Clinical Science: Orientation, Goals, and Principles

The Clinical Science Program at U.C. Berkeley is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is a coalition of doctoral training programs that share a common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems. Membership in the Academy is granted only after a thorough peer review process. Its membership in the Academy indicates that the Clinical Science Program at U.C. Berkeley is committed to excellence in scientific training, and to using clinical science as the foundation for designing, implementing, and evaluating assessment and intervention procedures.


The following excerpt from the Academy's mission statement and the subsequent principles written by our faculty capture our program philosophy:


Clinical science is a psychological science directed at the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems in behavior, affect, cognition, or health, and at the application of knowledge to such problems in ways consistent with scientific evidence. The emphasis on the term "science" underscores a commitment to empirical approaches to advancing knowledge.


Goals and Training Principles

1) Individualized Training. Each student will work with a two-person training committee to  devise an individualized clinical science-centered program of training that integrates the student’s goals with rigorous “hands-on” research and clinical experience.

2) Direct Exposure to Clinical Phenomena. Discovery and dissemination in clinical science require direct engagement with clinical phenomena.

3) Problem-based Learning. We emphasize how to identify problems and design, implement, and evaluate new procedures and solutions.

4) Diversity. Discovery and application are enhanced in a training context of diversity--of theoretical perspectives; clinical and social problems; and backgrounds of faculty, students, research participants, collaborators, supervisors, and clients.

5) Translational Research. Translational research that applies discoveries from basic research to understand and ameliorate mental health problems is essential to reducing the staggering burden of mental illness.

6) Knowledge in Emerging Fields and Methods. Deep knowledge in emerging fields and methodologies relevant to the student’s specific goals is critical.

7) Integration. Integration of theory, research, and clinical application is sought in all aspects of training regardless of whether it occurs in the classroom, clinic, community, or laboratory.


Students are enrolled in a coordinated set of seminars, individual research opportunities, teaching activities and supervised clinical experiences, many of which take place in our own Psychology Clinic. The training prepares students for future roles as researchers and teachers in university and medical settings, and as leaders in the provision of clinical services. 


The Clinical Science Program, a doctoral program in Clinical Science, has been accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) since 2013.  We have also been accredited as a program in clinical psychology by the American Psychological Association since 1948. (Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE. Washington, DC 20002-4242. Telephone: 202-336-5979).


In 2020, we requested and received the status "accredited, inactive" from APA. This means that we retain our APA accredited status for students who were admitted into our APA program (2019 and earlier; the "accredited" part) but that we no longer admit new students into the APA program (i.e., the "inactive" part). Once all students admitted to the APA program receive their degree, we plan to discontinue our APA accreditation. We will continue to maintain our PCSAS accreditation.