An Idea: The idea of creating an accreditation system targeting doctoral education and training in psychological clinical science, while discussed for many years, was advanced at a three-day Summit on the Future of Accreditation in 1992 that brought together 140 delegates who were chairs of psychology departments or directors of clinical training. Agreement emerged from the summit on “the need for urgent reform of the [then-sole] accreditation system in psychology.”
The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science: PCSAS was established as an independent entity by the APCS | The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS-the Academy). The Academy was founded in 1995 after a discussion at the Summit on Future Accreditation. Members of the Academy are doctoral training programs in clinical and health psychology or psychology internship programs. Because all Academy programs are committed to advancing psychological clinical science and the training of psychological clinical scientists, they soon reached consensus on the importance of creating PCSAS as an accreditation system to promote high-quality science-centered doctoral education and training.
Envisioning a New Approach to Clinical Psychology Training: In essence, PCSAS was created in reaction to an accreditation system developed in the 1940s that many saw as too rigid and too rooted in a bygone time of clinical psychology. The goal was to inject a new system with a modern perspective that, first, took account of the exciting recent developments in psychological science – in clinical science, cognitive science, neuroscience, social science, etc. – and second, encouraged a flexible approach that recognized and helped advance training practices to produce even more innovative developments in psychological science.
The Creation of PCSAS: The birth of PCSAS officially took place at a special meeting on accreditation organized by the Academy’s Executive Committee in January 2006, a decision subsequently ratified by Academy members at their annual meeting in May 2006. At the next Academy annual meeting, in May 2007, a formal draft proposal for such a system was presented to members, and in October 2007, the APCS membership voted overwhelmingly in favor of launching the proposed system.
Incorporation of PCSAS and Creation of a Board of Directors: The Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System, Inc. (PCSAS) was incorporated officially in Delaware on December 27, 2007. The PCSAS Board of Directors held its first meeting by phone in February 2008, and met in person in May 2008, at which time the Board elected officers, selected an Executive Director, and established the agenda for the coming year. The first program was accredited in 2009.
Recognition of PCSAS by CHEA: PCSAS pursued official recognition as an accreditor by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and was deemed eligible to apply by CHEA’s Board of Directors in May 2011. At its September 2012 meeting, the CHEA Board approved its Committee on Recognition’s recommendation, and granted full CHEA recognition to PCSAS. In 2022, after a reaffirmation review, CHEA extended PCSAS accreditation for an additional seven years.
Next: The Major Functions of PCSAS