Program Overview


The M.S. Program in Clinical Psychopharmacology is a primarily distance-based program that was developed by the Fairleigh Dickinson University School of Psychology in collaboration with Compass Knowledge Group (now Pearson Embanet), a national leader in distance-based educational programs. This unique approach to student-centered distance learning provides the opportunity to obtain and apply knowledge that is directly relevant to the professional development and learning objectives of the student.

Multiple teaching modalities are employed, to create a program combining rigor and flexibility. These modalities include:

  • videotaped lectures
  • use of online resources
  • online chats and discussion boards
  • traditional readings
  • case formulation and presentation

The didactic portion of the program consists of 10 courses, each specifically designed and developed for doctorally prepared licensed psychologists. A sequence of core courses provides a basic science foundation and clinical knowledge in psychopharmacology. A professional issues course addresses legal and ethical considerations and related standards of care topics. The didactic curriculum concludes with a series of treatment courses addressing specific categories of mental disorders and related psychopharmacological issues. After completion of the 10-course sequence, participants are eligible to sit for a comprehensive examination. One option for this exam is the Psychopharmacology Examination for Psychologists (PEP), which was developed by the APA College of Professional Psychology specifically as a credentialing examination for psychologists with advanced training in clinical psychopharmacology. Upon passing the comprehensive examination the psychologist receives the degree Postdoctoral Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology, which indicates completion of the didactic experience the APA has developed in preparation for prescriptive authority. Graduates of the master's program are eligible to participate in an elective supervised clinical experience to complete APA's recommended model for independent practice.

From the very beginning, both clinical and didactic training are stressed. For each course, the student is assigned a Course Instructor, typically a nationally recognized expert and researcher in the course content. Similarly, videotaped lectures feature speakers selected for their expertise in the knowledge domain. Most instructors combine case formulation with didactic instruction in weekly chats to help solidify the information.