Clinical Psychology @ City College FAQ
What are the pre-requisites for applying to the program?
We require fifteen credits in psychology (typically satisfied with five classes of three credits each). These 15 credits must include at least 1 semester of Statistics and 1 semester of (laboratory) Experimental Psychology. In addition, both the general and the Psychology GRE are required. There are many students in our program who have undergraduate degrees in subjects other than psychology, so that in itself is not a problem; in fact, we like to see a diversity of backgrounds. However, all applicants must take at least 15 undergraduate credits in psychology.
What do you mean by Experimental Psychology?
One of the things we look for in a potential applicant is some kind of experience with research, either through working on a research project (e.g., at a hospital) or through a course that focuses on research "methods"--that is, a course that includes data collection and/or analysis, and in which you learn about research design. Sometimes these courses are called "Research Methods" or some equivalent, rather than "Experimental". The admissions committee looks carefully at each application and at your specific coursework and research experience when evaluating your application.
What does my GRE score/GPA have to be to get in?
There are no official minimum scores or GPAs. The most accurate information we can give is that most students have GRE scores above 650 on each section and high GPAs (over 3.2), but there are always exceptions.
Some GRE specifics:
GRE scores are good for five years. Please make sure you take the GRE so that the scores arrive by the December 1st deadline. Do not send GRE scores directly to the clinical program. YOUR GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION SCORES MUST BE SENT TO THE GRADUATE CENTER, 365 FIFTH AVENUE, and NOT to The City College. The ETS Code number for The Graduate Center (CUNY) is 2113. The TOEFL number is the same.
Do I have to take the psychology GRE?
Yes, the psychology GRE is required. We ask that you take the November exam so that scores will be processed before the December 1st deadline. Though scores from the November subject test will not be available until mid-December, we will accept those scores so long as we receive all other materials by the December 1st deadline.
How long does it take to get through the program?
Approximately three to four years of required courses for a total of 90 credits; plus the first and second doctoral examinations, a dissertation and a year of internship.
Can I transfer credits?
The only credits that are transferable to our Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology are graduate-level classes (either Master's or PhD-level). The maximum number of graduate credits that can be transferred is 15; transfer credits are always at the discretion of the Program Director. With the exception of statistics or other basic courses in nonclinical disciplines of psychology (e.g., social psychology), accepted transfer credits rarely substitute for the required courses in the Program. Students entering with transfer credits have not been found to complete the PhD any sooner than those without transfer credits.
Can I attend the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology part-time?
No, this is a full-time program. Classes are usually held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays all day. Many students continue to work part-time throughout the program despite this schedule.
Can I take classes as a non-matriculated student?
You may not take courses within the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology as a non-matriculated student. If there are specific courses in other areas of psychology that are of interest, please contact those programs or the admissions office at the Graduate Center.
What do I do about financial aid?
Thanks to the remarkably generous contributions of both private donors and alumni, the Clinical Program is able to provide significant financial aid to its admitted students. Especially in the first year in the Program, when tuition is at its highest, the Program will make every effort to cover most, if not all, of your tuition expenses, even if you are an out of state or international student. We provide aid in large part based on financial need, so please fill out a FAFSA form as part of your application to the Program. While financial aid is not guaranteed in subsequent years, we will make every effort to work with you in providing some combination of of stipends, work study, teaching assistantships and, in your later years of the Program, Clinical Fellowships. Should you be invited to interview for the Program, please feel free to contact our DCT, Steve Tuber, to discuss your financial aid situation.
Applicants need to wait until they have been accepted to the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology in order to apply for specific teaching or research positions, which may provide additional sources of income. Generally, students cannot begin teaching until their second year in the program. If you do earn admission to CUNY's program, we will inform you of any paperwork necessary in order to apply for these positions.
I am an International Student, who can I talk to about my application?
The program welcomes applications from international students. If you have a question regarding the admissions process you should contact the Graduate Center admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions regarding specifics about what life will be like if you are admitted to the program you should contact the Office of International Students at the Graduate Center: email@example.com.
In addition, we have a number of international students presently in our program who have volunteered to consult with applicants from their countries. They have direct experience with the questions and ambiguities that may arise in both directions and are happy to assist you in clarifying the nature of our own requirements and clarifying for the admissions committee the nature of your own experience and credentials. If you would like to check if there is a student in our program from your country, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line 'International Student' and someone will get back to you at his or her earliest convenience.
Who should I have write my letters of recommendation?
We require at least two letters of recommendation. We have no "requirements" as far as who writes your recommendation letters; in general it's a good idea to include at least one from a professor (to vouch for your academic work and ability) and an employer or supervisor-someone who can speak to your research and clinical work and ability. It is important to ask people who can speak of you with real knowledge of your abilities and personal qualities (rather than "he/she was one of 200 undergraduates in my lecture course. He/she did very well with a grade of A in the course...) You can include more than two letters.
What research opportunities are available?
Students in the program have a variety of opportunities both on and off campus to participate in research. Some students participate actively in research projects conducted by individual faculty members. Others take advantage of the wealth of opportunities that are available in New York. In recent years, for example, students have worked in research projects at The New York State Psychiatric Institute, Cornell, Mount Sinai, NYU, and Beth Israel Hospital. The program has recently begun a psychotherapy research project based on data deriving from our clinic, The Psychological Center. It is anticipated that a number of students will eventually do their dissertations utilizing this data, and we encourage students to actively participate in shaping the data collection and research questions that will evolve from this project.
Should students contact an individual faculty member to inquire about working with him or her?
Once students are admitted, they have the opportunity to explore the research and scholarly activities of as many faculty members as they like and can choose to work with faculty members whose interests match theirs. It is important to understand that applicants are applying to the program, not to work with a specific person. In many programs, students are admitted specifically to work with a particular faculty member, and that faculty member virtually chooses the student on his or her own. Our admissions process is very different. All applicants are considered by the entire admissions committee and are compared to all other applicants to provide us with a strong and diverse incoming class.
What is the theoretical orientation of the program?
The orientation of the program is broadly defined as following the scholar-practitioner model. In line with this, our training is aimed at developing clinical psychologists whose experience as practitioners inform their scholarship and whose scholarship, in turn, informs their practice. That is, we aim to train critical thinkers who are, on the one hand, fully equipped to evaluate and examine their clinical work from the point of view of current theory and science, and, on the other, evaluate and examine the basic assumptions of theory and science in light of their experience working with patients. A second core assumption of the scholar practitioner model is that grounding in the theory, science, and practice of psychology will lead, ultimately, to advances in all of these areas. We are committed to training thoughtful, serious scholars, clinicians, researchers, and teachers. The orientation of the program is psychodynamic; however, other integrative, cognitive-behavioral approaches, including family systems and neuropsychology are well-represented. The program has a strong commitment to diversity and interdisciplinary work is highly valued. The program runs its own clinic, and clinical work is central to the training that students receive. It is important for applicants to be interested in scholarship and research as well as clinical work. First year students begin their clinical training via intake evaluations; students typically begin seeing patients in psychotherapy at the end of their first year or the beginning of their second year.
Can I come in and talk to you in person or take a tour?
There are two open houses each year, a fall open house and an open house sponsored by the Association for Ethnic and Minority Issues (AEMI), when it is possible to visit the school and program. Unfortunately, those open houses have already passed. Regrettably, we have too many applicants to be able to meet with students individually before the interview process.
Can I apply to more than one training area in the doctoral program in psychology program at CUNY in the same year?
The application for admissions to the doctoral program in Psychology will ask you to select your primary training area of interest. For our program, you should select the Clinical Psychology @ City College training area. You may also then select a secondary area of interest and identify a number of faculty members whose work you are interested in, but you are not required to do so.
I have more questions -- who can I talk to?
Please contact the admissions coordinator, Ariel Westerman, at email@example.com for questions about admission to the Clinical Psychology doctoral program. (If you are unable to use email, you may also call 212-650-5667.) For questions about the admissions process please email firstname.lastname@example.org.