Clinical Science Emphasis

Clinical Science Emphasis

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 apply 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.

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


All faculty within the University of Northern Iowa Department of Psychology are available for possible research collaborations. Clinical faculty specifically conduct research on ADHD, multicultural and cross-cultural issues in psychopathology and assessment, and mental illness stigma. In addition, there are opportunities for interdisciplinary research in psychology and the law, and biological psychology in our psychoneuroendocrinology lab. Students also regularly do thesis projects in other areas of interest as related to child, adolescent, and adult psychopathology.​ 


Students take classes in research design, statistics, and professional interests with other first year students in their initial year. In addition, students take courses in child/adolescent and adult psychopathology, empirically supported treatments, personality and cognitive assessments with all clinical students (first and second years). Students work on a Master's thesis in their area of interest across both years of the program, and many get involved in other research and presentation opportunities as well. In the second year, students develop professional skills through intensive practice and supervision within our campus-based Psychological Assessment Clinic as well as through supervised activities in facilities within the community. 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 (11 credits)

6401 Cognitive Assessment (4cr)
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 (4cr)
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: 43

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

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. 

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 Butler, Ph.D.

U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, Professor,
Occupational health, work-life balance and college student employment