum experiences in the community?

Support is provided in locating and securing a practicum placement, though the process can be competitive. The Training Department is well-connected to the mental health community in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver.

Can any of the practicum be paid?

Yes, Adler University permits practica to be paid opportunities as long as the positions retain the emphasis on fostering good training (as opposed to fulfilling job responsibilities) and this is determined on a case by case basis by the Director of Clinical Training. However, most clinical practicum opportunities developed by Adler are not paid. The 1-year internship, that is a final requirement of doctoral training in clinical psychology, is often paid.

What would the payment range be for the pre-doctoral internship?

The pre-doctoral internship is completed in the fifth year of studies as a degree requirement. Many pre-doctoral internships are paid and generally range between $18,000 and $40,000.

The Psy.D. program is a member of the California Psychology Internship Council (CAPIC). What does this mean?

Students may apply for internship programs that are members of CAPIC (California Psychology Internship Council). CAPIC internships meet doctoral internship criteria set by the California Psychology Internship Council, a California-based organization of training agencies and doctoral programs. Note that students must choose internships that satisfy the predoctoral internship requirements of the PsyD program; students will also receive support from the Training Department in considering the requirements of the registration or licensing body to whom they plan to apply. Information on available CAPIC internships, as well as CAPIC application and matching processes can be found online.

How much does the Adler University Vancouver Campus Psy.D. program cost?

Students should refer to our Financial Aid webpage for the most up to date figure on tuition. Please note that tuition and fees may go up slightly each year, usually for the Fall term (likely between 2% and 5% per year). There is an initial $500 deposit (non-refundable) that is required 15 days after your acceptance. This is applied to your tuition when you register.

Can I teach or do research while completing the program?

Yes, we anticipate that there will be opportunities to serve as a Teaching Assistant; students will also be able to participate in research opportunities that will emerge as the program develops. As well, there is a requirement for the student to do their own independent research project (the Doctoral Dissertation) to fulfill the requirements of their Psy.D.

Likelihood of graduates finding employment after the program?

Service Canada projects continued strong employment growth for psychologists. Employment and Social Development Canada reports positive employment prospects for psychologists through at least 2020. In the United States, employment of psychologists is expected to grow between 12 and 22 percent through 2022. We believe that graduates will be entering a market that is needing their services and will value the practice-oriented and social justice-infused training that students will receive here at Adler University.

Do I only learn about Adlerian Psychology?

While students of Adler University’s Psy.D. program will benefit from its unique coverage of Adlerian assessment and intervention, their training is best characterized as “generalist” as they will receive training and supervision in a broad range of contemporary and evidence-based clinical orientations and modalities, including cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic, and humanistic/existential interventions.

Who was Alfred Adler?

Alfred Adler was one of the founders of depth psychology, along with Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. Adler was truly ahead of his time and many of his ideas and discoveries, including birth order, organ jargon, the inferiority complex and social interest, have had a profound impact on postmodern professional psychology. Alfred Adler is sometimes viewed as the father of community psychology, due to his emphasis on the role of social context in individual health. With the current rise of the social justice movement in psychology and the recognition that social determinants impact individual health and well-being, the field is just now catching up with what Alfred Adler was talking about in the early 20th century. Today, Adler University prides itself in graduating socially responsible practitioners who are capable of both treating individuals and advocating for social changes that lead to a healthier society.

What kind of work will I be doing as a graduate of the Psy.D. program?

Psy.D. graduates (once Registered or Licensed) may be employed in a variety of settings as Registered or Licensed Psychologists. They will be thoroughly trained as clinicians to provide assessment and evidence-based clinical treatment for a range of mental health issues. The program will also prepare graduates to become leaders and managers in the field of mental and behavioral health.

Settings in which Psy.D. graduates might typically work include:

  • Private and group practices
  • Independent consulting and contracting
  • Mental health and substance abuse centres
  • Health Care Authorities
  • Not-for-profit, government-contracted programs and agencies
  • Government-based programs and agencies (e.g., The Ministry of Children and Family Development)
  • Forensic Psychiatric Institutions
  • EAP and EAFP agencies
  • Military-contracted agencies
What is the average income of a Psychologist?

Salaries for Psychologists range quite widely and are dependent upon the setting, region, and type of work. In British Columbia, the British Columbia Psychological Association’ approved rate for private practice is $200/hour (some psychologists charge more than that and others, far less). Please view the following publication (p. 4) for a comparison of recommended rates in other provinces. General information related to salary ranges in the United States and Canada can also be accessed online.

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

Applicants to the program must have the following:

  • An honours baccalaureate degree in psychology or a substantial background in psychology (defined as 30 credits of coursework in psychology). Coursework must include the following prerequisites: abnormal psychology, research methods, statistics, and developmental psychology/life span development. Additional coursework (pending faculty approval) should include courses related to neuroscience, cognition, social psychology, developmental psychology, tests and measurement theory, personality, and learning.
  • A grade point average of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate or graduate coursework. Exceptions may be made for applicants who demonstrate improved academic performance or academic ability in other ways (e.g., significant clinical or research experience, strong psychology grade point average, excellent GRE scores, or an improved grade point average over time). Applicant may be asked to provide additional supporting documentation for any extenuating circumstances.
  • Practicum or work experience in psychology or a related field is highly desirable and is considered in the evaluation of applicants.

Applicants are required to submit the following items to be considered for admission:

  • Application and application fee
  • Statement of Intent (2-3 pages double-spaced) answering the following questions:
    • Why are you interested in your chosen field and program?
    • Why is Adler University’s program a good fit for you?
    • What are your career goals and interests?
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended (U.S and Canada)
    • Please have official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions
    • Unofficial transcripts are accepted for any schools in which a degree was not received
  • Three letters of Recommendation
    • These should be from someone who can specifically speak to your academic and professional abilities
  • GRE test score (taken within the last 5 years) **this requirement has been waived for the Fall 2022 application cycle.

Approved applicants will be invited to complete an interview with faculty. Please submit all application materials to the Office of Admissions prior to the application deadline.

International applicants are also required to submit the following:

  • Course-by-course transcript evaluation
  • All transcripts from outside of North America (including Mexico) must be evaluated by a transcript evaluation service such as World Education Services (WES) ( or Educational Credentialing Evaluators (ECE) ( Please note that we require all official transcripts (and official translations if not in English) as well as the course-by-course international credential evaluation.
  • If a WES ICAP course-by-course evaluation is ordered, applicants will only be required to submit the official international credential evaluation to the University as this service provides a verified copy of the official transcript(s) and translations to the University. Applicants must be sure to send in all transcripts and order the course-by-course evaluation.
  • English Language Proficiency Assessment: Applicants whose first language is not English must submit English proficiency test scores from one of the following testing services directly to the University. Scores are only valid if taken within two years of enrollment.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Adler University’s – Vancouver Campus code for receiving test scores is 6215
    • Internet-based TOEFL minimum score is 92 with at least 22 on each of the four sections
    • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): A minimum Overall Band score of 7.0 is required, with no band lower than 6.5
    • Pearson Test of English (PTE): A minimum overall score of 62 is required

Vancouver Campus

Adler University in Vancouver has been, like Canada itself, born and built with an open mind. Located in the midst of one of the world’s most exciting and breathtaking cities, Adler University reflects a true Canadian spirit.

You’ll find multiple collaborative areas with the absolute latest technology. Learning areas and class windows have deliberately been situated to stimulate thought. These things do matter. If students are given the space, opportunity and technology to achieve their goals, they are more likely to rock the boat of conventional thought.

Studying in Vancouver does have its added advantages. They are the land, sea and call of the wild. All of which, we encourage you to experience. This is the great outdoors and a very different school of thought. You’ll want to experience it all.

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For the next three years, five Adler University students in the Vancouver Campus Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) program will receive a continuing scholarship, thanks to a generous donation from Trustee Pamela Richardson and her husband, David.

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Sara Saeedi, a fourth year Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (Psy.D.) student in Vancouver, had the opportunity to immerse herself in Adlerian theory and practice this summer at the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI) in Sibiu, Romania.

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