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Encyclopedia > The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

The Chicago School is the nation's largest non-profit institute dedicated to the training and advancement of professional psychology. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, The Chicago School is the perfect place to teach, work, and learn. Conveniently located along The Chicago River, next to the Merchandise Mart, the school's main campus is easily accessible by public transportation and within walking distance to many exciting Chicago attractions, such as the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue, the Wrigley Building, historic State Street, the theater district, Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and Lake Michigan.

The Chicago School's Business Psychology and APA-accredited Clinical Psychology doctoral (Psy.D.) programs, along with the M.A. programs in Industrial/Organizational, Forensic, and Clinical Psychology (Applied Behavior Analysis and Counseling Specializations) offer excellent practitioner-oriented education for students looking to apply psychology in the areas of health care, education, the legal system, and business. The Chicago School is expanding its programmatic offerings in 2006 to also include a specialist degree program in School Psychology. An outstanding advisory board of community and professional leaders supports each of the programs.

If you would like to gain more information, please visit The Chicago School's main webpage at http://www.csopp.edu


Mission and Philosophy of The Chicago School


Integrating theory, professional practice, and innovation, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology provides an excellent education for careers in psychology and related behavioral and health sciences. The school is committed to service and embraces the diverse communities of its society.

Reflecting the systemic integration of the mission, The Chicago School's logo -- four intersecting rings -- symbolizes Education, Innovation, Service, and Community.


The Chicago School educates professionals whose practices exemplify a commitment to understand and respect individual and cultural differences. The application of humane professional judgment is achieved through the integration of psychological theory, scientific research, and professional practice. The curriculum and training opportunities prepare graduates to deliver outstanding professional services, emphasizing the need to understand diversity and the importance of working with underserved populations.

From this statement of purpose, The Chicago School derives its institutional goals, which are attained through individual programs of study. The consistent focus on student learning ensures that the institution provides excellent career education. Each program regularly identifies the learning expectations, determines the outcomes of these student-learning expectations across academic programs, and uses assessment results to improve student learning.

The institutional learning goals for students completing degree programs at The Chicago School are:

  • Scholarship: By completion of the program, students will be able to use scientific research and theory to inform their practices and contribute to the body of work extending the reach of their specialties in professional psychology;
  • Diversity: By completion of the program, students will be able to apply theoretical and practical knowledge about ethnic, racial, gender, sexual, cultural and religious, age, and disability differences in their professional work;
  • Professional Behavior: By completion of the program, students will be able to function in a professional and ethnic manner in classroom, off-site training, and workplace settings;
  • Professional Practice: By completion of the program, students will be able to conduct assessments, develop appropriate interventions, and implement interventions in their specialty area of professional psychology.


The Chicago School was established by practicing psychologists committed to providing high-quality professional psychology training in a not-for-profit setting. Initial plans for the school were made in 1977 and realized in January 1979 by the nonprofit Midwestern Psychology Development Foundation.

The Chicago School began its first classes at temporary quarters located at 30 West Chicago Avenue before moving to the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue in 1980. In 1986, following an extensive search, The Chicago School moved to its next location, the historic Dearborn Station in Chicago’s South Loop. In 2004, the school found a new downtown home at 325 N. Wells St. to accommodate the growth that resulted from becoming a psychology graduate school that offers multiple programs focusing on Business Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Industrial/Organization Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, and School and Counseling Psychology programs.

In 1980 and again in 2004, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) authorized the school to award the degree of Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology and in Business Psychology, the latter being the first such degree in the country. In 1980, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) awarded Candidate for Accreditation Status to The Chicago School, with accreditation statue first awarded in 1984. The Psy.D. Program was awarded Provisional Accreditation by American Psychological Association (APA) in 1988, and Full Accreditation in 1992, a status that it retains. During the summer of 1979, the school became an Affiliate Member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). The school’s NCSPP status was raised to Associate Membership in 1980 and Full Member in 1985. Several master's degree programs have been implemented since 2001: Clinical Psychology in two separate specializations: Counseling and Applied Behavior Analysis, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and Forensic Psychology.

The NCSPP has twice recognized The Chicago School for significant contributions, first in the area of diversity and most recently for outstanding advocacy for the field of psychology.

Programs Offered

Business Psy.D.

The Business Psychology graduate program trains doctoral-level applied psychologists for corporate and other work settings. The curriculum is a unique blend of industrial and organizational psychology, individual assessment and intervention, and business course work that prepares Chicago School students for both traditional Industrial and Organizational (I/O) psychology work, as well as individual assessment and professional coaching. Students gain the essential diagnostic and consultative skills to help organizations and the individuals within them solve problems and perform effectively. They also will be trained in interpersonal skills and business acumen to help them be more effective in their roles as consultants.

The Business Psy.D. program at The Chicago School is distinctive in that it applies the discipline's assessment skills and feedback mechanisms within the program itself. Students not only learn how to design and implement assessment centers and 360-degree feedback tools but they also benefit from participating in these very same practices. This permits students to increase their awareness of and develop an action plan for their own strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the comprehensive exam and dissertation process are conducted through small group seminars in order to provide our students with the highest level of support and structure.

Intensive coursework that balances theory and practice is accompanied by two supervised internships. A comprehensive examination (based on the assessment center model of evaluation) and applied dissertation project will provide ways to measure the integration of knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program. Students must successfully complete 97 credit hours to graduate.

Program Objectives

  • To provide students with a broad foundation in the discipline of psychology and an in-depth understanding of I/O psychology theory and research.
  • To provide students with the necessary skills in research and statistical methods, enabling them to design and conduct applied, empirical research in I/O psychology.
  • To provide students with the knowledge, attitude and skills necessary for professional roles in the business environment. This includes:
      • the knowledge and skills necessary for assessing and coaching individuals on workplace-related issues;
      • knowledge of basic business processes, such as finance and accounting, marketing, and strategic business planning.

Clinical Psy.D.

The Doctor of Psychology degree (Psy.D.) is the degree of choice for those interested in the highest level practitioner or "hands-on" career in Clinical Psychology. It is the leadership degree in the field and provides independence and career flexibility for practitioners. The Psy.D. psychologist is a principal health care provider, behavioral consultant, and clinician capable of delivering outstanding direct and indirect services to patients, clients, and organizations.

The Chicago School's APA-accredited Clinical doctoral program provides an outstanding and innovative curriculum, taught by experienced, practitioner faculty, with an emphasis on innovation, community, diversity, and multicultural awareness. Chicago School students develop essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills through immersion in intensive course work, field placements, and internship. The Chicago School has been recognized for its distinguished serviced and outstanding contributions to cultural diversity by the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology.

The program follows a practitioner/scholar model of training, which is predicated on the belief that a competent practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of the scientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of psychology and the ability to apply that knowledge to specific clinical situations. The graduate program in Clinical Psychology does not advocate any single theoretical orientation. Rather, students receive an excellent generalist base in theory, conceptualization, and technique and then choose a theoretical orientation in which to specialize.

There are four Intervention tracks in which a student may specialize including Cognitive/Behavioral, Psychodynamic, Humanistic/Existential, and Systems. After completing basic course work in all four intervention tracks, students select one in which to specialize, completing advanced course work and their Clinical Competency Examination within that intervention track. Finally, students choose a concentration area to focus their study.

Students are continually challenged to reflect on the art and craft of professional practice, as well as on its scientific basis. A Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology is awarded following the successful completion of 48 semester hours of required coursework including two semesters of practicum. In addition, students may complete specific electives to be eligible to sit for the Licensed Practical Counselor (LPC) exam in Illinois.

Our students obtain their practicum training at more than 230 agencies and organizations ranging from the Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, to Children's Memorial Hospital and the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Our internship Match Day placement rate consistently ranks among the best in the country with students securing positions in a variety of settings, from major academic medical centers to community-based agencies throughout the U.S. and Canada.

With an excellent educational background and outstanding clinical training experiences, our graduates develop the tools and experience necessary to meet the challenges that face the practitioner in today's world. Click here to view recent internship placements.

Disclosure of Personal Information and Psychotherapy

Self-reflection, introspection, and an ability to examine personal reactions to clinical material are considered critical skills in student development. Students in the Clinical program will be required to examine their personal reactions and the impact of their personal histories on the clinical service they are training to provide. Students will not be required to disclose personal information related to sexual history, history of abuse or neglect, personal psychotherapy, or in-depth information regarding intimate relationships in course or program related activities.

The program believes that personal psychotherapy can be extremely valuable and effective tool through which to better understand ourselves and our clinical work with others. Students of our graduate programs in clinical psychology are strongly encouraged to seek out personal psychotherapy during their training; however, it is not required to complete the program.

Program Objectives

  • To produce graduates who possess the scientific and theoretical knowledge base necessary for successful entry into the practice of professional psychology.
  • To produce graduates with strong clinical skills through graduated exposure to clients and clinical issues.
  • To produce graduates who are informed, critical consumers of scholarship and who contribute to the profession in a scholarly manner.

M.A. Clinical - Applied Behavior Analysis, Counseling, School

The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program teaches student to develop essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills in order to work with a variety of clinical populations ranging from children to elderly, with a variety of emotional, intellectual, and psychological conditions and problems. Depending on whether one specializes in Applied Behavior Analysis, Counseling, or School Psychology, graduates will have the training to work in hospitals, community service agencies, mental health services, schools, child and adolescent facilities, family counseling centers, group homes, correctional facilities, substance abuse programs, and independent practice. The Clinical Psychology graduate program has adopted the practitioner/scholar model that is predicated on the belief that a competent practitioner must have both a broad knowledge of thescientific and theoretical principles in the clinical practice of psychology and the ability to apply the knowledge to specific clinical situations.

Program objectives

  • Students will develop essential diagnostic, therapeutic, and consultative skills in order to work with a variety of clinical populations, and with a variety of emotional and psychological conditions;
  • Students will learn the theoretical frameworks and scientific bases of clinical psychology at the master's level;
  • Students will learn research methodologies and be able to critically evaluate research as it relates to clinical psychology;
  • Students will learn the ethical and professional guidelines of clinical psychology;
  • Students will understand and appreciate the impact of diversity and cultural issues in the field of clinical psychology.


Applied Behavior Analysis

Behavior analysis is the ethical design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modification to produce socially significant improvements in behavior. As well as providing a solid foundation in Clinical Psychology at the master’s level, the Applied Behavior Analysis specialization incorporates the content areas and practicum requirements to make graduates eligible for National Board Certification by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. The aim is to prepare students for a rewarding career in the rapidly-growing field of applied behavior analysis, working in residential, school, and community-based settings with a wide variety of clients, including children, adults, and seniors diagnosed with developmental disabilities (including autism), behavioral difficulties, major mental illness, and a variety of geriatric conditions.

Certification / Licensure

The Applied Behavior Analysis specialization courses are certified by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and meets the requirements necessary to take the Board Certification Behavior Analyst (BCBA) exam.

Program Requirements

The Clinical Psychology Applied Behavior Analysis specialization requires 48 semester credit hours, including 42 credits of classroom-based course work, and six credit hours of practicum. The specialization requires six credits (750 clock hours) of field-based clinical training held at participating sites. In addition to the clinical training, the Applied Behavior Analysis specialization requires a two credit hour M.A. thesis.

Licensed Professional Counselor (LCP) Licensure Track (Optional)

ABA students may petition to take the additional course work and practicum necessary to pursue the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) licensure credential in Illinois. The LCP licensure track requires an additional 14 semester hours, three credits of supervised practicum (300 hours), and the Clinical Competency Exam (CCE) beyond the ABA specialization requirements.

Students planning to earn this credential should discuss the courses required with the program director during the fall semester of their first year. Generally, one additional summer and fall semester will be sufficient to meet the requirements if the student's choice of this track is made in the first semester of the program.


The Counseling specialization provides strong preparation for students wishing to begin professional practice at the master's level. The program focuses on the development of essential clinical skills that are reinforced via intense course work and field placement. While a strong theoretical foundation is presented, classes emphasize practical skills development. As such, the program emphasizes a generalist approach to theory, conceptualization, and technique. During clinical placement students learn to work with populations ranging from children through adolescents, adults, and the aged.

Acknowledged for its commitment to diversity, The Chicago School recognizes that service to a diverse community plays a vital role in psychology. The Counseling specialization embraces the school's commitment to diversity through the integration or multicultural education and diversity throughout its curriculum; successful students demonstrate an appreciation for and competency in this area. Likewise, the faculty offer experience in graduate-level teaching and clinical practice with diverse clinical populations.

Certification / Licensure

The Counseling specialization incorporates the eight content areas outlined by the National Board of Certified Counselors and provides the academic requirements to prepare students seeking professional counselor licensure in Illinois (LPC and LCPC). Students must check with their own state where they reside for licensure requirements in that state.

Program Requirements

The Clinical Psychology specialization in Counseling requires 48 semester credit hours, including 42 credits of classroom-based course work, and six credit hours of practicum. The specialization requires six credits (600 clock hours) of field-based clinical training held at participating sites.

School Psychology

The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology School Psychology specialization will educate well-rounded, specialist-level graduates who will fill the increasingly varied roles of today's school psychologist. The school psychologist is called upon to help students, teachers, administrators, and parents overcome obstacles to learning and personal development, obstacles that include family disruptions, mental health problems and disabilities, inadequate exposure to instruction (e.g., from medical illness and poor attendance), academic difficulties, and others.

Nationally, there is a great need for professionals trained in school psychology. Recent national projections indicate that nearly 38% of all school psychologists are projected to retire by 2010. A survey conducted by the National Association of School Psychologists indicates that the number of school psychology graduates will not be enough to provide replacements in the near future. The expected shortage exists in Illinois and neighboring states.

The Chicago School recognizes that there will be a substantial shortfall in the number of available school psychologists in Illinois; therefore, it has committed to the creation of an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) in School Psychology master's degree program. The Chicago School is in the process of seeking approval to offer the Ed.S. in School Psychology from the necessary accreditation and regulatory agencies. If the school is successful in these efforts, students admitted to the M.A. Clinical Psychology with a School Psychology specialization program will be given the opportunity to transfer into the Ed.S. in School Psychology graduate program.

Certification / Licensure

The School Psychology specialization will prepare one to take the National School Psychology certification examination.

Program Requirements

The Clinical Psychology specialization in School Psychology requires 61 semester credit hours, including 55 credits of classroom-based course work, and seven credit hours of practicum/field learning. The School Psychology specialization practicum (or field placement) requires 720 clock hours of training and 1,200 hours of full-time internship in a school setting.

M.A. Forensic

The rapidly growing field of forensic psychology focuses on the application of the science and profession of psychology to questions and issues relating to law and the legal system. The curriculum is designed to prepare graduates to work in a number of areas including secure forensic units in state facilities; community mental health centers; jails/prisons, probation services; court service units; protective services; violence risk assessment; specialized agencies (i.e., child advocacy centers), and law enforcement. Students are required to complete 50 semester hours of course work, which includes practicum experience or a master's thesis.

In consultation with the student's advisor, the course work (e.g., electives, practica, thesis) can be tailored to meet individualized needs and educational and professional goals. This program provides the academic requirements to enable a student to take the Illinois master's-level licensure exams (LPC and LCPC), pursue a doctoral degree, or further his/her career through specific promotion opportunities that require a graduate degree.

Program objectives

  • To prepare master's-level specialists to bring psychology into the legal and public policy arena in an ethical, academically informed, and research-based manner.
  • To prepare master's-level specialists to contribute services (e.g., evaluation of risk assessment, supervision, assessment, intervention and treatment planning) to address problems and issues of various populations.
  • To provide students with the necessary interpersonal, behavioral, academic, and technical skills for application in a variety of forensic settings.

M.A. Industrial/Organizational

The Industrial/Organizational curriculum enables Chicago School students to gain the essential diagnostic and consultative skills to help organizations and the individuals within them solve problems, perform effectively, work in a global, multicultural environment, and grow professionally. The Chicago School focuses not just on theory and research, but on teaching its students the applied skills necessary to succeed in the business world.

The I/O program at The Chicago School is distinctive in that it applies the discipline's assessment skills and feedback mechanisms in the program itself. Students not only learn how to design and implement assessment centers and 360-degree feedback tools but they also benefit by participating in these very same practices to identify their own strengths and improve developmental areas.

Intensive course work that balances theory and practice is accompanied by two supervised internships. Students must successfully complete 46 credit hours, six of which are electives, to graduate.

Our students have secured internships and jobs at organizations such as Chicago Board of Trade, U.S. Navy, Chicago Tribune, AC Neilson, Red Cross, Seguin Services, Allstate, Rush Health Medical Systems, GM Electromotive Division, Buck Consulting, YMCA, Aon Consulting, United Health Care, Bank of America, North Central College, Red Prairie Software, Maryville Academy, Ernst & Young, GSP Marketing, as well as the school's own Center for Sustainable Solutions.

Program objectives

  • To provide students with the foundation in I/O theory and research in order to have the necessary knowledge and skills to lead personnel selection, development, organizational assessment and interventions.
  • To provide students with the necessary skills in research and statistical methods to become educated consumers of the professional literature and to draw upon research methodologies in designing interventions and critically approaching problems in an applied setting. These skills will lead to the ability to correctly assess survey results, choose components of a selection system, evaluate performance management at an organizational level, and analyze jobs efficiently.
  • To provide students with the personal and interpersonal skills necessary in the business environment, such as effective communication, conflict negotiation, influence strategies, networking skills, business savvy, and cross-cultural intelligence.

The Chicago School & Lake Forest Graduate School of Management

The Chicago School and Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM) have partnered to support the combination of Business and Industrial / Organization psychology in the work world. Students at LFGSM can concentrate in Organizational Behavior, taking courses at The Chicago School and graduate of both schools can pursue an accelerated degree at either institution.

Accelerated Degrees
  • Accelerated M.B.A. for Chicago School I/O Graduates
  • Accelerated M.A. in I/O Psychology for LFGSM Graduates
  • Organizational Behavior Specialization for LFGSM M.B.A. Students


Our geographically diverse student population consists of individuals from across the United States and 15 countries. Our Fall 2005 total student population of 962 consists of full-time students who are employed part time in mental health and business settings while pursuing their degrees, as well as part-time students employed full time. Of the total population, 58% study at the master’s level and 42% are doctoral students.

2005 Student Profile At-a-Glance:

  • Total students: 962
  • Average age: 27
  • Average undergraduate GPA: 3.25
  • Average GRE composite score: 1076
  • Number of applications: 1,168
  • Percent accepted: 65%

Degree Program Enrollment
  • Clinical Psy.D. 41%
  • Business Psy.D. 1%
  • Industrial/Organizational 10%
  • Forensic 22.5%
  • Clinical Counseling 19.5%
  • Applied Behavior Analysis 6%

  • African-American 9%
  • Asian-Pacific 5%
  • Hispanic 6%
  • Native American 1%
  • Caucasian 69%
  • Foreign 3%
  • Other 7%

  • Male: 20%
  • Female: 80%

Total Number of Degrees Awarded (1995- Present)


  Results from FactBites:
Monitor on Psychology - Opening up the bottleneck (1620 words)
At the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP), school officials created an exclusively-affiliated consortium to allow PsyD students to stay in the Denver area for their internships if they chose, says Jenny Cornish, PhD, GSPP associate professor and director of clinical training and the internship consortium.
Before the school’s Psychology Internship Consortium was organized in 2001, students sometimes ran into problems getting internships that fit their life circumstances, Cornish says.
APA also is working to advocate for funds for psychology internship training through such programs as the federal Graduate Psychology Education program, which awards funds through a competitive process to APA-accredited internships serving underserved populations, she says.
  More results at FactBites »



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