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Psy.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology


Pictured are doctoral in clinical-community psychology students at Point Park University. | Photo by Annie Brewer Point Park doctoral students in the Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology program meet in the University's counseling offices.

Applications for Fall 2018 admission are now closed. Prospective students are encouraged to apply for the Fall 2019 semester.

A Psychology Doctoral Program Outside of the Ivory Tower — and in the Community

Point Park University's Psy.D. program in clinical-community psychology uniquely integrates community psychology with clinical psychology, equipping students with diversified skills to pursue a variety of career paths.

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Contact Information

Point Park University
Office of Graduate Admission
201 Wood Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222 

Phone: 412-392-3808 or 1-800-321-0129
Fax: 412-392-6164

Affording Your Degree

The following options can help you afford your Psy.D. degree:

* With its already affordable cost, the Psy.D. program is not eligible for tuition discount programs.

This is one of only a few doctoral-level programs in the nation to teach humanistic psychology, which seeks to better understand and explain human experience and behavior through empathic understanding and appreciation of diverse ways of living in the world.

Unlike many other clinical psychology doctorate programs, Point Park's Psy.D. program emphasizes evidence-based community research and applications. Students will graduate prepared to manage established clinical and community programs — or start their own.

In Point Park's Psy.D. program, students are taught to understand human suffering in its larger social and cultural context, with particular attention to social justice and ethical implications of clinical theory and treatment. Psychology is understood within a framework that serves to preserve the dignity of the persons served.

The program has initiated the multi-year process of seeking APA accreditation. This fall we received "Intent to apply" status from the APA Commission on Accreditation after program document review and will submit an application for "accreditation, on contingency" in summer of 2018.   

Any accreditation status granted by the APA CoA after the time of enrollment will be applied to those students retroactively.

Affordable Cost, Key Features of the Program

Point Park's Psy.D. degree in clinical-community psychology is one of the most affordable doctoral programs in the Pittsburgh region.

The fall 2018 tuition rate for the Psy.D. program was $881 per credit. 

Learn more about 2018-19 tuition and fees at Point Park. (Please note: With its already affordable cost, the Psy.D. program is not eligible for tuition discount programs.)

Other key benefits of the Psy.D. program:

  • Take classes in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh
  • Practice hands-on psychotherapy work in the community
  • Learn from faculty with experience in both clinical psychology practice and scholarly research

Psy.D. Curriculum

This 90-credit Psy.D. program is a full-time program comprised of day-time, weekday courses. The Psy.D. program is designed to be completed in four years, including the dissertation and one-year, full-time clinical internship.

The Psy.D. curriculum is comprised of a variety of theoretical, research, and clinical courses, including four clinical practicums and a community practicum. 

Pictured is Associate Professor Robert McInerney, Ph.D., at the 2017 Humanistic Psychology Conference at Point Park University. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

Other courses include:

  • Psychopathology in the Context of Society and Culture
  • Mental Health and Well-Being: Individual and Collective
  • Psychology of Human Diversity
  • Qualitative Research
  • Couples and Family Therapy

Take a look at the program manual for detailed answers relevant to completing the Psy.D. degree at Point Park. 

Completion of this doctoral degree requires student participation in a predoctoral internship.

Meet the Faculty

Full-time faculty in the Psy.D. program include:

Pictured are doctoral in clinical-community psychology faculty at Point Park University. | Photo by Annie Brewer


  • Matthew Allen, Ph.D., expertise in clinical psychology, transpersonal psychology and humanistic psychology
  • Todd Raymond Avellar, Ph.D., expertise in counseling and clinical psychology, humanistic psychology, LGBTQ and multicultural health, mindfulness and other third-wave cognitive-behavioral approaches, holistic wellbeing and supervision and training 
  • William Purcell, Ph.D., expertise in clinical psychology, forensic psychology, psychoanalytic theory, critical theory, post-structuralism and Lacanian analysis
  • Brent Robbins, Ph.D., expertise in clinical psychology, community psychology, qualitative research, quantitative research, mixed methods, humanistic psychology, existential psychology, critical theory, phenomenology, virtue theory, personalist ethics, neurophenomenology and hermeneutics
  • Jill C. Thomas, Ph.D., expertise in clinical psychology, constructivist and humanistic psychology and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist


  • Robert McInerney, Ph.D., expertise in community psychology, clinical psychology, qualitative research, phenomenology, existentialism, post-structuralism, neurophenomenology and hermeneutics
  • Sharna Olfman, Ph.D., expertise in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, psychoanalytic theory, critical theory and existential psychology
  • Sarah Schulz, Ph.D., expertise in clinical social work, behavioral health, qualitative and mixed methods research, critical and queer theory, LGBT/Q health and issues of diversity and multi-culturalism

Admission Requirements

Pictured are attendees at the 2017 Humanistic Psychology Conference at Point Park University. | Photo by Shayna Mendez

The priority deadline for application to the program is Jan. 2, 2018. Applicants considered strong candidates for admission will be invited to in-person interviews on Feb. 16, 2018.

While the program will continue accepting applications until Feb. 2, 2018, we cannot guarantee that there will be admission spots left for students who do not meet the Jan. 2 priority application deadline. If spots are available, additional in-person interviews will be held on March 16, 2018.

To apply for admission into Point Park’s Psy.D. program, applicants must:

  • Complete the online application for admission. Application fee waived if submitted online. 
  • Request official transcripts from all previous institution(s) attended and have them sent to Point Park University. 
  • A minimum 3.25 cumulative G.P.A. at the undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate level is required for consideration for admission to the program (i.e., students may apply directly to the Psy.D. program with only a B.A. or B.S. level degree).
  • Psychology, social science or philosophy background (with a minimum of four psychology courses overall) is also required.
  • Students should understand that admission to the program is competitive, and that the average G.P.A. of students admitted is typically much higher.  Successful applicants will typically have a strong academic background, at least one letter of reference from a prior faculty member, and also some type of experience working/volunteering with people in a "helping" context.
  • Submit a written description of the reason for pursuing a terminal degree and why you feel Point Park University will provide the program best suited to meet your needs. A two-page minimum, three-page maximum description should be faxed to 412-392-6164 or emailed to gradadmission@pointpark.edu.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. All letters should address your ability to work successfully under multiple demands. Recommenders may be contacted by Point Park University.
  • Once all materials have been received and reviewed, selected applicants will be invited to participate in a required, on-site interview.
  • Student Admissions, Outcomes & Other Data

The decision to admit a student is based on a variety of factors including: 

  • Possession of minimum qualifications necessary to succeed in doctoral education (i.e., written and verbal communication skills, history of academic success, etc.) as determined through the application and interview process.
  • Fit with the program’s philosophy and training goals (i.e., demonstrated interest in and/or experience with humanistic/phenomenological and/or psychodynamic approach to psychology, a demonstrated interest in and/or experience with community engagement/activism, and career goals consistent with the practice of clinical psychology in a variety of settings, including community settings).
  • Social skills and emotional stability required of competent professionals in psychology (i.e., demonstrated through application, references, interview process and based on the professional judgment of clinical faculty members).

The clinical-community Psy.D. program is committed to creating and fostering an educational atmosphere that reflects and respects diversity. As such, the program actively encourages students from diverse backgrounds, in every sense of the term, to apply. To further encourage a diverse educational atmosphere, the program has a limited number of graduate assistantships that are awarded annually on a competitive basis to the most qualified applicants representing diversity.

Non-Discrimination Policy

This policy affirms Point Park University and the doctoral program in clinical-community psychology does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender or any protected class which includes the following: race, ethnicity, religion, color, national origin, sex, age (40 years  and over), ancestry, individuals with disabilities, veteran status, sexual orientation, height, weight, genetic information, marital status, gender identity, caregiver status or familial status, in the administration of any of its educational programs, activities or with respect to employment or admission to the University’s educational programs and activities.

This policy is in accord with local, state and federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination Act of 1975, the Pittsburgh Human Relations Act and Pittsburgh City Fair Practices Provisions. Inquiries regarding these regulations, policies or complaints of discrimination should be referred to the human resources officer, tele- phone number 412-392-3952. Inquiries regarding Title IX and the Title IX regulations should also be referred to the University's Title IX Coordinator or to the deputy Title IX Coordinators: the Associate Provost, the Dean of Students or the VP of Human Resources.

Find Point Park's Title IX information resources, including the Notice of Non-discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy: http://www.pointpark.edu/StudentLife/TitleIXSexualMisconduct.

Program Mission and Goals

Point Park University’s Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) program in clinical-community psychology is a program in clinical psychology with special emphasis on the principles and practices of community psychology.

Clinical psychology is a subfield of psychology that is concerned with nurturing mental health and well-being.

Community psychology is focused on social and cultural influences on personal well-being, which include research and engagement at the community level to remedy unnecessary human suffering. Our program, therefore, teaches a clinical approach to psychology that emphasizes better understanding the role of socio-cultural factors in mental health and well-being, including the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental illness.

Ultimately, our program’s approach is one that seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, groups and communities through clinical practices, research, and community intervention. 

The goals and objectives of the Psy.D. program in clinical-community psychology are informed by the values of the American Psychological Association. These goals and objectives are designed to prepare clinical psychologists for state licensure as practitioners informed by the community and cultural context of clinical issues. The training goals of the Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology are: 

  • To prepare practitioner-scholars who are well grounded in the discipline of psychology conceived broadly as a human science.

  • To educate and train students to apply the core components of clinical-community psychology for the prevention and amelioration of psychological struggles as well as the improvement of over-all health and well-being. 

  • To prepare students to be practitioner-scholars who select and employ research methods and skills to explore questions and help solve problems facing individuals and communities as well as disseminate this work.

  • To educate students to conduct themselves with a professionalism appropriate to the complex nature of clinical psychology, and that is founded on reflexivity, interpersonal competence, ethical principles and a deep respect for cultural diversity.

  • To train students to engage with and assist communities by working collaboratively with members of the community and their existing resources, including programs already in existence, to reduce or eliminate social antecedents to psychological struggles and impoverished well-being.

Career Opportunities with a Psy.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology

A Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology, like other doctoral programs in clinical psychology focused on clinical practice, prepares students for a variety of career opportunities including positions in independent practice, community clinics, medical and managed care facilities, and academic and research settings.  

However, the community focus of the Psy.D. in clinical-community psychology also introduces students to concepts and provides training experiences that prepare students for career opportunities more specifically focused on community intervention, including:

  • Administering/directing community programs in human services, mental health, prevention, community education, health promotion, and community development
  • Clinical work in community programs with a community/preventive perspective
  • Organizational training and development, with nonprofit groups or businesses
  • University teaching and/or research on social/community issues
  • Government or philanthropic foundation research or administration on social/community issues
  • Administering/directing community agencies or organizations
  • Policy advocacy for legal/social change efforts.

Professional Affiliations

Point Park's psychology department is affiliated with the American Psychological Association's Divisions 32 and 27. Click on the links below to learn more.

Apply Now, Learn More

Apply online for the fall 2019 semester. For additional information, contact Kathy Ballas, director of the Office of Graduate Admission, at kballas@pointpark.edu or 412-392-3812.