Frequently Asked Questions by Applicants
Questions about the Application Process
- When is the application deadline? The application deadline is December 1st of each year for admissions the following Fall semester.
- Do you admit students in Spring semester? No. Admission is one time per year, in the Fall semester only.
- What do I need to submit an application? We require the USM graduate application, GRE transcripts, transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education, a vita/resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation. Students are also able to submit a research writing sample but doing so is not required for application. The USM Graduate School also assesses a fee for application.
- When will the graduate application portal open? The application portal for clinical psychology will be opened by the Graduate School in the Fall semester to accept applications for the next December 1st deadline. Access the graduate application portal here >
- What if I load all of my materials, pay my application fee, and submit my application, but I am still missing a letter of recommendation or a transcript on the December 1st deadline? We will consider all applications for which we have received all materials from the applicant by the December 1st deadline once the relevant missing components (i.e., a straggling letter or late transcript) are received, as long as all components are received by the time we are ready to finalize our candidates for interviews.
- When will I know if I am invited for an interview? It takes some time to get all finalized materials from the Graduate School to the department and reviewed by all of the clinical faculty. However, we typically select and notify our top applicant pool for online interviews late January to early February.
- When are on-campus interview days? The dates for on-campus interviews are not necessarily the same from year to year, given changes in the academic calendar and other events around which we must schedule. However, we typically hold our interviews between mid and late February.
- Can I apply for a master's degree program in clinical psychology at USM? The USM doctoral program in clinical psychology offers a non-terminal master's degree en route to the Ph.D. However, when students apply for admission, it is for the doctoral program in clinical psychology. There is no admissions for a master's degree only.
- Who do I contact with further questions about the application process? For answers to questions not addressed here or elsewhere on the website, contact Dr. Chris Barry, Chair of Clinical Admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions about Applicant Credentials
- What is the minimum GRE or GPA required for admission? We do not employ any automatic cut-off scores. We get far more qualified applicants than we are able to accept to the program each year. As an example, the 2012-13 incoming cohort had an average combined GRE of 1373 (old scoring system) / 319 (new scoring system) and an average GPA of 3.82. When reviewing applications, we look for an overall record that suggests a good fit with the training program and a likelihood of success.
- Is an undergraduate degree in psychology required for application? No. However, it is uncommon to have applicants without an undergraduate degree in psychology or at least extensive undergraduate courses in psychology, and almost all of our graduate students have a bachelor's degree in psychology. If you do not have a bachelor's degree in psychology and you are interested in our graduate program, you should ensure that you have at least some basic, essential psychology courses, including introduction to psychology, statistics, research methods, and abnormal psychology, before application.
- Is a master's degree in psychology required for application? No. We consider applicants with a bachelor's degree and applicants with a master's degree. The majority of our applicants have a bachelor's degree only and, likewise, the majority of our graduate students enter into the program with a bachelor's degree only. Students without a master's degree complete a master's thesis and are awarded a M.A. degree en route to the Ph.D.
- How would my training program differ if I already have master's degree? Students who hold a master's degree from a previous institution typically do not have to complete a master's thesis at USM and do not earn a master's degree from USM. We waive the requirement for a master's thesis once the student has provided evidence of an empirical master's thesis that is approved by the faculty as meeting our requirement. Students with a previous master's degree are also able to transfer 6 hours of graduate credit (two courses), typically core psychology courses (e.g., research methods, developmental, behavioral neuroscience), pending approval of course content (typically by syllabus review) by the USM faculty members who teach those courses. We require that students complete all statistics courses and clinical courses in our program, regardless of previous graduate coursework taken. Students entering with a master's degree still take a minimum of 5 years (4 years in residence and 1 year on pre-doctoral clinical internship) to complete the program.
- Who do I contact with further questions about applicant credentials? For answers to questions not addressed here or elsewhere on the website, contact Dr. Chris Barry, Chair of Clinical Admissions, at email@example.com.
Questions about the Program
- How many students are admitted to the program each year? In recent years, we have admitted class sizes of 5 to 6 students.
- Are students funded? Yes. Typically, for the first four years in residence, we fund our students with a graduate assistantship (departmental assistantship or extersnhip in the community) that includes a full tuition waiver and stipend.
- Are you a generalist program? Yes. Our program strongly subscribes to a generalist approach to training but includes concentrations in adult and child clinical psychology, which allow for more specialized training in research and clinical work with these specific populations.
- Are you a scientist-practitioner program? Yes. We prepare our students first as scientists is psychology and then as practicing clinical psychologists. We emphasize evidence-based approaches to assessment and treatment. Each student is required to complete independent research, including an empirical master's thesis and doctoral dissertation.
- In what types of settings will I train? Our graduate students train in both adult practicum and child practicum in our on-campus Psychology Clinic under the supervision of our program faculty. The majority of our clinic clients are community-based clients. Our students also complete one or more (typically several) contracted clinical externships at agencies in the community to add breadth and depth to their clinical training. Many of these externships are paid 20-hour positions and serve as the student's funding assistantship for that year. We also have contracted a variety of unpaid 8-hour externships.
- Can I attend the program as a part-time student? No. The doctoral program is a year-round full-time program. Most students are in residence at USM for at least 4 years prior to completing the year of pre-doctoral clinical internship. When in residence, students carry a full course load and hold a paid assistantship (20 hours). Neither part-time enrollment nor employment outside of the program during the first 4 years is allowed. Only in rare circumstances, and with explicit approval by the program faculty, are advanced students who are in residence and on assistantship allowed to engage in outside employment.
- How long does the program take to complete? Students take a minimum of 5 years to complete the doctoral program in clinical psychology. The first 4 years are in residence at USM. The fifth year involves completion of an APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship. Although the minimum time to completion is 5 years, the modal number of years to completion is 6 years (5 years plus internship) with some students taking longer than 6 years. In the fifth+ year in the program, students have completed all coursework and are typically working on research requirements and applications for internship.
- Is an APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship required? Yes. Students must complete an APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship to earn the Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
- How successful are your students in securing an internship? Our students typically fare well in the internship process. We have achieved an average match rate of 88% for the past 7 years, which is higher than the national average (78%) for the 2012 match. Each of our students not matching on a given year have successfully matched with a top-choice internship the following year. All students who have matched have completed an APA-accredited internship. Students match at a variety of internships, such as academic medical centers, VA hospitals, children's hospitals, etc.
- Who do I contact with further questions about the clinical psychology doctoral program? For answers to questions not addressed here or elsewhere on the website, contact Dr. Tammy Barry, Director of Clinical Training, at firstname.lastname@example.org.