Philosophy, Mission, and Major Goals

Philosophy and Mission

Our program consists of training in theory, research methods, and clinical practice with a broad range of populations. We adhere to the clinical science training model (Baker, McFall, & Shoham, 2008), the modern instantiation of the aspirations of the scientist-practitioner (aka Boulder) model. More specifically, the goal of our training is to produce psychological scientists and skilled clinicians who approach psychological problems from an evidence-based perspective. Given our commitment to scientifically rigorous training, successful applicants to our program demonstrate enthusiasm for working closely with a specific faculty supervisor on a program of clinically relevant research. We strive to produce graduates who continue to engage in research post-graduation and approach all their professional activities and roles from an empirical orientation. Students who are primarily seeking clinical training are not a good match to our program.

We recognize that the field of clinical psychology is constantly changing and evolving, and increasingly multidisciplinary. Thus, rather than providing narrowly focused training in specific, prescribed methods, techniques, or theoretical orientations, students are exposed to a range of approaches to both research and clinical training with the goal of producing graduates who are autonomous professionals whose work is grounded in science. We therefore teach our students how to think critically, to respect and understand scientific knowledge and empirical methodologies, and to integrate this information to make scientifically informed clinical decisions.

Although graduate training in Psychology at Western is comprised of two distinct degrees (i.e., the M.Sc. and the Ph.D.), applicants are admitted under the expectation that they will pursue a full-time program of integrated study culminating in the Ph.D. degree. Specifically, trainees are not expected to terminate their studies at the Masters level. Upon completion of the Ph.D., our graduates are employed in a range of settings, including academic positions, other research positions, and various applied clinical positions.


Consistent with our philosophy, the program has five major goals as follows:

Goal 1: Graduates will demonstrate broad knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings and research findings in our field, developing expertise in psychopathology theory, research methods, and evidence-based intervention.

Goal 2: Graduates will have the ability to critically evaluate and conduct psychological research.

Goal 3: Graduates will be competent in evidence-based psychological assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. We aim to provide our students with a solid foundation in the basic principles and application of evidence-based treatment, with the opportunity for greater breadth and specialization toward the end of their doctoral training.

Goal 4: Graduates will demonstrate ethical and professional conduct.

Goal 5: Graduates will demonstrate skills in self-assessment and personal/professional development consistent with becoming autonomous professionals.