Ethical StandardsEthics

The program is bound by the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA, 2002). In addition, we are bound by other ethical and professional principles promulgated by APA. Please see the reference list at the end of this section. Any breach of any part of these principles is grounds for dismissal from the program without further qualification regardless of course work, research or other academic achievement.

Each student receives a copy of the APA Ethical Principles in Psy 801 History and Ethics. The Ethical Principals can also be found at


Professional Behavior The following is presented as a way to avoid incidents that may reflect unfavorably upon the student, the program, and/or the universities.

  1. Students may not engage in any professional activities on or off campus without the prior approval of their Guidance Committee and the Co-Directors. Failure to obtain proper approval may jeopardize the student’s standing in the program.
  2. Under no circumstances are students permitted to treat clients privately without supervision, even if they are licensed to do so as another mental health professional.
  3. Students may take clinically related courses, in addition to the JDP course requirements, at SDSU or UC San Diego with the approval of their Guidance Committee and the appropriate Co-Director. If tuition for these additional courses is not covered by the annual program allotment, the student will be responsible for the expense. If the student wishes to take a special course at an institution other than SDSU or UC San Diego, the student must have the approval of the Guidance Committee and both Co-Directors. All expenses for such a course will be the student’s responsibility.
  4. The professional use of university facilities is limited to those functions that are a part of the student’s training.
  5. Students may not obligate either university financially without prior written permission from the Co-Directors and, if necessary, the graduate divisions.
  6. Students may not submit a paper in fulfillment of a class or research requirement if that paper, or one similar to it, was submitted in fulfillment of any other course or program unless the teachers/supervisors involved give approval.
  7. Students are required to act in accordance with the American Psychological Association’s ethical principles and standards for providers of psychological services. Violation of these principles and standards may constitute grounds for dismissal from the program irrespective of any other consideration.

Students Judged Unable to Meet Minimal Professional Standards

(Approved by Steering Committee, Fall, 1998; revised Spring of 2007)

The Joint Doctoral Program considers all program requirements to be academic requirements. These academic requirements include performance in all areas of the program, i.e., in class, in research, and in practica. A student will not be continued in active status in the program when the competency of the student to perform in the program or in post-graduation professional activities is or could reasonably be expected to be affected in a detrimental manner due to an apparent mental, emotional, physiologic, pharmacologic or substance abuse condition.

In the event a JDP faculty member or adjunct faculty member (e.g., practicum supervisor) suspects that a student may have one or more conditions that are interfering with his/her academic work or practicum placement responsibilities, the following steps will be taken.

  1. The faculty member will meet first with the appropriate Co-Director (SDSU or UC San Diego) to discuss the matter. If it is a practicum matter, the practicum supervisor will first discuss the situation with the chair of the practicum committee.
  2. The Co-Directors will call a meeting of the student and his/her guidance committee, including the faculty person or practicum supervisor, to discuss the matter. Any identified problems and proposed remedial action, or other action deemed appropriate, will be presented in writing to the student by the Co-Directors and the chair of the student’s guidance committee.
  3. The student will be allowed four weeks to respond to the identified problems and proposed actions if he/she chooses, and to request a reconsideration hearing before the Steering Committee. The student may select any consenting representative (including another student) to appear with him/her before the Steering Committee.
  4. The Steering Committee will then decide on a course of action to be followed, specified in writing and signed by the student. If it is determined necessary to refer the student for psychological assessment, the referral will be made to a qualified psychologist who has no personal or professional connection with the JDP. A list of at least three acceptable choices would be made available to the student who would be allowed to make the final choice.
  5. The student is responsible for any costs incurred in the required assessment.
  6. Depending on the results of the psychological assessment, the student may be asked to: 1) take a leave of absence, the length to be determined by the Steering Committee, e.g., one semester or one year, in order to attempt to improve/resolve the problem; or 2) resign from the program. The Steering Committee may also recommend to the student that he/she obtain psychotherapy.
  7. At the end of the agreed upon time of leave and/or other specified progress evaluation, the Steering Committee would once again meet to decide if the criteria have been met, and whether or not the student should be retained in the program. To determine the student’s fitness to remain in the program, the Steering Committee may require the student to authorize the Steering Committee to obtain any and all records relating to the alleged mental and/or physical condition, including that individual’s personal medical, psychiatric and/or psychological records.
  8. If, at any point, during the process, the student fails to comply with any of the requirements of the evaluation, rehabilitation or remediation, the student may be dismissed from the program without regard to academic standing, status of research, or any other consideration.
  9. The student may elect to resign from the program without submitting to the psychological assessment, the leave of absence, or the specified remediation/rehabilitation plan. In such a case, the student would be informed in writing that re-admittance to the Joint Doctoral Program at any future time is not an option. A copy of that letter would be placed in the student’s confidential file. The student would be designated as having resigned from the program while not in good standing.

Graduate Council Policy

As of September, 1991, any student dismissed from an SDSU advanced degree program for any reason will be academically disqualified from further attendance in the university. The student may, however, petition for reinstatement. If reinstatement is granted the student must secure approval of the program Graduate Advisor and the Graduate Division prior to registering for any graduate courses. See Part 2 of the SDSU Graduate Bulletin for complete information.