Feb 28, 2021  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Psychology-Specializations in Clinical and Human Factors (M.A., Ph.D.)

Admissions Information  

Master of Arts, Plan A only (thesis): Total 30 - 35 credit hours*

Areas of M.A. Specializations:

Clinical Psychology
Human Factors Psychology 

M.A. Degree Requirements

 *Note: The M.A. in Psychology is not offered as a terminal degree. It is earned in the process of completing the Ph.D. degree requirements in the two specialty areas.

  • Psychology core 11 credit hours
  • Thesis 6 credit hours
  • Clinical Psychology core 18 credit hours
  • Human Factors Psychology core and electives 13 credit hours 

Required M.A. Psychology core classes (both specializations): 11 credit hours

Additional required courses for M.A. in Psychology with Specialization in Human Factors: 13 credit hours

Human Factors Core Requirement: 7 credits

M.A. Oral Examination

The master’s thesis must be defended in a final oral examination administered by the student’s advisory committee.

Joint Master’s Program with Juris Doctor

Students who are already enrolled in the School of Law at the University of South Dakota and who have sufficient background in psychology may qualify for this Board of Regents authorized joint-degree program leading to the M.A. in Psychology.  Individuals with an interest in this program should consult with the department chairperson.

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Areas of Ph.D. Specialization:

Clinical Psychology
           Specialization within Clinical Psychology: Clinical/Disaster Psychology
Human Factors Psychology

Each student’s specific program of study will be determined in consultation with the academic advisory committee and the faculty of the respective graduate specialty program (Clinical or Human Factors). Students in the Clinical Psychology program are required to complete a year‑long pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at an approved site. Internship/practicum placements are also encouraged for Human Factors students.

Each doctoral student is required to take a comprehensive written examination preliminary to admission to final candidacy for the doctoral degree. This examination covers theory, method and research findings in psychology as well as the field of specialization. Clinical students are also required to complete an Oral Clinical Examination prior to internship and preliminary to admission to doctoral candidacy. This examination provides an opportunity for clinical students to demonstrate competencies in assessment and intervention, professional ethics, and the integration of science and practice.

Completion and oral defense of an original dissertation represent the capstone requirements for the degree. Successful completion of the final oral examination is required of all students recommended for the Ph.D. degree in Psychology.

For specific requirements regarding the doctoral programs’ written and oral exams, please contact the Psychology Department.

Ph.D. Requirements for Specialization in Clinical Psychology: 106 credit hours (118 credit hours if simultaneously completing the Specialization in Clinical/Disaster Psychology)

  • Master’s courses and thesis 35 credit hours
  • Clinical psychology core 44 credit hours minimum 
  • Additional stats/methods course 3 credit hours
  • Electives 6 credit hours
  • Predoctoral Clinical Psychology Internship 3 credit hours
  • Dissertation 15 credit hours minimum

Specialization in Clinical/Disaster Psychology: 21 credit hours

The Doctoral Specialization in Clinical/Disaster Psychology requires 18 credit hours of coursework in the disaster psychology area in addition to completion of PSYC 780 (3 credit hours) and all course requirements for the Specialization in Clinical Psychology (as described above).

Clinical/Disaster Psychology required course work: 18 credit hours

Clinical/Disaster Psychology elective course work: 3 credit hours from the following:


PSYC 780 – Rural Community Psychology is a required core course for the Specializations in Clinical Psychology and Clinical/Disaster Psychology. Therefore, if a clinical student pursuing the Clinical/Disaster Specialization chooses all six of his/her elective credits from the Disaster Psychology courses listed above, he/she only need to take 12 hours beyond the minimum credits required for completion of the Clinical Psychology doctoral degree.

Additional requirements for the Clinical/Disaster Specialization:

Doctoral students pursuing this specialty track are required to complete a thesis and/or a dissertation on a trauma or disaster-related field of psychology and must complete a disaster response simulation as a capstone measure.

Ph.D. Requirements for Specialization in Human Factors Psychology: 84 credit hours

  • Master’s courses and thesis 30 credit hours
  • Human Factors Specialization core 18 credit hours
  • Psychology elective courses 21 credit hours
  • Dissertation 15 credit hours minimum

Disaster Mental Health Graduate Certificate

Graduate Certificate in Disaster Mental Health: 12 credit hours

This graduate certificate is intended to prepare mental health professionals to serve their communities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disaster, terrorist attacks and public health emergencies. It is intended both for existing mental health professionals and as a supplement to graduate training in the approved mental health professions. The graduate certificate is also available to civic officials, emergency managers, first responders and disaster relief workers, as recommended by the National Biodefense Science Board. Participants in this category, however, cannot receive the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services certificate. Please consult the certificate section  of the catalog for more information.