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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this program accredited?

Yes. The PsyD in Clinical Psychology program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). More information about APA accreditation can be found at http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation or by contacting APA at the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, 750 First St., NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242 or by phone: 202.336.5979.

What are the unique features of Pepperdine's PsyD Program?

The program fully integrates academics, clinical training, and applied research in the setting of a nationally ranked, major university. Over 95% of courses are taught by tenured or tenure-track faculty, who are experts in their respective fields. All first year students are trained in one of the university's four community-based clinics and supervised by Pepperdine faculty. During the second and third years, students are placed in training clinics and medical centers throughout Southern California. These training experiences, together with the quality of instruction and research mentoring, prepare students to be highly competitive and to obtain APA-accredited internships.

In addition, the program is unique in its approach to scholarship. Different from many PsyD programs, students complete a clinical dissertation, which provides an opportunity to investigate a clinically relevant topic and to meaningfully contribute to the profession. Dissertation research is conducted in one of Pepperdine's Applied Scholarship Communities (ASC).

Where is the program offered? What are the time commitments?

The PsyD program is held at our West Los Angeles Graduate Campus and is full time. Students take courses two days per week during Years 1 and 2, and one day per week during Year 3. Also, students are involved in clinical training, which can require up to two to three days per week, in addition to their clinical dissertations. Traditionally, students complete a full-time internship during Year 4.

How long does the program take to complete?

The program is full time and structured to be completed in four years, including internship. Although the program is intended to be completed in four years, the median length of time to complete the degree has recently been 5 years. There are two primary reasons for delays in completion: (1) modifications in matriculation are approved based on unanticipated life events, such as unanticipated medical or family circumstances, which result in increased time to complete and (2) failure to complete the clinical dissertation.

To support timely completion of the clinical dissertation, the program has instituted a new model for the "Clinical Dissertation" which utilizes a rigorous systematic review methodology informed by the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses). These guidelines were established and accepted by the scientific community as standard for the conduct of systematic literature reviews that inform evidence-based practice. Dissertation courses and faculty advisers provide the structure and resources for students to graduate in four years. Commitment, organization, and effort are required to meet that expectation and objective.

How much does the program cost?

Please visit our Financial Aid page for current information on program costs, financial aid, scholarships, and grants.

Our financial aid award packages can consist of Colleagues grants, federal direct loans, and departmental scholarship. To be eligible for the most amount of aid, we encourage all applicants to submit their FAFSA applications.

In addition, tuition, books, and supplies (e.g., pens, notebooks, etc.), students are required to pay the Student Government Association (SGA) fee ($30.00 per year) and obtain professional liability insurance (approximately $35.00 per year). Although not required, the cost of parking passes for the WLA campus ($65.00 per academic term

Where can I learn about student admissions, outcomes and other data?

That information is available here

When does the program start and what is the deadline to apply?

This program begins in the fall of each year. We accept applications throughout the year. Applications for the 2019-20 academic year must be submitted by January 7, 2019.

Do I need a master’s degree to apply to this program?

Yes. All applicants must have a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in psychology or a closely related field. If you are currently pursuing your master's degree, you can apply for the program so long as your degree will be posted before the doctoral program begins in the fall.

What factors are considered in admissions decisions?

We take a holistic approach to review applications and admission decisions are based on an applicant's potential for success in our program. The PsyD Admissions Committee takes into consideration the breadth and depth of an applicant's foundation of general knowledge of psychology, clinical and research experience, personal and professional experiences, and interpersonal competencies in granting admission. Scores on the Graduate Record Examination, in addition to a review of undergraduate and graduate transcripts, provide an assessment of an applicant's general knowledge. The profession of clinical psychology requires individual and interpersonal competencies in addition to academic preparation. Interpersonal attributes and skills are therefore taken into consideration in assessing an individual's qualification for admission.

What is the required GPA?

We ask that candidates have a 3.0 cumulative GPA from both their master's and baccalaureate programs; the average undergraduate GPA for the 2008-2012 entering classes was 3.36.

Do I have to take a standardized test?

Yes. All applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). We are unable to waive this admission requirement regardless of an applicant's academic or professional experience nor do we grant provisional admission. Scores must be received by January of the year of the application. Our institutional code for the GRE is 4326. For more information on the GRE exam and to register, please visit: www.gre.org.

Is an autobiographical personal statement required?

Yes. An autobiographical statement of three to ten typed pages is required. This is your chance to communicate with the admissions committee and to help them get to know you and provide them with information you believe is relevant to your admission into the program. The statement should discuss the factors that led to an interest in psychology, current interests in psychology, reasons for applying to Pepperdine University, and professional plans ten years after graduating.

Are professional references required?

Yes. At least two letters of references should come from individuals who are familiar with your professional and academic abilities. If you are a recent graduate, you should have at least one academic recommendation. If you have been out of graduate school more than three years, you may use either academic or professional recommendations. If you have clinical experience, it is expected that one of the letters would be from a clinical supervisor familiar with your clinical skills. Letters can be sent in lieu of the forms provided in the application booklet.

Is there an interview process?

Yes. After the initial screening of the applications, the remaining candidates will be invited for interviews by the PsyD Admissions Committee. Special arrangements for phone interviews may be made if you are outside the Southern California area.

When will I learn if I have been admitted? Do you have a wait list?

Applicants will be informed of admission decisions in late March. A list of qualified students, who have not been offered admission, will be notified that they have been placed on a wait-list and will be contacted should a position in the incoming class become available.

I am an international applicant. What additional admission requirements do I need to submit?

You'll need to:

1. Send all international transcripts to be evaluated by either the International Education Research Foundation (www.ierf.org) or World Education Services, Inc. (www.wes.org) for a comprehensive report which they will send directly to Pepperdine. This process can take a few weeks.
2. Submit all original certified transcripts in English to Pepperdine directly.
3. If your first language is not English, you must submit a minimum score of 550 on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). If taking the computer-based TOEFL test, you will need a minimum score of 220. If taking the Internet-based TOEFL test, you will need a minimum score of 80. Information concerning the availability of this test outside of the US can be obtained by contacting TOEFL, Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA or online at www.toefl.org. As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit a score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam.

Can you tell me more about the clinical dissertation and Pepperdine's Applied Research Communities?

The clinical dissertation provides an opportunity to investigate a clinically relevant topic and meaningfully contribute to the evidence base informing professional practice. The foundational methodology for the clinical dissertation is the Systematic Review, a comprehensive, and structured analysis of a body of literature to answer clearly formulated research questions. These questions can examine psychotherapeutic interventions, clinical disorders and presenting problems, specific populations, risk and protective factors, assessment tools, cultural and diversity considerations, and other areas of study that provide evidence to inform practice. The Systematic Review dissertation is based upon the guiding principles and procedures articulated in the widely-accepted PRISMA statement (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and by standards developed by the National Academies' Institute of Medicine (see Finding What Works in Health Care at nationalacademies.org).

Students can develop their clinical dissertations in the context of faculty Applied Scholarship Communities ("ASC labs") or in association with a faculty member's individual scholarly and professional activities. Our faculty work on a range of clinically relevant topics such as trauma, recovery-oriented services, child mental health, stress and resilience, interpersonal violence, culture and diversity, psychological and forensic assessment, neuropsychology, relationships and couple therapy, attachment, college student mental health, religion/spirituality, families, positive psychology, homelessness, and clinical supervision/training. Some students may pursue a "Research Emphasis" option which consists of opportunities for a range of dissertation methodologies including quantitative designs, qualitative inquiry, program development and evaluation, survey research, N=1 repeated measures and case study research, theoretical scholarship, and community-based action research projects, among others. This option requires approval by the dissertation chair and PsyD Executive Committee. Work on the dissertation commences in the first year and aims for completion by the third or fourth year. Students are given extensive support throughout the dissertation development process.

How can I learn more about this program?

Contact Rob Zarrella, Enrollment Services Officer, at Rob.Zarrella@pepperdine.edu or (310) 568-5762.