Clinical Health Psychology PhD Program

Mission Statement

The mission of the Clinical Health Psychology (CHP) program is to train Scientist-Practitioners who receive a generalist-training in clinical psychology, and who acquire additional knowledge and skill in health psychology and behavioral medicine. We promote a practice of clinical psychology that is evidence-based and integrates the findings of relevant scientific research. We encourage our students to engage in both research and clinical work, and to use critical analysis of the empirical literature to inform their clinical interventions. Our graduates are trained to function in a complex, diverse, and pluralistic society, emphasizing ethical principles and developing knowledge and respect for individual, group, and cultural differences.

Clinical Health Psychology PhD Program

Program Director: Amy Wachholtz, PhD                            

Program Assistant: Kimberly Hill, Ph.D.

CHP Admissions:

CU Denver and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have provided clear statements that we must stand together against racism and injustice. The Clinical Health Psychology program is aligned with these values. Please find here a helpful site of resources regarding racial justice.

The Psychology Department at CU Denver offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree (PhD) with an emphasis in Clinical Health Psychology (CHP). We are accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 2016 (APA, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 1st St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202.336.5979). Our next site visit is Winter/Spring 2024.  Our program adheres to the scientist-practitioner model. Training emphasizes the contribution of research to the understanding, treatment and prevention of a wide range of health-related concerns, and the application of knowledge that is grounded in scientific evidence.  

In the CHP program, students are trained in a variety of approaches and techniques for evaluating, diagnosing and treating a wide range of psychological problems. Because our program places an emphasis on health, our students are also trained to assess the psychological factors associated with different medical conditions and learn to design effective interventions that integrate biological, psychological and social (including cultural) factors. Students acquire research expertise by completing a master's thesis and doctoral dissertation and demonstrate competence in clinical assessment and intervention through several applied practica experiences, a clinical competency evaluation, and a pre-doctoral internship. With this broad and intense model of training, our students have gone on to diverse professional postdoctoral fellowships and professional careers. Examples of research opportunities, clinical training opportunities, and post graduate experiences for our students can be found here.

CU Denver is a premier research university in Colorado and the PhD program in CHP was conceived as an important bridge between the Downtown Campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus (AMC).  The program is housed on the Downtown Campus which is located in the heart of Denver close to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the LoDo District and the state capital.  The Anschutz Medical Campus includes over 5 million square feet of research, educational and clinical space on 227 acres.  The PhD program offers research and clinical opportunities for its students at AMC in addition to the many relationships it has established with other clinical facilities in the Denver area.

The University of Colorado Denver’s CHP program is committed to diversity and fostering inclusion; one in which all individuals- whether from underrepresented, represented, or well represented groups- feel uniquely esteemed, valued and respected.  As psychologists, we understand that a culture of inclusion encourages diverse perspectives and makes our program and students stronger. This is part of our mission to equip future researchers and clinicians to be culturally competent and responsive as they engage in the science and practice of psychology.  Cultural competence and responsiveness in both research and clinical practice is strongly emphasized in our curriculum, clinical training, research, and numerous events in both the University and Denver communities. In our large urban setting, students in our program have excellent opportunities in to expand their research and clinical experience in with regard to diverse and underserved populations, including opportunities in bilingual training. Moreover, students and faculty in the program have a wide range of research interests, including research focused on neurodiversity, varying developmental periods, religious diversity, military couples, physical ability and addiction status, and health and healthcare disparities. Student research regarding diversity is encouraged. Applicants and current students can click the link below for more information about diversity programs at CU Denver.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Licensure information:

We are an APA accredited program (APA, Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 1st St. NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242; 202.336.5979) and most states and territories in the United States use APA requirements for licensing psychologists, including the state of Colorado.  However, as state requirements may change without any notice to doctoral programs, we are unable to confirm that our program meets the licensure requirements for any specific state or territory.  If you intend to pursue such credentialing and licensing in a different state or territory, we advise you to contact the applicable state credentialing authority to familiarize yourself with its specific requirements and determine if our program meets its eligibility criteria.  Many students find the following link is a helpful place to start in researching a state or territory’s requirements: . If you have further questions, you are welcome to contact the program director, Amy Wachholtz, PhD, or the program assistant, Kimberly Hill and we will do our best to assist you in your career planning.