APPIC Policy on Doctoral Program Associates

Established May, 2013
Effective June 1, 2013
Revised November 13, 2015
Revised May 22, 2018
Revised March 9, 2022
Revised October 10, 2023

  1. Doctoral programs in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology must become Doctoral Program Associates (DPAs) in order to be eligible to have their students participate in the APPIC Match and Post-Match Vacancy Service (PMVS) and attend APPIC-member internship programs. Doctoral programs must meet ALL of the following requirements in order to be eligible for DPA status:

    1. Be a doctoral program in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology, defined as a program in the areas of (a) clinical psychology, (b) counseling psychology, (c) school psychology, (d) other developed practice areas, or (e) combinations of the above areas; as determined by the APPIC Board in its sole discretion.

    2. Require practicum experience as part of the curriculum and ensure that significant and sufficient 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. Meet one of the following criteria:

      1. Be 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.
    5. Submit the appropriate application and fee and be approved by the APPIC Board.

    In order to maintain DPA status, a doctoral program must comply with all APPIC policies and pay annual fees in a timely manner.

    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. Doctoral programs that meet criteria 1a, 1b, and 1c above, but do not meet criteria 1d, may be eligible to have their students participate in the PMVS (not the APPIC Match) and attend an APPIC-member internship program. Such doctoral programs must submit an application and be approved by APPIC for this "PMVS Only" status. The APPIC Board may, in its sole discretion, adopt additional criteria, set time limitations, or eliminate this option entirely.

    Starting with the 2025 PMVS, doctoral programs that have been in "PMVS Only" status for two full selection cycles without achieving accreditation are no longer eligible to participate in the PMVS. This two-cycle eligibility begins on the day that the PMVS opens after the program enters "PMVS Only" status and is independent of whether any students actually participate in the PMVS during any selection cycle.

  3. Students who wish to participate in the APPIC Match and/or Post-Match Vacancy Service and be eligible to attend an APPIC-member internship program must be matriculating through a doctoral program that meets the requirements outlined above.

    1. While a student must be matriculating through and in good standing with the doctoral program, there is no APPIC requirement for the student to be registered or paying tuition for any particular semester.

    2. Students who have already graduated from the doctoral program are not eligible.

    3. For individuals who already hold a doctoral degree in another area of psychology and who are seeking to change to a professional specialty for which they were not originally prepared, the student must be enrolled in a re-specialization program in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology for which the internship is an essential and required component of the doctoral training. The doctoral program providing the respecialization must be an APPIC Doctoral Program Associate.

      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 re-specialization in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology.

    4. Students from doctoral programs that are located outside of the United States and Canada must receive APPIC's approval to participate and must:

      1. Demonstrate that they have participated in sufficient practicum training that is supervised by appropriately credentialed, registered, or licensed supervisors, and

      2. Submit documentation from an entity or organization that is recognized by APPIC, certifying that the student's academic program is equivalent to doctoral programs in Health Service Psychology and/or Professional Psychology in the United States or Canada.

  4. Doctoral programs that participate in the Match and/or Post-Match Vacancy Service must meet the following requirements:

    1. Doctoral programs may allow their students to participate in the APPIC Match and/or the APPIC Post-Match Vacancy Service only if they have been deemed ready for internship by the program. Programs must have and follow written criteria and procedures that determine readiness and eligibility for internship.

      In general, a student is deemed "ready" for internship only if they currently meet the doctoral program's internship readiness/eligibility criteria (e.g., comprehensive examinations, dissertation progress, specific competencies) and are not currently on probation or completing a performance improvement plan (e.g., learning, developmental, remediation plan, etc.) for standards or competencies that are relevant to internship training. Infrequently, a doctoral program may allow a student to participate in the Match or Post-Match Vacancy Service prior to attaining current readiness with the expectation they abide by the limitations outlined in the following paragraph.

    2. All of a doctoral program's internship readiness/eligibility requirements must be satisfactorily completed by a student prior to submitting a Rank Order List in either phase of the APPIC Match and prior to accepting an offer from an APPIC-member internship program during the Post-Match Vacancy Service [PMVS]. Students who do not meet all of the doctoral program's internship readiness/eligibility requirements must withdraw from the Match instead of submitting a Rank Order List. Students who are seeking an internship position after both phases of the APPIC Match (e.g., via the PMVS) and do not meet all of the doctoral program's readiness/eligibility requirements may not accept a position at an APPIC-member internship program. Exceptions to this policy include those doctoral program requirements (e.g., certain academic coursework, optional practica) where non-completion would not affect the students' eligibility or readiness for internship nor preclude the student from attending the internship to which they have matched.

    3. Doctoral programs determine eligibility/readiness for participation in the Match and PMVS as well as the internship programs to which their students may apply and rank. Doctoral programs are expected to systematically and regularly monitor the list of their students (provided by National Matching Services, Inc.) who have registered for the Match and to immediately take steps to end the participation of any student who is not authorized to participate. The APPIC Match Coordinator should be contacted if needed for assistance.

    4. The APPIC Board strongly discourages doctoral programs from requesting or requiring separate contracts from internship programs to which their students have matched. In the event such a contract is requested or required by the doctoral program, this expectation (along with the content of the contract) must be fully disclosed by the DCT at the time of application to all internship programs to which each student has applied.

    5. APPIC considers the doctoral internship experience to be a collaboration between the internship site and the doctoral program. As such, doctoral programs are expected to maintain open and regular communication with internship programs. Such communication may include, but isn't limited to, consultation about a student, collaborative efforts in addressing competency or other concerns, being responsive to inquiries from internship programs, and proactively sharing information about their students that may be helpful to a student's internship training experience.

    6. Doctoral programs must provide complete and accurate information to all internship sites to which their students apply or were matched/placed.

      Doctoral programs must promptly notify all internship sites to which the student has applied or were matched in the event of any substantive change to the information provided in the student’s application materials, including but not limited to: (i) the applicant's standing with their doctoral program (e.g., disciplinary action, being put on probation, failing a practicum); (ii) professional conduct items, (iii) completed or anticipated hours/experiences, or (iv) the applicant's eligibility to apply to or attend an internship. Similarly, such changes must be communicated to the internship site to which an applicant has matched, both before and during the internship training year.

    7. When a student fails or resigns from an internship, doctoral programs are expected to (a) work with the internship program and the student to identify the specific competency or other concerns that need to be addressed, (b) for competency concerns, develop and implement an individualized plan to address the identified concerns (e.g., a performance improvement or remediation plan), and (c) evaluate the student's progress and determine that the student is ready for internship (as outlined in paragraphs 5a-c above). In most cases, students should not be permitted to seek or accept another internship without successfully completing these steps.