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Graduate Programs

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Our Program 'At a Glance'

The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. is a full time, APA accredited1 clinical program of graduate study that provides professional education in the entry-level science and practice of clinical psychology with an emphasis in health psychology. Within this broader context, the program also integrates clinical and epidemiological research with the health and life sciences, providing science-practice training in clinical health psychology.

The program is particularly suitable for students interested in pursuing careers in academia, research, and medical settings.

The program is based on a scientist practitioner model, which seeks to enhance the public health, broadly defined, through:

  • Providing rigorous training of students (Education Mission)
  • Supplying accessible resources for the integration of behavioral sciences, health research and healthcare (Service Mission)
  • Developing knowledge and enhancing health outcomes through emperical research (Research and Evaluation Mission)
  • Incorporating integrity and respect for human and intellectual diversity in all our activities (Human Mission)


Research opportunities related to health psychology within our program are broad and range from basic psychophysiology research to community and public health research. Topic areas include perception, emotion, and attention as they relate to clinical conditions and health; adolescents’ peer and family relationships; risk behaviors and HIV/AIDS; eating disorders and obesity; cancer; tobacco smoking, cardiovascular treatment and rehabilitation; racism and prejudice; and rehabilitation among persons with serious mental illness. See our department people page for faculty research interests.

Research training is a major emphasis and is based on a mentorship model in which each incoming student is paired with a faculty member with shared interests (more details regarding faculty members are available on the clinical program faculty page). Students are encouraged and expected to present their research at national and international conferences and to publish their work in scientific journals. The department provides a rich research environment for students including state of the art research laboratories; varied collaborations with colleagues at community- based organizations, medical centers, and other Kansas City institutions; national and international research collaborations; and opportunities to participate in cutting-edge grant funded research. The department’s research portfolio has included prestigious awards from various agencies including the National Institutes of Health including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

The program's clinical training and services are grounded in a commitment to the intrgration of science and practice. Program faculty and students are actively involved in communities and healthcare systems to promote a high quality of life for all.

Program Structure

The program is designed to be completed in five years of full-time program participation. The core curriculum includes training in assessment, psychotherapeutic intervention, professional and ethical issues, quantitative analysis, research methods, psychopathology, biopsychology, and health psychology (more details are available in the catalog and program handbook). Beginning In the second year students also engage in year-long clinical practicum experiences at a variety of clinical settings in the Kansas City area. These sites include medical centers, community-based health centers, schools, and private practice settings. Supervisors have a variety of theoretical orientations; however, the training philosophy of the program is grounded in a scientifically supported understanding of human behavior and principles of intervention. In the 5th year students complete a full-time clinical internship to round out their clinical training.

Admission & Funding

Typically the program admits 4 students from a pool of over one hundred applicants each year (more details are available on the Ph.D. Program Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data page). The program received initial APA accreditation1 in 2004, and in 2012 it was re-accredited1 by the APA for the full seven years possible.  While funding cannot be guaranteed, the program’s goal is to provide 3-4 years of funding for students who progress successfully. It is typical for first year students to receive a teaching or research assistantship that includes a 9-month stipend (currently approximately $9,450) as well as a tuition waiver (varies but averages out to 9 credit hours per semester) that covers most of the cost of tuition. Students are typically able to obtain funding for an additional three years through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, or teaching positions. There are sometimes opportunities for receiving funding over the summer.


The Department of Psychology is located in mid-town Kansas City, adjacent to the beautiful Country Club Plaza one of the city’s most stylish and vibrant shopping and dining locations. We are in close proximity to the city’s premiere medical centers including UMKC’s own Medical School at Truman Hospital, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, St. Luke’s Medical Center, the University of Kansas Medical Center, and the Kansas City VA. As an urban campus UMKC’s mission is to serve the ethnically diverse community that surrounds it and this is reflected in many of the Department’s activities. Kansas City, "The City of Fountains", has a metro-area population of nearly 2 million people with gracious boulevards, beautiful parks, and a rich cultural life that includes world class art museums, a thriving community of artists, the Lyric Opera, the Kansas City Symphony, and major league sports.

More Information

Do you have questions about the program? Then here are some answers to  Frequently Asked Questions.

This program follows the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants.


1For additional information or questions on the accreditation of our Clinical Psychology Program, contact the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Web: Phone: 202-336-5979. E-Mail:


Program Information


Cathy Rawlings


Director of  Clinical Training

Melisa Rempfer, Ph.D.