The mission of the Alaska Pacific University Doctor of Psychology program is to prepare culturally competent, doctoral-level psychologists who, through their practice, will help to alleviate suffering and empower individuals, groups, and communities towards health and well-being in a state with diverse populations and geographical challenges.
The APU Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program was developed in 2011 in response to the need for doctoral-level training programs for psychologists located across the vast state of Alaska. The majority of the state of Alaska qualifies for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designation of Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (MHPSAs), and the need for licensed, doctoral-level psychologists in the state is clear. Currently, the APU PsyD program represents one of only two training programs for doctoral-level psychologists in Alaska. Specifically, the APU PsyD program was developed for masters- level professionals who are interested in obtaining doctoral-level knowledge and skills to serve the communities in which they work. The unique training model of the APU PsyD program allows it to serve students even in the most remote areas of the state.
The APU PsyD program prides itself as a unique and comprehensive training model built for the distinctive needs of mid-career professionals living in the geographically challenging state of Alaska. This model is based on
- Faculty with diverse areas of expertise;
Collaborative environment between students and faculty;
Accessible curriculum through synchronous eLearning sessions and on-campus intensive three-day weekends.
Faculty with diverse areas of expertise and experience within Alaska
The core faculty members within the APU PsyD program have diverse interests in a variety of clinical, research, and cultural areas. Program faculty’s areas of expertise reflect Alaska’s unique landscape and inform students’ development in working with Alaska’s diverse needs. Faculty bring this knowledge to the classroom, which provides the foundation for the broad and general training that students receive during their time in the PsyD program. Learn more about faculty here.
Collaborative environment between students and faculty
In addition to the faculty-led didactic components of the program curriculum, the PsyD program places value on the university-wide emphasis on active learning. Students work closely with faculty to develop programs of study that satisfy both program goals and objectives and student interests. The collaborative environment fosters the socialization of psychologists by emphasizing faculty supervision, peer-to-peer consultation, and case conceptualization presentations.
Students are encouraged to become student members of psychological associations, such as the American Psychological Association and Alaska Psychological Association as well as attend professional conferences as part of their professional orientation and socialization. Current students are active members and representatives of the Alaska Psychological Association.
Accessible curriculum through synchronous eLearning sessions and on-campus intensive three-day weekends
APU’s program is designed for working professionals. APU PsyD faculty members have developed an effective class structure that allows for the blending of face-to-face and technology-supported instruction to meet the needs of students separated by geography that challenges the ability to provide traditional education. Courses meet for three intensive three-day weekends and six two-hour synchronous eLearning sessions in the evening over the course of the semester. Synchronous eLearning sessions allow for content delivery while intensive three-day weekends, practicum placements, and internship allow for application of theory and technique.
Program Training Model
The PsyD program at APU follows a scholar-practitioner model of training. Students are expected to be informed of current evidence-based practices and their application in a clinical setting. Through their coursework and practicum and internship placements, develop a deeper understanding of application of best practices.
Curriculum and Residency
APU’s PsyD program was developed to meet the equivalent of full-time residency for enrolled students. The PsyD curriculum requires five years of study, including the dissertation and internship. Students are expected to enroll in full-time study during their time in the program. Residency includes attendance at all three-day intensive weekends and all synchronous eLearning session.
The curriculum (paired with previous masters-level coursework) is designed to meet the academic requirements for licensing as a psychologist in the state of Alaska. The PsyD program curriculum follows the program requirements outlined in the 2015 APA Commission on Accreditation (CoA) Standards of Accreditation of Programs for Health Service Psychology.
The curriculum provides a foundation of knowledge, theory, and training that prepares students to meet APA professional competencies to practice as a psychologist. The program was developed in this way in order to meet the PsyD program’s goal to provide training to students across the state of Alaska. Given the size and geographic restrictions of the state, it is not feasible for students to be present on campus on a daily basis. Instead, APU PsyD students come together for three-day weekend intensives and online in six two-hour synchronous eLearning sessions.
Is this the right degree for you?
Alaska Pacific University is accredited by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, which is authorized by the Alaska Council of Postsecondary Education. The PsyD program is designed to meet State of Alaska requirements for the Licensed Psychologist designation. The program is not currently accredited by the American Psychological Association but is preparing to pursue APA accreditation.
*Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation American Psychological Association
750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002;
Phone: (202) 336-5979