UMass Psychology

Research & Trng

1. I will not have my GRE scores until after the deadline for applications. Can I still apply?
You can fax the unofficial scores to 413/545-0996 as soon as you get them. They will be placed in your file for faculty review. The official scores should reach us by December 30.

2. What are your acceptance criteria?

  • We carefully consider GRE scores, GPA, letters of recommendation, and your personal statement.  The match between your research interests, research experiences, and your faculty mentor are particularly important.  GREs have to be taken within 5 years of the anticipated entrance date into the program. The Psychology Subject test is not required.
  • Applicants should have majored in psychology. Exceptions will be considered for applicants with other majors who have taken a minimum set of psychology courses including introductory psychology, statistics, research methods, abnormal psychology, and at least three additional advanced courses in psychology. A background in statistics is required.
  • Applicants must have some research experience in the form of assistantships, honors theses, or collaborative efforts resulting in presentation and publication. 
  • Applicants should have some clinical experience. Appropriate types of experience include volunteer or paid work on an inpatient unit of a psychiatric hospital, a clinic in which psychological services are provided, crisis intervention center, peer counseling, or other similar "help" oriented activity.

3. What is the department's four digit code for GRE score reporting purposes?
Please use the University's code, which is 3917.

4. I am an international applicant. Do I need to take the TOEFL?
If you have an undergraduate degree from an accredited US College or University and you submit a full transcript from that University, you will not have to take the TOEFL. The TOEFL minimum score is 550 for paper-based administration and 213 for computer-based administration; TOEFL scores should be less than 2 years old.

5. How competitive is it to get into the Clinical Psychology program?
Each year, we receive about 225 applications and choose a class of 4 students.

6. Do I need to fill out any forms for Financial Aid before being accepted?
You do not have to apply for financial aid to be considered for admission.  Some funding is provided through Teaching or Research Assistantships.

7. How do I get information about the program, its requirements, and fees?
All program information can be obtained from the Clinical Psychology Program website and handbook. All applications are processed by the UMass Graduate School. Additional questions can be addressed to the appropriate faculty member or by emailing us.

8. Can I apply to the program on-line?
Yes, you may apply at the Apply Now Link via the UMass Graduate School. Please follow the instructions provided by the UMass Graduate School.  Please note, our program requires you to complete and send one additional document indicating the faculty you would like to work with as a mentor; the form is called the faculty Research Interests Ranking Form.  This form can be found on our Admissions page.  

9. Do you offer an on-line intensive Master's/Ph.D. in clinical psychology? If not, could your department suggest a university or professional school that might?
We do not offer an on-line program for graduate training in clinical psychology. You could check with the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC at 800/374-2721 x 5979 for information.

10. What is the deadline for sending in my application and materials?
The deadline is December 1.

11. What about Letters of Recommendations?
Letters of Recommendation should be from individuals who can evaluate the quality of your prior academic performance and your scholastic potential, as well as your personal characteristics. They may be sent to the graduate school directly by the writer, or they may be sent with your other materials; in that case the envelope flap must be signed by the writer.

12. How important is the match between my research interests and the interests of my potential faculty mentor?
The Clinical Psychology Program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst is a clinical science program that operates on a mentor model.  Students are admitted expressly to work with specific faculty members and the match between your research interests, your prior research experiences, and the faculty interests is of vital importance.  You must complete the Faculty Research Interests Ranking Form which must be completed in order for your application to be considered. Please download this form from our Admissions page.

13. How do I find out what faculty research interests are?
Faculty interests are listed on the web pages of the faculty and you may check psychology databases for recent publications. The Admissions page of our website is updated in late August to indicate which faculty are accepting students in the coming year.

14. If the faculty member whom I want to work with is not accepting in a particular year, what should I do?
We suggest you find another match, or that you apply another year when the person you select will be interviewing.

15. Is an interview required as part of the application process?
Yes, interviews for selected applicants will take place on Friday January 30th and Saturday January 31st, 2015.

16. Is a telephone interview acceptable?
In some cases of extreme hardship or overseas residence, a telephone interview can be conducted.

17. Will I be able to tour the UMass Campus?
Campus tours are conducted daily, leaving from the Campus Center at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

18. Would I have to teach?
The psychology department requires that all students do some teaching before they graduate, but this can be done as a teaching assistant to a faculty member or you can teach your own course, under the supervision of a faculty member.

19. Would I have to do lab work on animals?

20. Is a car needed to get to classes, practica sites, etc?
A car is handy, but not necessary. It would be important for you to live close to the PVTA Bus Line, which is free and goes to many areas in and around the Amherst and 5-college communities. You would be limited in the external practica that you could arrange, however, since some of them require a car.  Depending on your research interests, a car is sometimes needed for data collection or participant recruitment.

21. Does your school offer housing on campus for clinical psychology graduate students?
The University has a limited amount of housing available, but most graduate students choose to live off-campus. Check out the UMass Housing Services Website.

22. Is there time to work at a job while being enrolled in the program?
The program is strenuous and students are not able to hold a full-time or part-time job while enrolled in the program. Most students receive funding and tuition waivers from teaching or research assistantships.

23. Is it possible to enroll in a graduate course before being accepted into the program?
You may take a graduate course through UMass Continuing Education. However, most of the Clinical Psychology graduate courses are available only to those enrolled in the graduate program.

24. If I am not called to come in for an interview, does that mean I will not be accepted into the program?
Generally, yes. Faculty will call those applicants who rise to the top of their qualified candidates list.

25. When will I be notified if I am not accepted into the program?
The Admissions Office will send you a note or a card in mid-March, unless your application is still under consideration.

26. What if I don't get accepted?
If you would like to apply again another year, please re-apply through the UMass Graduate School, and be sure to update your letters of recommendation, your personal statement, and your Faculty Research Interests Ranking Form.

27. What are you looking for in applicants?
We seek intelligent, hard-working students who will make a contribution to clinical science. Although they are not perfect measures, the GRE and GPA are the best measures available for us to determine how bright and motivated an applicant is. Your personal essay and letters of recommendation help us determine whether there is a good fit between your interests and what the program has to offer. Be sure to carefully read the Mission Statement of our program to determine whether the University of Massachusetts, Amherst is the type of clinical science program for you.  This is not a program for persons who wish to be practitioners. 

28. Because I have been out of school for a number of years, it will be difficult for me to get letters of recommendation from my professors. May I get letters from my boss or other people who know me well?
We are primarily interested in letters of recommendation that can tell us about your academic skills and ability to succeed in a doctoral program. Generally, the most helpful letters come from faculty members who know you well. We strongly recommend that at least two of your letters come from people who can speak about your performance in school. If you are working in a setting that is relevant to the program (e.g., for a psychologist), a letter from your employer may be helpful. However, letters from friends, relatives, etc. should be avoided.

29. What if I already have a MA or other graduate credits?
Some students enter our program with Masters Degrees from other universities. Based on a review of their graduate transcripts and other appropriate materials (e.g., course syllabi), we determine which of their graduate credits or credentials can be accepted as transfer credits.  The clinical science program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst is a 5-year program, even if you enter with a Master's Degree.

30. I will be in Amherst soon. Can I make an appointment to interview?
No, let us invite you first. Because we receive a large number of applications, our policy is to first evaluate the applications and then invite the most promising applicants to interview in person. Of course, if you have any questions about the program or your application, feel free to email us.

31. How long will it take me to complete the program?
The Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst requires 5 years of work in residence and then an additional 6th year in a clinical internship.

32. Is the program APA accredited?
Yes, the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has been accredited continuously since 1957.

33. What does the predoctoral internship entail?
During your 6th and final year in the program, you will complete a year-long, predoctoral internship, typically with a research emphasis, at an APA approved internship site. Acceptance into a predoctoral internship is competitive and you will need to apply in the fall of your 5th year. It is possible that you will have to relocate to another part of the country for your internship. The internship is an electronic match, managed by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.

34. Can I attend the program part time?
No, the UMass Amherst Clinical Program requires a full-time commitment.  Coursework, research, assistantships, and clinical practicum are time intensive and demanding and it is not feasible to make satisfactory progress in the program on a part-time basis.

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