Mission and Program Aims

The Rivier University Combined Doctoral Program in Counseling and School Psychology follows the accepted practitioner-scholar model. Students are prepared as critical thinkers and problem solvers who work in applied settings and draw upon the theory and knowledge of psychology and education to deliver a continuum of empirically supported services. Students are trained in a cohort model to be consumers of research to inform practice as highly skilled professionals delivering assessment, intervention, consultation and preventive services to their constituents.

Committed to the faith heritage, intellectual tradition, and social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, the University educates the whole person in the context of an academic community that cultivates critical thought, sound judgment, and respect for all people. This community supports the intellectual growth of all its members while offering them opportunities for social, cultural, moral, and spiritual development.

The Psy.D. program curriculum meets the New Hampshire state licensure requirements under New Hampshire law and is consistent with the Standards of Accreditation of the American Psychological Association. APA accreditation for the doctoral program will be pursued.

Mission Statement
To prepare graduates in the Catholic intellectual tradition with the broad and general knowledge and skills to function as entry level professional psychologists.

Goal 1: To graduate professional psychologists who are competent and reflective practitioner-scholars

  • Objective 1: Graduates will engage in practice that reflects and is informed by the changing and expanding scientific knowledge base including the foundational areas of psychology.
    • Competency 1a: Students demonstrate an appropriate mastery of the bases of scientific and professional psychology (e.g., developmental, biological, cognitive/ affective, and social aspects of behavior, and the history of the discipline of psychology).
    • Competency 1b: Students will demonstrate appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes in reflecting on, critically evaluating, and improving one's own professional practices. 
    • Competency 1c: Students demonstrate the attitudes and skills to collaborative in training and in professional settings and are appropriately responsive to input from faculty, supervisors, and peers. 
    • Competency 1d: Students demonstrate knowledge and skills in evaluating efficacy of interventions and assessing client progress and outcome.


Goal 2: To graduate professional psychologists who are knowledgeable about and clinically skilled in the areas of assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and supervision and consultation.

  • Objective 2: Students will develop proficiency in evidence based approaches to the assessment and treatment of client’s problems and needs, respectful of client’s values, preferences and diverse backgrounds.
    • Competency 2a: Students demonstrate knowledge and skills in evidence based theories and methods of assessment and diagnosis, including the selection, administration, and interpretation of assessments consistent with best scientific research evidence. 
    • Competency 2b: Students demonstrate knowledge and skills in integrating assessment data into comprehensive conceptualizations of clients including an appropriate treatment plan.
    • Competency 2c: Students demonstrate knowledge and skills in providing evidence based psychological interventions that are respectful of client values, preferences, and culture.
    • Competency 2d: Students demonstrate foundational knowledge and initial skills in the instruction, oversight, and supervision of trainees and other professionals.
    • Competency 2e: Students demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding inter-professional and interdisciplinary consultation in all professional roles.
  • Objective 3: Students will develop an understanding of service delivery systems within a context that respects individual and cultural diversity and social justice. 
    • Competency 3a: Students demonstrate knowledge and understanding of diversity and contextual issues in a variety of professional roles.
    • Competency 3b: Students conceptualize cases considering contextual and diversity issues and apply this conceptualization in their assessment, treatment planning, and/or interventions with diverse clients and populations.


Goal 3: To graduate professional psychologists competent in the comprehension, conduct, and application of research to professional practice.

  • Objective 4: Students will demonstrate knowledge and skills in research design and data analysis and interpretation, as well as knowledge and skills in the critical review and evaluation of psychological and educational research literature.
    • Competency 4a: Students demonstrate substantial knowledge and skills in basic quantitative methods and data analysis, research design, and psychological measurement commonly used in psychology.
    • Competency 4b: Students demonstrate skills in advanced research methods and data analysis appropriate to conducting their dissertation research.

Goal 4: To graduate students with a strong commitment to their professional identity as psychologists and a strong commitment to ethical practice in psychology.

  • Objective 5: Students demonstrate knowledge of, and adherence to, ethical and legal guidelines in all aspects of their professional work. 
    • Competency 5a: Students demonstrate knowledge and application of relevant ethical and legal codes and protection of research subjects (e.g., APA's Ethical Standards) in all facets of their professional roles. 
  • Objective 6: Students and graduates demonstrate a commitment to psychology as a profession and to their identity as professional psychologists. 
    • Competency 6a: Students and graduates will perform activities consistent with those identified in professional psychology including licensure (where appropriate), membership and/or participation in national, state, and local organizations, and through their expressed professional goals.
    • Competency 6b: Graduates demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning and personal and professional growth and development.