Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program

Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program

Welcome to SMU’s APA Accredited Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. On this page you will find information for both current and prospective students. Please review it and feel free to contact us with any questions.

Mission Statement

The doctoral program in clinical psychology at SMU follows a scientist-practitioner model of training. The mission is to train clinical psychologists whose professional activities, in both research and practice, are based on scientific knowledge and methods. The program integrates rigorous research training with evidence-based clinical training. Thus, our program emphasizes the development of conceptual and research skills as well as scientifically-based clinical practice. The overarching goal is to train graduates to use empirical methods to advance psychological knowledge and to approach clinical activities in a manner consistent with scientific evidence.

Research Training

Research training is provided through coursework, active membership in the faculty advisor’s research lab, and completion of student-directed research. Courses covering research and quantitative methods and the foundations of clinical, developmental, social, biological, and cognitive/affective psychology are designed to familiarize students with the theoretical and research literature in these areas as well as the methods used to study psychological phenomena. All students are expected to be full members of their advisor’s research lab, to contribute to the design, completion, and presentation of research studies at professional conferences and in professional journals, and to attend department colloquia. Finally, students complete at least two student-directed research projects in the form of their thesis and dissertation as well as a comprehensive review of the literature on a topic in their field of interest (the third year review paper). These activities are designed to expose students to psychological research and theory, as well as research methods in a variety of settings, and to train students to independently generate scientific knowledge.

Clinical Training

Clinical training is closely integrated with research training. Coursework addresses theory and research on clinical disorders/problems, evidence-based assessment and intervention techniques, and methods for evaluating the effectiveness of clinical practice. Internal and external clinical practicum experiences provide students with training and supervision in the application of evidence-based clinical practice and function to expose students to a breadth of client/patient populations. Clinical training also takes place in many faculty research labs through research on clinical phenomena and evaluation of the effectiveness of specific assessment and treatment techniques. Thus, students often receive training in clinical practice (e.g., interviewing skills, training in the delivery of specific assessment or intervention techniques) as part of their involvement in faculty research as well as in their formal training experiences.

A Brief Note to Prospective Applicants

Thank you for your interest in our program. We provide exceptional training for students interested in both research and clinical practice. Please read more about some of the features of our program which, as a group, help distinguish it from many of the other fine programs in clinical psychology across the country. You can also review the Top 10 Reasons to Choose SMU for your graduate training.


Our department has an outstanding, energetic faculty committed to both research and teaching. Many of the core faculty members are internationally recognized scholars who publish their research in top academic outlets and receive grant support for their research. Over half have been honored by a national and/or international scientific organization (e.g. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Anxiety Disorders Association of America, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Society for Psychophysiological Research, Psychiatric Research Society). We are also engaging in ongoing recruitment of outstanding scholars to join our faculty.

Research Training

As a graduate student at SMU, you will work closely with one or more of our core faculty and will have the opportunity to be involved in important, innovative research on a variety of topics and to conduct your own, independent research under the supervision of an expert in your area of interest. Faculty research covers a variety of topics, including family violence, anxiety disorders, psychophysiology, psychological assessment, health behaviors, intimate relationships, couple therapy, schizophrenia, memory function, child depression, personality, and parenting. Details about faculty research interests and which faculty members are currently accepting students can be found on faculty web pages. We also have two newly established foci in Child and Family Psychology and Health Psychology that provide additional research and clinical training to interested students.

Clinical Training

Our students receive extensive training in empirically- and theoretically-based interventions and assessment techniques for a variety of psychological concerns. In addition to in-house training experiences through our Assessment Clinic and opportunities to participate as a therapist on a number of clinical trials conducted by faculty members, students receive extensive real-world experiences in external practicum training. We partner with a number of agencies throughout the metroplex to allow our students to obtain exposure to a great diversity of clinical concerns, patient populations, and therapeutic techniques. These include Parkland Hospital, the VA North Texas Health Care System, Children’s Medical Center, the Center for Brain Health at University of Texas, Dallas, and Metrocare Services, among others.


Our department as state-of-the-art research and training facilities, including digital observational equipment, psychophysiological assessment tools, and virtual reality technology. We have multiple interview/therapy rooms for research and clinical training, almost all of which are equipped for video-recording and/or observation.

Please explore our website further and review information for applying to SMU and our graduate handbook. If you have any questions about the program, you may contact us here.

Ernest Jouriles, Ph.D., Professor and Chair

Buck Hampson, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Lorelei Simpson Rowe, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Co-Director of Graduate Studies