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PAU Policies for Doctoral Students on Internship during COVID-19

March 11, 2020

PAU students (PsyD and PhD candidates) on doctoral internships during 2019-2020 are in a wide range of geographical locations.  The impact of COVID-19 varies across locations and is an evolving situation.  PAU interns should work with their internship sites to ensure that they follow public health guidelines and support continuity of client care, while continuing to meet requirements for successful internship and program completion.  Current PAU policies for interns in light of COVD-19 are provided below.  We will keep interns informed as policies are updated.

Hours requirement

PAU students are required to obtain 2,000 hr during internship in order to meet criteria for graduation.  APPIC is working on guidelines for internship training during COVID-19, and we expect that APA-accredited sites will do all they can to accommodate intern training needs.  The APA Commission on Accreditation sent out the following important information today:

The CoA supports programs in its efforts to determine the best ways for students and trainees to successfully develop knowledge and competencies in accord with program requirements. Telesupervision, telepractice and distance education delivery are not prohibited, and CoA recognizes that expansion of these methods temporarily during this unprecedented time may be necessary. Requirements for the use of these three distance methods, when implemented as a regular educational delivery method are described in the CoA Implementing Regulations for the Standards of Accreditation. If in-person coursework or clinical practice experiences are disrupted, flexibility in the use of these distance practices as part of a program’s plan to minimize COVID-19 exposure is appropriate.

We will inform students of any updated guidelines provided by APPIC and APA.  If internship training is impacted by COVID-19, interns should continue to document all accrued hours as well as the reasons for any interruptions in training.  PhD students should contact Dr. Rowena Gomez and Dr. Genevieve Arnaut to inform them of any changes in training, and PsyD students should contact Dr. Kimberly Hill.  In such cases, we will consider whether the 2,000-hr requirement can be modified without negatively impacting graduates’ ability to meet licensure requirements.  

Dissertation defenses

We highly recommend that all final dissertation defenses for out-of-state interns be conducted online, given the potential impact of COVID-19 on travel plans in the coming weeks and months.  However, given that dissertations involve only a small number of people (i.e., the student and three committee members), it is acceptable to make exceptions on a case-by-case basis.  If the student feels strongly that they would prefer their defense to be in person and if the advisor agrees, an in-person meeting can be held at a PAU or one of our local affiliated physical locations as originally planned, with the caveat that any committee member who wants to participate via zoom be allowed to do so.  However, we do want to emphasize that we expect that most dissertations will move to zoom and that we do not want any students on internship to have to travel at this time.

Graduation requirements

With the exception of potential modifications in the requirement for total hours accrued, we do not anticipate any changes in graduation requirements related to internship.  Students should still send all required documentation electronically as indicated in the Internship Handbooks.


At this time, the PAU commencement is scheduled for June 20, 2020.  As of March 11, 2020, gatherings of over 1,000 people have been restricted in Santa Clara County for three weeks.  PAU will be monitoring the advisability of holding a large gathering in San Jose over the coming months and will make a decision about commencement far enough in advance of commencement to allow students and families to finalize travel plans.  Similarly, with regard to the additional PsyD Consortium Ceremony scheduled to be held on Friday, June 19, 2020, at the Stanford Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford has put forth directives to cancel all events at which more than 150 people are scheduled to attend.  We are not cancelling it at this time but are monitoring the situation very closely.  We will notify you as soon as there are any relevant developments.