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Psychology program receives elite accreditation

TAMPA, Fla. -- Strong training in research is what earns official recognition from the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). Following a thorough evaluation, the University of South Florida’s Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program in the Department of Psychology met the criteria and received 10 years of accreditation.

The chair of the psychology department, Michael Brannick, said he is proud of his department’s latest accomplishment.

“Such an accreditation recognizes our achievements in research and is consistent with USF’s aspirations to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with AAU institutions,” Brannick said. “This is the hallmark of excellence and speaks to the high quality of education we offer our students.”

First accredited by the American Psychological Association in 1975, the program was evaluated using a relatively new system developed by PCSAS that looks at the research productivity of its faculty and the career outcomes of its alumni.

PCSAS looks very closely at the people who have gone through the program. That meant going out and attempting to find all 79 doctoral graduates from the past 10 years.

“We had to gather data on their current positions and activities,” said Thomas Brandon, a psychology professor and the lead author of the application. “It was gratifying to see the successes of our graduates who currently hold faculty positions at institutions such as Yale, the University of Miami, Texas A&M, MD Anderson Cancer Center, UF and here at USF. Others hold competitive postdoctoral positions, or are engaged in evidence-based practice.

“We put that information together with a detailed description of our curriculum and faculty and then worked with a site visit team from Harvard University and the University of Delaware. They verified what we submitted by interviewing faculty, students and administrators.”

The program made the grade and accreditation was granted at the end of May.

“This is a distinguishing accreditation for any program at a major research university,” Brandon said. “It places us within an elite group of research programs nationwide, and it should guarantee that we will continue to attract top caliber faculty and graduate students.”

The graduate program is already highly competitive, typically receiving more than 250 applications each year from throughout the world for five to 10 openings.

Vicky Phares, director of the USF clinical doctoral training program said she was thrilled, but not surprised, to learn the news.

“I am really proud of our faculty and students -- they work hard and routinely show excellence in their accomplishments,” Phares said. “It is gratifying to know that a prestigious group such as PCSAS is providing such important validation of this superb department.”

USF’s psychology department also has research-intensive doctoral programs in industrial/organizational psychology, and in cognition, neuroscience and social psychology.

Clinical psychology programs from four universities were considered for PCSAS accreditation during the most recent review, and three were approved. Along with USF, accreditation was granted to Northwestern University and the University of Missouri. Other programs that have achieved PCSAS accreditation include: University of Illinois, University of Arizona, Washington University in St. Louis, McGill University, Stony Brook University, University of Kentucky, and University of Southern California.


Filed under:Arts and Sciences School of Social Sciences Psychology   
Author: Barbara Melendez