Q: What are the basic criteria for admission to the Division of Psychology doctoral progam?
A: Although we do not use cutoff scores or have strict requirements, competitive applicants typically have:
- GRE scores (V/Q/A/Psych) above the 70th percentile
- NOTE: The Psychology Subject Test is NOT required to apply to our program. In anticipation of possible changes in curricular requirements for Clinical Psychology Programs, we are asking that students who are admitted to the PhD program complete the Psychology Subject Test before starting the program. For example, you do not need to complete the Psychology Subject Test for your application on December 1st; however, if you are admitted to the program in April, we will ask you to complete the Subject Test before starting the program in September of next year.
- Undergraduate GPA of 3.30 or above
- Research experience
- At least some exposure or experience with clinical populations.
Q: What is the ETS institution code for Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine?
A: The ETS code number is 1565.
Q: What is the ETS department code?
A: Department code number 2001 indicates the Division of Psychology at the Feinberg School.
Q: What is the financial aid code for Northwestern University?
A: Northestern’s financial code number is E00617.
Q: What is the program code for the doctoral program in clinical psychology offered at the Feinberg School?
A: Use code number C30PH when completing the Graduate School application.
Q: Do I need to take the GRE Psychology Subject Test?
A: We strongly recommend that you take the subject test, but as of Fall 2010, we no longer require it for consideration of your application. The subject test is particularly helpful if you do not have an undergraduate degree in Psychology. If you are admitted to the PhD program, you will be required to complete the Psychology Subject Test in anticipation of changes in requirements for Accreditation.
Q: Do I need to take the MCAT?
A: No; taking the MCAT is not necessary.
Q: May the referees send their letters of recommendation directly to the Division of Psychology?
A: No. The three (3) letters of recommendation are to be submitted online through The Graduate School application website.
Q: Are there formal materials for referees to fill out?
A: No. Letters of recommendation are to be submitted on referees’ stationary.
Q: Are interviews conducted via telephone?
A: No. All interviews take place on the Chicago campus in January and February.
Q: Do you offer informational interviews?
A: No. We do not have the resources to provide informational interviews for applicants.
Q: Can I schedule a time to talk with the Director of the program or one of the faculty members?
A: Unfortunately, no. The Director and other program faculty do not have the time to meet with potential applicants. We have 200-300+ applicants a year, and we just cannot spend the time away from our other activities to meet with potential applicants. Although you are welcome to send a faculty member an email, please do not be offended if he or she does not respond; our faculty are very busy. You are always welcome to email the Director of the program.
Q: May I take a psychology course or audit a course if I am not a Division of Psychology student?
A: Yes, as part of the Traveling Scholar Program, students from the Big Ten University Network (including University of Chicago) can take our courses. Depending on the course, you may enroll with permission of the instructor. Division of Psychology courses are not open to the public.
Q: If I am not a psychology major, what prerequisite courses should I take?
A: You should take courses in abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, experimental psychology and statistics. You should also strongly consider taking the GRE Psychology Subject Test to demonstrate your competency with basic psychological concepts.
Q: Is it necessary when applying to indicate a Research Emphasis?
A: Yes. Applicants are now required to identify the Research Emphasis for which they are applying.
Q: What are the Research Emphases?
A: We have four (4) Research Emphases:
- Behavioral Medicine (Health Psychology)
- Neuropsychology & Behavioral Neuroscience
- Psychopathology & Treatment
Q: Is it necessary when applying to indicate my choice of a research supervisor?
A: Yes. We are a mentor-based program, and therefore your application will be reviewed by the primary mentors of our research labs. As such, you must identify at least one mentor that has research interests similar to your interests and experiences. The application provides an opportunity for you to state your preferences and demonstrate how well you “fit” with the interests of our primary mentors. Please make certain that the primary mentor you select fits with the Research Emphasis that you indicated.
A: Yes. Please also identify the Clinical Emphasis(es) for which you are most interested in receiving training. We recommend identifying and discussing your interest in receiving training in a specific clinical emphasis(es) in your Clinical Statement. Please note that there may be some flexibility in deciding your Clinical Emphasis, so you may indicate more than one if you are uncertain at the time of the application.
Q: How many students are accepted into your program each year?
A: We will accept eight (8) students next year. We received 200-300 applicants per year (two-three percent acceptance rate).
Q: Does your department offer scholarships?
A: Yes. We offer our standard scholarships to all students, which covers 50 percent of tuition costs. Contingent on grant funding, some students may be offered a living stipend and/or additional tuition benefits.
Q: May I have the information on the Division of Psychology Web site mailed to me?
A: No. All required information, including the application, is on this Web site. We no longer offer printed information.
Q: Will clinical and/or research experience help me as a candidate for entry into your program?
A: Yes. We are a scientist-practitioner program with an equal emphasis on research and clinical training. Some experience with clinical populations is required; you need to know that you want to work with a clinical population. Prior experience with research (e.g., volunteering on a research project during undergraduate, working on a research study, coordinating a research program, etc.) is also required to be a competitive applicant.
Q: Does your program offer a terminal Master's Degree?
A: As of 2017, we now offer a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. For more information please see: http://psychiatry.northwestern.edu/education/clinical-psychology-master/index.html. We also offer a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology for students who are enrolled in the PhD Program in Clinical Psychology.
Q: Will I be more competitive if I get a Master’s Degree before applying to your PhD Program?
A: Not necessarily. A Master's Degree, in-and-of itself does not necessarily make you more competitive for our PhD Program. A Master’s Degree, especially a clinically-focused degree, will not necessarily compensate for lower undergraduate grades, unless there is a clear and reasonable explanation for lower undergraduate grades. Obtaining a Master’s Degree may be helpful if it substantially increases your research skills and provides you with opportunities for research productivity (e.g., presentations & publications). Working as a research assistant or research coordinator in a lab of a well-known researcher is another way to gain this experience. A Master's Degree may also be helpful if you did not have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, or if you are unsure that doctoral study in clinical psychology is the right path for you.
Q: Does your program accept course credit from a Master's or other graduate-level program?
A: The PhD program will consider accepting course credits toward the PhD from other graduate-level programs within Northwestern, after review and approval by the Director of Graduate Studies for the Clinical Psychology Graduate Programs. In keeping with the policy of The Graduate School at Northwestern University, the PhD program will not accept transfer credits from other Universities for required courses in the PhD program (see: http://www.tgs.northwestern.edu/about/policies/all-policies.html). Under certain circumstances, the Director of Graduate Studies in consultation with the Education and Training Committee of the PhD program will allow a student to substitute a required course(s) with another course if he or she has had suitable previous experience or course work. In such a situation, the student must take a substitute course that is of similar and preferably more advanced content to the substituted course. A maximum of nine (9) courses may be substituted.
Q: There seems to be a lot of overlap between the Statement of Purpose and the Clinical and Research Essays. Should I just copy and past from the Statement of Purpose into these additional Essays?
A. We understand that the Statement of Purpose and the Clinical and Research Essays may seem similar, and there may be some minimal repetition of what you write in them (e.g., your interests). That said, the Statement and Essays do differ in important ways:
Q: Does the Division of Psychology conduct campus tours?
A: No, but you can find maps and other information about Northwestern’s Chicago campus on the University’s website.
Clinical psychology doctoral students live off campus. Our campus is centrally located one mile north of the Loop on Chicago’s lakefront, just blocks from the Magnificent Mile. Chicago offers numerous residential neighborhoods within a short commute, either by walking/biking (e.g., Streeterville, Gold Coast, River North) or public transportation and University shuttle bus (e.g., Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, West Town, Boystown, Wrigleyville). More information about housing can be found on The Graduate School’s website.
Q: What is the difference between the two Northwestern University clinical psychology doctoral programs?
A: Our Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (in Chicago) is differentiated from the Clinical Psychology program at Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (in Evanston) in several ways. Our Chicago program is a scientist-practitioner program that places an equal emphasis on research and clinical training. We provide research training in four Research Emphases (Behavioral Medicine, Neuropsychology & Behavioral Neuroscience, Policy, and Psychopathology & Treatment) and clinical training in four Clinical Emphases (Adult Clinical, Behavioral Medicine/Health Psychology, Clinical Child & Adolescent, and Clinical Neuropsychology). Our goal is to prepare students for research and clinical careers in academic medical center and similar healthcare settings (e.g., VA medical centers, research hospitals, large health systems). Read a description of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences program on the Evanston campus.