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Requirements for All Programs

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Where do I apply?

Visit APPLY NOW to begin your application. All graduate applications must be completed via PSYCAS.

General inquiries email or call 650-417-2039

Application Process

What are the admission requirements?Toggle Accordion

Bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution (or the international equivalent)

  • Online Application via PsyCAS
  • Application Fee
  • Official Transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Personal statement

We do not require the GRE and will not consider test scores, even if applicants submit them.

All of these documents must be submitted in order to complete the application. Your completed application is ready for review after it has been verified by PSYCAS. For additional program-specific requirements, review the information below.


When is the application deadline?Toggle Accordion


Early consideration*

Regular deadline*

PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium

Nov. 15

Jan. 8 

PhD Clinical Psychology

Dec. 1

Jan. 8 

MA Counseling Spring


March 5

MA Counseling Fall


July 30

MS Psychology


August 4

*All applications close on their respective dates at midnight eastern time. We recommend submitting your application earlier than the deadline.


What is PSYCAS? Why do I apply there instead of to PAU? Toggle Accordion

PAU uses the American Psychological Association’s (APA), Psychology Centralized Application Service, PSYCAS.

How does the application process work? Toggle Accordion

Each graduate program has its own unique process, but applicants can expect the following general steps:

  1. Submit the application and all application materials to PSYCAS.
  2. An Admissions Committee gives each complete application a comprehensive review.
  3. Based on the initial review, qualified applicants are invited to interview. Interview details such as format and time may vary from program to program.
  4. Applicants will be notified of their admission decision via email.

Qualified applicants who are invited to interview will receive more details via email about their respective program’s interview process. Most interviews are virtual, although the doctoral programs may have in-person interviews or events. 

Can someone walk me through the process of completing an application?Toggle Accordion

Due to the high volume of applications, we cannot always provide individual guidance on how to complete an application. We recommend watching our admissions webinars for step-by-step guidance on how to complete the application. Additionally, the PSYCAS Help Center offers extensive details on each application section.

How much does it cost to apply?Toggle Accordion

The application fee is $80.00 for the first program application in PSYCAS and $40 for subsequent applications to additional programs. The APA offers a fee waiver opportunity for students who qualify. PAU does not require an additional application fee.

What is the admissions policy at PAU?Toggle Accordion

If you are offered admission, Palo Alto University reserves the right to withdraw that offer of admission if:

  • You have misrepresented yourself in the application process.
  • We learn that you have engaged in behavior prior to matriculation that indicates a serious lack of judgment or integrity.
  • You show a significant drop in academic performance or fail to graduate.
  • The class fills to capacity prior to a student completing the Enrollment Agreement.

All applicants to and students enrolled in the program should be assured PAU practices a nondiscrimination policy regarding disability, gender, military status, age, race, color, sexual orientation, and national and ethnic origins in admission, employment, and in the administration of its program and activities. Any otherwise qualified student or applicant with a disability may request reasonable accommodations regarding the application process and services as a prospective or enrolled student.

Requests for accommodation of a disability should be submitted to:

Sharyn E. Moore
Accessibility Specialist
Palo Alto University, Allen Calvin Campus
1791 Arastradero Road - Bldg. 3, Room 305
Palo Alto, CA  94304

Application Materials

Where do I send my transcripts? Toggle Accordion

Send all application materials, including transcripts, to PSYCAS. Follow the instructions in the application to submit materials electronically or send mailed materials to this address: 

PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center
P.O. Box 9138
Watertown, MA 02471

Do I have to submit all transcripts or just the transcript where I earned my degree?Toggle Accordion

Applicants must report all schools attended on their application and submit all transcripts, including those from transfer schools, study abroad, or graduate school. 



Do I have to complete the transcript entry section of the application?Toggle Accordion

Yes. Alternatively, you can pay for PSYCAS’s professional transcript entry service. 


Do I have to have three recommendations? Toggle Accordion

Yes. Letters of recommendation from three academic or professional references are required. Personal references, such as family, friends, therapists, or informal mentors, will not be accepted. They should be faculty members in psychology or practicing professionals in psychology or another mental health discipline whenever possible. If you have questions about whether a recommender is acceptable, please reach out to your Admissions Counselor.

Letters are requested and submitted through the PSYCAS system. Applicants will electronically submit their recommenders' names and email addresses who will receive a request to complete the recommendation form. Three letters are required.

I graduated from school long ago and have no recent work experience. Who should I ask to write my recommendations?Toggle Accordion

We require all applicants to have three letters of recommendation from professional and/or academic references. Professional references may include managers from part-time employment or volunteer coordinators if you have volunteer experience. If you have no work, school, or volunteer experience, we recommend volunteering with a local organization to gain experience.

How do I change my evaluators or resend them to the PSYCAS Recommender Portal? Toggle Accordion

You can manage your evaluation requests in PSYCAS.


Do I have to take an English proficiency exam?Toggle Accordion

For international applicants remaining in their home country and applying to the online format, and those whose undergraduate studies were in a language other than English, the TOEFL or IELTS exam is required. Submit your score report through PSYCAS. For international students who earned their bachelor's degree in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries, these exams are not required.


I completed my degree(s) outside of the US. Do I have to send in my foreign transcripts?Toggle Accordion

PAU requires all transcripts or transcript evaluations if you completed a degree overseas. You may select any vendor that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluations Services (NACES). Please visit for a complete list of members. Your course-by-course evaluation should be sent directly to PSYCAS when possible.


PAU has partnered with the following agencies to provide applicants with convenient ordering sites and direct delivery of evaluations to the Office of Admission. If choosing one of these agencies, applicants are encouraged to use the links below. (*Discount available via the links.)

International Education Evaluations, LLC

SpanTran: The Evaluation Company *

What should I include in my personal statement?Toggle Accordion

The most important piece of advice is to respond to the questions asked in the prompt and to adhere to length and style requirements. Beyond that, the personal statement is the primary way for the Admissions Committee to learn more about you. There is no need to rehash your resume – take the opportunity to talk about your passions and interests specific to psychology or counseling.

You are welcome to address personal circumstances or hardship in your application if it helps frame your interest in the field. Please remember, however, that your personal statement is not a diary entry or a counseling session. Oversharing can raise concerns about boundary issues and personal judgment. If you address a past hardship, we encourage you to provide analysis and self-reflection of the situation rather than just a description of what happened. If the situation is too fresh, and you feel you cannot distance yourself enough to provide analysis yet, it may be best to choose another topic for your personal statement.

See below for each program’s specific criteria. You can check out Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab for guidance on writing a personal statement.


What should I include in my resume or CV? Toggle Accordion

The resume or CV should list professional and academic experience, education, awards, publications, etc. Check out PrepScholar’s website for guidance on writing a resume for graduate school. 

Do I have to complete the experiences section of the application?Toggle Accordion

The following sections are optional:

  • Experiences
  • Achievements
  • Licenses and Certifications
  • Fellowships

While it is not required that you also enter work experience, volunteer experience, etc. into PsyCAS, it can help to at least enter the highlights of your experience in this section, so the admissions committee members can see it at a glance. Feel free to include unpaid or internship experiences if they are related to your interest in psychology or counseling.


If I’m not admitted, can I use the same application next year? Toggle Accordion

If your current application is in good standing, you can apply next year as a re-applicant.

Personal information, coursework, official test scores, and attached transcripts can be copied into the new application.

Letters of evaluation, essays, payments, and program-specific information cannot be copied into the new application.


Eligibility and Admissions Decisions

I haven’t finished my bachelor’s degree yet. Can I still apply?Toggle Accordion

Yes. Conditional admissions may be offered to applicants whose bachelor’s degrees are still in progress. After enrolling in the program, conditionally admitted students must submit final official transcripts as soon as possible. Failure to submit final official transcripts by the first day of classes will result in a registration hold. Any student who does not submit final transcripts by the end of the first quarter will be dropped from their courses.

Who is a good candidate for PAU graduate programs?Toggle Accordion

PAU aims to attract and educate students who are distinguished by their academic achievement, capacity for critical thinking, interpersonal skills, motivation to become exceptional clinicians and psychologists, and a commitment to service and to serving diverse populations. Given the rigor of PAU programs and the university's core values, we seek students who embody:

  • Unshakable ethical standards
  • Resilience
  • Cultural humility
  • Openness to learning and to others' lived experiences
  • A belief in the inherent dignity of all humans
  • A desire to improve the human condition
  • Self-awareness
  • Seeks and is open to constructive feedback
  • Empathy and kindness

I am seeking an F-1 visa. Am I eligible for PAU’s graduate programs?Toggle Accordion

Students seeking an F-1 visa are eligible for our doctoral programs but not the master’s programs. Learn more about international student services here.

When will I receive an update on my application status?Toggle Accordion

All master’s applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We typically complete reviews within four weeks after the application is complete and verified.

Doctoral program applicants will receive updates by March 15 at the latest.