Department of Psychology

University of Mississippi

Additional Information UM Clinical Psychology PhD Program

Students in the Ph.D. program earn the Master of Arts and complete a Master’s thesis as part of their degree requirements as they progress on completing the Ph.D. (We do not offer a terminal master’s degree.) Students entering with a Masters degree that required successful defense of a written data-based thesis are not typically required to complete another thesis. All students must take and pass comprehensive examinations before full admission to Ph.D. candidacy is granted and the dissertation can be started. The dissertation proposal must be approved before a student can apply to internship programs.

Clinical and Research Training
Clinical and research training begin in the first year. In addition to required topical courses, during the first semester, students attend weekly research meetings during which one faculty member discusses her or his activities and interests. Thus, by the end of the first term, all students know what research is occurring in the department and can make informed decisions about the best match with their research interests. Students are encouraged to attend meetings of any and all research teams that interest them. Many students sit on more than one research team and participate in research projects sponsored by more than one faculty member, as our faculty are a rather collaborative group.

Clinical work begins in the Psychological Services Center or PSC, which is the department’s in-house clinic. During the first year students merely sit it and observe supervision team meetings, but beginning the second year students begin seeing clients at the PSC and various clinical practicum placements. Supervision teams are led by licensed members of the clinical faculty. Supervision teams are structured so that there is a mix of junior, intermediate, and more senior students in terms of their clinical experiences. This structure also provides opportunities for more experienced students to provide peer supervision for more junior clinicians. Students serve as direct providers of mental health services to clients, both assessment and therapy services. A specialty team staffs the Psychological Assessment Clinic, providing students with intensive supervised training in comprehensive psychological assessment and report-writing.

As students develop proficiency in their clinical work at the PSC, they are placed in a variety of practicum settings at increasing levels of independence under the supervision of agency professional staff members. During the past two years, students have been placed at North Mississippi Regional Center in Oxford (for individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities), Baptist Children’s Village (residential and non-residential services for children), world-famous St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis (research-intensive placement), the Baddour Center (for adults with special needs), Communicare (therapy-intensive community mental health center), the Autism Center of Tupelo, the University Counseling Center, and Haven House (residential drug and alcohol treatment program). More details about these sites can be found here. Additional practicum placements include administrative positions within the PSC and Psychological Assessment Clinic, as well as teaching positions (often as instructor of record for an undergraduate course) for those with academic career aspirations.

Clinical training culminates in completion of a year-long, full-time APA-accredited internship, which students apply for after they complete course work and master’s degree requirements, pass comprehensive examinations, and have their dissertation proposals accepted. Faculty assist students in selecting appropriate internship programs, and two of our faculty offer a weekly seminar focused solely on Internship Preparation. A list of recent internship placements can be found here. Our students have obtained internships at numerous sites across the country: Brown University; Baylor College of Medicine; Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; the University of Alabama at Birmingham Psychology Training Consortium; the University of Chicago Medical Center Department of Psychiatry; VA Medical Centers at Baltimore, Maryland, Memphis, Tennessee Little Rock, Arkansas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Bay Pines, Florida, Kansas City, Missouri, Gainesville, Florida, Durham, North Carolina, Augusta, Maine, New Orleans, Louisiana, Chicago, and San Antonio, Texas; Reno, Nevada, Honolulu, HI; Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas; Audie L. Murphy Memorial Veteran’s Hospital Division, South Texas Veterans Healthcare System; Jefferson County Internship Consortium; the Medical College of Georgia/VA Medical Center Consortium; the Medical University of South Carolina-DVA Consortium; West Virginia University Health Sciences Center; Spokane Mental Health; the University of California at San Diego Internship Training Consortium; the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center; the University of Florida Health Science Center in Gainesville; Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Los Angeles; Cook County Hospital in Chicago; San Fernando Valley Child Guidance Clinic; William S. Hall Institute in Columbia, South Carolina; Broughton Hospital in Morgantown, North Carolina, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Counseling Center; East Kentucky Rural Psych/KRCC; the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Duke University School of Medicine, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, University of North Carolina, and DuPont Hospital for Children, Cherokee Health Systems, Knoxville, Tennessee; Arkansas division of Behavioral Health Services, Little Rock, Arkansas; Kansas State University, Manhattan Kansas; Southern Mississippi Psychology Consortium, Hattiesburg, Mississippi; Fulton State Hospital, Fulton, Missouri; Southwest Consortium/NMVAHC, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Warm Springs Counseling Center, Boise, ID, Mississippi State Hospital, Whitfield Mississippi, University of Colorado Medical Center, University of Vermont, University of Kansas Medical School, Nebraska Internship Consortium, Texas Child Study Center, Geisel School Of Medicine at Dartmouth.

The majority of our graduates over the last several years became post-doctoral fellows at university medical centers, VA medical centers, and counseling centers for their first position after graduation. From there, most stay on at those sites as full-time psychologists, are hired at other medical centers and other applied settings (eg, counseling centers, private practice), or obtain tenure-track faculty positions. Those seeking academic careers have obtained faculty jobs at West Virginia University, Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Georgia, University of Nebraska, the University of Pittsburgh, Nova Southwestern University, Harvard School of Medicine, the University of Wyoming, Northern Iowa University, Eastern Washington University, Stephen F. Austin University, Brown University, University of Miami, North Texas State University, University of Mississippi School of Medicine, SIU-Carbondale, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Duke University School of Medicine, Western Kentucky University, Metropolitan State University, and Pittsburg State University.


Clinical Faculty and Their Research Interests (see faculty webpage for more information)

Lee M. Cohen, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, 1999. Health Psychology, Tobacco use disorders/smoking cessation. (Dean of the College of Liberal Arts)
Laura J. Dixon, Ph.D., University of Wyoming, 2014. Anxiety disorders, transdiagnostic vulnerability factors (e.g., anxiety sensitivity, distress tolerance) affecting anxiety and health-related conditions across the lifespan, exposure therapy.
Alan M. Gross, Ph.D., Washington State University, 1979. Internalizing and externalizing disorders in children, dating violence.
Scott A. Gustafson, Ph.D., University of Mississippi, 1996. Clinical psychophysiology, brain-computer interfaces, neuroplasticity related to classical and operant conditioning, clinical training, and program development. (Director, Psychological Services Center)
Laura R. Johnson, Ph.D., University of Louisville, 2003. Cross-cultural psychology and program evaluation (environmental education and service learning programs for youth).
Danielle Maack, PhD., University of Wyoming, 2010. Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Individual differences in psychopathology, disgust, emetophobia.
Stefan E. Schulenberg, Ph.D., University of South Dakota, 2001. Computer use in psychological assessment and psychotherapy, psychological test construction, adolescent psychopathology and assessment, empirical validation of meaning-related constructs, and clinical/disaster psychology. (Clinical)
Todd A. Smitherman, Ph.D., Auburn University, 2006. Behavioral medicine and health psychology, psychological factors in migraine and chronic pain, insomnia, obesity, anxiety disorders. (Director of Clinical Training)
Kelly G. Wilson, Ph.D., University of Nevada, 1998. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the role of verbal processes in emotion and cognition, contextual-behavioral analyses of existential issues, treatment development and dissemination, integration of basic and applied research, and philosophy of science.
John Young, Ph.D., University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2008. Evidence-based services for children and adolescents, treatment dissemination, mental health care systems, clinical supervision.

The Department of Psychology is housed in the historic George Peabody Building. Classrooms, research laboratories, office space, and other facilities occupy 215,000 square feet of floor space. Graduate student desks and office space, a student-faculty lounge, faculty offices, and some research laboratories are located on the third floor. The departmental administrative offices and classrooms are located on the second floor. The ground floor contains several psychology research laboratories, a student computer lab, and offices for teaching assistants and tutors.

The Psychological Services Center (PSC), located in Kinard Hall, is a 3,500 square foot independent community mental health facility operated by the Clinical Program. The purpose of the PSC is twofold: to provide psychological services to the community and the University, and to serve as a training facility for graduate students in the Clinical Program. The PSC houses a front office/waiting area, director’s office, file room, two graduate assistant offices, a large room suitable for conferences or for family or group therapy, and three therapy/assessment rooms. Therapy rooms are set up with state-of-the-art digital video and audio software that allows secure recording and direct observation. We were also one of the first university psychology clinics in the country to begin using electronic records systems for keeping client assessment and therapy notes, and we regularly use iPads to administer measures to clients.

In addition to the approximately 130 different tests and measurement instruments housed in our clinical test library, we maintain a large volume of evidence-based treatment manuals that graduate student clinicians can borrow to assist with treatment planning for their clients. In addition, the Psychological Assessment Laboratory within the PSC maintains computer equipment used to administer, score, and interpret a number of psychological tests for both clinical and research applications, including: the MMPI-2, MMPI-A, SCL-90, MCMI-III, MBMD, CBCL, CPT, and HRNTB. This facility also provides word processing and printing support for students who serve as examiners for the Psychological Assessment Clinic; students in the Psychological Assessment Laboratory analyze their research data with SPSS.

Other facilities both on and off campus are available for research support. The new physical education complex contains metabolic and exercise labs that are available for collaborative use. The physicians at the student health service and the pharmacology faculty have provided consultation for several Psychology Department projects. Staff at Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi have supplied computerized pulmonary function testing, and several recent research projects have been conducted at or in conjunction with the following organizations: University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Oxford Neurology Clinic, Oxford Elementary School, North Mississippi Regional Center, Parkwood Hospital, Lafayette Elementary School, Lafayette High School, Bramlett Elementary School, and DeSoto County School System.

Financial Assistance
General tuition and fee information is available on the Graduate School website ( In general, students with a full-time assistantship (practicum) receive a full tuition waiver, health insurance subsidy, and annual stipend each year so long as they are matriculating through the program as expected. More specific information about costs associated with the clinical program can be found here. The amount of assistantship stipends vary depending upon the number of hours of work required, the funding agency, and whether it is a 9- or 12-month appointment. Most assistantships (clinical placements, research placements, teaching placements) require 10-20 hours of work per week and limit students to a course load of 12 graded hours per semester.

Financial aid is available from several sources. Each year 2-3 incoming students typically receive an Honors Fellowship from the Graduate School, and Minority Fellowships are also available for students who are members of underrepresented groups. Each of these awards provides additional funding for several years for those who receive them, and faculty recommend eligible students for these awards.

Other forms of financial aid such as student loans and federal work-study are handled by the Office of Financial Aid. If you have questions about these other sources of funding, you are encouraged to contact that office for further information and the required application forms (