Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology – Admissions Considerations and How to Apply

Admissions Considerations:

The Clinical Program engages in a holistic review process when considering applicants. The criteria listed below are balanced across experience, attributes and academic metrics, considering how specific individuals may contribute to the program as well as the broader field of clinical psychology. Background, opportunity, and evidence of compensatory factors are used to contextualize both strengths in the application, as well as weaknesses.  

Because we are a mentor-based program, it is critical that your application reference the clinical faculty with whom you hope to work with during your time at Purdue. Please note that not all faculty are accepting applicants each year. However, faculty with an asterisk (*) will likely not be recruiting new students in the current admissions season. We are in the process of determining the faculty who will be recruiting new students for the 2021-2022 academic and will update this page soon.

While more details about the application process is provided below, keep in mind that all application material should be in the hands of the graduate admissions administrative assistant no later than January 15 of the year in which the student is applying for admission.

Admissions Criteria:

  • Overall academic preparation, including consideration of the following:
    • Undergraduate grade point average 
    • Undergraduate and/or master’s major and/or quality of course work consistent with a major in psychology, including basic psychological science (affective, biological, cognitive, developmental and social aspects of behavior), abnormal psychology, statistics, and research design
      • Please note that undergraduate preparation in the major areas of psychology (including statistics and research methods) is highly desirable but may not be required in some cases.
    • Scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) – the Psychology Subject Test is not required
    • Awards, honors, leadership positions, attainment of competitive grants
    • Quality of completion of the graduate application form
  • Research preparation
    • The duration, type, and quality of prior research experiences
    • Research productivity (presentations, publications)
  • Alignment with the clinical science mission and aims of the PhD program
  • Alignment with the interests and goals of specific faculty members and their labs
    • We are especially interested in students whose experiences as well as interests align with specific faculty members and their labs.
  • Clinical preparation
    • Exposure to clinical populations
  • Quality of the student’s personal statement and diversity essay
  • Letters of reference
  • For international students, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores

We value individual and cultural diversity in our incoming classes. We especially encourage members of groups that are underrepresented within the field of psychology to apply to our program. It is the policy of Purdue University not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, handicap or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing or services, or in the educational programs or activities it operates, in accordance with civil rights legislation and university commitment. Any alleged violations of this policy or questions regarding the law with respect to non-discrimination should be directed to the Purdue Vice President for Ethics and Compliance, 765-494-7255;

To see characteristics of recent incoming classes click to download Our Admissions and Outcome Data (pdf).

How to Apply:

All students applying for admission to the Clinical Program must submit:

(1) Online application for admission by January 15, 2021, for enrollment in Fall 2021.

  • The Department of Psychological Sciences has provided more information about application materials required by the department, which can be found here.
  • Information from the Graduate School about application fees and possible fee waivers can be found here.
  • Graduate School applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents experiencing economic hardship may request a waiver of the application fee. To request a waiver of the application fee, please send an email explaining your situation to
    • Please be aware that any fee reduction requests will not be made available to the faculty reviewing applications and that fee waivers have no impact on admission decisions.

(2) Supplemental Documents:

    • Transcripts from all colleges or universities attended (uploaded to your on-line application).
    • At least three letters of recommendation (submitted on-line) from persons familiar with your work.
    • A personal statement essay covering the following (essay should be one to two pages, single-spaced, in a 12-point font):
      • Why do you want to become a clinical psychologist? Include how your background, life experiences, educational preparation, research experience, and clinical exposure have contributed to your decision to pursue a career in clinical psychology.
      • Why you are specifically applying to the Clinical Psychology PhD Program at Purdue University?
      • Describe your research and clinical science interests and aspirations; how have these experiences shaped your educational and career goals; indicate by name the specific faculty member(s) you would like to work with and why you would like to work with them and discuss how your research interests and experiences fit with the specific lab or mentor.
    • Diversity Essay - The diversity essay is required of ALL applicants and should be responsive to the following statement:
      • Describe your leadership, work experience, service experience, or other significant involvement with racial, ethnic, socio-economic, or educational communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, and how these experiences would promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence.
    • Scores on the Graduate Record Examination (Institution code: R1631). Follow this link to learn whether you may qualify for the ETS GRE Fee Reduction program.

*Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our program will accept unofficial GRE score reports and unofficial undergraduate/graduate transcripts for applications to the fall 2021 class. If you are accepted, you will then need to submit official score reports and transcripts.

Interviews for Admission

Review of applications will begin immediately after the January 15 application deadline. Faculty typically identify a list of applicants for additional consideration and may contact applicants from this list for additional discussion by email, phone, or online video/audio meeting. Faculty may then further reduce this list to identify a smaller number of applicants to formally interview for admissions to the Clinical Program. These official interviews occur during the Graduate Recruitment Visitation Program (GRVP), which is a department-wide interview event that is typically scheduled on a Thursday-Friday at some point between early-January to early-February of the entry year. The official admissions interviews that occur during GRVP involve meetings with program faculty and students as well as an overview of the broader department and university. 

*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GRVP interview event will be held virtually this year.

Licensure: Consumer Disclosure

 The Clinical Psychology PhD Program at Purdue University provides education and training in Clinical Psychology that is compliant with national standards. The practice of psychology, however, is regulated at the state level, and may require training experiences and examinations beyond the educational and training requirements provided by the PhD program.

Purdue University, to the best of its ability, determined that the curriculum offered by our Program meets – or does not meet – the educational requirements for licensure or certification to practice psychology in each of the 50 states in the United States. You can access our consumer information disclosure here.

You are also encouraged to review the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards’ online tool, PsyBook (, which summarizes requirements for most states and territories, and to contact the licensing authorities directly in the state for which you hope to get licensed.






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