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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Clinical Science Emphasis

  • Helen Harton, Ph.D.
    Coordinator of Graduate Studies
    Phone: (319) 273-2235 Office: Bartlett 2080
  • Seth Brown, Ph.D.                                                                                                                                                                                       Coordinator of Clinical Science Emphasis                                                                                                                                       Phone: (319) 273-6091 Office: Bartlett 2073
  • Elizabeth Lefler, Ph.D. Phone: (319) 273-7637 Office: Bartlett 2072
  • Seong-In Choi, Ph.D. Phone: (319) 273-6104  Office: Bartlett 2067

The University of Northern Iowa, Department of Psychology, offers a Master of Arts degree with an emphasis in clinical Science. Combining empirically supported, scientifically based clinical training with a solid foundation in clinical research methodology, the program prepares students to Gamesapply for doctoral programs or pursue jobs at the Masters level operating under appropriate supervision. Clinical practicum and research opportunities allow students to work with child, adolescent and adult clinical populations in a variety of settings. Clinical faculty members are dedicated to research and actively involve students in ongoing and new areas of study.

The clinical science emphasis follows the scientist/practitioner model and focuses particularly on research and scientific method. While faculty members may differ in terms of methods of research, therapeutic focus, and areas of study, there is agreement that scientific inquiry should form the foundation of clinical psychology and the education received in this program. An empirical approach is emphasized by all faculty members, and applying research-based evidence to answer applied clinical problems is an essential part of the program.

All faculty within the University of Northern Iowa Department of Psychology are available for possible research collaborations. In addition, the clinical faculty specifically provide opportunities for research in the following areas:

  • Psychological Assessment
  • Psychometrics
  • Mental Illness Stigma
  • Childhood Psychopathology

Interdisciplinary Areas

  • Psychology & Law
  • Eyewitness Lab
  • BioPsych Lab

Training during the first year is intensive and requires a dedicated focus on coursework and learning the foundations upon which practicum placements depend. Research training after the first year is focused in the thesis area chosen by the student, though ongoing research opportunities will continue to be available. Professional skills are developed through intensive practice and supervision within the program and through supervised activities in facilities within the community.

The first three semesters of training are highly structured with all entering clinical students taking the same required courses; in the fourth semester, the selection of an elective allows the students to differentiate from their peers. Professional development and identity is strongly encouraged, with multiple opportunities for conference presentations, membership in professional organizations, and discussions of current topics in the field of clinical psychology.

Sample Curriculum


Fall -- First Year (10 credits)

  • 6401 Cognitive and Intellectual Assessment (3cr)
  • 6402 Research and Practice of Psychotherapy (3cr)
  • 6001 Advanced Statistics (3cr)
  • 6285 Readings in Psychology (Harton; 1cr)

Spring -- First Year (13 credits)

  • 6002 Research Design (3cr)
  • 6405 Personality Assessment (3cr)
  • 6409 Clinical Ethics (3cr)
  • 6406 Adult Psychopathology (3cr)
  • 6285 Readings in Psychology (thesis advisor; 1cr)

Fall -- Second Year (9 credits)

  • 6407 Evidence Based Treatment (3cr)
  • 6299 Thesis Research (3cr)
  • 6408 Clinical Practicum (3cr)*

Spring -- Second Year (9 credits)

  • 6410 Advanced Child Psychopathology (3cr)
  • 6299 Thesis Research (3cr)
  • Elective (3cr)

Total Credits: 41

*192 practicum hours will be required for this course, and these will be spread across two semesters at placement


Required Classes

  • PSYCH 6001(3cr). Advanced Statistics: Review of elementary descriptive and inferential statistics, analysis of variance and covariance models, multiple linear regression and the generalized linear model, and specialized topics in multivariate analysis.
  • PSYCH 6002 (3cr). Research Design: Covers the planning and execution of psychological research. Topics include research design, measurement, ethical issues, sources of artifact and bias, data evaluation, and interpretation. 
  • PSYCH 6285 (2cr). Readings in Psychology: A survey of the psychological literature within a particular area supervised by a faculty member. Designed to lead to a thesis topic.
  • PSYCH 6299 (6cr). Thesis: An independent research project supervised by a faculty advisor and a committee of faculty members, resulting in a manuscript consisting of a substantial literature review, methodology description, statistical report and analysis, and discussion. The thesis is orally defended in a public forum.
  • PSYCH 6401 (3cr). Cognitive and Intellectual Assessment: Introduction to the nature, use, and interpretation of tests for assessing intelligence and other cognitive functions in varied populations.
  • PSYCH 6402 (3cr). Research & Practice of Psychotherapy: Reviews the major theoretical approaches to  psychological treatment, relevant empirical and clinical issues, and facilitate proficiency in counseling microskills.
  • PSYCH 6405 (3cr). Personality Assessment: Overview of theoretical and empirical issues in the measurement of personality.
  • PSYCH 6406 (3cr). Psychopathology: Reviews diagnostic issues and covers the major mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • PSYCH 6407 (3cr). Evidence-Based Treatment: Overview of current strategies and techniques for modifying child and adult behavior disorders based on a cognitive-behavioral approach.
  • PSYCH 6408 (3cr). Clinical Practicum: Supervised field placement in a mental health or other agency offering psychological services.
  • PSYCH 6409 (3cr). Clinical Ethics: Review of critical ethical and professional issues related to practice of clinical psychology, including changing roles of psychological assessment, intervention, and research; role of ethics in research, and importance of multicultural awareness.
  • PSYCH 6410 (3cr). Advanced Child Psychopathology and Evidence Based Treatment: An overview of diagnostic and assessment issues in the most common types of childhood psychopathology, as well as an in-depth examination of evidence-based treatments for these disorders.

Approved Electives

  • PSYCH 5004  History and Systems of Psychology
  • PSYCH 5102  Drugs and Individual Behavior
  • PSYCH 5103  Sensation and Perception
  • PSYCH 5104  Introduction to Neurology
  • PSYCH 5204  Psychology of Aging
  • PSYCH 5303  Health Psychology
  • PSYCH 5304  Organizational Psychology
  • PSYCH 5305  Industrial Psychology
  • PSYCH 5404  Psychology of Human Differences
  • PSYCH 5502  Motivation and Emotion
  • PSYCH 5503  Conditioning and Learning
  • PSYCH 5504  Memory and Language
  • PSYCH 5505  Cognitive Psychology
  • PSYCH 5604  Principles of Psychometrics
  • PSYCH 5606  Special Topics in Social Psychology
  • PSYCH 5607  Psychological Anthropology
  • PSYCH 5608  Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective
  • PSYCH 5704  Practicum in Teaching Psychology
  • PSYCH 5705  Research Experience in Psychology
  • PSYCH 6003  Graduate Practicum in Teaching Psychology
  • PSYCH 6006  Research in Psychology
  • PSYCH 6201  Evolution, Brain and Social Behavior
  • PSYCH 6202  Social and Cognitive Development 
  • PSYCH 6203  Personality
  • PSYCH 6204  Advanced Social Psychology
  • PSYCH 6205  Advances and Developments in Social Psychology
  • PSYCH 6285  Readings in Psychology: Individualized readings.
  • PSYCH 6289  Seminar


Clinical Faculty

(Graduate Students may do research and theses with any of the graduate faculty in the Department of Psychology.)

Seth Brown, Ph.D., U. New Mexico, Professor,

Dr. Brown's research focuses on mental illness and substance use stigma. The scope of his stigma research includes examining the contributors to both public stigma and self-stigma, as well as investigating the efficacy of possible interventions to alter stigma. 

Seong-In Choi, Ph.D., Ball State University, Assistant Professor,

Dr. Choi's research interests include Scale development, Help-seeking attitudes, Counseling process and outcome, Multicultural counseling, Mental health issues among underserved populations.

Elizabeth Lefler, Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Associate Professor,

Research interests include Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); early identification of childhood psychopathology; assessment and treatment of disruptive behavior disorders; and gender, age, and ethnicity differences in disruptive behavior disorders.

Faculty with related interests

Catherine DeSoto, Ph.D., U. of Missouri, Professor,

Evolutionary psychology, cross cultural investigations of sex differences. Relationship jealousy and relational aggression.

Helen C. Harton, Ph.D., Florida Atlantic U., Professor and Graduate Area Coordinator,

Primary research areas are attitudes and social influence, particularly using dynamical systems approaches. Specific research projects include how important vs. unimportant attitude change and the implication of those changes for groups and how subcultures emerge within groups of interacting individuals. Another line of research examines the relationship between political orientation and different manifestations of racism. Other research interests include attraction, relationship satisfaction, jealousy, pro-social behavior, cooperative learning, and attitudes toward immigrants.

Carolyn Hildebrandt, Ph.D., U. California, Berkley, Professor,

Current research projects include studies of social and biological reasoning in children and adolescents, children's understanding of physical and psychological harm, and children's and adolescents' representations of pitch and rhythm in music.

Kimberly MacLin, Ph.D., U. of Nevada-Reno, Professor,

Her general research interests are in the situated nature of social cognition. Current research focuses on criminal appearance stereotypes, the source of those stereotypes, and how those stereotypes impact memory and decision making in a variety of legal contexts.

Adam ButlerPh.D., U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, Professor,

Occupational health, work-life balance and college student employment