Since September 1976, the University of Denver Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) has offered a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in clinical psychology. The PsyD degree at the University of Denver focuses on scientifically based training for applied professional work rather than on the more traditional academic-scientific approach to clinical training. The main emphasis is on general clinical psychology with opportunities for some limited degrees of specialization. A 1972 NIMH-sponsored conference on patterns and levels of professional training in psychology strongly supported the development of PsyD programs. The Federation of Regional Accrediting Commissions in Higher Education has recommended the development of content-oriented doctoral programs for applied professional training, with the PhD to be awarded by primarily research-oriented programs.
The Graduate School of Professional Psychology has carried the University of Denver's regional accreditation since its inception; in 1978 the Colorado Department of Education approved the program for the training of doctoral-level school psychologists. The GSPP Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program has maintained accreditation by the American Psychological Association (APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242, Phone: 202-336-5979, TDD/TYY: 202-336-6123, Fax: 202-336-5978) since 1979, and the GSPP is a member of the National Council of Schools of Professional Psychology. The PsyD degree qualifies a person for admission to licensing or certification examinations. Individuals with PsyD degrees are eligible for third party payments and are listed in the National Register for Health Service Providers in Psychology.
Due to demand in the field for specialized mental health workers, GSPP offers master's level training programs in three unique areas: forensic psychology, international disaster psychology, and sport and performance psychology. These programs blend general clinical training with specializations and allow students to apply their skills through field placements in the Denver metro area.
In 2015 we added two new offerings: a specialty in Latino psychology (open to students enrolled in all programs), and an online degree in sport coaching. We are also currently developing the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology and an associated veterans service clinic.
Faculty at GSPP represent a diversity of psychological philosophies, and students are exposed to a variety of theoretical backgrounds and work settings. In addition to the core faculty, instructors for specialized course offerings and a variety of clinical and supervisory experiences are recruited from among specialists in the community. These people add richness to the program and are officially appointed members of the faculty. Core faculty, as well as part-time appointees, are all actively engaged in the practice of their respective specialties. Many are also active in national and local professional organizations. From its outset, GSPP has received strong support from the professional community in Colorado.
The school recognizes the value of a community of professional psychologists from a variety of backgrounds. To achieve this end, we seek a diverse student body and encourage applications and enrollment from American ethnic minority group members (African American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American) and from persons with various educational and social backgrounds. GSPP attempts to provide partial scholarship/fellowship funding for entering students who are ethnic minorities.
While in the program, all students take a required course in ethnic minority issues, and the content of several other courses includes relevant information. In addition, all students are required to work with culturally diverse populations as part of their practicum requirement.
Other dimensions of variety in the student body include an age range from early 20s to early 50s and students who come from different academic, professional, and personal backgrounds. Nearly 60 percent of GSPP students have come from outside of Colorado. Since the program began, we have had students from 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 10 other countries.
While in the program, students can serve on all department administrative committees including admission, curriculum, and faculty selection. There is an active Graduate Student Association of Professional Psychology (GSAPP) and several student groups concerned with special issues, e.g. ethnic-minority, women, gay/lesbian/bisexual. Student recommendations are respected as the GSPP programs continually evolve. All facilities of the newly refurbished building, located on the southern edge of the DU campus, are handicapped accessible.
Our graduates are employed locally and in many parts of the country, in hospitals, mental health centers, schools, universities, youth centers, private health care organizations, independent practice (group and individual), the armed services, business, the justice system, and government. They apply their clinical knowledge and skills to the problems of individuals, families, and society as well as government, business, and industry. Entirely new population groups, settings, and specialty areas for professional psychologists continue to emerge, especially in legal, social, health, and sport psychology areas. Psychologists are becoming involved in planning and delivering a range of consulting, educational, and administrative services to segments of our society. Job opportunities for professional psychologists vary from year to year and from one location to another. Applicants should be aware that, since Denver is a desirable area in which to live and work, our employment market is at the saturation point. Future graduates may need to seek employment in other parts of the region and country.
GSPP graduates are eligible for licensing/certification in all states. They have been licensed in 35 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Israel. For information concerning licensing requirements in any particular state, contact the Board of Psychologists Examiners of that state.
GSPP has an active network of alumni. Their involvement with the school includes fund-raising for the Scholarship Fund, recruiting applicants, supervising students, teaching GSPP courses, and planning educational and social activities.