APPIC Policy on Doctoral Program Associates

Established May, 2013
Effective June 1, 2013
Revised November 13, 2015
Revised May 22, 2018

  1. Doctoral programs must meet ALL of the following requirements in order to be eligible to have students participate in the APPIC Match and/or Post-Match Vacancy Service (PMVS), have students accepted by APPIC-member internship programs, and/or become Doctoral Program Associates:

    1. Be a doctoral program in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology, defined as a program in the areas of (a) clinical, (b) counseling, (c) school, (d) other developed practice areas, or (e) combinations of two or three of the above areas, consistent with the standards of an Eligible Accrediting Organization (as defined below). Respecialization programs in Professional Psychology for which internship is an essential and required component of the doctoral training are also eligible.

      An “Eligible Accrediting Organization” is one that accredits doctoral programs in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology and is (a) recognized by an Approved Government Agency or (b) the Canadian Psychological Association.

      Definition of Approved Government Agency: An Approved Government Agency is a United States governmental department, agency, or body that (a) formally reviews and/or recognizes doctoral psychology accrediting organizations or (b) has explicitly recognized a doctoral psychology accrediting organization in its hiring qualifications; and (c) has been approved in APPIC’s sole discretion. Approved Government Agencies currently include the United States Department of Education and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

    2. Require practicum experience as part of the curriculum and ensure that supervision is provided by appropriately credentialed, registered, or licensed supervisors.

    3. Require the completion of a one-year, full-time (or two-year, half-time) internship of all students. School Psychology doctoral programs may require internships that are nine or ten months (on a full-time basis) in duration.

    4. Doctoral programs must also meet one of the following criteria:

      1. The doctoral program is accredited by an Eligible Accrediting Organization. Regional or state accreditation or designation by any other entity is insufficient to meet this criterion; or

      2. The doctoral program is not accredited but has been granted an initial accreditation site visit by an Eligible Accrediting Organization. Students enrolled in such programs may participate only in the next two Match / PMVS cycles immediately following the date that the program is notified that it has qualified for a site visit, and are eligible for placement at APPIC-member internship programs only during this period, until the program achieves accreditation; or

      3. Is a respecialization program in which the underlying doctoral program is accredited by an Eligible Accrediting Organization or has qualified for a site visit as outlined in the preceding two paragraphs.

        NOTE: It must be stressed that taking an internship, or acquiring experience in a practicum setting, is not sufficient preparation for becoming a clinical, counseling, or school psychologist without prior training in the relevant specialty area. The internship experience is properly seen as only one element in the change of specialty. Thus, doctoral psychologists who are attempting to qualify as practitioners in an area different from that emphasized in their original training must be certified in writing by a director of a doctoral-level professional psychology training program in the new specialty, as having completed an organized program of didactic and practicum work which is the equivalent of the usual pre-internship preparation in the specialty area. APPIC members will not accept applicants who do not meet these and other current policies regarding respecialization in Professional Psychology.

  2. For doctoral programs to have students participate in the APPIC Match and/or PMVS and be eligible for acceptance at APPIC-member internship programs, these programs must be approved by APPIC to become "Doctoral Program Associates" (DPAs) and pay the appropriate annual fee. DPA status provides a package of services to doctoral programs, including eligibility for their students to participate in the APPIC Match and/or PMVS, tools that allow programs to monitor student participation in the Match and receive students' Match results, and other benefits.
Go to this link to access current PMVS information:


APPIC Revised Policy on Doctoral Program Associates

Frequently Asked Questions (May 2018)

Question: Why did APPIC revise the policy?

In 2013, as a part of our commitment to quality training, the APPIC Board implemented its Policy on Doctoral Program Associates, and in 2015 APPIC specified that to be eligible to send students into the internship match, a doctoral program must be accredited by an eligible accrediting organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (for programs in the U.S.) or by the Canadian Psychological Association.

In June 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) adopted new qualification standards that broadened the scope of recognized accrediting bodies beyond those recognized by APPIC.

As a Federal Agency that has congressional oversight, the VA must ensure a pathway to allow students from all programs eligible per the VA qualification standards to participate in VA internship and postdoctoral training. In 2017, the VA began pursuing options for an independent, VA-specific match that would result in a two-match system, potentially as early as the 2018-2019 Match cycle.

In our judgement, a two-match system would have profound negative consequences to students, internship programs, and the field more broadly. For the wellbeing of the training community, the APPIC Board developed a policy revision to avert these potentially far-reaching and harmful repercussions. Accordingly, the APPIC Board has adopted a mission-driven change to its Policy on Doctoral Program Associates to maintain the cohesion of the training community by affording preservation of a single match. A call for comments took place in Spring of 2018 and the APPIC Board revised and voted to approve the language in the revised policy on May 21, 2018.

Question: What changed in the policy?

The policy revision pertains to a change in the definition of an “eligible accrediting organization.” A doctoral program accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by an Approved Government Agency is now eligible for Doctoral Program Associate (DPA) status with APPIC, provided that other DPA eligibility requirements are met.

Question: What are the current eligible accrediting organizations?

As of May 2018, the eligible accrediting organizations are American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation (APA), the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS).

Question: Will this policy change affect how my internship program evaluates applicants?

As in the past, each internship program determines applicant eligibility criteria and assesses the fit of applicants for the program. It continues to be acceptable for internships to utilize doctoral program accreditation status as an eligibility criterion or a predictor of anticipated fit, should the internship wish to do so.

Question: I am a Director of Clinical Training at a doctoral program that is a current DPA. We are considering changing our accreditation status. How will that impact our DPA status?

All doctoral programs with current DPA status remain eligible to send students into the Match. If a current DPA becomes accredited by an eligible accrediting organization in addition to the one it was accredited by when awarded DPA status, DPA status remains unchanged. If a current DPA loses or relinquishes the accreditation status under which they became a DPA and will be solely accredited by a different eligible accrediting organization, that program must notify APPIC and submit a copy of the official documentation of their program’s accreditation by their eligible accrediting organization.

Question: Will there be any changes with the AAPI and the APPIC Directory Online to reflect this policy change? How about with National Matching Services (NMS)?

The AAPI currently allows applicants to designate whether their doctoral program is accredited by APA or CPA. There is not currently an option to designate dual accreditation (e.g., APA and PCSAS) or sole accreditation by PCSAS. Similarly, the Directory Online currently allows a doctoral program to designate its APA or CPA accreditation status. APPIC is collaborating with its vendors to establish a timeframe for updating the AAPI and the Directory Online. National Matching Services will ensure that the Match system is able to accommodate all eligible programs/students. It is possible that these various changes may not be implemented prior to the 2018-2019 application season.

Frequently Asked Questions (November 2015) 

The APPIC Board of Directors has received inquiries requesting clarification of the revised policies for Doctoral Program Associates (DPA) status and eligibility for doctoral programs to enroll their students in the Match process. The Board offers the following clarifications:

Question: Does a currently non-accredited doctoral program have sufficient time to either obtain accreditation or to schedule their site visit?

The APPIC Board reviewed this question with a variety of stakeholders prior to the initial implementation of this policy in May of 2013, and concluded that existing, non-accredited doctoral programs should be able to attain accreditation from an eligible accrediting body in time for their students to be eligible to participate in the APPIC Match. The APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation and CPA Accreditation Panel are both available to answer specific questions and to provide information about the accreditation process, and current, non-accredited programs are encouraged to contact them with any questions or concerns.

Question: Will new doctoral programs be able to enroll their students in the Match process if not accredited by the 2018 APPIC Match?

The only doctoral programs that will be allowed to send their students into the APPIC Match are those that are either accredited or have been granted a site visit by an eligible accrediting body, as described in the policy. Newly-emerging doctoral programs that seek to enroll students into the APPIC Match should consult with the appropriate eligible accrediting body about the required steps for accreditation.

Question: Will students in re-specialization programs be allowed to participate in the APPIC Match and be eligible for internships?

Students participating in re-specialization programs in professional psychology sponsored by accredited doctoral programs (or doctoral programs that have been granted a site visit, as described in the policy above) will be eligible to participate in the APPIC Match.

Question: Is the revision of the DPA and Match eligibility criteria meant to address the internship imbalance by reducing the number of programs that can enroll students in the Match?

The issue of revising the eligibility criteria for participation in the APPIC Match has been part of a recurring discussion among the members of the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC).  APPIC, APAGS, APA, and the various participating training councils discussed these changes in the context of quality assurance within the profession, the important role that APA- and CPA-accreditation plays in that process for the public, and the increasing focus on systematic review procedures for educational and training outcomes of the professional workforce in the emerging healthcare marketplace. These revisions were not directly resulting from the separate discussions about the imbalance, which is seen as a product of multiple forces that both impinge upon and contribute to the challenges within the psychology training and education community. The APPIC Board participated in these discussions with the desire to establish internship programs that are available to all eligible candidates as well as the expectation that psychology affirm its commitment to quality training and education. As such, the revised policies were carefully developed and reviewed with the training councils and APAGS prior to their formal approval and implementation.

APPIC is committed to monitoring developments in quality training and education in psychology and will review its policies as needed.