Frequently Asked Questions

I am interested in this program. Where should I begin?

The first step in the process, and the best way to get all of your questions answered, is to attend an information session. For a schedule of upcoming sessions and to RSVP to the session of your choice, visit our Information Meeting page.  If you're unable to attend an information session, contact us at 310.506.4608 to set up a one-on-one appointment.

What's the admission period? When will I know if I am accepted?

We admit students one time per year and operate on a "Competitive Entry" process. This means we review and accept applicants after the application deadline and all applications are compared to each other. Our application deadline is February 1. Typically we send out letters by the end of March.

Do I need to send in all application materials at once?

No. You can send in different pieces of your application as they are completed. We will hold any materials that arrive under your name, but will only begin tracking you as an applicant when we receive your actual application and fee.

What are my chances of being accepted into the program?

In seeking quality applicants, we utilize a holistic approach in our thorough review of each and every application. This means that we do not disqualify any applicant based on any one part of their application.

What are the admission requirements?

Admission requirements can be found here.

Will professional references be accepted?

References should come from individuals who are familiar with your professional and academic abilities. Recent college graduates should have at least one academic recommendation, while applicants who have been out of college more than three years may use either academic or professional recommendations. Letters can be sent in lieu of the forms provided in the application booklet and online, though ideally a letter accompanying the form is best. The letter must be sent on official letterhead and in a signature sealed envelope. It can be sent directly to GSEP or to the applicant, who then sends it to the GSEP admissions department at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.

Can foundation classes be waived?

Because students are expected to have an excellent foundation in psychology with a degree in psychology or closely related field, there are no foundation classes in the day program. It is designed as a lock-step, cohort-based program in which students attend all classes together with their cohort.

Can the GRE be waived?

GRE (General Test) scores are needed to adequately compare and rank applicants. The scores cannot be waived and the MAT is not accepted in lieu of the GRE. However, you can take the GRE more than once and we consider your highest score.

Are there additional requirements for international applicants?

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 that 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 79. 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.

What is the difference between the two master’s programs in psychology?

The MA in Psychology program provides students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the principles of psychology within the framework of a strong clinical emphasis. This program prepares individuals for doctoral study in psychology or positions in human services, vocational counseling, or marketing.

The MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy provides the knowledge and experience needed to work as a clinician, in private practice or with an agency, by preparing students for the Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT) and the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor License in the state of California. As part of the curriculum, students are required to gain supervised counseling experience in approved clinical settings. This program is designed for students who wish to gain knowledge and develop skills necessary for providing high quality psychotherapeutic services in a variety of settings. It is also an excellent preparation for doctoral programs.

The MA in Clinical Psychology Program is offered in a daytime format or evening format. The daytime format program is a cohort-based program designed for full-time students. It is offered on Pepperdine's Drescher Graduate Campus in Malibu and can be completed in two academic years. For more information about the evening format program, click here

How long does the program take to complete?

The day program takes two academic years to complete and spans six academic terms. It begins in the fall. Students are enrolled in a fall (15 weeks), spring (15 weeks), and summer (7 weeks) term during each of the two years of the program. 

When and where are the classes offered?

The full-time, day-format program is available only at our Malibu campus. Classes are held from 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 or 5:30 pm. During the first semester, students attend class two full days and one half day. From the second semester on, classes meet twice a week for a full day in order to allow time for students to work at their practicum sites. During the summer term, classes meet twice per week. The program is lock-step and the schedule of classes is predetermined.

Can I change programs if my interests change?

You may switch from the day program to one of the evening programs; however, it is not possible to transfer into the day program from an evening program.

Does Pepperdine assist with clinical practicum experience?

Yes. MFT Clinical Training and Professional Development staff assist students in locating Pepperdine-approved clinical practicum sites. The clinical training staff visit and evaluate established and potential sites, while maintaining the online Field Placement Directory (PepPro 2.0),, which lists sites approved by Pepperdine. Career Services also helps with resumes, cover letters, and mock interviews. The PSY 661: Preparation for Practicum class also prepares students for practicum experience. 

What are the requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)? Can I become licensed in other states?

The Pepperdine MFT program is designed to ensure that our graduates will have met all academic requirements to sit for the MFT or LPCC licensure exams in the state of California . An overview of licensure requirements can be found here. The Pepperdine MFT Handbook provides detailed information on preparation for licensure and can be found here.

Overall, our graduates have been quite successful in pursuing licensure in other states; however, because licensing requirements vary across states, we strongly recommend that you contact the licensing board in the state in which you are interested in working prior to starting the Pepperdine MA in Clinical Psychology program.

Can I go straight on to the doctoral program from the masters program?

There is a separate application process for admission into the Pepperdine Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program. Applicants to the PsyD program have a completed master's degree, or will have completed a master's degree prior to starting the program. Acceptance to one of the masters in psychology programs does not guarantee admission to the PsyD program. However, the MA in Clinical Psychology program is an excellent preparation for various doctoral programs.