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MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology

Clinical Psychologist professional development program

Becoming a Prescribing Psychologist

At Idaho State University's College of Pharmacy Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology program, students explore drug effects on behavior and brain health. Through the MSCP program, licensed psychologists delve into evidence-based practices to address various psychological disorders. The MSCP program, designated by the American Psychological Association (APA), ensures rigorous training in medication usage as part of treatment strategies. This recognition underscores ISU's commitment to maintaining the highest academic and training standards, preparing students to excel in their professional endeavors. ISU accommodates diverse learners through traditional and distance learning, preparing graduates to excel professionally. Through personalized experiences, MSCP students understand drug mechanisms and their impact on mental health.

About the Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology

The Idaho State University Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology (MSCP) is a post-doctoral program designed to equip licensed psychologists with the necessary expertise to safely and effectively utilize psychotropic medication in their practice. The program offers two distinct tracks tailored to meet the needs of diverse professionals within the field of clinical psychology.

Through rigorous coursework and practical training, students in both tracks acquire a deep understanding of pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, enabling them to diagnose and treat various mental illnesses in adults with precision. They gain insights into the efficacy, effectiveness, and potential risks associated with different psychotropic medications. Additionally, they learn to assess individual responses to medication, considering factors such as dose, exposure, and individual pharmacological properties.

MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology Prescriptive Authority Preparation - Track 1

The first track is a comprehensive program encompassing additional clinical training hours and synchronous coursework, aimed explicitly at psychologists seeking to expand their scope of practice to include medication prescription. This track provides in-person instruction at the Idaho State University-Meridian Sam and Aline Skaggs Health Science Center in Meridian, Idaho. Here, students benefit from hands-on training facilitated by the esteemed clinical faculty from the Department of Clinical Psychopharmacology in the L.S. Skaggs College of Pharmacy. This unique setup offers essential clinical services to the community through the Integrated Mental Health Clinic and serves as an invaluable training ground for aspiring psychologists.

MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology Didactic Coursework Only - Track 2

The second track is an online, didactic-only option, allowing for flexibility in learning through asynchronous coursework. This track, which admitted its inaugural cohort in the Fall 2022 semester, caters to psychologists who prefer a more flexible learning environment while still gaining essential knowledge in psychopharmacology.

MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology

We train psychologists to deliver comprehensive services in interprofessional settings and, through research, further the understanding of psychopharmacology.

The MSCP program at Idaho State University (ISU) offers comprehensive training in clinical psychopharmacology, a field dedicated to understanding the effects of medications on the body and their efficacy in treating psychological disorders. This post-doctoral program is designed for licensed psychologists seeking to expand their knowledge and expertise in the use of medications as part of treatment interventions for various mental illnesses in adults.

Students can choose between in-person or distance learning options, allowing flexibility to accommodate different learning styles and schedules. The curriculum covers pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics, exploring how drugs interact with the body and how their properties influence effectiveness and exposure. Additionally, students learn about the different types of medications, their forms, classes, and dosage considerations.

ISU's MSCP program has achieved the American Psychological Association (APA) designation, reflecting its commitment to meeting the field's highest academic and training standards. This recognition positions ISU as a leader in clinical psychopharmacology education, providing students with access to expert faculty and innovative advancements in the field.

For those pursuing the non-traditional, part-time route, the program offers flexibility to accommodate current practitioners' schedules. Campus visits are required for distance learning students, providing opportunities for hands-on clinical experience and interaction with faculty and peers.


The MS in Clinical Psychopharmacology (MSCP) program at Idaho State University (ISU) is meticulously structured to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of medication-based treatments for psychological disorders. Over the course of two years, students undergo a rigorous curriculum designed to cultivate proficiency in diagnosing psychological disorders, assessing treatment efficacy, and tailoring interventions to diverse populations.

During the first year

Students immerse themselves in foundational courses encompassing pharmacology and physical assessment. These formative experiences lay the groundwork for a solid understanding of basic sciences, providing essential knowledge for subsequent study. Simultaneously, students engage in supervised clinical experiences, gaining invaluable real-world exposure that enhances their learning.

In the second year

The program seamlessly integrates pharmacology and therapeutic treatment coursework, building upon the foundational knowledge acquired in the preceding year. Additionally, students delve into content covering law, ethics, research, writing, and practice management, ensuring they possess a well-rounded education that aligns with professional standards.

Throughout the program, emphasis is placed on practical applications, with students receiving feedback from experienced practitioners and psychiatrists. Through immersive experiences such as case studies and simulations, students develop the critical thinking skills necessary to navigate complex clinical scenarios and make informed decisions about treatment interventions.

By the program's culmination, graduates emerge as adept psychologists poised to contribute meaningfully to the field of clinical psychopharmacology. With a total of 38 credits completed, they are equipped with the skills, expertise, and ethical grounding to enhance the well-being of individuals affected by mental illness.

Goals and Outcomes


To enhance access to safe and evidence-based mental health services as the foremost training and research program in psychopharmacology.


We train psychologists to deliver comprehensive services in interprofessional settings and, through research, further the understanding of psychopharmacology.


Access: Serving underserved and rural communities
Collaborative: Interdisciplinary education and practice
Rigor: Undiluted standards for academics, professional training, and ethical behavior
Innovative: Impact learning and research utilizing advanced technology and best practices in teaching
Safety: Prioritize patient well-being
Relationships: Forging partnerships promoting excellence in everything we do

Contact Us for More Information

Eric Silk, PhD, MSCP

Email Address: silkeric@isu.edu

Request Information


Admission Requirements

Prospective applicants to the MSCP program must have:

  • A doctoral degree in psychology from an accredited program and institution
  • Current licensure as a psychologist and have practiced as a health services provider as defined by state law, where applicable, or by the APA
  • A minimum graduate GPA of 3.0
  • Transcripts
  • Current CV
  • Two letters of professional recommendation from faculty or professional colleagues
  • A letter of intent with a brief statement explaining why the candidate wishes to pursue this degree at Idaho State University and how this would help them attain their professional goals
  • GRE scores (scores can be waived if the student graduated from a doctoral program in psychology with a 3.5 GPA or above)

To apply to the MSCP program, begin by creating an account at https://www.isu.edu/apply/graduate/

Application Process

We are now accepting applications!

To apply, begin by creating an account at https://www.isu.edu/apply/graduate/

Select Graduate Degree Seeking for Application Type and Masters/Post-Masters for Degree Type.  Choose Clinical Psychopharmacology for the Program Selection.

The application will require a Letter of Intent briefly explaining why you wish to pursue this degree at Idaho State University and how this would help you attain your professional goals.

Additional application materials include:

  • Copies of transcripts
  • Names and contact information for two professional references
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Proof of current licensure and practice as a health service provider

The application fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding the application process.

Contact Us for More Information

Eric Silk, PhD, MSCP

Email Address: silkeric@isu.edu

Request Information

Tuition and Program Costs

The online didactic-only track charges all students an online program fee of $579/credit.  Idaho resident tuition rates may be available to out-of-state students through the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) residing in:

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

ISU also offers military education benefits through DOD Federal Tuition Assistance.

Non-resident tuition waivers (NRTW) are available based on availability and awarded on a competitive first-come, first-served basis. The application deadline for NRTWs is June 1st for the Fall semester. 

Contact Us for More Information

Eric Silk, PhD, MSCP

Email Address: silkeric@isu.edu

Request Information



Eric Silk

Department Chair of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Clinical Associate Professor

Office: M 729

(208) 373-1802


Dr. Silk is the Chair of the Clinical Psychopharmacology Program and a Clinical Associate Professor in the College of Pharmacy at Idaho State University. Dr. Silk has an extensive history of experience in psychopharmacology and assessment of psychological, neuropsychological, and substance use disorders.

Dr. Silk earned a B.S. in psychology from Michigan State University. He completed a M.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He then worked as a Research Coordinator at the Substance Use Research Center at the New York State Psychiatric Institute affiliated with the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. His Ph.D. is in Clinical Psychology with a Specialization in Neuropsychology from Nova Southeastern University. He also completed a post-doc M.S. in psychopharmacology at Nova Southeastern.

Dr. Silk’s career path led him to Wyoming, where he continued to teach, developed a psychological practice, and pursued leadership in the Wyoming Psychological Association. He was an associate professor of psychology at Northwest College and is currently an Assistant Lecturer at University of Wyoming and University of Idaho. He was the president of the Wyoming Psychological Association from 2017-2018. Dr. Silk is a licensed clinical psychologist in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho.

Jen Adams, PharmD, EdD

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor
Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Pharmacy Law

Office: M757

(208) 373-1868


Jennifer Adams, PharmD, EdD, a graduate of Boise State University, Idaho State University, and The George Washington University is currently employed as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs  at the Idaho State University, providing oversight for the PharmD curriculum, experiential education, interprofessional education, and assessment.

Her previous experience includes working in hospital and community pharmacy settings and the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) with student pharmacists, helping them to develop as professionals and leaders in the pharmacy profession. Dr. Adams's experience at APhA includes developing and managing several national patient care programs, as well as the National Patient Counseling Competition. Dr. Adams also served for nearly 10 years as the Senior Student Affairs Advisor at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, providing leadership and oversight for association national student affairs activities including PharmCAS, PCAT, the Pharmacy Career Information Council, and student recruitment.

She has received national awards in recognition of her leadership skills and is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, the American Pharmacists Association, Phi Lambda Sigma - the pharmacy leadership society, the Idaho Society of Health System Pharmacists, and the Idaho State Pharmacists Association.

Mark Austin


(208) 282-4003


Dr. Austin’s research has focused on the molecular neurochemistry of the serotonin system in major depressive disorder. During his career it become evident that major depression is a very heterogeneous disorder that is associated with a high rate of other serious medical comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, diabetes, obesity and repetitive concussion syndrome. Dr. Austin has begun to develop a broader research program that has expanded and evolved into investigating epigenetic, developmental, cytoskeletal and signal transduction mechanisms underlying depression, chronic stress, obesity and repetitive traumatic brain injury. His research projects involve a multi-disciplinary approach that encompasses neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, neuropharmacology, biochemistry, and molecular biology disciplines and utilize a variety biochemical and molecular biological techniques as well as in vitro cell culture and in vivo small rodent models.

Dr. Austin is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. He earned a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Washington State University. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular and behavioral neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD.

Dean Walter Fitzgerald with black tie and jacket and black framed glasses

Walter L. Fitzgerald, Jr., BPharm, MS, JD


Office: BTC 120M

(208) 282-2175


Walter Fitzgerald received the Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy in 1979 from Mercer University School of Pharmacy in Atlanta. In 1982 he received the Master of Science in Pharmacy Administration from the University of Tennessee, College of Graduate Health Sciences, in Memphis. And in 1983 he received the Juris Doctor degree from the University of Memphis, School of Law.

Dr. Fitzgerald has nearly four decades of educating student pharmacists and pharmacists, as well as other health professions practitioners and students. The focus of his teaching and research is on healthcare law and ethics, research law and ethics, pharmacy and drug law, and risk management. He has presented many lectures at professional and scientific meetings and has authored numerous articles. He has authored four books, including The Pharmacist’s Guide to the Pharmacy and Drug Law of Tennessee, published by the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, and the HIPAA Compliance Handbook for Community Pharmacy, published by the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA). He also co-authored NCPA’s HIPAA Security Handbook for Community Pharmacy.

His professional career began in 1983 when he was appointed to the faculty of the University of Tennessee, College of Pharmacy. While appointed in the College of Pharmacy, his teaching extended to other health professions colleges. He also was a frequent continuing education program speaker for a variety of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants. His career at the University of Tennessee also provided several diverse experiences, such as serving as the project director for the retrospective drug utilization review program for TennCare, Tennessee’s managed care Medicaid program and General Counsel for the American College of Apothecaries. He has also served as a consultant to healthcare organizations, professional associations, and the pharmaceutical industry In 2005, he departed the University of Tennessee to become Founding Dean of the South College School of Pharmacy in Knoxville. As part of this role he supported the Provost/Executive Vice President with institutional preparation and regional accreditation necessary to founding of the School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Fitzgerald has received many prestigious awards, including being the first recipient of the Albert B Prescott Pharmacy Leadership Award. He also received the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association Public Service Award, the Tennessee Pharmacist of the Year Award, and membership in the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Professors at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Dr. Fitzgerald was the inaugural recipient of the South College Distinguished Service Award.

Noah Harper

Associate Laboratory Manager, Bioskills Lab Supervisor

(208) 373-1828


Noah Harper is the Supervisor of the Bioskills Laboratory and has been integral in its development. He is actively engaging groups both locally and nationally to foster the success of this unique enterprise. In his position as the Associate Laboratory Manager, Noah assists in the supervision of the Gross Anatomy Laboratory, including training and oversight of Lab Technicians and Interns.

Noah joined the Treasure Valley Anatomy & Physiology Laboratories as a Laboratory Specialist in August, 2015 and was promoted to Bioskills Supervisor and Associate Laboratory Manager in July, 2016. He received his training in the anatomical sciences at the University of Utah and began teaching anatomical sciences in 2007. Noah is an active member of the American Association of Anatomists and has served on the Public Affairs and Strategic Planning Committees. As an outdoor enthusiast, Noah spends his free time exploring the mountains and river canyons surrounding the Treasure Valley and beyond.

Christopher Owens PharmD, MPH, RPh

Christopher Owens, PharmD, MPH

Associate Vice President for Health Sciences, Professor
Interprofessional Education, Medical Ethics

Office: Gravely Hall 136

(208) 282-2762


Dr. Christopher Owens is currently the Associate Vice President for Health Sciences at Idaho State University. In this capacity he works with the Vice President for Health Sciences to oversee the 30+ health programs housed in the College of Pharmacy, School of Nursing, School of Health Professions, School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences, and the Office of Medical and Oral Health. He also maintains his position as an associate professor of pharmacy practice with the College of Pharmacy where he provides clinical and professional instruction.  

Dr. Owens served in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a hospital corpsman and was honorably discharged in March of 1999. He earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in German with a minor in Philosophy at Utah State University in 1998. During his undergraduate studies he worked as a pharmacy technician at Shopko Pharmacy in Logan and developed an interest in studying Pharmacy. He graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree from Idaho State University in 2002. He then completed a specialty pharmacy residency at the Southeast Idaho Veterans Affairs (VA) Outpatient Clinic and became a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist. He has practiced as a pharmacist in both the community retail setting and also in the capacity of clinical pharmacist at the Health West Pocatello Clinic from 2003 to 2012. As a clinical pharmacist, he assisted in the management of patients on anticoagulation therapy and provided diabetes education and counseling for patients, as well as drug information and other related clinical services to providers and nursing staff.

He was the clinical coordinator for the Idaho Drug Utilization Review (DUR) program from 2003 to 2007, which conducted quarterly educational interventions with the goal of improving patient care and reducing overall healthcare costs in the State of Idaho. During that time, he and other faculty at the College of Pharmacy collected and analyzed medication use and pharmacy fill data for the Idaho Medicaid Pharmacy Program and provided input to the State’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) committee during medication class reviews and preferred drug list (PDL) discussions.

Dr. Owens is the author of ten peer-reviewed publications that have appeared in journals including Annals of Pharmacotherapy, the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, Clinical Therapeutics, and the American Journal of Medicine. He has also authored over two dozen abstracts at local, state, and national pharmacy meetings and several other articles and commentaries in Idaho Medicaid newsletters. 

He earned his Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree in May of 2013 at Idaho State University. His teaching and research interests range from professionalism and medical ethics to evidence-based complementary and integrative medicine and he gives lectures on a variety of clinical topics throughout the pharmacy and physician assistant professional curricula -- including in areas of pain management, endocrine disorders, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and appropriate drug therapy for the elderly. He has been named Teacher of the Year for the College of Pharmacy several times and was nominated for ISU Distinguished Teacher in 2016. He is a regular presenter at local and state meetings. Nationally, he is a member and has served as President of the Pharmacy Ethics Special Interest Group as part of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP).

G. Lucy Wilkening

Clinical Associate Professor

(208) 373-1802


Dr. Wilkening is a Clinical Associate Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology in the College of Pharmacy at Idaho State University. She also provides mental health management services in the ISU Integrated Mental Health clinic. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Southwestern Oklahoma State University College of Pharmacy. Dr. Wilkening completed an ASHP-accredited pharmacy practice residency, and graduated as Resident of Distinction from the psychiatric pharmacy specialty residency at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 

Dr. Wilkening is an active member of the American Association of Psychiatric Pharmacists (AAPP), and serves as an editor for AAPP’s peer-reviewed publication, the Mental Health Clinician. She is also active in AAPP's Government Affairs committee. Her other professional affiliations include the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society, Phi Delta Chi, and the Rho Chi Pharmacy Honor Society.

Dr. Wilkening’s research interests include: innovative, integrated approaches to treating mental illness, impacts of teaching strategies on student interactions with patients with mental illness, and integration of prescribing psychologists into primary care services. 

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