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Combined Clinical/Counseling PhD Program

Evaluation Criteria for Applicants

The Combined Program evaluates applicants based on the following criteria.

Potential for Academic Excellence

The ability of applicants to succeed in a rigorous doctoral program is evaluated through the following methods:

  • GPA: a minimum standard is 3.2 or above from an undergraduate university and/or 3.5 in a graduate program (this minimum standard may be waived in cases in which applicants are exceptional in other areas)
  • GRE scores: minimum standard is 40th percentile or above in Verbal and Quantitative (this minimum standard may be waived in cases in which applicants are exceptional in other areas)
  • Letters of Recommendation: ratings of academic ability as well as written comments regarding ability to succeed in a graduate program

Research Potential

The ability to be both producers and consumers of research is a critical component of doctoral level training in a Ph.D. program. This potential and the student’s research interests are evaluated through:

  • Letter of Intent and vita: these should include a description of previous research activities as well as a statement of future research interests.
  • Letters of recommendation: these should include a description of involvement in research activities.

Potential for Excellence in the Practice of Psychology

One purpose of the Combined program in psychology is to prepare students to work in a professional capacity across a variety of settings and in a number of different roles. This potential is evaluated through:

  • Letter of Intent and vita: these should include a description of previous experience working with clients in applied settings and a statement regarding future career goals
  • Letters of recommendation: these should include a description of involvement in applied experiences with adults, couples, children, families, etc.

Background in Psychology

The Combined Program is housed in a psychology department and graduate students are assumed to have basic knowledge of psychology theories and principles. This is evaluated through:

  • A review of transcripts for psychology courses taken and grades received

Match with Program at USU

We believe fit with the program in terms of clinical and research interests, as well as future goals is important for graduate students to be successful in the program. Prospective students are urged to read all of the material provided on this website (e.g. faculty research interests, program descriptions, etc.) to determine if they are a good match to our program. Students who are excited about the unique opportunities of the combined program are the best fit. 

Student match is evaluated through:

  • Letter of intent.
  • Interviews and other written and verbal communications with faculty and current students.

Written Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively in writing is an important skill both to succeed in graduate school and to be a successful psychologist. We evaluate this through:

  • Letter of intent
  • Letters of recommendation

Oral Communication Skills

The ability to verbally communicate with others is particularly important when working with clients, families, and other professionals. We evaluate this through:

  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Interviews and other verbal communications with faculty and current students

Interpersonal Skills and Professionalism

The ability to work effectively with others in the professional arena is important for success in all professional activities. Additionally, psychologists must be able to interact with other individuals including clients, peers, supervisors, medical personnel, etc. in a professional, non-discriminatory manner. This is evaluated through:

  • Letter of recommendation
  • Letter of intent
  • Interview with program faculty
  • Communications with faculty and current students

Self-Awareness and Critical Thinking Skills

The ability of psychologist to engage with new problems and meet the challenges of the field is essential is an every changing world. This is evaluated through:

  • Letter of recommendation
  • Letter of intent
  • Interview with program faculty showing the ability to respond to questions in a thoughtful manner
  • Communications with faculty and current students

Diversity

The Combined Program seeks to recruit and retain a diverse student group across a number of dimensions including ethnicity, prior degrees (BS, MS), professional interest area, geography, and gender. This is evaluated through:

  • Transcripts and application
  • Letter of Intent
  • Interview and other communications with program faculty and current students

Academic Broadening Experience

Students are strongly encouraged to gain exposure to scientific perspectives, research, clinical or mentoring approaches, and academic systems other than the Psychology Department at USU. Students are discouraged from getting all of their academic degrees from any one department. This is evaluated through:

  • Application and transcripts