Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology

In 2008, Virginia State University (VSU) was approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) to initiate a doctoral program in Health Psychology with a track in Clinical Health Psychology. The mission of the Clinical Health Program is to offer broad training in the science and practice of clinical psychology.  In addition, the program provides students with specialized knowledge and skills in clinical health psychology. In addition to generalized training in Clinical Psychology, the program focuses on understanding how biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors influence health and illness, thus utilizing a biopsychosocial orientation. 

Housed at a Historically Black University, the program is uniquely able to attract African American and minority students, who, upon graduating, can serve the needs of minority communities as practitioners and as faculty role models who will be able to attract and mentor more minority students in the field.

We are seeking accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) of the American Psychological Association (APA) as a Health Service Psychology program, specifically in the practice area of Clinical Psychology.

Program Description, Mission, and Values

The Clinical Health Psychology Program adheres to a scientist-practitioner or Boulder training model. In accordance with VSU’s mission statement, we are committed to preparing a diverse population of men and women through advancing academic programs and services that integrate instruction, research, extension, and outreach. We aim to foster a community that identifies, values, and respects the differences of all people by creating an inclusive, culturally responsive, and positive experience for students, faculty, staff, and the community .

APA Accreditation

If you have questions related to the program’s accredited status, please contact the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 336-5979 / E-mail:

For additional information, please contact:

Katrina Walker, Ph.D.
Director of Clinical Training
Virginia State University
Department of Psychology
Clinical Health Psychology Program
P.O. Box 9079
Virginia State University, VA 23806

Practica and Internships

Recent Practicum Site Placements

Students will participate in practicum training, which includes mentoring and supervision from clinical faculty and licensed practitioners in the community. Recent placements include:

  • Central State Hospital
  • Health Brigade
  • Piedmont Geriatric Hospital
  • Poplar Springs Hospital
  • Richmond Behavioral Health Authority
  • St Joseph's Villa
  • University of Richmond Counseling & Psychological Services
  • nVirginia Treatment Center for Children
  • VSU University Counseling Center

Recent Internship Site Placements

Students will participate in a year-long internship experience in your program's final year. The internship will enhance your clinical skills and prepare you for work as a psychologist. Recent placements include:

  • San Antonio State Hospital, San Antonio, TX
  • Greensville Psychology Internship Program (Greensville Correctional Center) Jarrett, VA
  • Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters Child Abuse Program
  • Keene State College Counseling Center; Keene, New Hampshire
  • The Guidance Center - Leavenworth, KS
  • Rappahannock Area Community Services Board; Fredericksburg, VA
  • Mental Health Association of Westchester, Tarrytown, NY
  • Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
  • WellSpan Philhaven CBT Doctoral Internship Program
  • West Chester University Community Mental Health Services
  • Our Lady of the Lake Psychology Internship
  • Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services
  • Potomac Behavioral Solutions
  • Copa Health Integrated Health Clinics
  • Mid-Michigan Psychology Internship

Program Details

The program is designed as a five-year, full-time post-baccalaureate program, with admission in the fall semester. This includes four years on campus, with a one-year off-site pre-doctoral internship. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree are required to spend a minimum of four years on campus. Students entering with a master’s degree may complete the on-campus part of the program in three years, contingent upon the transfer of credits for prior coursework and thesis research. A maximum of 30% of non-research credit hours in the program may be earned at a different regionally accredited institution. Prior coursework and theses must be submitted for review after admission to the program.

Policies and Procedures Manual for Health Psychology Program [PDF] - You can learn about the program’s policies, procedures, goals, curriculum, and Ph.D. requirements in this document.

Training Goals

Graduates of the program are expected to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the breadth of psychology, its history of thought and development, research methods, and applications according to the American Psychological Association’s program accreditation requirements. (Students will be exposed to courses in the following areas: biological, cognitive, affective, and social aspects of behavior; history and systems of psychology; psychological measurement; research methodology; and data analysis techniques.)
  • Demonstrate knowledge in clinical and health psychology in the following areas: individual differences in behavior, human development, dysfunctional behavior or psychopathology, and professional standards and ethics.
  • Complete psychological assessments to assist in diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating physical illness and psychological disorders.
  • Develop psychotherapeutic interventions to cope with physical and mental illness and to promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Identify meaningful research questions in clinical health psychology, design research studies incorporating a biopsychosocial model to address those research questions, and implement research to advance the field of psychology in health and illness.

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

The Clinical Health Program recognizes, understands, respects, and values the complexity of individual differences and sociocultural diversity. A significant component of this program is the recruitment and inclusion of professionals, trainers, and students from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds. Our program facilitates the development of foundation and functional competencies associated with cultural and individual diversity. Students will acquire knowledge of cultural and individual diversity in psychology and practice in a culturally competent manner. We engage students in a manner respectful of their multiple cultural identities and are committed to lifelong learning. Moreover, the program strives to create a community of varied experiences, beliefs, values, and perspectives across race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, age, religion and belief systems, socioeconomic status, physical and mental abilities, educational background, nationality, and geographic origin, language, cultural practices, customs, and traditions.

Application Deadline

The application screening process for the fall will begin on January 15th. The program does not accept applications for the spring semester.

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Clinical Health Psychology Doctoral Program, a student must:

  1. Have a minimum of 15 semester hours in psychology, including at least one course in each of the following: 1) social, personality, cognitive, or developmental psychology; 2) research methods, quantitative methods, or experimental psychology; 3) physiological psychology, and 4) abnormal psychology;
  2. Submit official transcripts of undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  3. Submit official GRE scores. The GRE is required for all applicants, including those with a Master’s degree.
  4. Complete a VSU Graduate School Application and the Psychology Department Supplemental Application, including a resume.
  5. Submit a written personal statement (not to exceed three pages, double-spaced) that describes your background, academic experience, and future goals (professional and educational);
  6. Submit three current letters of recommendation from professors, employers, and other professionals qualified to assess the applicant’s ability to complete doctoral studies. At least two letters should be from professors and/or psychologists.

Students who are most competitive for unconditional admission will have:

  1. A minimum graduate grade point average of 3.00 on a scale of 4.0. Applicants with post-baccalaureate work, including those with Master’s degrees, must have a minimum graduate GPA of 3.5.
  2. Have a minimum verbal GRE score of 153 and a quantitative GRE score of 144.

Admission Frequently Asked Questions

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program - VSUHealth Psychology Student Outcomes [PDF] includes recent experiences of students in the clinical program, including internship application success rates, time in the program, and funding expectations.

Please contact the program at if you cannot access this PDF.


VSU College of Graduate Studies
VSU College of Natural and Health Sciences