PEI

UPEI to offer doctor of psychology program

UPEI is developing a doctor of psychology program in hopes of alleviating the shortage of psychologists on PEI and across the country.

Program could start as early as September as province deals with psychologist shortage

The University of Prince Edward Island is hoping to offer a doctorate in psychology program by fall of 2018. (CBC)

The University of Prince Edward Island is developing a doctorate of psychology program in hopes of alleviating the shortage of psychologists in the province and across the country.

Jason Doiron, the chair of the psychology department at UPEI, says the four-year program would take six students initially, but could grow to a maximum of 10.

He said it's been a challenge to recruit psychologists to the province. With 36 psychologists — 21 of whom work in the public sector — P.E.I. has the second-lowest number of psychologists per capita of the provinces, according to the Psychological Association of P.E.I.

"One of the main reasons for that is that we don't train psychologists here, we don't train them at the doctoral level," Doiron said.

I've watched numerous, very strong students complete our undergraduate degree here with a great honours thesis and then train in other parts of the country.— Jason Doiron

"I've watched numerous, very strong students complete our undergraduate degree here with a great honours thesis and then train in other parts of the country. And then they stay, they don't come back."

Doiron said the program will be unique and will have a cross-cultural component, to develop psychologists to engage with Indigenous people and newcomers, including refugees.

The university is in the process of hiring two faculty members for the program.

The program could start as early as this September, Doiron said, but it still needs approval from the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission.

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With files from Island Morning