FAQ's

Below are answers to some questions frequently asked by applicants. If you still have questions after reviewing the questions and answers here, please feel free to contact the Director of Graduate Studies.

The program’s primary goal is to train psychological clinical scientists, and the single most important component of the doctoral training is research. Research training takes place primarily in faculty research labs via active collaboration with a faculty research mentor. Thus, candidates should apply to our Ph.D. program recognizing that much of their research training will occur in the context of a particular faculty member’s research lab. All applications to our Ph.D. program include a personal statement, and the personal statement should identify one or two potential faculty research mentors.

Applications are reviewed by potential faculty research mentors (typically the individuals identified by the applicant in the personal statement) and a department admissions committee, which is comprised of several department faculty members. Initial reviews take place shortly after the December 1 application deadline.

There is quite a bit of variability in what individual faculty research mentors look for in an applicant. What might be most important in an application to some faculty members (e.g., particular types of research experiences, grades in certain courses, letters of recommendation, test scores) is not necessarily important to others. However, all faculty research mentors are looking for graduate students who will become actively engaged in research throughout their training at SMU and will contribute meaningfully to the research being conducted in the mentor’s lab.

The admissions committee considers applications holistically. That is, the committee considers past research experiences, applicant interests and goals, recommendation letters, applicant GRE scores, prior coursework and grades, and social and interpersonal skills. In general, the admissions committee is looking to admit graduate students who have a high likelihood of success in the program, but the admissions committee also considers program resources, needs, and special circumstances.

Admission to the program requires both a potential faculty research mentor and the admissions committee to approve of the potential student. All department admission decisions need to be approved by the College and the Graduate School before an official offer can be extended to an applicant.

Faculty members in the Department of Psychology who can serve as faculty research mentors for doctoral students in the SMU Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program are listed below:

Austin Baldwin, Ph.D.
Holly J. Bowen, Ph.D.
Michael Chmielewski, Ph.D.
George W. Holden, Ph.D.
Nathan W. Hudson, Ph.D.
Ernest N. Jouriles, Ph.D.
Chrystyna D. Kouros, Ph.D.
Priscilla Lui, Ph.D.
Renee McDonald, Ph.D.
Alicia E. Meuret, Ph.D.
Thomas Ritz, Ph.D.
Benjamin Tabak, Ph.D.
Stephanie J. Wilson, Ph.D.

All applications to our Ph.D. program include a personal statement, and the personal statement should identify one or two potential faculty research mentors. Please note that not all faculty members are in a position to mentor new students each year. You might want to contact potential faculty research mentors before you apply, to see if that faculty member plans to serve as a research mentor for incoming students.

The program is designed to take 5-6 years to complete, with the final year being the student's clinical internship.

Yes. Graduate students enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology receive a tuition waiver (i.e., they do not have to pay tuition) and funding for up to five years of graduate study at SMU. Funding (stipends) may come from a variety of sources, including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and university fellowships. The standard student stipend for 2020-21 will be $18,500, but some students will receive more due to supplements from university fellowships. Students will also receive SMU benefits (i.e., library privileges, on-line databases, email account, wellness program), and medical insurance, which is covered by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

The program is designed to take 6 years to complete, with the final year being the student's clinical internship. Funding for the 6th year is provided by the clinical internship.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created additional obstacles for many applicants. For that reason, for applications to the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program due December 1, 2020, submission of valid GRE general test scores will be optional. Applicants are encouraged to take the GRE general test and submit scores if possible. Applicants who do not submit GRE scores will be asked to explain the specific circumstances that prevented them from taking the test. Strong GRE scores, in combination with other application materials, will increase applicants’ chances of being awarded prestigious University fellowships, including University Ph.D., Mustang, and Moody Graduate Fellowships.

SMU’s doctoral program in clinical psychology was founded in 2004 and has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 2009. The next evaluation for accreditation was scheduled to take place in 2020, but it needed to be rescheduled due to APA travel restrictions. It will take place as soon as it can be rescheduled. The program currently is accredited.

APA accreditation is essential for students who are applying for internships, post-doctoral training, and jobs, as it indicates that the primary professional organization and evaluating body has concluded that the program provides training experiences that are consistent with the national standards established by the field of clinical psychology.

Questions related to the program’s accredited status should be directed to the Commission on Accreditation:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association

750 1st Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002
Phone: 202-336-5979 / Email: apacred@apa.org
Web: www.apa.org/ed/accreditation

The application deadline is December 1 for those seeking admission in the fall of the next year. We begin reviewing applications shortly after the deadline and make decisions about which candidates we wish to interview in late December or early January. Interviews take place in late January or early February. All interviews will be conducted virtually this application cycle. Admissions decisions typically are made a couple weeks after all of the interviews are complete.

Interviews are required, and all interviews will be conducted virtually this application cycle.

We typically admit between 3 and 6 students each year.

No. Our program is for full-time students only.

No. All admissions decisions are made for students beginning in the fall semester.

No. Students in the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology can obtain a Master's Degree in route to the Ph.D. Almost all of the candidates accepted into our program are accepted with only a bachelor's degree.

Students who have completed prior graduate coursework may wish to transfer some of those credits. This is considered on a case-by-case basis to ensure that the prior coursework satisfies the program’s curricular requirements, as set forth by APA. No more than three classes from other programs will be eligible for transfer. A thesis completed at another institution will not be transferred to SMU.