You are here

Clinical Science F.A.Q.

Where can I find...

General information about the department's psychology doctoral programs?
Visit our Graduate Program webpage.

More specific information about your clinical science programs?
Visit our Clinical Science webpage.

Information about faculty research interest and ongoing projects?
On the Clinical Science page is a list of clinical program faculty and a brief description of their research interests. Click on individual faculty's names for more information about their research interests, and a list of recent publications, or to download their CVs, and link to their personal or lab webpages.

Quantitative information about your program, such as admitted students' GPA, length of the program, internship placement and licensure rates, etc.?
Download our Summary of Clinical Science Graduate Applicant and Student Data for statistical data about our applicants, admitted students, and graduates.

Information on how to apply to your program?
Visit our Application Information webpage.


Questions about the Program

What is your program's training model?
We follow the "clinical scientist" model of training. This means that we strongly emphasize empirical research. Our clinical training is intended to support research training, in the sense that good clinical researchers must have first-hand knowledge of the "subject" of their research.

Do you train your students in clinical work as well as research?
Yes, clinical training is part of our program requirements, and all those who obtain clinical science Ph.D.s from our program also complete a 1-year internship.

How long does it take to complete the program?
About 78% of our students finish the program in 5-6 years, plus a 1-year internship. Fewer than 10% take longer than 8 years, typically because of a planned interruption in their studies.

What do students do when they graduate?
40% of our 51 graduates over the past 10 years have taken an academic position involving teaching, research, or both. 49% of our graduates are employed in university or VA medical centers where their positions involve a combination of research, training, and direct service provision. Five graduates are in private practice. 

Do your students get licensed as clinical psychologists?
Of the 39 students who graduated between 2 and 10 years ago, 34 are licensed (87%). The remaining 5 students are in academic settings that do not require licensure. Of students who graduated less than 2 years ago, all are currently accruing the postdoctoral hours required for licensure in their respective states. 


Questions about the Application Process

What are the requirements for admission into your program?
The minimum requirements of the Graduate College are a U.S. bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions and a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00, or foreign equivalent as determined by the Office of Admissions. More detailed information about the qualifications of our applicants and those who are admitted is provided below.

What qualities and qualifications do you look for in a student?

We look for students who:
    1. want to pursue a research career
    2. generally know the area they wish to research
    3. have experience in empirical research (preferably, but not necessarily, psychological research)
    4. have research interests that are a good "fit" with one of our faculty members‚
    5. have strong and specific letters of recommendation from their research mentor(s)
    6. have a strong science/mathematics background, including in particular biology, chemistry, and statistics
    7. have a strong academic record (GPA)

How do you select students for admission to your program?
We have a research mentor-based system of training, so students are admitted primarily to work with a particular faculty member. Therefore, "fit" with a faculty member's research interests is extremely important in selecting new students. We are unable to accept even highly qualified students if their research interests do not match with our current faculty's interests.

How can I strengthen my application to increase my chance of being admitted?
Being directly involved with empirical research is the single most important way to strengthen your application.

What is the typical GPA for the students you admit?
In recent years, our admitted students' average GPA is ~3.7. Note - we no longer require GRE and do not use GRE scores in admissions decisions.

Do I need to take the GRE Psychology subject test?
No, the GRE Psychology subject test is not required. However, if you were NOT a psychology major, then doing well on the Psychology subject test is a good way to document that your lack of a psychology background will not be an impediment to your succeeding in our program. 

My junior-senior grades and my grades in Psychology are strong, but my overall GPA isn't great. How much will this hurt my chances of being admitted?
It depends. If you have good research experience, and your research mentor writes you a strong letter of recommendation, poor grades in your first 2 years of college probably won't hurt you too much. However, the more aspects of your application that are not "top-tier," the more you're at a disadvantage. Remember, our top applicants are quite strong on all dimensions, and they're your competition. 

I got a job after college and haven't done any research since then; is that OK?
There's certainly nothing wrong with this as long as you still can get a strong letter of recommendation from your former research advisor. However, current involvement in research is better than past involvement, because that conveys that you have an ongoing research interest that you wish to pursue in graduate school. Most, if not all, of our successful applicants are involved in research at the time of application.

Do you accept applicants who did not major in Psychology?
Yes, we do. Although most of our applicants were psychology majors, many are not.

Can I start the Ph.D. program in the spring or summer?
No, we only accept applications for beginning in the fall semester.

Do you take part-time students?
No, our program is for full-time students only.

Can I complete the program by taking only evening and weekend classes?
No, very few classes are offered evenings and weekends.

Do you admit students into a master's degree program?
No, we only accept students into our Ph.D. program, although most of our students do obtain an MA degree on the way to their doctoral degree.

What does the program cost on a yearly basis?
See Program Costs Table.

Is financial aid available? If so, how do I apply for it?
Yes, all admitted applicants are guaranteed funding for 5 years. You do not need to do anything to apply for financial aid beyond completing the application for admission. All graduate students are supported for at least five years if they remain in good standing.  Support includes a stipend of $18,816 plus a tuition scholarship, plus 25% of mandatory fees (~$254). In addition, two months of summer support is normally provided.

Are the following people appropriate to write letters of recommendation?

My research supervisor? Yes, absolutely.
Other professors who know my research activities well? Yes, absolutely.
A professor I TA'd for? Yes, particularly if the professor got to know you well.
A professor I had for a class? Yes, if the professor got to know you fairly well.
My current boss? Maybe: yes, if you're doing research; OK if you're working in a mental-health setting; otherwise, this probably would not be the best choice.
The director at a center where I volunteer? Maybe: OK, if the Center is a mental-health setting; otherwise, this probably would not be the best choice.
My pastor? psychiatrist? family doctor? mother? Probably not.


For International Students

Do you accept international students?
Yes; about 10% of our students are international students.

Do international students have to take the GRE?
No. We do not require the GRE for admission to the program. 

Are there additional admission requirements for international students?
Yes, international students must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

For Students with a Master's Degree

Will my credits transfer?
Most likely some credits will transfer, but there is no guarantee of this. Admitted students must provide the syllabus of any course for which they would like transfer credit. The clinical-area faculty will evaluate the syllabus and qualifications of the instructor for comparability to one of our own courses (including electives), and will recommend transfer credit for those that are substantially the same. Typically, we accept 1 and occasionally up to 2 semesters of coursework for transfer. Please see the following website for the Graduate College's rules regarding: transfer credit (

Will I have to write another thesis?
No, we don't require a thesis. We also don't require a Master's degree, although most of our students complete the requirements and get an MA degree. However, we do require that all new students, regardless of their background, complete a research project as described in the Graduate Student Handbook.  See pages 2, 6-7.