Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs for Eating Disorders
Clinical psychology graduate programs with an eating disorder focus are offered primarily at the doctoral level. The curriculum and admissions criteria for such programs are covered in this article.
General Curriculum for Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs for Eating Disorders
Clinical psychology doctoral programs can provide students with opportunities to focus on eating disorders through participation in ongoing research projects and often award a master's degree on the way to earning a doctorate. Doctoral program curricula can equip graduates to work with patients dealing with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, overeating, and other disorders. Clinical psychology students usually complete a clinical practicum experience, or a series of practicums for some programs, at on-campus locations or local community partner sites as part of their training. They also complete coursework that may include the classes profiled below.
Social Psychology or Social Behavioral Aspects
Clinical psychology graduate programs can offer core courses on social psychology or social behavioral aspects, and in some cases course completion is required for state licensure as a psychologist. Students learn about contemporary and classical theories in social psychology. They might also explore how society impacts an individual's actions and emotions. Topics of study may include persuasion, stereotypes, morality, and how society can impact the concept of self.
Clinical graduate programs with a focus on eating disorders have courses on psychological assessments in order to train students to evaluate patients so they can develop appropriate and effective treatment plans based on assessment results. Students learn about both the ethical and cultural aspects of psychological assessment along with the methods used to conduct a range of psychological assessments, including personality and intelligence tests. They may also study the best methods for gathering data and how to utilize that information in developing a clinical diagnosis.
Quantitative Research Methods
In this course, clinical psychology graduate students receive training on the use of statistical information when conducting research experiments. These courses may cover areas such as the following: working with nested designs, single factor designs, and multiple factor designs; multiple regression methods; bivariate association methods; and continuous predictor variables, multiple predictor variables, and categorical predictor variables. Students may also receive training on variance analysis methods, along with dealing with Type I and Type II errors.
Child Assessment and Therapy
Clinical psychologists specializing in treating eating disorders may work with young children or adolescents experiencing issues. To prepare for these roles, graduate students examine how children develop mentally and physically in order to perform age-appropriate evaluations designed to measure socio-emotional, developmental, adaptive, and cognitive functioning. They might also examine various psychotherapeutic treatment models and assess their effectiveness. Factors involved in clinical decision making could be discussed as well.
Students enrolled in cognitive psychology courses examine human brain processes from a research perspective as well as a theoretical one. They may explore the connection between cognitive processes and how these particular processes co-exist with both non-cognitive and perceptual activities. Another topic that students may explore is how the human brain evaluates, stores, and recalls information. It should be noted that some graduate programs require students to have achieved a minimum grade on a prerequisite psychology course prior to completing a course on cognitive psychology.
Admission Criteria for Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs for Eating Disorders
Many universities' general graduate admission criteria include a bachelor's degree, and in some cases, a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA), such as a 3.0. To gain admission to a clinical psychology graduate program, prior research experience as an undergraduate might also be required. Candidates can expect to submit an online application, which may include an application processing fee, and various required supporting materials. Typical supporting materials include a resume, two or three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, official GRE scores no older than five years, and a statement of goals or intent. Some graduate programs offer candidates the opportunity to also submit optional materials, such as research papers, to aid in the evaluation of their applications.
Students interested in a graduate degree program in clinical psychology that focuses on eating disorders will need a bachelor's degree that meets minimum GPA requirements to enter most programs. Graduate students in clinical psychology typically complete a practicum experience as part of their training, along with coursework in such areas as assessing and treating patients experiencing eating issues, working with young children and adolescents, conducting qualitative research, and examining cognitive development.