Fielding Graduate University is a Clinical Psychology Program with a Distributed Learning Model
Written By Aunice Yvonne Reed, M.S., M.A.
If completing a PhD in clinical psychology degree online accredited by the American Psychological Association is your goal, then Fielding Graduate University might be a college for you to consider. It is the only U.S. clinical psychology doctorate program accredited by the APA that has a distributed learning model, which includes some degree of online learning. So those of you planning to practice in states requiring APA accreditation, this may be an option, that is unless your state doesn't accept online education. Proceed with caution here; be certain that the state in which you intend to practice will accept your education in clinical psychology. If you don't expect to obtain a practicing license permitting you to work with clients, then it probably doesn't matter one way or the other. It all just depends on what you want to do with your psychology education.
Remember, if you plan to work with client's, you'll need to earn a license and/or certification permitting you to do that. This includes spending a significant amount of time working in the field under a qualified supervisor.
What is a Distributed Learning Model?
Online is just one learning method and technology used in programs employing a distributed learning model. This format involves a variety or “blended” approach to providing educational opportunities to students. A school such as Fielding Graduate University, may use a combination of online coursework, in-person courses and training, in-person or virtual conferences and various modes of technology, such as streaming video and student/faculty forums for interaction. Learning without geographical limits is the result and purpose, as students engage in learning and interacting with other students, faculty and in some cases alumni, without the constraints of time and place. What is being learned is the only commonality in this space.
Fielding’s distributed learning model is based on and derived from the Oxford-Cambridge Tutorial Method, a learning approach emphasizing discussions occurring between small, intimate groups of students and their teachers who are considered to be leading experts in the subjects of those discussions. It is the expectation that students will prepare themselves for these tutorials by doing some preliminary study independently. During tutorials, students are provided with opportunities to speak at length on their subjects and the work they are doing. They also are able to obtain feedback from their teachers and other students in the discussion groups with them. An essential point is that students are expected to analyze, defend and critique the work of their fellow students. The Oxbridge Tutorial Method was developed by the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge in the 1800’s and is still in use today at these colleges.
Fielding Graduate University has a very small student body, about 1,000 students total on average, allowing a low student-to-professor ratio of approximately 10 to 1. Mid-career people who have some degree of experience in their fields, and seeking an advanced degree are the typical students at this college. Most of its students are working towards doctoral degrees ranging in age from 22-81. The school’s website states the following important message:
“The founders speculated that students seeking advanced degrees at Fielding would often be mid-career adults who wanted to enhance their already well-established academic and professional skills. They envisioned these students would be committed to career development and advancement, and, by the nature of their quest for doctoral education at midlife, interested in being part of a lifelong learning community dedicated to social change. Second, the founders recognized that this atypical student body would bring experiences to graduate study that were significantly different from those of young adults. Traditional methods of education were thought to be inappropriate for such learners. To accommodate and advance the learning needs of this audience, Fielding developed a rigorous, supportive learning model that continues to this day as flexible, learner-centered, self-directed, globally-oriented, and competence-based.”
Fielding Graduate University Curriculum: PhD in Clinical Psychology
PhD Clinical Psychology students at Fielding complete an academic core of 10 courses including: History and Systems in Psychology, Biological Bases of Psychology, Psychopathology, and Social Bases of Behavior. Students who are new to Fielding complete an orientation class that familiarizes them with requirements of the degree, the school’s online portal called Moodle, APA writing and the online library. A portion of the orientation course is in-person. Clinical requirements consist of courses focusing on applied competencies such as conducting assessments, practicing psychotherapy skills, conducting interviews and self-of-the-therapist awareness. Clinical practicum, working with clients in the field, takes place in the students’ local communities. Fielding’s clinical practicum requirement is a minimum of 1,520 hours. Most students do more to be competitive in the APPIC Internship Match. The internship requirement is 1,800 hours minimum.
The research core at Fielding includes a 200-hour Research Practicum, as well as courses in Psychometric Theory, Research Methods, Statistical Methods and Multivariate Statistics. Research Skill Seminars show students how to use their research by breaking down research literature, and developing a scholarly argument. Other seminar subjects include Pre-Dissertation Seminar, Publishing/Presenting Seminar, Questionnaire Construction Seminar, and Data Analysis Seminar. Research seminars also take place in a blended-format (online and in-person).
Explore specializations at Fielding University in the PhD in Clinical Psychology Program
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