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Recommendations for Clinical Psychology PhD (based own my profile)

cl3studentcl3student 0 replies1 threads New Member
Hey there,


I'm a current undergrad and just looking at possible schools for doing PhD. My main goal is to be in academia but also want to have the ability to get licensure (so I can't do a PsyD, sadly).

I feel like my scores aren't very competitive so I would like recommendations on potential universities that would be in my safe zones. I'm not from the U.S. and although I try to read from websites of each universities I can't really gauge which universities are ranked highly or are considered prestigious. I only know the Ivy Leagues, but honestly seems to be a bit of a reach based on the 1-3% acceptance rates.



Here are my current profile

GPA: 3.90+

GRE: Verbal (160 - 86th percentile), Quant (155 - 56th percentile), Writing (4 - 57th percentile)

Research experience (casual/part-time during undergrad): 3 years

Publications: 1 second-author, 1 third-author, and the most recent 1 one way back into the list of authors (working on two others)

Presentations: 1 national conference, 2 university-poster presentation

Clinical experience (casual/part-time): 2 years, usually over breaks or on an irregular basis



From what I have read it seems that GRE is one of the first cut-off to "whittle down" the field of applicants so I might attempt it again by early November but don't expect my scores to go up that much.

I'd like some suggestions for reputable schools that are still in reach for me, especially based on my GRE scores. I'd rather not apply to "out of reach" schools just blindly because finance is a huge concern for me and I don't see the point of applying if it's quite unlikely that I will get in (e.g. Harvard, Yale)


Any recommendation is appreciated!!
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Replies to: Recommendations for Clinical Psychology PhD (based own my profile)

  • IrisPatIrisPat 6 replies2 threads New Member
    Your profile sounds a bit similar to mine. Are you planning to take the GRE Psychology test? If not, I think some programs universities like Duke, Columbia, UC Berkley are interesting choices. But you might need to increase your score up a bit.
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  • cypresspatcypresspat 355 replies8 threads Member
    PhD programs in clinical psych are extraordinarily competitive. My husband is now a licensed psychologist but it was a long, hard road. He had a 4.0 GPA as an undergrad and scored 97%ile on his GRE. He was rejected from all programs. He completed a PhD in experimental psych and then got into a program to complete a PhD in clinical psych.
    Most clinical psych students now have completed a year or two post undergrad in some relevant clinical or research setting. I know many who were accepted into med school but not a clinical psych PhD program. The number of slots (in a program where you can sit for the license) is very small.
    Some take a different option if they want to practice. Licensed social work; counseling psych. Make sure the program leads to a license or else you will face employment issues at the end. Good luck.
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  • jym626jym626 55800 replies2904 threads Senior Member
    edited October 17
    Yes, these programs are extraordinarily competitive, funding has declined and reimbursement for providers (separate from academicians, but affect training programs in clinic and hospital settings) has dropped. ITs really depressing (no pun intended).

    Not sure why you think you can’t pursue a Psy.D (if you find one that has a research oriented training program) as you can get licensed in most, if not all, states. Stay away from the for-profit schools. Read the APA graduate training site for guidance on finding programs.

    Many programs sill want to see som real live experience in the working world (work at a psych facility for a few years) to be considered for grad school.

    It is sad to have seen these changes in my profession :(
    edited October 17
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  • juilletjuillet 12674 replies161 threads Super Moderator
    There really isn't a "safe zone" for clinical psychology. It is a very competitive field. You are a pretty competitive candidate - you've got solid research experience (assuming that the quality is above-average), some publications, presentations and clinical experience. Your GPA is great.

    Your GRE scores are lowish, but fine; GRE scores are the least important part of your application. I don't think you're in danger of getting cut out of the process altogether. Graduate admissions are generally more holistic than that.

    Your programs should be selected based on alignment with your research interests, especially since you are interested in academia. If academia is your goal, I'd strongly consider doing a clinical science program (one focused on research rather than more strongly on practice). You can find a list here (https://www.acadpsychclinicalscience.org/doctoral-programs.html) but that's not exhaustive.

    In the U.S., any APA-accredited PhD program in clinical psychology can lead to licensure. So most programs in which you could get good training for academia will also allow you to get licensed.

    As for why OP can't get a PsyD - they can, but a PsyD will make academia more of an uphill battle than a PhD.
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  • jym626jym626 55800 replies2904 threads Senior Member
    edited October 19
    Agreed, @Juillet, but was responding to the statement that she “cant” because of licensure. APA approved programs are IMO the best route, but PsyD.s can be licensed. Most are not research based programs, though will require a dissertation. Harder to get a faculty position with a Psy.D. rather than Ph.D., but the programs are generally easier to get into.
    edited October 19
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