PhD in Clinical Psychology: Frequently Asked Questions


1. Where can I find information on first year student orientation? 

You will receive an email from the PhD program office during the summer before Fall Quarter begins. You may contact for additional information regarding orientation. 

2. Where can I find the academic calendar?

The Academic Calendar can be found on the Registrar’s office page.

3. How do I get my PAU email address and access to the PAU Intranet ( (Access email at

From the IT Helpdesk. Contact with any questions.

4. Where are the classrooms?

At the PAU Allen Calvin Main Campus, Classrooms 1 and 3, and the computer lab, are located on the top floor of Building Three. Classroom 2 is located on the middle floor of Building Three.

At the PAU Los Altos/Gronowski Center Campus, rooms D11A and D11B are on the first floor of the Kurt and Barbara Gronowski Psychology Clinic located at 5150 El Camino Real, Suite 22, Bldg C, Los Altos, California 94022

5. Where do I park for classes?

PAU encourages students to carpool to class as parking availability at the Los Altos/Gronowski and PAU Main Allen Calvin Campus is very limited.  Directions to PAU campuses are available on the Directions and Location web page.

The PhD program at Palo Alto University operates on two main campuses: The Allen Calvin Campus at 1791 Arastradero Road in Palo Alto and the Los Altos/Gronowski Center Campus at 5150 El Camino Real in Los Altos.  

Detailed Driving Directions:

At the Allen Calvin/Main Campus, drive through the gates and up the hilly driveway. There are several different areas for parking, including lower, middle, and upper level areas. You are welcome to park in any of these spaces. On days when there are campus events, parking may be limited. You may also park at the bottom of the driveway or at the nearby Alpine Inn parking lot, but be aware that those areas are not part of the campus and therefore not secure. The campus is in a remote area and there is no public transportation. Please carpool whenever possible.

If you ride a bicycle as your primary mode of transportation, please be extremely cautious when riding on Page Mill Road and Arastradero Road. There are sharp, blind turns, which may be especially dangerous at night or during heavy traffic hours. If you do travel at night, wear reflective clothing and use a light on the front and back of your bicycle. For your safety, always wear a helmet. Please lock and secure your bicycle at the upper parking level, near the cul-de-sac and Building One.

At the Los Altos/Gronowski Center Campus, enter through one of three entrances on El Camino Real or Rengstorff Avenue. Please park behind the main entrance or near the side entrances. Do not park in the smaller front entrance parking lot, as these spaces are reserved for visitors and Gronowski Center clientele. PAU students, faculty, and staff share this parking lot with other building occupants, so please be courteous and respectful while on campus grounds. As a general rule of thumb, please lock your doors and do not leave valuables in your vehicle.

6. What if I have questions?

Please feel free to contact the PhD program or PAU staff should you have questions.

April House - PhD Program Manager (

7. Where can I access basic information about the PhD program?

Please visit the PhD Program Website. Your most important resource is the PhD Student Handbook. The website also provides links to PhD program forms, information on competency exams, dissertations, important contacts, course schedule archives, grievance procedures, additional program handbooks, and information on TA opportunities.

Other important links related to the PhD program include the PAU Office of Professional Development and Advising and the PAU Institutional Review Board. All of these websites are accessible via the PAU portal.

8. Who can I talk to about academic support at PAU, curriculum requirements, and program expectations to advance to candidacy?

The PAU Academic Advising Center (PAAC) is a space where PhD students can make appointments to talk to advanced students when they are unsure about any aspect of academic progress at PAU. PAAC aims to support students in thriving academically and professionally throughout the PhD Program. These advanced students assist first year students in many ways, including:

  • Reviewing research group application materials
  • Providing a general overview of the PhD program curriculum
  • Answering questions about academics and research
  • Offering advice on surviving and thriving in grad school

PAAC hours shift each academic quarter. Please visit the website for the most-up-to-date hours.

9. How long will it take to earn my PhD at PAU?

Although the PhD program is designed to be completed within five years of coursework and practica, many students choose to take an additional year to complete their degree. Students must complete their degree within 7 years. The number of years it takes to complete the PhD program will depend on your individual needs and professional goals:

  • Post-graduate career goals
  • Competitiveness of clinical and research training sites
  • Internship asirations and restrictions
  • Practicum placements and performance
  • Research opportunities, dissertation progress, publications and presentations
  • Satisfactory academic progress

The PhD program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and follows their Benchmark Evaluation System to assess whether a student has met the competency benchmarks in professional psychology. 

10. How do I register for classes? How do I change my schedule?

For the first year of the PhD program, you are pre-registered for all of your courses based upon the required first-year coursework in the PhD curriculum. Information about registration can be found at the Registrar’s Office on the Portal, including downloadable course schedules, and academic calendars.

In subsequent years of the program, you will use the portal for online registration. If you would like to change your schedule, you will need to email the registrar Nora Marquez ( for further instruction. For additional questions about registration, including wait-listing, sequences, and other concerns, see the PhD Program Handbook. 

11. How do I obtain a copy of my course schedule?

You may always access your current course schedule on the portal. Additionally, students can request a hard copy in-person from the Registrar’s Office at the PAU Allen Calvin Campus. 

12. Why am I required to attend 8 hours of therapy? Is the cost covered by PAU? How do I find a good therapist on a graduate student budget?

According to the PhD Student Handbook, all PhD students are required to complete 8 hours of individual psychotherapy with a doctoral-level licensed psychologist (PhD, ED, PsyD) or board-eligible psychiatrist prior to registration for the Oral Clinical Competency Exam (which typically occurs in the third year of the program). It is the perspective of PAU that the personal experience of psychotherapy is critical to the ability to work therapeutically with others. The cost of psychotherapy is not covered by PAU and is not part of the financial aid package.

Additional information about this requirement can be located in the PhD Student Handbook. There is an aggregate list of recommended low cost and sliding scale therapists noted under Student Resources on the portal. You may also want to consult websites such as Psychology Today to select the right therapist.

13. How early do I have to decide if I want to complete a PhD area of emphasis

The first quarter of the first year is a good time to meet with a faculty advisor, as well as other PAU faculty and advanced students, to determine whether an area of emphasis will fit long term professional goals. As the year proceeds, students will have a better idea of their interests and the requirements for completing each area of emphasis. If you are still unsure, schedule an appointment with the PAU Academic Advising Center (PAAC).

14. When are financial aid refund disbursements available?

To receive the status of your financial aid, please visit the portal or email

PSYCAS offers an online centralized application portal for you to apply to master’s and doctoral programs across the discipline of psychology.

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PAU’s doctoral programs have been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA)

Learn More about APA Accreditation

Contact Admissions.

Jessica Wilson
Senior Admissions Counselor

PSYCAS offers an online centralized application portal for you to apply to master’s and doctoral programs across the discipline of psychology.
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