Since 2010, we have been accredited by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). We find that applicants are often told that accreditation is important but are not told why. We want you to understand why PCSAS accreditation is important to us.
Generally, accreditation means that a program conforms to standards set by an organization like PCSAS. PCSAS accreditation is based on outcomes: Do programs prepare graduates for clinical science careers? Our accreditation means that PCSAS agrees that we do prepare graduates to become clinical scientists.
A clinical science career is one focused on conducting research regarding clinical problems, teaching about such research, and/or applying such research in wide- reaching ways, including through training clinicians. Our graduates work in a wide variety of clinical science careers:
- In academia (e.g., as professors)
- At VA Hospitals and other health-care settings (e.g., developing and testing treatments; training health-care providers in empirically supported treatments)
- In nonprofits (e.g., conducting and applying scientific research)
- And many other settings
Our program, like all PCSAS programs, includes systematic training in essential clinical skills. However, we do not focus on preparing our graduates to work exclusively in direct service. Many of our graduates have careers focused on clinical applications, but few focus exclusively on direct service to individuals (e.g., full-time private practice).
We are currently also accredited by APA, and have been since 1948. Unfortunately, we find that we are constrained in our ability to provide both the clinical and research training that we want to provide under APA accreditation. As a result, we plan to allow our APA accreditation to lapse in 2028, retaining our PCSAS accreditation.
The number of PCSAS-accredited programs continues to grow each year. The list of programs dropping their APA accreditation has also been growing. In addition, PCSAS accreditation is becoming more widely recognized by both state licensing boards and national organizations. We believe these trends will continue. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that graduating from a program that does not have APA accreditation could be viewed as a risk. We think that a risk that helps us provide the clinical science training we are devoted to is a risk worth taking.
If you agree, we look forward to seeing your application. You should expect that, if you join us, you will graduate from an PCSAS-accredited program, not an APA- accredited program.
If you want to learn more about the long history that contributes to our decision, this paper is a good place to start: more information
We look forward to talking with interested applicants further about what this change means for our next incoming class!
Alan G. Kraut, Executive Director
1800 Massachusetts Ave NW · Suite 402
WASHINGTON, DC 20036-1218 USA
Ph: (301) 455-8046
American Psychological Association
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20002-4242