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James W. Pennebaker, Chair The University of Texas at Austin, SEA 4.212, Austin, TX 78712 • (512) 475-7596

Admissions FAQs

I have compiled this list of questions I routinely receive by phone and email. Please email me if you have any other questions.

What are the instructions for online Letters of Recommendation and Statements of Purpose?

What are the requirements of the program?

Does The University of Texas at Austin offer degrees in Counseling?

What are the Areas of Study in the Department of Psychology?

How many students are admitted each year?

On what basis are applicants reviewed?

How do I submit Letters of Recommendation?

Do you admit students in the Spring?

What is the minimum GPA and GRE score for admission into your program?

Do I have to take the GRE?

Can I take graduate courses in your department without being a graduate student at UT?

I don't have any research experience. Can I still apply to your program?

How long will it take to earn a Clinical Ph.D. if I already have a Masters?

Can I obtain a Psy.D. degree at UT?

Who should I contact about Graduate Admissions?


Q. What are the instructions for online Letters of Recommendation and Statements of Purpose:

A.  You will be given the opportunity to list the name, position, and email address for three recommenders when you complete the application for admission. After you submit your application for admission, emails will be sent to your recommenders directing them to a Web site where they may upload their letters of recommendation.

Once you have submitted your application, you can use our self-service feature on the My Status Web site to resend the Request for Reference email to your recommenders, if necessary. You can use this site to supply an alternate email such as gmail if your recommender's spam filter blocks the original request or has removed the link. You can also add a new recommender and send the Request for Reference email or revise your FERPA (right to view) status from retained to waived.

Applicants can submit their application and then return to ApplyTexas and at the top click "essays," complete and submit their SOP. 

  Q.  What are the requirements of the program?

A.   The Graduate School has set minimum requirements for applicants to be considered for admission to the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin. Currently these are

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college (or equivalent foreign training);
  • At least a B average in upper-division courses and any graduate work;
  • A satisfactory Graduate Record Examination score (Verbal + Quantitative); and
  • Adequate preparation in psychology. The last normally includes at least 12 hours of upper-division psychology, a course in statistics, a course in experimental methodology, and research experience.

Q.  Does The University of Texas at Austin offer degrees in Counseling?

A.  Yes, in addition to the Clinical Psychology degree available through the Psychology Department, degrees in Counseling and School Counseling are offered by the Department of Educational Psychology. Direct all requests of this nature to: (512) 471-4155 or http://edpsych.edb.utexas.edu/

The University also offers degrees in Social Work. Information about UT's School of Social work can be obtained at (512) 471-5457 or http://www.utexas.edu/ssw/.

Q.  What are the Areas of Study in the Department of Psychology?

A. Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Developmental Psychology, Individual Differences & Evolutionary Psychology, Social & Personality, and Perception, Brain and Behavior

Areas of Study

Q.  How many students are admitted each year? 

A.  The Department enrolls about 20 students each year from a total of around 600 applicants. The enrollment figure reflects the limits of the Department's academic and physical resources in providing high quality graduate training to its students and its resources for the support of its graduate students. Almost all of our recent graduates have obtained appropriate positions upon obtaining their PhDs in academic, industrial, or public settings.

Of the 600 or so applications received each year, roughly half are to the Clinical Program. Clinical typically accepts 5 students per year.  The other areas combined accept approximately 15 new students per year.

Q. On what basis are applicants reviewed?

A. Since student interest in psychology remains high, admission into our program is extremely competitive, particularly in very popular areas such as Clinical. Applicants should have research interests congruent with those of our faculty, a commitment to research, and an aptitude for research. The average GPA of admitted students is approximately 3.75 (out of 4.0) in junior-senior level courses. The Psychology Department recognizes that non-traditional students or educationally disadvantaged students may not demonstrate their potential for success through traditional criteria. Therefore, we review applications from students who we think may have the ability to excel in graduate study but whose GPAs and GRE scores may not accurately reflect their academic potential, motivation, or their relevant research experience. In considering applications, the faculty examines all sources of information. We seek evidence that the student's particular background, interests, and goals are compatible with those of the area to which he or she is applying and evidence that the student's presence will enhance our doctoral training programs. Thus, high test scores and grades do not guarantee acceptance, and students whose lower scores are offset by other exceptional qualifications may be admitted.

Applying to the Graduate Program

Q. How do I submit Letters of Recommendation?

A. While filling out the online Texas Common Application enter your Electronic Letters of Recommendation information.

When you complete the "References" portion of the online application for admission, you will give the names and email addresses of those you have asked to recommend you. Be sure that the email address is current and accurate.

You will be asked to inform us if you are going to waive the right to view your letters after they are submitted. Please indicate this by answering the associated question on the application for admission. We will send an e-mail message to the address you provide and ask your recommender to visit a web site where they can complete a questionnaire. Your recommender will be informed if you have not waived your right to view his/her letter of recommendation.

After you submit your application, you will be able to monitor the status of your pending requests for references through your online Application Status http://utdirect.utexas.edu/nr/appstat.html. If you have any additional questions, email gradref@austin.utexas.edu.

Q. Do you admit students in the Spring?

A.  No, we only admit in the Fall. The deadline for applying is December 1 for the following Fall.  

Q.  What is the minimum GPA and GRE score for admission into your program?

A.  The minimum GPA for admission to UT is 3.0. There is no minimum GRE score. The averages of the students we admit into our grad program are generally around 3.75 (GPA) and 1280 (GRE total score).

Q.  Do I have to take the GRE?

A. Yes, the GRE is a university requirement for all applicants. The ETS code for the University of Texas at Austin is 6882.

Q. Can I take graduate courses in your department without being a graduate student at UT?

A.  Yes. You must apply as a non-degree seeking undergraduate student. You can take graduate courses as a non-degree seeking undergraduate. Our department does not accept non-degree seeking graduate students.

Q.  I don't have any research experience. Can I still apply to your program?

A.  Without undergraduate research experience, it is very hard for the admissions committees to assess an applicant's fitness for our research-oriented graduate program. Furthermore, since we work using the mentorship system, a good match between faculty and student is based on the congruence of the research of the faculty member and the previous experience that the applicant has had.

Q.  How long will it take to earn a Clinical Ph.D. if I already have a Masters?

A. It is possible, but rare, to complete the Clinical Ph.D. program here in 4 years. The average overall is actually 7 years (Program Statistics). As a clinician with an MSW, for example, it is possible you would be eligible to begin practicum work here in your first year, while most students without clinical experience begin practica only in their second year.

Otherwise, having a masters degree typically does not translate into much abbreviation of the time for completing the doctoral degree in the clinical program, though it is generally viewed as a strength in considering admissions.

Q.  Can I obtain a Psy.D. degree at UT?

A. The University of Texas Psychology Department does not offer a Psy.D. degree. We only have the Ph.D. A Psy.D. program is designed particularly for individuals seeking to become clinicians (to do future work in private practice, for instance). The Psy.D. was developed about 20 years ago as an alternate track to Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology, when there was an interest on the part of some institutions in distinguishing between programs mainly intended to train academics and researchers (Ph.D.) from those mainly intended to train clinicians (Psy.D.). The Psy.D. today is often offered through professional schools.

There is some variety in the definitions of training models, but the UT Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology understands itself to follow a "clinical science" model, focused on research, while many Psy.D. programs call their approach a "practitioner scholar" model. This split reflects a feeling some have held that program models which have tried to do both -- training researchers who were also clinicians (using what is called a "scientist practitioner" model) -- were giving too little attention to one side of the training or the other.

General information about the Clinical program in UT's Psychology Department can be found here: Clinical Psychology Program

Q.  Who should I contact about  Graduate Admissions?

A.  Yes, the Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Advisor are glad to answer questions and may be reached at:

Graduate Office
SEA 3.210
Phone: 512-471-6398
Fax: 512-471-6175
Email: psygradoffice@utexas.edu

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