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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology

Graduate Application


Thank you for your interest in our graduate program. The Clinical program leads to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree and is designed to prepare the student for a career in research, teaching, and/or professional service. The Clinical program is accredited by the American Psychological Association. As part of the program the student completes a Master’s thesis and earns a Master’s degree; however, this degree is designed to be part of the overall doctoral training program, and has very different requirements than would be found in a terminal Master’s degree program. As such, our Master’s degree cannot function as a terminal degree. Neither do we offer a Psy.D. degree.

The APA-accredited Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program has strong emphases in both research and clinical training, consistent with the scientist-practitioner model. The program offers both adult and child-focused training with emphases in Adult Psychopathology, Clinical Child and Family Psychology, Behavioral Medicine, and Neuropsychology. Students are given extensive research opportunities typically resulting in publications and presentations. The program is highly successful in placing students at top internship sites nationwide. Clinical Program graduates are employed in a variety of professional settings including university and medical center faculty positions and independent practice. The program employs a mentoring model under which the student works closely with a faculty member. While it is expected that one faculty member will assume responsibility for guiding the student to degree completion, the student has the option of studying with multiple faculty, and has the freedom to switch advisors should his/her interests change during the course of his/her studies. The program also offers opportunities for teaching experience.

For information about our accreditation status, you can contact the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association, which can also be reached at:
Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Phone: 202-336-5979
TDD/TTY: 202-336-6123
Fax: 202-336-5978

Admission to our program is competitive. Applicants must have a minimum 3.00 cumulative undergraduate GPA, a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation (at least 2 of which must come from a faculty member in a university or medical setting), and at least 18 hours of psychology (or 12 hours of psychology and 6 hours from a related discipline, the appropriateness of which will be reviewed by the admissions committee after the application deadline). A statistics course is required. If you do not meet these requirements you will not be considered for admission regardless of circumstances. For those who meet these requirements, evaluation of the application is based on: undergraduate GPA; graduate GPA (if any); GRE scores (see the Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data page for average GRE scores of admitted students; the subject test is not required and will not be reviewed); letters of recommendation; clinical, research and/or teaching experience; the variety and difficulty of coursework completed; extracurricular activities and jobs related to psychology; and a demonstrated ability to function independently and responsibly. The department actively recruits students from cultural groups that have been under-represented in professional psychology. To be considered for admission to the Department of Psychology’s Graduate Program, your completed application materials must be received by our December 1st deadline. (For the 2025 recruiting cycle, the GRE is optional for Clinical Program, as is the GRE advanced subject test in Psychology.)

The Clinical Program, which receives approximately 300 applications each year, admits 5-8 students. There are typically 30 clinical graduate students on campus at any one time. The clinical training program takes approximately 4-5 years to complete the academic requirements, followed by a one-year, APA-accredited clinical internship. Invitations to interview are usually made by mid-January; offers of admission are usually made by the end of February. Upon selection for admission to the graduate program, a member of our faculty will contact you to make a verbal offer. The faculty member will provide details about the program, including information about financial support (usually in the form of an assistantship appointment), and answer any questions you may have. A letter will be sent to confirm the details of the offer and you will have until April 15 to accept or decline in writing and through myWSU.


Applications are accepted September 1 – December 1 for fall admission.


To apply to the Washington State University Department of Psychology Graduate Program you must complete the Washington State University Graduate School Application Process

*Please note that your references are required to submit letters of recommendation by the December 1 deadline. Please send the link to your letter writers through the application portal, so they can meet the application deadline.

Also, please contact the faculty member(s) you wish to work with to ensure that they are recruiting students next fall semester.

Questions concerning this process, please contact Stacy Gessler, Program Coordinator, Psychology Department at

Application Tips

To make your application more competitive, your personal statement should be single spaced, no longer than 2 pages, and include the following:

  1. your previous research and/or clinical experiences
  2. your future career goals
  3. your prior experiences involving diversity, equity, and inclusion and training/career goals in these areas
  4. your reasons for wanting to attend the WSU graduate program in Clinical Psychology
  5. the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with and why

Note to potential applicants: A previous felony conviction could prevent obtaining the predoctoral clinical internship required for a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, as well as future licensure as a psychologist. In addition, drug screenings and a background check may be required prior to the start of your first semester and through completion of the program.