Application review for our program is holistic, and all applications are reviewed. See below for everything we consider when reviewing applications. 

Given the large number of applicants in the field of clinical psychology, the selection process is designed to identify the best from among many highly qualified applicants. Thus no minimum set of qualifications in any way guarantees admission.

Preparatory Coursework

In general, applicants with a Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree in psychology (or a closely related field) from a regionally-accredited college or university should have taken the majority of the courses needed for success in our program.

Our program is open to accepting well-qualified students whose undergraduate or Master’s degrees are not in psychology. For such an individual to qualify for admission, they must have taken a variety of advanced (upper division) psychology courses in topics such as Abnormal Psychology, Biological Bases of Behavior or Physiological Psychology, Cognitive Bases of Behavior, Life Span Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Intermediate/Advanced Statistical Methods, Testing and Measurement, and/or Advanced Experimental Methods.

You will be expected to take doctoral level courses in the areas listed above. Therefore, you will need to demonstrate to the Admissions Committee that you are ready for our program (either through coursework, research experience, etc.). If you have not taken upper division coursework in one or more of the above areas, it would be beneficial for you to provide evidence that you have background or experience in that core content area (note: courses taken at a community college are not upper division). As an example, for students who have not had formal coursework in advanced experimental methods, working as a research assistant for an extended period of time (doing more than data entry) could demonstrate sufficient preparation in this area.

A Master’s degree is not required for admission into our program, however it could be beneficial to students for various reasons including those who do not have an undergraduate Psychology degree or for students who are looking for more research experience. Approximately one-quarter of the students admitted each year enter with a Master’s degree.

Research Experience

Our goal is to provide outstanding education and training to scientifically oriented research professionals, who will subsequently make significant contributions to the field of clinical psychology in their areas of specialization. Students are actively involved in research activities throughout their stay in the program. As such, research experience is heavily weighted in our admissions decision process and we look for students who have had ample research experience including publications and conference presentations. On average, our students have approximately three years equivalent full-time research experience when they enter our program. Most students who enter our program have post-baccalaureate research experience (averaging 2.5 years). All entering students have presented at national/international conferences. Over the past five years, most students admitted to the program have at least one peer-reviewed journal publication (first- or co-authored). 

Fit with a Faculty Member’s Interests

Another factor considered when admitting students into our program is how well a students’ research interests align with the faculty member(s) they are interested in working with. Students enter the JDP to become scientist-clinicians, and a key component in their training is their four to five years of intensive research experiences in the labs of their mentors.

The list of faculty members interested in taking a student for Fall 2020 is posted on our website at the link below. If/when you decide to apply, this is the list that you should use when selecting which faculty member(s) you are interested in working with on your Supplemental Program Application. Not all faculty on this list will end up getting a student so it is important to make sure that what you list as your research area is very clear so that if there is another potential match for you, we can evaluate your application with that in mind.

For a list of JDP faculty and their research interests, visit our website at http://clinpsyc.sdsu.edu/people/faculty/.

GPA and GRE Scores

While we do consider both GPA and GRE scores, they are among many factors we consider in our holistic review of applications, and we have admitted students with a wide range of scores.

GPA

Applicants should have earned a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university with an overall GPA of at least 3.0, and at least 3.25 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. They must be in good standing at the last institution attended. On average, successful applicants to our program have an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.7.

GRE

The General GRE as well as the Psychology Subject GRE are required to apply to our program – There are no exceptions to this requirement. Over the past five years, students admitted to the program have median GRE scores as follows: Verbal 88th percentile, Quantitative 74th percentile, and Psychology Subject Test 87th percentile.

Statement of Purpose

Your Statement of Purpose is a good opportunity to describe your interests, and to convey any additional information you believe to be important. If more than six months have elapsed since the date of your last university enrollment, please indicate in this section what you have been doing during this period. There is no word limit for the statement of purpose, please use your best judgment. 

 

Letters of Recommendation

We require 3 letters of recommendation (requested through the Supplemental Program Application). Letters of recommendation should be from people you know professionally (e.g. professors, mentor, etc).