Frequently Asked Questions
What should I know BEFORE applying to the graduate training program in clinical psychology at the University of Arkansas?
Our program is a highly competitive doctoral training program. Each year, we typically receive 100-200 applications. However, we only admit 4-6 students. Our program trains students to be scientists as well as practitioners. A significant part of training is spent a) learning about existing clinical research, b) learning how to conduct clinical research, and c) doing clinical research. Applicants who want a career in mental health but are not interested in research training should pursue degrees in social work, counseling, or psychiatry.
What is the length of the training program?
Most students take 4-5 years of training on campus plus a one-year predoctoral internship to complete our doctoral training program. We do NOT admit students who are interested in earning a Master’s degree only. Applicants who want a career in mental health but do not want to spend that much time in graduate school apply to schools that offer a Master’s degree in psychology, social work, or counseling.
Who gets admitted?
We use a combination of information to select students. Key among these are a) prior research experience (i.e., how long, conference presentations, published papers), b) potential for future scholarship (e.g., writing skills, data analytic skills), c) degree of match with potential faculty mentor (similar interests and goals), d) letters of recommendation (credentials of the writers, quality of the recommendation), e) undergraduate institution (e.g., quality and rigor), f) GRE scores (including the Writing portion), g) GPA, and h) interpersonal competence and capacity to provide clinical services.
Do you interview applicants (Can I visit the department and speak with faculty members)?
Each year, we invite about 15-20 of our top applicants on campus for our annual Interview Day (We conduct phone interviews for applicants who cannot come to campus). If you are not invited to interview, it is unlikely that you will be admitted. And because we get over 100 applications, we try to limit our visits to those occurring on Interview Day.
What about prior coursework—how is it counted?
The vast majority of students admitted to our program have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology. Those who lack a degree in psychology have earned a substantial number of college credits in psychology courses, especially in key courses such as learning, research methods, and statistics. Students who enter with a Master’s degree typically do not need to do a thesis if they were required to do an empirical thesis. All students who are admitted are required to take all clinical courses. This is our way of ensuring the quality of training received by our graduates.
What about funding?
Admission into our program usually entails an offer of a Graduate Assistantship that pays a base stipend (as of 2015, around $11K) plus a tuition waiver (in most cases). Some applicants have GRE/GPA scores that make them eligible for university-wide fellowships that can add $10-22K to the base stipend (as of 2015). We can’t guarantee funding across all years enrolled, but we usually provide funding to students through Year 4 and often through Year 5.
Where can I get additional information?
The Graduate Programs page of our departmental website contains a lot of useful information. Prospective students can also contact our Grad Studies Secretary via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 479-575-4256. Another useful resource is the Graduate School website. It contains information about a variety of issues, including other graduate programs on campus.
Useful resources for those needing tips about getting into graduate school in psychology are listed below:
Getting in: A Step-By-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology by American Psychological Association.
Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology: 2006/2007 Edition by Tracy J. Mayne, John C. Norcross, Michael A. Sayette
Graduate Study in Psychology: Your Guide to Success by Tara L. Kuther