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PsyD Program Admissions

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The PsyD in Clinical Psychology program admits students once a year for the fall term, which starts in September. 

Admissions Requirements

  • Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution, or the international equivalent.
  • In addition to the suggested prerequisites, we strongly recommend applicants have related volunteer or work experience in the mental health field and experience with research.
  • GRE scores are not required for admission to PAU doctoral degree programs for the 22-23 admissions cycle. GRE scores will not be considered in the review of applications, even if students provide them.
  • Clinical Experience: To ensure that applicants have an understanding of the career to which they are committing themselves, strong preference is given to applicants with some form of clinical experience (e.g., crisis line, assessments, case management, therapy, etc.).
General Requirements for All Grad Programs
Doctoral Scholarships and Assistantships Learn More
Start Your PsyCas Application Learn More About PsyD Candidate Selection


Early consideration: Nov. 15, 2023
New application opens in September for Fall 2024 consideration.
Regular consideration deadline is January 7, 2024

Quick Application Checklist

PAU uses the American Psychological Association’s (APA), Psychology Centralized Application Service (PSYCAS). In preparation for applying, you will need a copy of your transcript(s) available for your review. 

  • Online Application via PsyCAS
  • Application Fee
  • Official Transcripts
  • Resume or CV
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
PsyD Virtual Open House

The PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium in collaboration with Stanford University for students interested in building a career in direct clinical psychological services.

Frequently Asked Questions PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Are there any required prerequisite courses? Toggle Accordion

In order to ensure a smooth transition into graduate study, PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium strongly recommends 18 semester hours (27 quarter hours) of Psychology coursework including courses in:

  • General Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Biopsychology
  • Developmental Psychology

Is clinical experience required?Toggle Accordion

Strong preference is given to applicants with some form of clinical experience (e.g., crisis line, assessments, case management, therapy, etc.) to ensure that applicants have an understanding of the career to which they are committing themselves.

What is the GPA requirement? Toggle Accordion

We strongly recommend applicants have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average.

What should I include in my statement of purpose? Toggle Accordion

The purpose of the personal statement is to provide a sample of the applicant’s ability to write in an academic and professional manner, as well as to learn about any qualifications/life events that were not captured in the application.

Formatting: Double space, and limit to 500 words.

We recommend that you reflect on the following questions as you develop your essay:

  • Why are you pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology?  What led this interest?
  • What are your long-term professional goals?
  • What are your research interests (including faculty you want to work with, and why)?
  • How will a PhD from PAU help you to achieve your goals?

In your essay, you may also wish to include reflections about the following:


Experience with and/or commitment to serving minoritized and marginalized populations

Personal qualities that will facilitate success as a graduate student and future psychologist

What is the transfer policy? Toggle Accordion

To see the latest transfer policy, please visit:

PAU Catalog Transfer Credit Information

Graduate Level

Only graduate-level courses are acceptable for transfer credit. A graduate-level course is any course for which a student received graduate credit at their previous institution(s). This may include graduate-level courses the student took as an undergraduate.

Acceptable Grades

A grade of “B” or better is required in a graduate-level course to be acceptable for transfer credit.


Previous graduate work must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution. International coursework must be in English in order to be evaluated for transfer.

Deadline for Requesting Transfer Credit

Requests for review of transfer credit must be submitted by Aug 1 of the year the student plans to enroll in the Consortium.

Maximum Credit Awarded

A maximum of eight (8) units per quarter may be transferred, for a maximum of 24 units transferred into the PsyD program.

Transfer Unit Equivalencies

A student will be awarded the number of units the transferred course is equal to at Palo Alto University, which uses a quarter system. A transferred course must be equal to or greater than the number of units of the corresponding PsyD course. Multiple courses and their syllabi may be combined to meet eligibility for a Consortium course if the total units earned and content covered are determined equivalent

Time Limit for Requesting Transfer Credit

In order to be eligible for transfer credit, the course must have been completed within five years of the student’s matriculation at Palo Alto University.

Transferable Courses

Only foundational courses are eligible to be met by approved transfer credit. Students applying for review of transfer coursework should indicate which course(s) they are applying to waive.

Appeals and Exceptions

A student may appeal transfer credit decisions in writing to the Curriculum Committee. Appeals must be submitted within one week after the incoming student is notified of the outcome of their transfer credit application.


Please note that because the PsyD program is billed on a flat-rate, quarterly tuition schedule, transfer or waiver of units will not result in a reduced tuition rate. Additionally, because of our cohort model with required courses in each quarter, your time to completion of the program will not be reduced; however, students who are allowed to waive required coursework will have the luxury of more time available for supplemental practica, research assistantships, paid employment, etc.


Applying to the PhD and PsyDToggle Accordion

  • You are welcome to apply to both the PhD and PsyD concurrently. Your applications will be reviewed separately by the two Admissions Committees, and the processes will generally run independently of each other. There is no penalty for applying to both programs – we do encourage you to be clear about how each program is a good fit for your academic and professional interests. 
  • You should submit two Statements of Purpose, which address the distinct reasons for applying to each. 
To apply to both programs:
  1. Start an application for the PsyD program in PsyCAS
  2. In the "Program Materials" section, select "yes" to the question that asks, "Would you also like to have your application considered for admission to PAU's PhD in Clinical Psychology program?"
  3. In the "Optional Documents" section, upload your additional personal statement specific to the PhD program. 

Master’s DegreesToggle Accordion

  • Students are not required to have a master’s degree, and there is no preference given to students with master’s degrees. There is also no penalty for having a master’s degree. 
  • Grades from both the undergraduate and graduate levels are considered in the selection of students. Admissions Committee members do pay attention to trends in grades over time.  

Admissions CommunicationToggle Accordion

All students who complete their application will: 

  • The primary form of communication in the admissions process is email, and we will use the email address you list on your application. 
  • All students will receive a decision, and we will provide updates as often as possible. 
  • Offers of admissions are made on a rolling basis and will vary from student to student and year to year. Some students may hear as soon as two weeks after the interview; others may take a few months. You are always welcome to reach out to the Office of Admissions for an update about your application status. 
  • PhD and PsyD students have until April 15th to accept an offer of admission. This deadline may be extended due to extenuating circumstances.  

Work StudyToggle Accordion

  • Work-study awards are part of the financial aid package. Once awarded work-study, students may apply for any work-study job on the PAU campus. While it is technically possible for students to use their work-study award at Stanford, it is rare. 
  • International students are generally allowed to work on campus but should check with the International Students Office to ensure an on-campus position is permitted based on visa type. 
PhD and PsyD Application Deep Dive

Get an in-depth look at how to applying using the PsyCAS system for Palo Alto University's PhD and PsyD in Clinical Psychology programs.

Admissions Snapshot: 2021-22 Application Cycle (as of 1.13.23)

PsyD Total Applicants 664
Admit Rate 8.1%
Final Cohort Size 30

Demographic Summary: 2021-22 Deposited PsyD Students

Self-Reported Race (PAU uses IPEDS rules in reporting race and ethnicity)

Hispanic 10.00%
American Indian N/A
Asian 6.67%
Black 10.00%
Pacific Islander N/A
White 50.00
Two or More Races 16.67%
Not Reported 6.67%


Male 16.67%
Female 80.00%
Gender Non-Conforming 3.33%
Decline to State N/A


Average Cumulative Undergraduate GPA



Other Demographics

Average Age at Application 24.23 (Range: 21-32)
US Citizenship 93.33%
First-Generation 6.67%
Native Languages Chinese, English, Spanish


Office of Admissions and Outreach

Palo Alto University’s Office of Admissions and Outreach is eager to answer all your admissions questions and connect you with helpful resources as you embark on your application process.
Please direct all general inquiries to, or you can call 650-417-2039.
Due to our remote work, our phone line is not staffed live. Please leave us a message, and we will return your call shortly.

Email Admissions