The programs extend and deepen disciplined knowledge of psychology, from its biological aspects through the psychology of individual and group processes to organizations and social systems, in keeping with GSAPP's philosophy of training. Most courses require an experiential component that allows continuous integration of coursework with supervised experience. In this way, professional students become competent in practitioner skills of assessment, intervention, and evaluation. Thus, courses in neuropsychology not only teach students how the brain works but how to conduct neuropsychological examinations and how to design remedial programs for people with neuropsychological disabilities.
Courses in psychotherapy integrate the supervision of clinical cases with theoretical knowledge of the way people function cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally. Courses in program planning and evaluation require students to study general principles of program design while actually designing, implementing, and evaluating programs of their own. Courses in group relations and organizational diagnosis provide both theoretical and methodological bases for working with organizations.
Through coursework and colloquia, students are introduced to the ethical and legal issues and to the special responsibilities inherent in the delivery of psychological services in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Formal instruction is coordinated with supervised practicum placements in a wide variety of settings throughout the state. GSAPP maintains liaisons with schools, psychiatric hospitals, clinics, businesses, and other agencies in which students provide psychological services under supervision. There are practicum placements that focus on public settings where groups such as the poor, elderly, and disadvantaged are served. A minimum of one day per week of field placement is expected during the first two years, with two full days of supervised practicum experience during the third year. An approved, full-time internship is required in the fourth or fifth year.
Students are able to broaden their perspectives by taking courses in related areas offered by other schools and divisions in the university, such as the School of Graduate Studies, Graduate School of Education, the School of Management and Labor Relations, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Such courses are integrated into individualized programs of study.
GSAPP maintains a continual scrutiny of its curriculum and practicum placements to ensure that students are well trained in an evolving technology and prepared to deal with market forces.
Upon matriculation into the
clinical or school psychology program, students meet with a faculty adviser to
review the sequence of courses in the respective program. The adviser will
guide students over time to create a personalized program proposal that charts
the student's planned didactic and experiential course of study during his or
her years at GSAPP. The program proposal ensures that students meet specialization, departmental, and university requirements while selecting courses and experiences to meet their unique interests.
Our programs strive for a positive and supportive learning environment that provides flexibility, combining individual interests and required courses, with an array of support programs and activities.