Photo of MSU Bronze Hawk

Admissions Requirements

See below for information about applying to the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology.

Annual Application Due Date

All application materials for admission to the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology must be submitted by December 1st to ensure full consideration. Applicants are admitted to the program for enrollment starting in the fall semester only and must be full-time students.

Application Procedures

All applicants must adhere to the application guidelines of The Graduate School (TGS), and for international applicants, additional guidelines provided by the Office of Global Engagement (OGE).

To submit an application, please follow these steps.

  • Complete the online application on TGS’s website, including the $60 non-refundable application fee. Note that this application includes prompts for a range of responses specific to our program. Applicants are welcome to draw from their personal statement in completing these prompts.
  • Upload or send the following required supplemental items:
    1. Official undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate transcripts. (TGS provides additional instructions about the interim submission of unofficial transcripts; and TGS and OGE provide additional instructions about course-by-course transcript evaluations for international students.)
    2. For international students, unless eligible for a waiver, English Language Proficiency Test scores (TOEFL IBT [Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet Based Test]; IELTS [International English Language Testing System]; Duolingo; PTE-A [Pearson Test of English-Academic]; or iTEP [International Test of English Proficiency]).
    3. Curriculum vitae/resume.
    4. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty familiar with the applicant’s work.
    5. Personal statement (two to three single-spaced pages; see additional Instructions for Personal Statement below).
    6. A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to write in a scientific and scholarly manner.

Writing samples authored by the applicant alone are preferred.

Applicants who submit a co-authored writing sample are recommended to describe in their personal statement their specific contributions to that sample.

  • Upload or send the following optional supplemental items:
    1. GRE General Test scores (note: the program has made submission of GRE scores optional, beginning with admission to our Fall 2023 cohort).
    2. GRE Psychology Subject Test scores (note: the program has made submission of GRE scores optional, beginning with admission to our Fall 2023 cohort).

Instructions for Personal Statement:

  • Articulate clearly, concisely, and in specific terms relevant academic, research, and psychology-related experiences and interests, as well as long-term career goals.
  • An applicant may also highlight any additional strengths that will make them an excellent candidate for our program, as well as explain any areas of relative weakness in their application.
  • An applicant should also explain their reasons for applying to MSU’s PhD Program in Clinical Psychology and indicate up to three faculty members with whom they would like to work and be mentored.

Please refer to the Program Faculty page for a list of core and associated faculty members for the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology, who constitute prospective mentors. Individual faculty members often indicate on their lab websites whether they are considering applications for a mentee during the current application cycle. Applicants may reach out to faculty members via email if they have questions about their work or wish to inquire about their plans for mentoring new students in the upcoming year.

  • As noted above, applicants may draw from their personal statement to respond to program-specific prompts about their interests and experiences that are included in the program’s online application.

Most supplemental items can be uploaded through the TGS submission portal once the applicant has filed their online application and application fee. Supplemental items needing to be sent via postal mail (e.g., transcripts) should be sent directly to TGS at:

Montclair State University
Office of Graduate Admissions
1 Normal Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07043

Questions about the application process should be directed to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

Telephone: 973-655-5147
Fax: 973-655-7869

Any questions about our program that cannot be addressed by that office can be directed to A program staff member will reply to you as soon as possible.

Upon receiving an applicant’s required application materials, TGS will review the application and forward it to the Psychology Department if it meets the minimum requirements delineated below. Please note that TGS will only review an application once it is complete and the application fee has been paid. The Psychology Department then reviews the applications and selects prospective candidates to which to extend interview offers. Prospective candidates are typically notified of the interview invitation via email. Following the interview, the Psychology Department notifies TGS of its recommendations for admission, and the DCT or TGS notifies prospective candidates of their status as to an offer of admission via email and postal mail.

Admissions Criteria and Requirements

Admission to the program is competitive. We look for applicants who demonstrate a high level of preparedness for doctoral-level training. The program and its faculty are also committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as Montclair State University is as a whole, including as reflected by its Notice of Non-Discrimination and Office for Social Justice and Diversity. The program faculty aspire to bring together cohorts of students that represent a wide variety of lives experiences and perspectives. Those from diverse multicultural backgrounds, or with interests in and a commitment to advancing the missions of diversity, equity, inclusion, fairness, dignity for all, social justice, and human rights, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Requirements for admission include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and a record of achievement that shows a strong promise of success in the program’s coursework and research and clinical training activities. Applicants considering the program should be aware of the following additional requirements.

  • Per TGS policy, a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for those entering with a bachelor’s degree, while a minimum GPA of 3.5 is required for those entering with a master’s degree (i.e., the master’s degree GPA). Please note that competitive applicants entering with a bachelor’s degree typically have undergraduate GPAs in or above the 3.2–3.5 range. We also recommend an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.5 for psychology courses specifically.
  • Competitive applicants who have submitted GRE scores typically have GRE Quantitative and Verbal scores at or above the 50th percentile. Although neither the GRE General Test nor the GRE Psychology Subject Test are required for admission, applicants may submit these scores for consideration by the admissions committee.
  • Applicants should have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology (or a closely related field), though applicants will be considered as long as they have completed at least 15 credits in psychology (preferably including courses in statistics and research methods). Students who did not major in psychology are strongly encouraged to submit scores for the optional GRE Psychology Subject Test with their application.