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PsyD Program Admissions

PsyD Admission Deadlines Application review begins Nov 1, 2022. Apply by Nov 15, 2022 for early consideration
Ready to take the next step? Apply Now

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 Start Your PsyCas Application Learn More About PsyD Candidate Selection


Application review for the fall 2023 cohort begins November 1, 2022.
Apply by November 15, 2022 for early consideration.
Apply by January 8, 2023 for regular consideration.

How to Apply

All materials should be submitted through the PSYCAS system, not directly to the PAU Admissions Office.

Application FormToggle Accordion

Complete an application online in the PSYCAS system. The application for fall 2023 will be available in early September 2022. 

Start Your PsyCAS Application

Application FeeToggle 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.

PsyCAS Application Fees and Fee Waivers

Official TranscriptsToggle Accordion

Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions attended must be sent directly from the institution, even if a degree was not awarded. Official transcripts should be mailed or electronically delivered by the issuing institution directly to the PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center. Instructions for submitting transcripts can be found on the PSYCAS website.

PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center

P.O. Box 9138

Watertown, MA 02471

After enrolling in the program, conditionally admitted students must submit final official transcripts directly to the Office of Admission 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.

International Applicants

If you attended an institution outside of the US, PAU requires that your transcript be evaluated and, if applicable, translated. You may select any vendor that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Please visit the NACES website for a complete list of members. Your course-by-course evaluation should be sent directly to PSYCAS. More information on submitting foreign coursework to PSYCAS can be found within the application and via the Applicant Help Center.
Palo Alto University 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 link.)



Resume or Curriculum VitaeToggle Accordion

The resume or CV should list professional and academic experience, education, awards, publications, etc.


Letters of RecommendationToggle Accordion

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.

Submitting Evaluations to PsyCAS

Statement of PurposeToggle Accordion

The purpose of the personal statement is to provide a sample of the applicant’s ability to write academically and professionally and to learn about any qualifications/life events that were not captured in the application.
Formatting: Double-space and limit to 1,000 words.
  • Brief autobiographical sketch, including what led to your interest in clinical psychology
  • What strengths and accomplishments have prepared you for graduate psychology training in clinical psychology? What skills and knowledge, including academic preparation, research experience, and clinical experience, have prepared you for graduate school?
  • Discussion of your future career goals as a clinical psychologist that addresses the following: Why do you want to become a clinical psychologist, and what aspects of the PGSP-Stanford Psy.D. Consortium will help you reach these goals?

Writing the Personal Statement - Purdue University

TOEFL or IELTSToggle Accordion

The TOEFL or IELTS exam is required for international applicants whose undergraduate studies were in a language other than English a TOEFL or IELTS exam is required. Scores can be submitted through PSYCAS. These exams are not required for international students who earned their bachelor's degree in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries.

Sending TOEFL Scores to PsyCAS

GRE and GRE Subject TestsToggle Accordion

The GRE and GRE Psychology Subject Tests will not be required of applicants for the 2022-23 admissions cycle. Our process will be test-blind: the Admissions Committee will not consider test scores even if submitted by the student. 

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

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 should I include in my statement of purpose? Toggle Accordion

  • Formatting: Double-spaced, maximum 1,000 words.
  • Provide a brief autobiographical sketch, including what led to your interest in clinical psychology.
  • Address the skills and knowledge gleaned from your academic, research, and/or clinical experience that have prepared you for doctoral training in clinical psychology.
  • Discuss what aspects of the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium will help you reach your specific career goals? For example: "With my interests in trauma, I would be interested in completing practicum at the National Center for PTSD and conducting research with Consortium faculty who conduct PTSD research such as Dr. Farmer, Dr. Rosen or Dr. Gore-Felton."

What is the GPA requirement? Toggle Accordion

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

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.

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 Admissions

GRE ScoresToggle Accordion

GRE scores are not required or expected for the 22-23 admissions cycle. Scores will not be considered even if students submit them.

Resumes/CVs and the “Experiences” SectionToggle Accordion

  • Resumes are generally one page long and do not need to be comprehensive. They should focus on experiences that relate to the degree program to some extent. Folks with more in-depth experience in the field, such as research or publication, may submit a longer document styled as a CV.
  • While it is not required that you also enter work experience, volunteer experience, etc., into PsyCAS, it can be helpful to at least enter the highlights of your experience in this section so that 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 clinical psychology. 

More about Resumes on PsyCAS

Entering Research ExperienceToggle Accordion

  • Feel free to include non-psychology research experience.
  • For applicants with no formal research experience, including research conducted within an academic class may be helpful and may be a way to highlight one’s preparation for doctoral-level study.
  • Feel free to include papers or projects underway but not complete at the time of application. 

Statements of PurposeToggle Accordion

  • The most important piece of advice is to respond to the questions asked in the prompt and to adhere to length and style guidelines. Beyond that, the statement of purpose is the primary way for the Admissions Committee to hear your voice. There is no need to rehash your resume – take the opportunity to talk about your passions and interests specific to psychology.
  • 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 statement of purpose 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 statement of purpose.

Letters of RecommendationToggle Accordion

  • It is acceptable to request two letters of recommendation from people at the same organization or agency. We encourage you to try and ensure that each recommender can offer a distinct perspective on your personality and performance. 
  • There is no specific format for the letters; however, most are offered on letterhead and written in a formal style. 
  • While letters from psychology faculty are recommended, a broad range of letters is acceptable. They do not need to come from people only in psychology or the behavioral sciences, and recommenders do not require advanced degrees. Individuals with whom you have only a personal relationship (family friend, family member, etc.) are discouraged. 
  • A joint letter (written by two or more people) is acceptable; however, the invitation can only be sent to one email address. Please clarify with your recommenders to whom the email invitation to complete the form should be sent. 
  • Recommenders upload letters directly to PsyCAS. Applicants should enter the email address of their recommender into PsyCAS. PsyCAS will then email the recommender with a link to complete the form and upload the letter. 
  • Letters of recommendation are uploaded to PsyCAS as PDFs or Word documents. Recommenders are also asked to provide standardized ratings, which PsyCAS will prompt.

More about Letters of Recommendation PsyCAS

TOEFL ScoresToggle Accordion

International students may not need to submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS. This is often because the student’s native language is English or they attended a college or university with English as the primary language of instruction. Please email the Office of Admissions to discuss and request a waiver.

TranscriptsToggle Accordion

  • All transcripts should be sent to PsyCAS. Applicants do not need to send duplicate transcripts to PAU.
  • PAU can directly accept transcripts; however, PsyCAS will continue to show them as not received. 
  • Classes taken during high school do not need to be entered. However, if you attended a college or university both in high school and in college, those courses will appear on that school’s transcript and be reflected in the GPA calculation. 
  • PsyCAS requires transcripts from all colleges and universities attended post-high school graduation. Even if transfer credit appears on a more recent transcript, this is the case. 
  • All students must complete manual entry of their courses into PsyCAS in addition to sending transcripts. This can take time and is tedious! Please plan ahead. This is required to fairly calculate GPAs for students who attend different schools with different grading scales. 
PsyCAS Transcript Directions
  • Report all institutions attended regardless of their relevance to the programs you apply to. Failure to report an institution may cause your application to be undelivered. This can significantly delay the processing of your application. Report all institutions attended, including but not limited to:
    • courses taken in high school for college or university credit
    • summer courses
    • community college courses
    • US military academies (note that this does not include courses on SMART or JST transcripts)
    • post-baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral work
    • study abroad, Canadian, and foreign work, etc. 
  • List all institutions on your application even if the coursework completed there was transferred to another institution.
  • Report each institution only once, regardless of the number of degrees earned or gaps in the dates of attendance.
  • Send official transcripts for each institution.
International Transcripts
  • PsyCAS required international transcripts to be evaluated – there are several services available. PAU cannot waive this requirement on behalf of PsyCAS. If you are applying only to PAU, you can work with us one-on-one to see if a transcript evaluation can be waived. 
Transcripts for Study Abroad Programs
  • How you enter transcripts for study abroad programs will vary given the nature of the courses and whether you took them from your home institution or another institution. Please read the instructions from PsyCAS (above) carefully to determine how to enter these courses. 

Sending Official Transcripts to PsyCAS

Sending Foreign Transcripts to PsyCAS

Sending Study Abroad Transcripts to PsyCAS

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

  • 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

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