SU clinical psychology doctoral program ranks among top 20 in the United States
SU clinical psychology doctoral program ranks among top 20 in the United StatesMarch 23, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
The doctoral program in clinical psychology in The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University has been ranked 17th out of 157 universities rated in the country, according to a Louisiana State University study that analyzed faculty publications and citations as a measure of quality of clinical programs.
The study, “Clinical psychology Ph.D. program rankings: evaluating eminence on faculty publications and citations,” is the first to rank clinical psychology Ph.D. programs on objective and systematic data of individual faculty. The researchers undertook the study in part because of their dissatisfaction with the annual surveys by U.S. News & World Report.
Because of the low rate of return on questionnaires about clinical psychology programs, and the small group of relevant faculty who have the opportunity to respond to them, the researchers embarked on the study to reveal a clearer picture of doctoral programs at universities around the country.
The study appeared in a recent issue of Research in Developmental Disabilities, and places high value on publications and citations. The authors point out that such active scholarship by faculty contributes to quality theses and dissertations by graduate students and enhances graduate students’ employability.
“It was gratifying, but not surprising, to see our program rated so highly when the scholarly productivity of the faculty served as the standard,” says Kevin Masters, associate professor and director of clinical training. “I moved to Syracuse from Utah a year and a half ago to become the director of the programprecisely to be able to work with such a superb group of faculty. This is truly a talented group, and their work is well known among experts in many areas of health psychology.”
SU’s program embraces the scientist-practitioner model, focusing on balanced training in the science and practice of clinical psychology. Faculty members emphasize the importance of scholarly empirical research as the foundation of clinical psychology and train students eager to fulfill the research mission of the program. Students and faculty in the program also strive to integrate research and clinical work into research projects that include diverse populations of the Syracuse community.
“As a doctoral student in clinical psychology at SU, my opportunities and experiences have been excellent,” says Mary Spagnola, a student enrolled in the program. “I have received training in clinical work at the Psychological Services Center in the most current and empirically supported assessment and therapy, taken courses with dedicated professors who are conducting research that will benefit the physical and mental health of many, and worked on research projects that have helped me develop skills both as a scientist and a practitioner.” Spagnola, from Rochester, N.Y., began her studies in 2000. She is currently finishing her dissertation and will do an internship next year. She plans to graduate in 2007.
The program recruits students from across the nation and internationally. This year, the program has 27 students, five of whom were accepted last year from an applicant pool of 128. Nine professors make up the faculty, and the group holds a combined $15 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health.
“We seek a diverse student body along gender, ethnic/racial, age and experiential backgrounds,” says Michael Carey, clinical psychology professor and director of the Center for Health and Behavior. “We also seek to identify students who are a particularly good fit with our training philosophy and research opportunities.”
Says Spagnola: “What I value the most about my education at Syracuse has been my experience in developing independent research that will eventually benefitthe well-being of children and families in the Syracuse community through collaborating with local Head Start preschools.” Spagnola is a National Head Start Scholar and works with area Head Start programs in a study examining how family practices affect health in preschool students with asthma.
SU’s clinical psychology doctoral students conduct research in a variety of settings, including local hospitals, schools, community organizations and at SU. In addition, most students present their work at professional meetings and publish their research in peer-reviewed journals.
“The SU clinical psychology program is very strong in health psychology research,” says Marta Kadziolka, a second-year student from Ottawa, Ontario. “It is great for students who want an extensive applied research experience. The research topics emphasized here, such as substance abuse and heart disease, are very relevant and practical. It’s also a small program, so students can count on a lot of support from faculty.” Kadziolka conducts research for the Syracuse Public School Project Heart program, a National Institutes of Health-funded study that explores the connection between social competence, emotional regulation and coronary heart disease risk in adolescents in the Syracuse public school district.
“It’s a unique opportunity,” says Kadziolka. “So far, little research has been performed on adolescent emotionality and its association with physiological indices, especially within the inner-city environment. This research has the potential to address far-reaching questions regarding health and society.”
Deborah Nazarian, a fourth-year student from Los Angeles, implemented an intervention with community members in which they wrote about traumatic events to reduce stress. “We are interested in learning more about how structured writing about life experiences is related to health and well-being,” says Nazarian.
For more information on the doctoral program in clinical psychology at SU,visit http://psychweb.syr.edu/graduate/programs/clininfo.htm.