Clinical psychology Ph.D. program achieves full accreditation

Clinical psychology Ph.D. program achieves full accreditation

From left: In 2021, Pierre Leon, Alex Jaffe, Krista Herbert, Sheina Emrani and Nicole Cantor were the first to graduate from Rowan University's clinical psychology doctoral program.

Following a rigorous assessment of its professional and scientific standards, Rowan University’s Ph.D. in clinical psychology program has achieved full accreditation through 2033 by the American Psychological Association (APA), a historic, first-time achievement for the program. 

The APA Commission on Accreditation is the primary programmatic accreditor in the United States for professional education and training in psychology. APA accreditation is an indicator of a program’s rigor, quality and ability to produce successful, ethical and skillful clinical psychologists.  

“This is a significant achievement for our clinical psychology program,” said Vojislava Pophristic, dean of the College of Science & Mathematics. “Accreditation by the APA raises our reputation and helps us recruit fast-rising faculty and competitive students who are interested in pursuing meaningful research. I am excited to see what happens next.” 

Rowan launched the Ph.D. program in 2016 and graduated its first cohort in 2021. Thirty-five  students are enrolled in the program; seven have graduated so far. The program specializes in integrated health care and health psychology, in part because Rowan is one of only four universities in the country granting both the M.D. and D.O. medical degrees, noted Jim A. Haugh, Ph.D., the program’s director. 

“A lot of work has gone into reaching this tremendous milestone,” Haugh said. “We are developing a reputation for prominent research in the field of integrated health care, while producing well-qualified and sought-after graduates. It’s extremely rewarding to receive validation for our work by the preeminent association in our field.” 

APA accreditation is voluntary. Achieving full accreditation means Rowan’s program meets a high level of professional and scientific standards, increasing the visibility of the program while  making it more attractive to a wider pool of applicants, said Amy Janke, Ph.D., head of the Department of Psychology.

“Our collaborations with our medical schools and their affiliated health systems are built into the design of our unique, integrative health model,” Janke said. “Health psychology as a field uses the science of psychology to improve health outcomes and health systems and, ideally, prevent disease in the first place.”

The department and faculty have been working toward accreditation since the start of the program, noted Erin McKenney, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Social, Emotional, and Affective Health Lab, led by Katherine (Kaite) Gotham, Ph.D.

“This is such an indicator of the strong program our faculty has created,” McKenney said. “I am looking forward to watching its continued growth and success and celebrating the many amazing psychologists I know will continue to come from Rowan.” 

“Receiving accreditation is a testament to all the hard work put in by the faculty and students alike into making this a possibility,” said Ph.D. candidate Tom O’Kane, who is completing an internship at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. “For me, it helps validate my decision to study at Rowan and confirms for many what I already know: This program provides strong training and education in the field of clinical psychology.”