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 Professional and Cultural Expertise
- Self-Directed Learning
- Blended Classes.
Faculty Professional and Cultural Expertise
The core faculty members within the APU PsyD program have diverse expertise and interests in a variety of clinical, research, and cultural areas. 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.
In addition to the faculty-led didactic components of the program curriculum, the PsyD program places value on the university-wide emphasis on active, self- directed learning. This emphasis allows students to apply the theories and principles taught in each class towards areas of their own professional interest. Thus, information from each class is immediately translated to clinical application.
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. Students meet in-person for several days of intensive instruction approximately every six (6) weeks. In between in-person meetings, students meet together virtually, listen to and watch lectures from faculty members and outside speakers, and participate in an online learning community. APU’s blended class structure was developed with consultation from the University of Texas Center for Teaching and Learning to provide a learning platform to meet the needs of APU PsyD students while providing education of great quality. The APU PsyD faculty members are proud of this model, as it allows for the education of students who live and/or practice in remote, underserved areas of the state of Alaska.
Program Training Model
The PsyD program at APU follows a scholar-practitioner model of training. In line with traditional PsyD models, the program aims to prepare students to use empirically-informed knowledge and methods in their practice of psychology. Therefore, scholarly inquiry is emphasized throughout the program and evidence- based methods are included in all practice-based coursework.
Curriculum and Residency
The PsyD program requires 4 years of continuous study with 80 credits required, including the dissertation and internship. Students are expected to enroll in full-time study during their time in the PsyD program. 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 2012 APA Commission on Accreditation (CoA) Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology.
The curriculum provides a foundation of knowledge, theory, and training that prepares students to meet APA professional competencies to practice as a health service psychologist. APU’s PsyD program was developed to meet the equivalent of full-time residency for enrolled students. 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 weekend intensives approximately every 6 weeks. Weekend intensives last 3 full days, and typically occur on a Friday – Sunday schedule. During the weeks between weekend intensives, students are engaged in technology-assisted learning and socialization.
Is this the right degree for you?
The APU Counseling Psychology PsyD program is not currently accredited by the American Psychological Association. The PsyD program plans to submit a self-study for accreditation by APA in the Spring of 2018.
*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