For more information about program admissions, visit HPCS Admissions page.
Applicants should also review Psychology's Admissions and Aid page and the Office of Admissions website.
HPCS is a full-time doctoral program, with matriculation occurring only in the fall semester. The program trains clinical and health scientists. Our training model emphasizes clinical research training and our curriculum is designed to be congruent with NYS licensure requirements and we currently hold APA Accreditation on Contingency.
Competitive applicants to our program are those with solid research experience, optimally in the areas of health psychology and clinical science. Our program maintains a focus on conducting both mentored and independent research during graduate study, leading up to an original empirical dissertation study.
Applications for next year will be due December 1, 2022 and should be submitted via the Application Portal below. Our Faculty Page will be updated each year to indicate who is accepting a student for this application cycle. Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on GRE testing, the Ph.D. Program in Psychology is suspending all GRE requirements for Fall 2021 applications. If you have already taken the exam, you may upload your scores as usual. TOEFL and IELTS requirements are not suspended.
Doctoral students in Health Psychology and Clinical Science (HPCS) receive a thorough training in clinical and health psychology, including current theoretical perspectives, the conduct and evaluation of scientific research methods, and evidence-based prevention and intervention practice across a diverse set of populations. HPCS has a commitment to the interaction between physical and mental health, a focus on health disparities and the influence of sociocultural contexts, and the advancement of health equity from a biopsychosocial perspective.
The program embodies a clinical science model of training in the evidence-based practice of health service psychology. The program for predoctoral students includes core coursework and intensive supervised research and clinical and health psychology practice in laboratory, health care, and community settings. The program utilizes a mentorship model in which students will work closely with one or two faculty advisor(s). The faculty has strong expertise in a number of processes relevant to clinical and health psychological science, including: biopsychosocial determinants of physical and mental health and illness; neurobiological bases of emotion function and dysfunction; stress, coping, and adjustment to chronic illness; social-cognitive risk factors for mental disorders and physical illness; adherence to treatment; emotion regulation; health communication; prevention of illness, and health disparities.
Students who do not wish to pursue clinical training should select the “research only” option on the application.
Below are links to information that we hope are helpful to those hoping to learn more about HPCS or to initiate an application. We hope you will review this information and contact us through the website at https://www.cunyhpcs.org if you have additional questions.
HPCS Admissions Open House will be held in the Fall (date TBD). Last year, HPCS also hosted its second Diversity Open House and more details will be posted here and on our Committee on Diversity & Social Justice's page when details about a 2022 event are available.
Graduate Center Admissions
Click here for general information about admission to doctoral study at the CUNY Graduate Center. This page is designed to help applicants navigate the application process.
Q: Is this a health psychology or clinical science program?
A: Both. Our program appeals to students interested in both health psychology and clinical science, and to those interested in their integration. All students must take coursework in Psychopathology, Health Psychology, and Health Disparities, giving them foundational knowledge in both areas. Clinical training opportunities are available in both medical settings and non-medical settings, and students may conduct research in either health psychology, psychopathology, or their integration. This program provides a unique opportunity that allows students to pursue a training experience that will optimize their future careers as health service psychologists.
Q: Do all students receive clinical training?
A: Many students pursue research + clinical training while some pursue a research-only curriculum. Please see our curriculum page.
Q: It says that HPCS is accredited by APA “on contingency”. What does this mean?
A: Our program was launched in 2013 and received accreditation in May 2019. The designation “on contingency” is assigned to all newly accredited programs in their first three years. In 2022, we will undergo another accreditation site visit that will include distal data on our program graduates. All students in the program are considered to have graduated from a fully accredited program. You can read more about the different types and stages of APA accreditation here.
Q: Is this a dual-degree program?
A: No, this is a single training area in the Ph.D. program in Psychology.
Q: How can I tell if my interests and experiences are aligned with the program?
A: A good fit for the HPCS training area entails compatibility of research and clinical interests with the zeitgeist of the curriculum and with at least one faculty member (see our faculty page). Further, that faculty member must intend to accept a new graduate student in the current admissions cycle. Students may apply to the program for research + clinical training or for research-only training. Competitive applicants to our program are those with solid research experience, optimally in the areas of health psychology and/or clinical science.
Q: I want a career as a psychotherapist in private practice. Is this the right program for me?
A: Probably not. Our goal is to train scientist-practitioners who have strong interests and career aspirations in both research and clinical training. Those who do not wish to conduct research are unlikely to feel satisfied in our program.
Q: What factors determine whether I will be admitted?
A: Several factors weigh heavily into admissions decisions: (1) undergraduate (and graduate, if relevant) GPA, (2) letters of recommendation, (3) prior relevant research experience, (4) match between interests of the student and members of the faculty, and 5) whether those faculty are currently admitting new students into their laboratories.
Q: Why might good students not be admitted?
A: Unfortunately, each year many good applicants are not admitted to our program for a variety of reasons. Admission to doctoral programs is highly competitive, and we have more qualified applicants than we have admissions slots. Sometimes the research interests of the applicant do not match those of our faculty. Other times, faculty who might have matching research interests are not currently taking new graduate students. Finally, some very bright and talented applicants could benefit from additional research experience before starting a doctoral program.
Q: Can I apply to HPCS for a Master’s degree?
A: No. HPCS is a full-time doctoral program that admits students who intend to earn a Ph.D. Enrolled doctoral students have the option of acquiring a Master’s degree on the way to earning the PhD, once they have completed a minimum of 45 credits in the doctoral program with an average grade of "B" or better and passed the First Doctoral Examination. However, students who are only interested in a terminal Master’s degree should not apply to HPCS.
Q: Can I enroll in the program part-time?
A: No. This is a full-time program. In addition to coursework, students will be actively involved in research, clinical training, and may have teaching responsibilities. This requires a full time commitment.
Q: Can I take all of my classes in the evening?
A: No. Classes are offered at a variety of times throughout the day and early evening.
Q: What is Health Psychology?
A: Health Psychology is concerned with understanding and influencing how biology, behavior, cognition, emotion, and the environment affect health and illness. Health psychologists conduct basic, applied, and translational research on the interaction between human behavior and physical health, seeking to understand the role that biopsychosocial factors play in the etiology, treatment, and prevention of disease, as well as adjustment following diagnosis of disease.
Q: What is Clinical Science?
A: Clinical Science is concerned with understanding the nature and treatment of psychopathology; the promotion of adaptive functioning; the assessment, understanding, amelioration, and prevention of human problems in behavior, affect, cognition, interpersonal functioning, or health; and the application of knowledge in ways that are consistent with scientific evidence. The approach highlights a commitment to rigorous empirical approaches to evaluating the validity and utility of testable hypotheses and to advancing knowledge through this method. HPCS adheres to the principles of clinical science by fostering the training of students who will skillfully produce and apply scientific knowledge, advancing the full range of clinical science research and theory and their integration with other relevant sciences, and facilitating the broad application of clinical science to human problems in responsible and innovative ways.
Q: What are the benefits of integrating health psychology and clinical science?
A: Many of our students and faculty are devoted to the integration of health psychology and clinical science. The integrated approach facilitates a multidisciplinary focus on the discovery and application of scientific knowledge to questions related to physical and mental health and their interaction. Many health psychologists and clinical scientists focus on prevention and intervention through research that aims to foster physical and mental health, reduce the risk of disease, and promote adjustment to illness. Although some of our students and faculty focus more heavily on either clinical science or health psychology in their programs of research or clinical work, many focus on the integration of these two areas of study, and the HPCS community as a whole has a deep appreciation and respect for this integration. Health psychologists are increasingly in demand as the health care costs associated with behavioral factors and unhealthy lifestyles (e.g., smoking, alcoholism, and obesity) have rendered prevention and treatment more critical. Clinical scientists are in demand because of the rising costs of some of the most common psychological disorders, including mood, anxiety, and other challenges. Most importantly, we employ a flexible approach that encourages students to pursue a training experience that optimizes their training goals and future careers. Graduates will be strong candidates for faculty positions in academic psychology departments, medical schools, and schools of public health, as well as positions within multidisciplinary clinical and research teams in many medical fields (e.g., psychiatry, oncology).
Q: How is this program different than the other clinical programs at the Graduate Center?
A: Doctoral students in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science training area will receive a thorough grounding in both clinical science and health psychology/behavioral medicine, as well as their integration. This approach includes training in current theoretical perspectives, diverse scientific research methods, and the conduct of preventive and intervention trials. We suggest that you look at the description and curriculum of each program to make the best choice for you.
Q: Am I admitted to work with a specific professor?
A: Students are admitted into the doctoral program in Health Psychology and Clinical Science with a primary mentor, or possibly a combination of faculty members as mentors. We weigh heavily the match between applicant interests and those of members of the faculty. Applicants should discuss their areas of research interest in their statement of purpose. Applicants are encouraged to identify particular faculty they might be interested in working with. The mentor supervises the student’s research, including the doctoral dissertation. Occasionally students choose to switch primary mentorship if their interests and needs change as they progress through the program.
Q: Who are the HPCS faculty?
A: HPCS faculty members are researchers who have strong expertise in clinical science and/or health psychology. Faculty information can be found here.
Q: How do I know if a particular faculty member who I am interested in applying to is taking a new student next year?
A: Information about individual faculty members’ research interests, and whether they will be accepting a new graduate student for the current admissions cycle, is updated in the fall semester of each year and can be found on our faculty page (the faculty page will explicitly indicate once it has been updated to reflect who is accepting students for the current admissions cycle). Information about members of the faculty, including research interests, is currently up to date and modified routinely; it is not necessary to contact a faculty member to verify.
Q: What are the available research opportunities for students?
A: Members of the HPCS faculty have their academic appointments and labs on multiple CUNY campuses (e.g., Baruch, Brooklyn, City, Hunter). HPCS faculty also have collaborations with faculty located at other NYC institutions, national and international universities, and medical centers. Doctoral students can develop or become involved in collaborative projects. Current local faculty collaborations include Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center/NYS Psychiatric Institute, NYU Child Study Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and the NYU Imaging Center.
Q: What degree is obtained through this program?
A: Students obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Psychology. They have the option of obtaining an en route master’s degree (M.A.) at the end of the second year.
Q: How long does it take to complete the Ph.D.?
A: It is expected that students will complete the HPCS curriculum within five years. Students who pursue clinical training must complete an APA-accredited internship during their sixth year in order to receive their Ph.D. Admissions data and years-to-completion data are available here.
Q: What are the curricular requirements for the PhD?
A: The core curriculum coursework provides a firm foundation in health psychology and clinical science, related areas of psychology, and strong methodological and ethics training. For those students pursuing research + clinical training, coursework involves didactic courses in Assessment and Intervention, as well as intensive supervised research and clinical science practica in laboratory, hospital, and community settings during years 2-5. All students complete research requirements in the form of two doctoral examinations and a dissertation, which are fully described in the Student Handbook. The description of the curriculum and sample course schedules for students can be found here.
Q: Does the Ph.D. program in Psychology offer a summer session?
A: No. Courses are offered during the fall and spring semesters. We expect doctoral students to be engaged in research and clinical training during the summer.
Q: What type of jobs do students acquire after graduation?
A: Our program is new, and we therefore do not yet have much distal outcome data. However, our first graduates are all employed in post-doctoral or academic positions and you can view more information on our alumni page. As with national programs similar to ours, graduates are strong candidates for faculty positions in academic psychology departments, medical schools, and schools of public health. Graduates also will be well positioned to join multidisciplinary clinical and research teams in many medical fields (e.g., psychiatry, oncology). Many health and clinical psychologists focus on prevention through research and clinical interventions designed to foster physical and mental health and reduce the risk of disease. Others work on evidence-based policy initiatives.
Q: Do all students in the HPCS training area receive clinical training?
A: Upon acceptance into the program, students choose whether to follow the clinical + research curriculum, or the research-only curriculum. All students interested in clinical training will receive it through HPCS and clinical externship placements.
Q: Is your clinical training based on any particular theoretical approach?
A: Our clinical training is focused on prioritizing training in evidence-based interventions. Although we focus heavily on teaching cognitive-behavioral approaches to treatment, we support our students in obtaining clinical externship placements that teach any evidence-based approaches.
Q: What are opportunities for clinical training?
A: Students begin clinical work in the summer after their 1st year or at the beginning of their second year of graduate study. Students typically spend their 2nd year conducting structured assessments and/or psychotherapy with a diverse range of clients from the community under the supervision of HPCS faculty. In the 3rd through 5th years, students apply to and select from a large variety of clinical externships in the New York City area (over 350 options). Clinical externships require a commitment of approximately 16 hours per week. These practicum and externship experiences train students in the delivery of evidence-based interventions in numerous settings, including academic and community hospitals and outpatient psychotherapy settings. Click here for a list of recent training sites that our students have applied to or joined.
Q: Are graduates of the program eligible for licensure?
A: Yes. HPCS is a registered program with the NY State Department of Education with a licensure eligible curriculum.
Q: What is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline is December 1.
Q: Are applications considered on a rolling basis?
A: No. The admissions deadline is December 1 of the year before matriculation. The Graduate Center does not accept applications that are submitted after this deadline.
Q: How do I apply to the HPCS training area?
A: The Admissions Office at the Graduate Center processes all application materials. Information about application requirements to the Graduate Center can be found on the Graduate Center Admissions page.
Q: Does HPCS require the GRE?
A: Despite the fact that the Graduate Center’s current policy is to require the GRE, the HPCS program does not require the GRE and does not consider GRE scores in making interview decisions.
Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on GRE testing, the Ph.D. Program in Psychology is suspending all GRE requirements for Fall 2021 applications. If you have already taken the exam, you may upload your scores as usual. TOEFL and IELTS requirements are not suspended.
Q: Does HPCS require the GRE Psychology Subject Test?
Q: What are the minimum requirements for matriculation?
A: The minimum requirements for applying to the Ph.D. program in Psychology can be found here. Admitted applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree prior to enrolling in the program. Applicants must have completed the (minimum) following coursework: Introduction to Psychology, Statistics, and Experimental Research (Research Methods or Research Design). Stronger applicants for the HPCS training area have a more extensive academic foundation in psychology, including courses in Health Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Cultural Psychology.
Q: Can I apply to more than one CUNY Clinical Psychology doctoral programs at once?
A: No. You can only apply to one CUNY Clinical Psychology program within an admissions cycle.
Q: Can I apply to more than one training area simultaneously (e.g., HPCS and BASP?)
A: No, you may only apply to one Graduate Center doctoral program at a time within an admissions cycle. Some faculty are affiliated with multiple training areas, but you should choose the curriculum that best fits your training interests.
Q: Is it necessary to have a master’s degree to apply for the Ph.D.?
Q: Is there an advantage to having a Master’s degree in admissions decisions?
A: No. We prefer that you have research and clinical experience both during your undergraduate training and after your undergraduate degree.
Q: When I apply, I will be applying through my legal name, but I use a different name. Most of my documents (e.g., transcripts) will be under my legal name and my letters of recommendation may use my legal name. However, I would prefer to be called by my chosen name. What can I do to ensure that HPCS and the Graduate Center (a) successfully receives all of my materials while (b) not being misnamed or misgendered?
A: The Admissions office requires you to apply using your legal name throughout the application process. For any admissions events within the program, we are happy to use your chosen name and pronouns. Please email the HPCS Co-Directors (email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org) with your chosen pronoun and name and we will use this information in our correspondence with you.
Q: I have specific questions about the application process, such as where to send my scores or whether a letter of recommendation has been received. Whom should I contact about this?
A: The Admissions Office at the Graduate Center handles all the admissions applications. Applications are forwarded to the HPCS Admissions Committee in December when they are complete. Please contact the Graduate Center’s Admissions Office with procedural questions about the application process.
Q: I want to speak to or meet with a faculty member about the program or my career goals before I apply. Can this be arranged?
A: Faculty receive a large volume of email correspondence from prospective students. Consequently, many HPCS faculty members and program administrators are unable to accommodate individual meetings or phone calls with prospective applicants to discuss career paths.
Q: Does your program hold an open house, admissions fair, or information session?
A: We hold one open house for the HPCS program at the Graduate Center in mid-to-late October. Attending the open house does not affect admissions decisions in any way. Please check the Open house section above for the most up-to-date information.
Q: Do I need to register for the open house?
A: No, there is no need to register. It helps us to have a headcount, but even if you do not register, please come.
Q: Is there a word limit for the personal statement in the application?
A: No, but we encourage you to use your discretion.
Q: How do I know if a particular faculty member is taking a new student next year?
A: Information about individual faculty member’s research interests and if they will be taking on a new graduate student for this admissions cycle can be found here on the HPCS Faculty page. This information is currently up-to-date; it is not necessary to contact a faculty member to verify.
Q: Do I apply to the HPCS training area to work with one professor?
A: In the Graduate Center application, you are required to select at least one faculty member with whom you are interested in working on research. As we encourage students to work with multiple faculty members over their training, it is wise to list more than one faculty member. However, listing faculty members who are not a good match will not serve you well when applications are considered. Thus, be sure you know the research that your listed faculty members are conducting now.
Q: I see that some HPCS faculty have their primary appointments and labs at CUNY campuses other than Hunter College. Do I apply to the Graduate Center or to the specific college campus at which the faculty is located?
A: You are applying to the Graduate Center, which is the doctoral degree granting unit of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. Your Ph.D. will be in Psychology from the Graduate Center and the majority of your classes will be held at the Graduate Center. The reason why most of our faculty are affiliated with Hunter College is that Hunter College sponsors and provides administrative support to our program; however, the program is officially run through the Graduate Center. Individual faculty members have primary appointments at different campuses, where their laboratories are situated.
Q: Can I conduct research with more than one faculty member?
A: Yes. Many students work with more than one faculty member or with faculty members who collaborate with each other.
Q: Should I name faculty in other training areas I want to work with in my application?
A: No. Your primary mentor(s) should be HPCS faculty. Please only name those you really want to work with in your application; you don't need to list four just to fill all the slots.
Q: Can I apply to work with a faculty member who is not taking students the year I matriculate?
A: No. As we are a mentor/lab-based program, you should only apply to work with someone taking a student.
Q: How much does it cost to attend your program?
A: The tuition cost for in-state and out-of-state students can be found here on the CUNY Graduate Center website. All matriculated students receive a tuition waiver for five years. If you are out-of-state, you are expected to acquire and maintain in-state residency by the beginning of your second year of doctoral study, or you will be required to pay the discrepancy between in- and out-of-state tuition. In addition, HPCS has been successful in providing all accepted students with a five-year funding package that includes the tuition waiver described above, a stipend, and low-cost health insurance. Stipends may include teaching and/or research requirements.
Q: Can I enroll in the program and continue to work off-site during the academic year?
A: No. Doctoral students must be available for courses, colloquia, proseminars, research, clinical practica, and teaching. Pursuing a doctoral degree is a full-time "job" that involves a good deal of research and requires that students not hold outside employment during the academic year.
Q: Do you accept transfer students?
A: HPCS does not accept transfer students. Students who wish to leave another doctoral psychology program and apply to the HPCS training area should apply to the program in the regular admissions cycle. Should they gain admission to the program, they can petition to transfer specific credits as per the policy stated in the Student Handbook and they can petition to use a master’s thesis to meet the first doctoral examination requirement as per our policy.
Q: Can I transfer any credits from a Master’s degree?
A: Potentially. Should you gain admission to the program, you may petition to transfer specific credits as per the policy stated in the Student Handbook. Each petitioned course will be considered by the Curriculum Committee. We cannot guarantee the transfer of any course credit prior to gaining admission to the program. Once admitted to the HPCS program, syllabi for each completed course will be required for the petition to transfer credits.
Q: How many credits can I transfer?
A: Although the Graduate Center allows for a maximum of 30 credits to be transferred that have been taken prior to admission to a doctoral program, students may not transfer more than 12 credits toward the HPCS required courses. These decisions are made by the HPCS Curriculum Committee by the end of the student’s first year. Courses to be transferred must be completed with a grade of B or higher within an appropriate period preceding the time of application and must be equivalent to comparable courses offered at the Graduate Center. Students must submit the full syllabus for the course to the HPCS Curriculum Committee in order to be considered.
Q: Do you accept international students?
A: Yes. Information about applying as an international student may be found here.
Q: Does the Graduate Center offer funding for international students at the same rates as for non-international students?
Q: Does the Graduate Center have an international students' office to help with paperwork?
A: Yes. See the International Students page
Q: Does the Graduate Center help with transition to employment opportunities in the US after the degree?
A: The International Students Office at the Graduate Center regularly holds relevant workshops on this topic
Q: Is this degree considered for STEM OPT by the school?
A: HPCS is not STEM OPT at this time.
Q: Do I need a certified translation of my original transcripts to apply?
A: We ask applicants to upload a copy of their unofficial transcripts and English translations for review purposes. If the applicant is admitted, we then require original official transcripts and translations prior to enrollment.
Q: Do you require the TOEFL or IELTS?
A: The Graduate Center requires TOEFL or IELTS for applicants who did not receive a degree from an English speaking country, where English is the language of instruction, and where English is an official language of that country. A list of the countries that are exempt from the TOEFL or IELTs exam can be found here.
Q: If I am an international student and have completed my undergraduate degree outside of the United States, which equivalency program do you accept?
A: The Graduate Center does not require an equivalency credential for international students. They require that applicants upload a copy of their original transcript and translation for review purposes.