Psychology

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Currently, 30%+ of UWL's psychology undergraduates go on to graduate school. The vast majority attend two-year applied Master's programs. Applying to graduate school takes a lot of time, energy and money. Students should start planning during their junior year (if not earlier!). There is a lot of useful information below. Be sure to read it before seeing your advisor. 

Every Fall semester in mid-October, the Psychology Department hosts a Psychology Graduate School Workshop Night ("Grad Night"). We strongly recommend you attend even if you are just "thinking" about applying to graduate school. Click here for a copy of the PowerPoint presentation from Fall 2017.

What are different ways to become a licensed therapist? expanding section

One of the most confusing parts about the pathway to becoming a licensed practitioner of clinical or counseling services is that there is no one direct path. The one clear piece is that you cannot deliver clinical services with a B.S. or B.A. in psychology--some additional training, education, and clinical supervision is required. To help clarify the different licenses and degrees, check out this summary document, Graduate School Training in Mental Health, jointly created by Ryan McKelley, a licensed psychologist (LP)/health service provider (HSP), and Jeff Reiland, a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)/certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC). NOTE: The summary does not cover other clinical or mental health providers such as school psychologist, school counselor, or school social worker. That information can be found at Differences Among Helping School Professionals available from UWL's School Psychology Program homepage.

What are the characteristics sought by graduate schools? expanding section

Graduate schools are looking for strong students with the initiative and ability to do graduate work. In particular, they need to know that YOU know why you want that particular degree. Consequently, the follow criteria play the largest role in admissions. 

  • Objective criteria: grades and GRE scores
  • Non-objective criteria listed in order of importance to doctoral programs:
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement
    • Interview (if applicable)
    • Research experience
    • Clinically related public service
    • Work experience
    • Extracurricular activity

Clinically-related graduate programs in the upper Midwest - GPA and course requirements

GRE information expanding section
  • Testing information is also available for the GRE at http://www.gre.org. You can register online to take this computer-based test at a site near you.
  • ETS website has practice/sample questions and students can request/download study materials and practice tests http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare.
  • We recommend taking practice tests and several of the preparation books have CD-ROMs included or online access.  
  • Strong GREs can help secure admission; however, mediocre GREs (if offset by other strong records) will not usually harm a student.  Very low GREs can hurt a student.
  • We do not recommend "re-taking" the GRE unless you have strong reason and evidence to believe your score will be substantially better.
  • Students should NOT take the "PSYCH" GRE unless they are applying to a program that requires it.
Steps involved in applying to graduate school expanding section

There are five major steps involved in applying to graduate school.

  1. Decide whether graduate school in psychology is right for you.
  2. Define the area of concentration and degree that you will pursue.
  3. Research schools and programs and choose a range of places to which you want to apply.
  4. Complete the applications to these programs.
  5. Attend interviews (if applicable) and make a final decision regarding which program you will attend.

*It is an excellent idea to save copies of strong papers you have written for courses to serve as writing samples that may be requested by graduate schools.

Letters of Recommendation - what psychology faculty require

1. Set up a meeting to discuss the recommendation in person.

2. Provide complete information to the faculty member 2-4 weeks PRIOR to the deadline.  Provide all of the information/forms for each school at one time.

3.  Student information

  • an unofficial transcript with any/all courses completed with the instructor highlighted.
  • an up-to-date resume
  • a draft or final copy of a sample letter of intent
  • notes regarding anything special you wish for them to note

4. School information: 

  • A table with information about teach school including the name of the school, the type and name of the graduate program, and the due date.  Indicate if the reference is electronic or paper.
  • Make sure to complete the information about the faculty member on each form and sign the waiver provided by the school.

If you will need letters after graduating, we recommend you provide a short update to your faculty regarding your current and future plans every ~6 months.

How to find graduate schools expanding section
Recommended Resources expanding section