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Passion for Psychology & Counseling? 5 Ways PAU Supports Your Clinical & Research Career Goals

5 Ways PAU Supports Your Clinical & Research Career Goals  

By Alaina Dunn, Assistant Vice President of Admissions


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As a specialized non-profit university, Palo Alto University faculty offer the supportive, interactive, culturally conscious learning environment you may already be searching for as you pursue your degree.

But for students serious about psychology and counseling—and passionate about making an impactful difference in the world—PAU is uniquely positioned to give you the immersive, career-oriented education and training you need to be successful.

Consider these five ways PAU can help you achieve your career and academic goals.

1. Our coursework is rigorous and challenging—in a good way.

We specialize in psychology and counseling at PAU, and that means our standards are high. Our faculty members are experts in these subjects and will prepare you to enter the workforce with a challenging, engaging curriculum focused on social justice and emerging issues.    When you walk out of our doors and into your new job, you will be the most prepared newcomer in the room. Rigorous, rewarding coursework begins at the undergraduate level.    Students in the Psychology and Social Action program complete a nine-month internship for credit their senior year. These internships span clinical settings, community agencies, or research labs, providing you with ample opportunities to explore careers and put your studies into practice.     Graduate-level coursework digs deeper. Courses will train you in statistics and research methods alongside clinical training courses. Our programs require intensive writing and studies that push your understanding of the role of psychology and counseling in the world.   

2. We value PhD clinical work and research—and provide real-world experience in both. 

According to a recent survey of Palo Alto University PhD graduates, 80% of students pursue clinical work, and 20% pursue research, academia, or other occupations. Expert mental health care providers have never been more in demand than they are today. 

At PAU, you will be immersed in hands-on experiences that will better prepare you to work with clients immediately upon graduation. You will care for patients through clinical internships and work in our in-house clinic, the Gronowski Center. This community-based psychology clinic and treatment center provides low-cost clinical services to adults, adolescents, children, and families in the local community.  

While many universities push for PhDs and careers in academia, you are not beholden to a one-track mindset at PAU. But that's not to say you won’t be highly skilled in research. PAU programs are rigorous and provide exemplary training in evidence-based psychology and counseling research.  

Our educational blend of research and clinical experience will equip you to open doors for a range of career pathways: 

  • Hospitals
  • Medical centers
  • Community mental health clinics
  • Private practices
  • Universities

3. You're encouraged to explore your passions before committing to a program. 

Here, students drive their educational programs: Research and your focus of study is what you want it to be at PAU. Our expert faculty members are ready to support you on that journey.  

For example, our PhD clinical psychology program is radically different from most universities. The first year is a year of exploration. You'll get the chance to dive deep into different areas of study within psychology before committing to a particular track.   

For the remainder of your academic career at PAU, your research project can continue to span multiple labs and you can choose areas of emphasis to hone your studies. We offer this pathway to help you become a prepared, multi-faceted practitioner. 

4. Your faculty mentors are practicing experts in psychology and counseling. 

Every school has experienced faculty, but PAU’s focus on psychology and counseling and emphasis on clinical work means you will learn from leading experts in these fields.  

PAU faculty are teachers and mentors who make significant contributions to their fields. Your future faculty mentor team includes Distinguished Professors of Clinical Psychology, telehealth pioneers, award winners and publishers of hundreds of industry-impacting journal articles.  

We use this expertise to fulfill our top priority: Preparing psychology and counseling practitioners, researchers, and leaders who make a difference. The result? A legacy of professionals who are confident, competent, and compassionate.  

Many of our faculty members are active professionals in clinical psychology, human resources, management, and consulting. And the 17-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio in certain of our programs, means you will be able to pick the brains of some of the fields’ best minds.

Additionally, various PAU faculty are also PAU alums. They have strong connections to the university and surrounding areas, which means added investment in your education and the local community. 

5. You'll provide community care—and make valuable professional connections. 

An important component of PAU’s mission is engaging our students and faculty in community service. As a student at PAU, you will become actively involved in our many local collaborations and partnerships that will help you gain real-world experience. 

Some notable examples include:

Additionally, PAU sponsors several academic centers devoted to

  • Child mental health
  • Evidence-based care for LGBTQ+ clients 
  • Excellence in diversity and community care
  • Internet-based global healthcare

If you are pursuing a PhD in psychology, you will have the opportunity to provide services to the community at the Gronowski Center under the supervision of on-staff licensed psychologists.


Whether you are embarking on your undergraduate education or continuing your pursuit of a career in psychology through a graduate program, your journey begins at PAU.  Every person who is struggling deserves to be empowered. Hone your skills and cultivate compassion for the betterment of your community. 

Through clinical practice and research in our supportive, flexible environment, we'll guide you in growing your psychology and counseling skills—and using them to make a real impact in the world. 

Ready to change the world through psychology and counseling? Apply to PAU today.