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Professional Development

Graduate Education in psychological clinical science is a time of enormous professional and scholarly expansion and refinement, during which students actively engage with mentors to develop advanced skills in their transformation into independent clinical scientists.

Training Objectives

Professional development has been designed to provide a combination of didactic, experiential, structured and semi-structured training opportunities in the practical aspects of scholarly productivity to facilitate the competencies needed for professional advancement. Critical areas emphasized include:

  • Developing effective time management skills
  • Attaining an optimal work-life balance to set the stage for a personally rewarding and professionally satisfying career
  • Understanding the professional opportunities afforded by a doctorate in clinical psychology
  • Distinguishing professional opportunities from professional distractions
  • Building a linear program of research
  • Securing funding for research
  • Writing effectively
  • Navigating the peer review process
  • Navigating the IRB process
  • Communicating effectively with colleagues and supervisors
  • Building a competitive curriculum vitae
  • Developing professional networks
  • Understanding the clinical internship match process
  • Developing strategies for effective interviewing
  • Preparing a job talk
  • Understanding considerations of ethics and diversity as they interface with research, practice and professional advancement

Upon completion of the doctoral program, students are expected to demonstrate at minimum an intermediate level of competence in each domain.


Superior science-based professional development is interwoven throughout all aspects of the program to ensure that graduates enter the clinical science marketplace with an attitude toward lifelong learning and maintain the core foundation, advanced training, requisite skills, professional savvy, responsibility and humility to competitively pursue positions of advanced leadership.

  • Presentation Opportunities

    Graduate Student Data Blitzes: As part of the Graduate Professional Development Series, Graduate Student Data Blitzes are held twice each year. These Data Blitzes afford graduate students in Clinical Science an opportunity to formally present their research in slide format as they would at a national conference. Each student research presentation is roughly 10 minutes and is attended by the Center for Children and Families faculty and student body. Each presentation is followed by a brief question-and-answer session.

    South Florida Child Psychology Research Conference: Beginning in spring 2014, Florida International University and the University of Miami have co-sponsored an annual one-day cross-university mentoring conference for graduate students who are attending universities in South Florida. This South Florida Child Psychology Research Conference focuses on research in the domains of clinical child psychology and developmental psychology, and this past year brought researchers together from four universities: Florida International University, University of Miami, University of South Florida, and Florida Atlantic University. The topics covered at the conference in panel discussions include grantsmanship and early career funding opportunities, working with diverse research populations, developing writing skills, long-term career planning, and networking. Students also present their research in slide and poster formats as they would at national conferences, and receive feedback from faculty and peers who attend the conference. Students are invited to present their research at any stage of development or completion. The conference has been funded by generous support from the Center for Children and Families at FIU and by the National Science Foundation SEEDS (Scientists and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success).

    GSAW Scholarly Forum: UGS hosts an annual spring Graduate Student Appreciation Week that begins always with the 2-day Scholarly Forum highlighting graduate research at FIU. The forum has increased in size over the past few years, and currently includes 100+ presentations. Students may submit proposals to the Graduate Professional Student Committee. The forum includes poster sessions and oral presentations, provides a platform for graduate students to showcase their research, compete for awards and cash prizes, gain professional experience, and compete for a place at the state’s Graduate Symposium.

    In addition, FIU offers several mechanisms for funding travel to, and presentation at, conferences around the country, and multiple students present at Division 53, APS, and ABCT conferences annually.

  • Teaching Opportunities

    Students are encouraged but not required to teach during their graduate training. The Director of Graduate Studies is responsible for TA allocations, which are intended to support the undergraduate mission of the university. All incoming students are required to complete a one-credit TA course during their welcome orientation. Students in their first or second year of training who are funded on a TA line will assist with undergraduate courses (typically when enrollment exceeds 100 students).

    Courses may be at the Modesto A. Maidique campus, Biscayne Bay Campus, or online. Students may be assigned to assist full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, or advanced graduate students. Responsibilities may vary but are expected to include the following: attend class, hold regular office hours, respond to student emails within 24 hours, assist with grading, proctor exams, and occasionally facilitate lectures or lead discussions. Some students may be assigned to the proctor pool rather than an individual course.

    Students who have completed their Master’s degree en route to the Ph.D. are eligible to become instructors of record. The Department of Psychology requires that students teach a section of Research Methods, with standardized syllabus and format, under the supervision of Dr. Ryan Winter, before they are permitted to teach a larger lecture course (e.g., Abnormal Child Psychology) or upper-level seminar (e.g., Personality, Psychology of Parenting). Students preparing to teach their own course will participate in an annual department spring training workshop, facilitated by the Director of Graduate Studies, that will cover course and syllabus preparation, instructional and assessment techniques, grading and resources for handling student problems as they arise. Students are also encouraged to explore resources available at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Workshop Opportunities

    CCF Division 53 Workshops: The CCF is especially fortunate to have hosted workshops on evidence-based interventions offered by treatment developers who are leaders in their field. The workshops provide an opportunity for students to exit the comfort zone of their primary clinical research area and broaden their training in areas of diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent disorders. Students are encouraged to consider during the workshops the workforce most likely to deliver the treatments and the skill set required to do so, the populations more or less likely to benefit, and the opportunities and challenges associated with treatment implementation. Workshops are available for students in full online at FIU and Division 53's Effective Child Therapy website.

    CCF Speaker Series: In partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree, all clinical science students are required to attend the weekly brown bag series at the Center for Children and Families (exceptions require advance permission from primary advisor and Director of Clinical Training). The brown bag series includes a variety of opportunities for students and other trainees that facilitate core competencies needed for professional development.

    First, speakers from FIU and outside FIU present on research focusing on children and families. In addition to presentations by the esteemed faculty in the clinical, developmental, and legal programs at FIU, world-renowned researchers regularly present in this series — e.g., Drs. Alice Carter, Nathan Fox, Paul Frick, Nora Newcombe, and Nora Volkow. Second, at designated brown bags, students present their data and receive feedback from faculty and their peers in preparation for future presentations at conferences, as well as manuscript and grant submissions. Finally, a subseries of targeted professional development presentations and discussions with faculty members from clinical as well as from developmental and legal areas are included in the brown bag series to specifically address professional development topics that may not readily lend themselves to classroom material. Examples of topics covered in this professional development sub-series include preparing your curriculum vitae, writing and submitting manuscripts for publication, applying for internship/postdoctoral/faculty positions, and submitting grant applications. The coordinators of the brown bag series work closely with students and faculty to decide on relevant topics to be included each semester.

    Niagara in Miami Conference: The Biennial Niagara in Miami conference is one of the world's leading interdisciplinary conferences on state-of-the-art, evidence-based prevention and treatments for mental health and educational problems in children and adolescents. Keynote lectures, didactic presentations, and hands-on breakout workshops are combined to teach trainees the basic principles of effective psychosocial, psychoeducational, pharmacological, and combined interventions, including clinic-based treatments, schoolwide interventions, and parent training. Students are strongly encouraged to attend, and receive opportunities to formally present their work during scientific poster sessions. In previous years, funding from the Children’s Trust has fully covered registration costs for FIU Clinical Science students.