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Info to Know

How do I find the Psychology Department Graduate Student Handbook?

The handbook can be downloaded here: Graduate Student Handbook

What's the difference between a core area and an interdisciplinary area?

Students are admitted into one of the 4 core areas (clinical, CNS, developmental, social), which have their own course and prelim requirements (see the handbooks associated with each area). Interdisciplinary areas can have a set of recommended courses to take (e.g., health has a required set), which are often accomplished via the seminar electives in each area. Students in interdisciplinary areas frequently attend collaborative research groups, comprised of multiple faculty and students.

What if I already have a Master's?

If your master's thesis is comparable to a master's thesis completed at Utah, you begin work on coursework and on your prelims or qualifying exams. If not, then you might be asked to do another research project or complete a master's thesis.

Can I get a clinical degree, but have a research advisor in a different area?

Some students who are getting a clinical degree elect to have their research advisor from a different area. These students also have a clinical advisor who supervises the student's clinical training. Such joint students are frequently in interdisciplinary areas (e.g., health, child clinical) and the clinical and research advisor collaborate in guiding the student's training.

What is a Ph.D.?

A Ph.D. is a research intensive degree which allows the individual to be involved in research and academia as well as possibilities for counseling or therapeutic processes. The psychology graduate program at Utah is exclusively a Ph.D. program.

Do you offer a standalone Master's degree?

The psychology program is exclusively a doctoral program and does not offer a stand-alone Master's degree.

What if my bachelor's degree was not in Psychology?

You can still apply to our program. Depending on your previous coursework, you might be advised to take a course in statistics or research methods prior to beginning the graduate program.

How do I find out about the type of research being conducted by your faculty?

Visit the department's Faculty page and examine specific faculty members that you might be interested in working with in graduate school. You may also search Faculty by Research. You may visit our Newsletter Website for the most recent work occurring in the department.

What do students typically do after graduating?

Our graduate students are employed in a range of psychology-relevant settings: professors in academia, policy professionals, private industry, survey research firms, hospital settings, and private practice.

How many people are in the program?

  • 40 Faculty
  • 5 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 59 Graduate Students
  • 6 Core Staff

(Approximately 2 students for every 1 faculty member.)

If I am an international student, do I need to submit a TOEFL?

The Graduate School requires proof of English language proficiency from international students, which may be demonstrated by TOEFL, IELTS, or DUOLINGO scores.  Please see Admissions Policy  for more information.

Clinical Psychology vs. Counseling Psychology


Clinical psychologists assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These range from short-term crises, such as difficulties resulting from adolescent rebellion to more severe, chronic conditions such as schizophrenia. Some clinical psychologists treat specific problems exclusively, such as phobias or clinical depression. Others focus on specific populations: youngsters, ethnic minority groups, gays and lesbians, and the elderly, for instance.

Counseling or other Specialty Areas

Counseling psychologists help people to accommodate to change or to make changes in their lifestyle. For example, they provide vocational and career assessment and guidance or help someone come to terms with the death of a loved one. They help students adjust to college, and people to stop smoking or overeating. They also consult with physicians on physical problems that have underlying psychological causes.

Developmental psychologists study the psychological development of the human being that takes place throughout life.

Educational psychologists concentrate on how effective teaching and learning takes place.

Engineering psychologists conduct research on how people work best with machines.

Forensic psychologists apply psychological principles to legal issues.

Health psychologists are interested in how biological, psychological, and social factors affect health and illness.

Industrial/organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to the work place in the interest of improving productivity and the quality of work life.

Neuropsychologists explore the relationships between brain systems and behavior.

Quantitative and measurement
Quantitative and measurement psychologists focus on methods and techniques for acquiring and analyzing psychological data.

Rehabilitation psychologists work with stroke and accident victims, people with mental retardation, and those with developmental disabilities caused by such conditions as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism.

School psychologists work directly with public and private schools.

social psychologists study how a person's mental life and behavior is shaped by interactions with other people.

Sports psychologists help athletes refine their focus on competitive goals, become more motivated, and learn to deal with the anxiety and fear of failure that often accompany competition.

How long does the Ph.D. program take?

Graduate students in the program generally complete the program in 5 to 6 years.

State Requirements for Licensing

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that require psychologists to be licensed or certified by a state board in order to engage in the independent and unsupervised practice of psychology.

Before enrolling in a graduate program, any student planning to seek licensure after graduate school should contact the State Examining Board for Psychology in the state where he/she intends to practice. Prior to taking the licensing exam in psychology, the licensing board reviews students' educational backgrounds carefully; having a doctoral degree does not make a person automatically eligible to take the exam. More information regarding licensure and a list of state licensing boards can be obtained by contacting the APA.

Do you have a language requirement?


Do you have qualifying exams?

Each area has a different preliminary examination that a student begins once the master's thesis is completed. Most of the areas have a preliminary project (e.g., a comprehensive literature review) that is required in place of an exam. See the handbook associated with each core area for specifics regarding what is required for the qualifying exam.

Last Updated: 1/18/22