Two Psychology students talk in a study lounge

Clinical Psychology

We are a generalist program with strong roots in rural mental health, and special expertise in trauma and clinical disaster psychology.

Get the Clinical and Research Training You Need to Succeed

As a clinical psychology student at USD, you will receive ongoing training and have opportunities for at least two 9-12 month practicum experiences. Our clinical faculty maintain active research programs involving laboratory-based research, survey studies and/or community-based field research. As a result, you'll be exposed to a diversity of research methodologies, including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Designed to provide a strong theoretical base, your coursework can be readily applied to various working environments.

Become a caring and competent professional as a clinical psychology graduate student at USD.                  

Degrees & Offerings

Psychology: Clinical Psychology (M.A., Ph.D.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

Earn your master's on the way to earning your Ph.D. in the clinical psychology program at USD. It requires 106 credit hours of core psychology and clinical psychology coursework, a master's thesis, several electives and a dissertation.

Learn more about the psychology program

View Admissions Requirements

Psychology: Clinical Psychology and Clinical/Disaster Psychology (M.A., Ph.D.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

Pursuing a clinical/disaster psychology specialization with your Ph.D. requires an additional 12 credit hours to the 106 credit hours required for the doctoral degree. This involves selected coursework, research, and practicum experiences that are in addition to, but co-occurring with your clinical psychology training.

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details





Graduate Admissions


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

An Affordable Education

Gain valuable real-world, professional experience while enjoying paid employment and discounted tuition rates as a graduate student at USD. The affordability you gain through graduate assistantships and fellowships will equip you with valuable, professional-level skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

Teaching and research assistantships are awarded by individual departments. If you do not receive an assistantship within your department, you are eligible for an assistantship outside of your academic program or within support offices (non-academic units) at USD. Further inquiries should be directed to the graduate director of the department.

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Real Experience Through Research

You'll find the mentorship and opportunities you need to study topics that spark your interest. Some of our recent master's graduates in the psychology program have crafted their degree plans around the following research areas:

  • Rural community psychology 
  • Cross-cultural/individual differences, with a particular focus on Native American mental health 
  • Disaster mental health and psychological first aid 
  • Trauma (interpersonal, generational, and PTSD) 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Mindfulness-based psychological treatment 

At USD, our graduate students are actively pursuing unique research and presenting at local and national conferences exploring innovative areas of interest to them. Additional research and grant opportunities include: 

Graduate Research

Build Your Network

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of Psychology. You may be interested in Psychology Club or social activities to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests.

Advocacy Coordinating Team (ACT)

The ACT consists of students and faculty who are committed to advocating for the profession of psychology at the local, state, regional and national level. The APA Graduate Student Association designates students to regional coordinators who assist in the development of state and departmental program-based committees. 

Ally Group

Since 1996, the Ally Group has consisted of students who share a commitment to understanding the connections between racism, sexism, socioeconomic status, heterosexism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination. Ally provides a safe, supportive environment for difficult conversations. 

Students of Color in Psychology (SCIP)

Since 1994, the program's Students of Color in Psychology (SCIP) mentoring program has provided opportunities for students of color in psychology to explore issues of race and ethnicity in their developing professional identity. The SCIP program sponsors social activities for its members and for the program as a whole. They also sponsor/co-sponsor presentations on the topic of diversity.

Join Now

Health and Wellness Committee

The Wellness Committee consists of a group of clinical psychology students who coordinate, plan and fundraise for social activities within the clinical training program and Department of Psychology. Annual activities include a fall welcome picnic, winter party and year-end potluck picnic lunch and farewell to interns.

Graduate & Professional Student Association (GPSA)

Join your fellow graduate and professional students at USD. We aim to build a sense of community between graduate and professional students. Build your resume, network with others and gain experience and the unique opportunity to represent the interests of graduate students to the greater campus and community.

Join Now

The following faculty members will be accepting new graduate students for Fall 2024:

  • Dr. Brianna Byllesby
  • Dr. Jean Caraway
  • Dr. BreAnne Danzi
  • Dr. Jeffrey Simons
  • Dr. Raluca Simons


With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in psychology.
students looking at a laptop having a discussion with their professor


Expand your understanding of the human mind and behavior as you develop strengths in research, critical thinking, advocacy and service.

A meeting in progress at the psychological services center between a faculty member and student.

Psychological Services Center

The Clinical Psychology program is committed to the scientist-practitioner model of training.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Department of Psychology. Our faculty serve as experts in their fields and maintain active research involving laboratory-based research, survey studies and/or community-based field research.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Beth Boyd

Beth Boyd

Director-Clinical Psych Prog
Bio Image for Faculty Member BreAnne Danzi

BreAnne Danzi

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Raluca Simons

Raluca Simons

Director-DMHI, Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Brianna Byllesby

Brianna Byllesby

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Rachel Post

Rachel Post

Assist Professor of Practice
Two clinical psychology students participate in an activity at The Building Bridges Conference

Building Bridges

The Building Bridges Conference was established as a grassroots initiative in 1997 as a dream of two clinical psychology graduate students, who believed that to encourage Native American youth to persist in their education, there needed to be a bridge between their traditions and the traditions of higher education. 

This annual event is a collaborative conference sponsored by the clinical psychology program and the psychology department in the College of Arts & Sciences and by the Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Psychology students stand outside of Psychological Service Center

Psychological Services Center 

The Psychological Services Center (PSC) serves as a teaching, training and research center. At USD, the clinic provides the following services:
  • Assessment & Therapy Services to children, adults, couples and families through a variety of modalities including brief and longer-term individual, family and group psychotherapy. 
  • Consultation & Training may be arranged for individuals and groups. Examples include stress management, eating disorders, child abuse, depression, spousal/partner abuse and suicide prevention.
  • Procedures and psychological services are provided by doctoral students under the supervision of licensed psychologists. 


Learn More

Surprisingly Affordable

Whether you’ve recently completed your undergraduate degree, or you want to kick your career up a notch, graduate school is the next logical step. The good news is there is funding for both online and on-campus students to get you through your program. 

Graduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Graduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees.

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.

Graduate Assistantships

USD offers opportunities for grad students to earn a reduced tuition rate in exchange for their teaching, research and service efforts to the university.



The clinical psychology program has been continuously accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association since 1971. 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 20002-4242
(202) 336-5979

Student Admissions, Outcomes & Other Data

hear from a usd student

Success story Blake Warner smiling.
I chose USD because it felt like home. My choice to pursue my doctorate in Clinical Psychology came through working as a work study in the Student Counseling Center. I saw the chance to help people and make the world a better place. Much of my work is in the area of developmental disabilities--a passion I have been able to foster at USD through many training opportunities and partnerships through the Center for Disabilities. Everyone at USD and in the Psychology department has been supportive of my goals and because of these opportunities, I know I'll have the experience I need to be an effective clinician and advocate following graduation.

Blake Warner

Ph.D. Clinical Psychology '24
M.A. Clinical Psychology '22
B.A. Psychology, Communication Studies '18
Current PhD Student, University of South Dakota
Windom, MN

Take the Next Step