Information for Applicants
Before You Apply
Deciding where to go to graduate school to earn your Ph.D. may well be the most important intellectual, and perhaps personal, decision you will make by this point in your life. You are deciding to whom to entrust your intellectual development in clinical psychology. Programs are absolutely not equivalent in the students who graduate from each program. This is an individual decision, but here are some issues to consider before applying to the clinical program at the Univeristy of Nevada, Reno.
This is a clinical science program (see McFall, R. M. (1991) Manifesto for a science of clinical psychology. American Psychologist, 44, 75-88.) If your intention is to become a practitioner delivering services in a primary care setting, you should not apply to our program. Our program does train its students in psychotherapy very well. However, that is a byproduct of the fact that many of our faculty do treatment development, dissemination and evaluation research. The key word is "research". For you to enjoy the years you will spend earning your Ph.D., you must value research. There are many other types of programs to consider if you do not enjoy research, and if that is the case, you should investigate these other types of programs. Some of our graduates do go onto deliver one on one therapy. In so doing, we expect that such practice is informed by the psychological science literature and values of the clinical program.Our program has predominately a behavioral/cognitive behavioral/empirical focus. Does this mean you have to be a radical behaviorist to enjoy your time at UNR? No. Many students will (and should) change the way they view the field as they learn more and the field evolves. If you are a behaviorally oriented student who values empirical science, UNR will be an excellent choice. If you are unsure about your philosophy of science, this program may still be an excellent choice. It is up to the faculty to challenge your thinking. However, if you know this is not where your passion is, then do not apply to our (or any) program that fundamental differs from your values just to be able to get into graduate school.
Disclosure About the Application Review Process
By way of full disclosure, current graduate students in the program are involved in reviewing the files of applicants and are very active participants during the interview day to which approximately 20-25 applicants are invited. It is our experience that applicants get a great deal of useful information from their interactions with current doctoral students during the admissions process. The faculty have their view of the program, but existing students can add their own experiences that can help inform your choice if you receive an offer to attend the program.
One of the many differences between undergraduate or even a masters program is that one is entering a time where henceforth, you will be part of the peer review process. The Ph.D. is the highest degree one can earn in our field. This means that your peers will be involved in all kinds of forms of peer review - acceptance of convention submissions, review of scholarly articles, involvement in the grant process, and tenure and promotion should you choose to become a member of the academy. It is important for current students to learn how to behave professionally. As part of that process, current students do provide input into the selection process. Admissions are ultimately the decision of the faculty, but this is a collegial, trusting and respectful program where our doctoral students do participate.
How to Apply
We welcome your application. Your complete application must be received by January 1. Required forms and a description of materials are available by clicking here.
From among all the applicants, approximately 20 will be invited to an on-site interview during a Saturday usually in early March. Approximately 6-7 students are admitted each year, most with funding. Members of all racial and cultural groups are encouraged to apply.