The Clinical Psychology Program follows a mentorship model of graduate training. The intention of this policy is to stimulate the development of research skills among our students by encouraging them to identify, at the outset of their training, with a particular faculty member working within a given research area. Most students will continue to work in this area throughout their graduate training, but students have the option of changing advisors if their original interest shifts to another research area. In the event that a potential change in the advisor-advisee relationship becomes pertinent, please refer to the “Advisor-Advisee Change Policy” in the Department’s Graduate Program Policies and Procedures document.
Review of Applications
The UMass Amherst Clinical Psychology doctoral program strives for diversity in cohorts of students that we invite to join our program. Accordingly, we adopt a holistic approach when reviewing applications for admission. We fully consider all aspects of the application. We consider research experiences and match between applicant and faculty mentor to be of paramount importance. Other aspects of the application – including personal statement, letters of recommendation, GPA, publications, and presentations – are fully considered. An area of weakness can be offset by strengths in other areas. We do not accept GREs as part of the application.
Information describing our program and faculty research areas is available on our web page at www.umass.edu/pbs/graduate/clinical-psychology. Applicants indicate which research area they wish to pursue in their graduate training by indicating the faculty with whom they are interested in working and the reasons for making this selection. The designated faculty will review the students' application materials and select those who will be invited for interviews. Faculty who will accept a student each year will be listed on the web page.
Acceptance Criteria. The following general criteria are used in selecting students to the clinical program. These criteria are not absolute; exceptions are considered. We give additional consideration to affirmative action candidates.
- Applicants should have majored in Psychology, or at least have completed a minor 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, and at least three additional advanced courses in psychology. A background in statistics is required.
- Applicants must have had research experience. This can include assistantships, honors theses, or collaborative efforts resulting in professional presentations or publication.
- Applicants should have some clinical experience. Appropriate types of experience include volunteer or paid work on an inpatient unit of a psychiatric hospital, community mental health center, day treatment center, clinic in which psychological services are provided, crisis intervention center, peer counseling, or other similar "help"-oriented activity.
- Applicants should be able to describe clearly their research interests, and these interests should match those of the faculty with whom the applicant has indicated an interest in working.
Offer and Acceptance Policy
The Clinical Psychology Training Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst participates fully in the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) and, in cooperation with that group, adheres to the following guidelines for graduate school offers and acceptances.
- We will inform an applicant as soon as possible after a decision has been made to exclude them from further consideration for admission.
- We will issue offers of admission as soon as possible after an interview has taken place. Offers are usually extended initially via a telephone call. These verbal offers are official and will be followed by written confirmation.
- Regardless of when the offer of admission is extended, and whether or not the offer carries funding, applicants are not required to respond to the offer until April 15 (or the first Monday after April 15, if April 15 falls on a weekend), except as specified in point 7 below.
- Once we have made an offer of acceptance, we will not withdraw it until the first weekday after April 15 and then only if the applicant has not responded to it.
- If we make an offer of acceptance after April 15, we will allow at least one week from the date of the offer for the applicant to accept or reject it.
- Applicants who will be offered admission to the Program when an offer extended to another applicant is declined will be informed as early as possible and no later than April 15 that they are on an alternate list. Applicants will be kept apprized of their relative position (high, middle, or low) and the alternate list.
The Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) has stated that applicants should not hold more offers than they are seriously considering. Holding multiple offers ties up slots, preventing programs from making offers to other applicants. This is a complex principle, operationalized in the points below:
- It is legitimate for students to want to visit a program, if they have not done so already, before making decisions among top offers. Such visits should be scheduled as soon as is practical after the offer of admission is received. If after visiting a program the student decides that program is less desirable for him or her than another program to which the student has already been offered admission, the student should inform the lower rank program that he or she will be declining their offer.
- Whenever possible, the student applicant should inform training programs by phone of a decision, following up within 24 hours with a written confirmation of that decision.
- Once a student has accepted an offer of admission to a Graduate Training Program, the student should inform all programs in which he or she is currently under consideration that he or she is either declining outstanding offers of admission or no longer wishes to be considered for admission. Students should contact by phone those programs that have offered admission or have the student high on the alternate list. These phone calls should be followed up within 24 hours by a written confirmation. For programs for which the student is on the alternate list but not high on the alternate list, a letter withdrawing their application mailed within 48 hours is sufficient notification.
- Except in very unusual situations (e.g., serious illness or major personal problems), a student who accepts an offer of admission is expected to start the graduate program the following fall unless other arrangements have been made with the Director of Clinical Training. Training lines are limited and failing to use a line once it has been offered prevents other qualified students from obtaining training.
Supplementary Admissions Policy
In Spring 2012, the faculty agreed to limit incoming classes to approximately four students. We strive for an average of four students per year, but some cohorts may have fewer or greater students.