Frequently Asked Questions

What should I know BEFORE applying to the graduate training program in clinical psychology at the University of Arkansas?

Our program is a highly competitive doctoral training program. Each year, we typically receive 100-200 applications. However, we only admit 4-6 students. Our program trains students to be scientists as well as practitioners. A significant part of training is spent a) learning about existing clinical research, b) learning how to conduct clinical research, and c) doing clinical research. Applicants who want a career in mental health but are not interested in research training should pursue degrees in social work, counseling, or psychiatry.

What is the length of the training program?

Most students take 4-5 years of training on campus plus a one-year predoctoral internship to complete our doctoral training program. We do NOT admit students who are interested in earning a Master’s degree only. Applicants who want a career in mental health but do not want to spend that much time in graduate school apply to schools that offer a Master’s degree in psychology, social work, or counseling.

Who gets admitted?

We use a combination of information to select students. Key among these are a) prior research experience (i.e., how long, conference presentations, published papers), b) potential for future scholarship (e.g., writing skills, data analytic skills), c) degree of match with potential faculty mentor (similar interests and goals), d) letters of recommendation (credentials of the writers, quality of the recommendation), e) undergraduate institution (e.g., quality and rigor), f) GPA, and g) interpersonal competence and capacity to provide clinical services to diverse populations.

Do you conduct background checks?

We conduct background checks for all applicants who are invited to interview on campus.  These background checks occur online prior to the on campus Interview Day.  This background check involves a criminal background check and a sex offender registry check. If the criminal history check reveals criminal convictions or arrests pending adjudication, the checks will be evaluated by the Clinical Training Committee in consultation with the applicant as well as the Department Chair and university administration when relevant.  More information on this policy is posted in our department handbook and in the application.  Please note that admitted students funded on a Graduate Assistantship (which is the majority of our students) are also required to obtain a background check.

Do you interview applicants (Can I visit the department and speak with faculty members)?

Each year, we invite about 15-20 of our top applicants to our annual Interview Day. Interview Day is now entirely virtual. If you are not invited to interview, it is unlikely that you will be admitted. And because we get over 100 applications, we try to limit our visits to those occurring on Interview Day.

What about prior coursework—how is it counted?

The vast majority of students admitted to our program have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology. Those who lack a degree in psychology have earned a substantial number of college credits in psychology courses, especially in key courses such as learning, research methods, and statistics. Students who enter with a Master’s degree may apply for a thesis waiver if they completed an empirical thesis at their masters instiution. All students who are admitted are required to take all core clinical courses.  After admittance, non-core clinical course waivers can be requested via the process described in our department handbook. This is our way of ensuring the quality of training received by our graduates.

What about funding?

Admission into our program usually entails an offer of a Graduate Assistantship that pays a base stipend (as of 2023, around $15K) plus a tuition waiver (in most cases). Some applicants have GRE/GPA scores that make them eligible for university-wide doctoral fellowships that can add $12-22K to the base stipend (as of 2023). We can’t guarantee funding across all years enrolled, but we usually provide funding to students through Year 4 and often through Year 5.

Where can I get additional information?

The Graduate Programs page of our departmental website contains a lot of useful information. Prospective students can also contact our Grad Studies Secretary via email or phone 479-575-4256.  Another useful resource is the Graduate School website. It contains information about a variety of issues, including other graduate programs on campus.

Useful resources for those needing tips about getting into graduate school in psychology are listed below:

Mitch’s Uncensored Advice for Applying to Graduate School in Clinical Psychology

Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) Grad School Fact Sheet

Getting in: A Step-By-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology by American Psychological Association.

Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology: 2006/2007 Edition by Tracy J. Mayne, John C. Norcross, Michael A. Sayette

Graduate Study in Psychology: Your Guide to Success by Tara L. Kuther