The Psychology Newsletter for Spring 2013 (.PDF, 690 KB) covers updates for the Science IV and V Buildings, profiles some of our faculty and alumni (both Graduate & Undergraduate), and highlights our Honors students and awards winners from 2012.
If you are a potential applicant, you will naturally be curious about what we look for in students. Probably the single most important factor is that your professional goals match those of our training program. We look for students who are dedicated to research, who have a sincere interest in clinical psychology as an applied science, who are curious and who are intrigued by the process of discovery that empirical research entails. The successful applicant typically has a record that reveals evidence of a solid interest in research, most often exemplified by activities such as, but not restricted to, an honors thesis project; work in the lab of a researcher; author or co-author of posters, presentations, or publications; etc. Many students who have been involved in psychological or neuroscience research that is not clinical in nature assume that their applications will automatically be weaker, but that is not true.
We also look for students who are committed to the use of psychological principles to the betterment of society. There are various settings and professional roles in which psychologists make a significant difference to people's lives. Thus, we see clinical psychology as a powerful source of knowledge that is very different from the general skills of professional disciplines in the helping professions. Many types of professionals can provide support, encouragement and help to clients; what is unique about clinical psychology is that we bring to this endeavor a rigorous, scientific knowledge base.
Individuals in our society face many significant problems including serious emotional disorder, acquired or developmental disabilities, addictions, violence and crime, and the impact of dysfunctional families and traumatic experiences. Addressing these major social issues requires dedication, concern and critical thought. We include prevention, rehabilitation and community intervention, in addition to the more traditional level of individual psychotherapy. Our alumni have pursued further study or careers in medical schools, in the public mental-health system, academia, teaching hospitals, private practice, social policy-making, etc., but in each instance we expect that our graduates will be dedicated to the needs of the consumers of clinical psychology services. (A sample of alumni and their employment can be found on our Alumni page.)
In order to benefit from the demands of graduate education, student applicants must show a history of academic success and industriousness. Good undergraduate grades indicate that students have the energy and drive to handle advanced college study. However, applicants might also demonstrate similar aptitude in other ways, perhaps by having experience in a research lab or by having served as a volunteer in a mental-health program. A strong recommendation from a teacher who knows your work and potential is another valuable source of data. In other words, we do not simply attend to "the numbers" such as high GRE scores or grades. These are considered; however, we try to evaluate every aspect of the individual. GRE scores and GPAs of of students who have recently been admitted can be found at Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data.
It is particularly important to us that clinical psychologists represent the highest standards of tolerance and respect for individual differences in ethnicity, lifestyle and culture. There is no room for racism, sexism or handicapism in our program. One way to achieve these goals is to actively encourage a diversity of representation among our students. We specifically attempt to select students from various backgrounds and heritages. It is critical that we train the future generation of clinical psychologists so that these professionals will, to coin former President Clinton's phrase, "look like America". We also expect our students to be experienced in, and comfortable with, the delivery of clinical services to minority, disadvantaged or devalued populations.
Graduate study can be quite stressful and there are many demands, particularly in clinical training where students will be learning complex skills for the first time. Thus, we try to create a supportive atmosphere for the program. Student morale is excellent and the professional relationships among students and between faculty and students are positive. We encourage excellence and personal success, but discourage competitiveness. Different students have different strengths; we value these and strive to promote personal growth and active participation in the social and community elements of the program.
Last Updated: 5/14/12