Palo Alto University

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Palo Alto University
Former names
Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (1975–2009)
MottoEngaging Minds, Improving Lives
TypePrivate University
PresidentMaureen O'Connor, Ph.D., J.D.
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location, ,
United States

37°22′56″N 122°11′15″W / 37.382281°N 122.187542°W / 37.382281; -122.187542Coordinates: 37°22′56″N 122°11′15″W / 37.382281°N 122.187542°W / 37.382281; -122.187542
ColorsBlue and Gold

Palo Alto University (PAU) is a private university in Palo Alto, California that focuses on psychology. It was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

Palo Alto University offers two undergraduate degree programs (Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Social Action and Bachelor of Science in Business Psychology) and four graduate programs: a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology as part of a consortium with Stanford University, and two master's degree programs: an M.A. in Counseling and an M.S. in Psychology. PAU subscribes to the practitioner-scientist training model, a variation of the Boulder scientist-practitioner model, which emphasizes clinical practice along with scientific training.[citation needed]

PAU has an interconnected relationship with Stanford University and the Stanford University School of Medicine. PAU maintains its doctoral program in conjunction with Stanford University, often employs its students in Stanford research laboratories, and houses faculty members who teach at both institutions. The chair of the Stanford Department of Psychiatry holds a membership on the PAU board of trustees.[1]


In 1975, the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology was founded.[citation needed] PGSP is not affiliated with the similarly named Pacifica Graduate Institute, located in Carpinteria, California.[citation needed]

In August 2009, PGSP officially reincorporated, changed its name to Palo Alto University, and moved to a new campus on Arastradero Road, formerly occupied by the American Institutes for Research, which it had purchased the previous year.[2][3]


Undergraduate and college transfer programs[edit]

The undergraduate programs at Palo Alto University are offered in partnership with Silicon Valley area community colleges like De Anza College, Foothill College, and the College of San Mateo. The bachelor's degree completion programs are created for community college students wishing to transfer to a Bachelor's program and for college graduates wishing to re-specialize in psychology or business psychology. PAU offers an education in psychology for the lowest tuition and fees of any private university in the Bay Area and a smooth transfer process for community college students or those who have completed their freshman and sophomore years of college.[4]

Master's programs[edit]

Palo Alto University offers two master's degree programs: (1) M.A. in Counseling MFT/LPCC (Online/On-Campus), (2) M.S. in Psychology (Online). The M.A. in Counseling MFT/LPCC is a terminal master's degree that prepares students to see clients as a licensed therapist or counselor. There are two areas of emphasis: The Marriage, Family, and Child emphasis fulfills all requirements for MFT licensure in the State of California. The Clinical Mental Health emphasis fulfills all requirements for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) licensure in California and select U.S. states and countries. In January 2017, both emphases of Palo Alto University's M.A. in Counseling degree were awarded CACREP accreditation.[5]

The M.S. in Psychology, is designed to prepare students to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or careers in community college teaching, research, and related business and nonprofit fields and is taught through distance learning (with the one-week summer intensive).[6]

Both master's programs have online and in-person options.

Ph.D. program[edit]

Palo Alto University's Ph.D. program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1988. The Ph.D. program consists of several emphasis areas including: Child & Family, Diversity & Community Mental Health, Forensic Psychology, LGBTQ Psychology, Meditation & Psychology, Neuropsychology, and Trauma.[7] Students have access to specialized research groups and clinical training opportunities through the Gronowski Center, a community-based psychology training clinic and treatment center dedicated to providing high quality, evidence-based, clinical services to adults, older adults, adolescents, children, and families in the community.[8]

PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium[edit]

The PGSP Stanford Psy.D. Consortium program, in conjunction with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Stanford University's School of Medicine, was accredited by the American Psychological Association in 2006.[9] According to U.S. News & World Report, the PAU-Stanford Consortium ranks 87th in the nation for best health schools by category of clinical psychology.[10]

Clinical training[edit]

Students from the PAU Ph.D Clinical Psychology and PAU-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium program receive initial clinical practical training at the Gronowski Center, a mental health clinic hosted and partially funded by Palo Alto University that provides low-fee services on a sliding scale to the Bay Area community.[11][12]

Notable faculty and alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Board of Trustees Archived 2012-04-17 at the Wayback Machine, About PAU, Palo Alto University, retrieved November 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Will Oremus, "Palo Alto gets new psychology school", The Oakland Tribune, August 12, 2009 (online at Highbeam); "Palo Alto U. is now open, psychology school moves to foothills, prepares to expand", San Jose Mercury News, August 9, 2009.
  3. ^ "Palo Alto University Makes Last Mortgage Payment to Become Debt-free", Biotech Week, October 17, 2012 (online at Highbeam)
  4. ^ "Undergraduate Programs". Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  5. ^ "CACREP Directory- Palo Alto University". Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Master's Degree Programs". Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  7. ^ Areas of Emphasis, Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, Palo Alto University, retrieved May 18, 2015.
  8. ^ [1], Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, Palo Alto University, retrieved May 18, 2015.
  9. ^ PGSP – Stanford Psy.D. Consortium, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford School of Medicine, retrieved May 18, 2015.
  10. ^ Palo Alto University, Graduate Schools, U.S. News & World Report, updated 2012, retrieved September 24, 2018.
  11. ^ Chris Kenrick, "'Unplug your kids,' psychologist advises", Mountain View Voice, November 16, 2012, p. 7.
  12. ^ The Gronowski Center retrieved May 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "Faculty Directory, Palo Alto University". Palo Alto University. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  14. ^ Brown, Emma (16 September 2018). "California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 September 2018.

External links[edit]