Clinical Psychology PhD/MA
The Division of Psychology within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences offers a doctoral degree (PhD) in clinical psychology that has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1972.
Our program has the advantage of our interdepartmental and interdisciplinary placement within Northwestern University to offer students a true balance of research and clinical training.”
Jason Washburn, PhD, ABPP Director of Graduate Studies
Founded on a scientist-practitioner model, the overall goal of the Clinical Psychology PhD Program is to graduate academic psychologists who are competent, ethical and productive in the science and practice of clinical psychology. Our program emphasizes the integration of science and clinical practice.
Program Length: 5-6 years
Program Size: 4-6 students per year
An MA program is embedded in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program, with coursework and lab work completed alongside PhD students. Although students in the MA program are welcome to apply to the PhD program, the MA program is not intended to be a "gateway" into the PhD program.
Visit PhD Program Site Apply Visit MA Program Site Give to the Program
Eligibility and Program Requirements
The following requirements are in addition to, or further elaborate upon, those requirements outlined in The Graduate School Policy Guide .
The department offers no terminal master's degree, but students must earn a master's degree as one of the requirements for the PhD degree. To obtain the MA or MS degree, students take the courses required for the specialized field and complete a master's thesis.
Total Units Required: 27
See Department Guide for more Information
Other PhD Requirements
- Examinations: For admission to candidacy, written examination or paper.
- Research/Projects: In addition to master's project and PhD dissertation, students are expected to engage in supervised research projects
- PhD Dissertation: Result of independent research in specialized field
- Final Evaluations: Oral examination on dissertation
- Other: Teaching assignment ( see department guide )
Print this page.
The PDF will include all information unique to this page.
PDF of the 2023-2024 The Graduate Catalog.
what are the basic criteria for admission to the phd program.
Competitive applicants typically have:
- High undergraduate GPA, or a reason for a lower GPA with other evidence of strong academic preparation
- Undergraduate and/or master's major and/or quality of course work consistent with a major in psychology, including basic psychological science (affective, biological, cognitive, developmental and social aspects of behavior), abnormal psychology, statistics and research design
- Awards, honors, leadership positions, attainment of competitive grants
- Quality of completion of the graduate application form
- High quality and extensive prior research experiences
- Evidence of research productivity, such as co-authoring scientific presentations and publications
- Exposure to clinical populations through volunteer positions, research, or work
- Strong alignment with the mission and aims of the PhD program
- Interests and experiences that closely align with interests of specific faculty members and their labs.
- High quality personal statement
- Strong Letters of reference
- For international students, English proficiency
- Completion of Supplementary Data Survey. Link for the survey will be sent to the email attached to your application.
Do I need to complete the Supplemental Application Survey?
Yes! To facilitate our holistic review of your application, particularly given that we are not collecting or examining GRE data, we are requiring all applicants to complete a Supplemental Application Survey. In addition to submitting your application through CollegeNet, you will be sent an email at the address associated with your application that has a link to the updated Supplemental Survey.
I have a three-year Bachelor's degree. Does that meet your basic requirement?
do i need to take the gre general or psychology subject tests.
No, neither the GRE General nor Psychology Subject Tests are required.
Do I need to take the MCAT?
No, taking the MCAT is not necessary.
Do I need to take the TOEFL Test?
Our program requires that students demonstrate a certain level of English language proficiency prior to an admission offer. The TOEFL iBT minimum requirement is 90 for PhD. NOTE: Applicants with a degree from an English speaking institution will have their TOEFL requirement waived upon review of their application.
Are there additional requirements for international students?
The program requires that students demonstrate a certain level of English language proficiency prior to an admission offer; see above.
Interntional applicants should also be aware that, as with other clinical psychology PhD programs in the United States, they may be limited in applying to internship sites. Some internship sites may not accept international students due to federal funding.
May I take a psychology course or audit a course if I am not a current student?
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. Our courses are not open to the public.
If I am not a psychology major, what prerequisite courses should I take?
You should take courses in basic psychological sciences (affective, biological, cognitive, developmental and social aspects of behavior), abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, experimental psychology and statistics. When not in a worldwide pandemic, you may also strongly consider taking the GRE Psychology Subject Test to demonstrate your competency with basic psychological concepts. Another option is to obtain a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology or related fields.
Will clinical and/or research experience help me as a candidate for entry into your program?
Yes. We are a scientist-practitioner program with an equal emphasis on research and clinical training. Some experience, even experiences with limited exposure to 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) is also required to be a competitive applicant. Please note that research experience is much more strongly weighted than clinical experience in reviewing applicants.
Will I be more competitive if I get a master’s degree before applying to your PhD program?
Not necessarily. A master's degree does not necessarily make you more competitive for our PhD program. A master's degree, especially a degree that prepares you exclusively for clinical practice, 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 and publications). Working as a research assistant or research coordinator in a lab of a well-known scientist 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.
Does your program accept course credit from a master's or other graduate-level program?
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. Although Northwestern University does not accept transfer credits from other universities at the graduate level, under certain circumstances, the director of graduate studies in consultation with the Education and Training Committee of the PhD program will accept a previously completed graduate course that will satisfy a curricular requirement of the PhD program.
what is the ets institution code for northwestern university’s feinberg school of medicine.
The ETS code number is 1565.
What is the ETS department code?
You are welcome to choose "Psychology, Clinical" for the department; however, Northwestern makes all scores sent to the University available to all programs, regardless of the "departments" selected on the ETS form.
What is the financial aid code for Northwestern University?
Northwestern's financial code number is E00617.
What is the program code for the PhD program?
Use code number C30PH when completing The Graduate School application.
May the referees send their letters of recommendation directly to the program?
No. The three letters of recommendation must be submitted online through The Graduate School application website.
Are there formal materials for referees to fill out?
when applying is it necessary to indicate a major area of study.
Yes. Applicants are required to identify the Major Area of Study for which they are applying in the "Area of Specialization" question in the online application. There are five Major Areas of Study:
- Behavioral Medicine or Health Psychology
- Clinical Adult Psychology
- Clinical Child Psychology
- Clinical Neuropsychology
- Forensic Psychology
Please note that the Major Areas of Study (MAS) are intended to be flexible and modular .
By flexible , we mean that students are never "locked into" a MAS. For example, students are free to change their MAS over the course of their doctoral education. As such, while we ask applicants to identify a MAS as a way to understand how we can meet their clinical interests, applicants should be reassured that we take an individualized approach to each student's educational plan to meet their career goals.
By modular , we mean that the MAS structure is intended to advanced students' unique career paths. As such, students are free to mix-and-match the MAS as needed. For example, a student interested in pediatric neuropsychology can elect an MAS in both Clinical Child Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology. In addition, students do not need to select a MAS that is consistent with their research lab. For example, a student may be interested in working in a lab that is organized under Clinical Neuropsychology because of their interest in structural and functional neuroanatomy in schizophrenia; however, their clinical interest may be in the treatment of people with schizophrenia, and therefore they elect a MAS in Clinical Adult Psychology.
In short, the MAS is a way for our program to structure courses, research, and clinical experiences in recognized specialty areas and other focus areas in Clinical Psychology, while also supporting students' individualized educational plans.
We also offer Focus Areas in the PhD program in Policy, Data Analytics, and Diseemination and Implementation Science. Focus Areas provide opportunties for focused learning in areas that our not recognized specialties or subspecialties in Health Service Psychology. The online application does not ask about Focus Areas. Applicants will be required to indicate their Area of Specialization using the Major Areas of Study listed above, regardless of their interest in pursuing an additional Focus Area. Applications can indicate an interest in a Focus Area in their Academic Statement.
Is it necessary when applying to indicate my choice of a research supervisor?
Yes. We are a mentor-based program, and therefore your application will be reviewed in consideration of the research of the our primary mentors that are recruiting students for their 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 your interests and experiences align with the interests of our primary mentors. Please make certain that the primary mentor you select fits with the Major Area of Study that you indicated.
Does the Program provide a waiver for the application fee?
how many students are accepted into your program each year.
We will accept between four and six students. We receive 600-900 applications per year.
Do you offer scholarships?
Yes, since September 2018, all students in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences receive a Research Assistant Scholarship or equivalent award that provides 100 percent tuition remission (or the equivalent) and a 12-month stipend (current stipend rates can be found at this webpage ). The tuition remission and monthly stipend are provided for 20 quarters, including four academic years and four summers, as well as a funding for a fifth academic year and summer as part of the full-time clinical internship that is completed at another institution. Fifth-year stipend funding during the clinical internship year includes the stipend provided by the internship, as well as stipend support from the university that is necessary to bring the internship stipend up to the minimum stipend levels set by The Graduate School.
Students receive a full health insurance subsidy, if enrolled in the Northwestern Student Health Insurance Plan (NUSHIP), for the first four academic years and four summers. Please note that NUSHIP is active for 12 months, from September 1 through the last day of August. Health insurance during the clinical internship year is provided by the internship site; the PhD Program does not provide a health insurance subsidy during the clinical internship year, although students are able to purchase the NUSHIP plan out of pocket.
I finished my application and I see in the PDF that I am missing information about my Research experience. Is something wrong with my application?
Interviews & meetings, are interviews conducted via telephone or video.
Under normal circumstances, all interviews take place on the Chicago campus in early March. Some interviewees may also visit the Evanston campus, depending on the faculty involved in the interviews.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, all interviews will be conducted remotely via video between February and early March 2022.
Please note that interviews are by invitation by the PhD program only; we will not honor any requests for interviews.
We plan to offer an in-person open house for applicants who are ranked for admission into our program. The open house will not be available to general applicants. We will also not conduct any in-person tours or meetings outside of the admissions process.
Do you offer informational interviews?
can i schedule a time to talk with the director of the program or one of the faculty members, do you conduct campus tours, miscellaneous questions, what is the student-to-faculty ratio, is a master's degree available within the phd program.
Yes, all PhD students are eligible for a Master of Science (MS) in Clinical Psychology in the second or third year of the PhD program. Completion of required course units and a successful oral defense with a faculty committee of the Research Qualifying Paper is required for the MS to be awarded.
What is the residency requirement? Can I take the PhD program part-time?
is the program in-person, remote/virtual, or hybrid, chicago & evanston clinical psychology programs.
Our Clinical Psychology PhD 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. The Chicago program is a scientist-practitioner program that places an equal emphasis on research and clinical training. Our goal is to prepare students for research and clinical careers in academic medical centers 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.
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 .
Follow Psychiatry on Twitter
PhD in Psychology at Northwestern University
Join our telegram channel, never miss an opportunity.
Northwestern University, situated in the vibrant city of Evanston, Illinois, presents an outstanding opportunity for individuals seeking a fully funded Ph.D. program in Psychology. Northwestern’s Psychology Department offers a diverse range of research-focused doctoral programs across five specialized areas:
Clinical Psychology: This program delves into the assessment and treatment of mental health disorders, providing comprehensive training to future clinical psychologists.
Personality, Development, and Health Psychology: Exploring the intricate interplay between personality, development, and health, this program investigates various facets of human well-being.
Cognitive Psychology: Students in this program delve into cognitive processes such as perception, memory, problem-solving, and decision-making, contributing to our understanding of the human mind.
Brain, Behavior, & Cognition (BBC): Focusing on the neurological underpinnings of behavior and cognition, this program delves into the complexities of brain function.
Social Psychology: Understanding the dynamics of social interactions and behavior is at the heart of this program, exploring the fascinating aspects of human social life.
PhD Program Requirements
Prospective students interested in these Ph.D. programs should hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field.
PhD Funding Coverage
Northwestern University is committed to supporting its graduate students. All admitted Ph.D. students in the Psychology Department are eligible for full funding, which covers both tuition and a stipend. This financial support is typically extended for a duration of five academic years, including four summers.
Additionally, many graduate students secure external funding through prestigious sources such as NSF fellowships and other competitive awards.
The admission application package for Northwestern’s Ph.D. programs in Psychology typically includes the following components:
Academic Transcripts: Applicants are required to submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions to demonstrate their academic background.
Letters of Recommendation: Applicants usually need to provide letters of recommendation from professors or professionals who can attest to their academic and research potential.
Statement of Purpose: A well-crafted statement of purpose outlining the applicant’s research interests, career goals, and reasons for pursuing a Ph.D. at Northwestern is a crucial part of the application.
December 1, 2023
To apply for admission, the application fee is $95 and is non-refundable.
This might interest you
Never Miss Any Research Opportunity! Join Our Telegram Channel
- English Language Programs
- Postdoctoral Affairs
- Training Grant Support
- Request Information
THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
About graduate funding.
The Graduate School (TGS) provides doctoral degree-seeking students with the opportunity to receive funding in the form of fellowships, assistantships, and tuition scholarships. Made possible by general appropriations, endowments, and other outside sources, funding typically provides students with a stipend and a scholarship to pay for tuition costs. All awards made by TGS are based upon merit.
PhD student funding
PhD students are typically full-time students, and are fully-funded (stipend plus tuition scholarship). Funded PhD and MFA students may work no more than 20 hours per week from all sources, including assistantships. TGS expects PhD students will be financially supported through a combination of institutional and external funds for a minimum of five years. The support provided to PhD students includes year-round tuition, stipend, and fully subsidized health insurance.
Graduate students are supported in a variety of ways. University fellowships are generally granted to entering doctoral students for part or all of their first year of study. TGS sets the base stipend level in all disciplines, and programs have latitude to set their stipend level above the base, typically based on market forces within that particular field.
Graduate student funding is a shared responsibility. While financial commitments are made to students for a set number of years, it is important to understand that the overall graduate awards budget is dependent on a significant number of students obtaining external fellowships. Should a student be the recipient of an external grant or sponsorship, TGS requires these external resources be used in lieu of university funding. Depending on the program, an additional financial incentive may be provided to a student when they are awarded an external fellowship. We expect all students to make a good faith effort to obtain external support at some point during their funding period, and students should be encouraged to pursue these opportunities.
Registration and funding guidelines
- All graduate students who are working towards degree completion must be registered every fall, winter, and spring quarter (and summer, if funded) until all degree/course requirements have been met.
- Students are expected to be properly registered by the end of the add/drop period for that quarter.
- Failure to register, or incorrect registration, could result in serious financial consequences for a student such as loss of funding (e.g., student loans, external awards, stipend, etc.), and personal liability for tuition and fee expenses. Students who are completely unenrolled as of the end of the add/drop period are at risk for being discontinued for non-enrollment.
- Enrollment changes after the end of the quarter are not permitted under any circumstances.
- Students who are receiving funding (generally within the first five years of study) must be registered full-time, in either coursework and/or Research 590, or TGS 500. Students should check with their programs regarding any registration questions.
- Research 590 registration is used in the first two years to “fill in” credits to bring students up to full-time status ( three - four units). For example, if a student is registered for a one unit course, they would register for two units of 590 to bring them up to full-time status.
- TGS 500 is typically used in years three through five while receiving funding (or beyond, if still funded) to maintain full-time registration. Some students may need to register for classes beyond year two , and may do so in combination with research 590 or TGS 500.
- TGS 512 is used to maintain full-time registration during quarters in which students are not receiving funding , until completion of the PhD degree.
Implications of improper registration
- Students who are not registered at all , or are registered for less than three units, cannot receive funding. If a student fails to register full-time by the end of the add/drop period, their tuition scholarship, stipend, and health subsidy may be terminated, and they may be required to pay back their stipend.
- Students who register for TGS 500 when they are not receiving funding may be personally responsible for any tuition and fee charges. Improper registrations cannot be corrected once the quarter ends.
- Students who are registered for TGS 512 cannot receive funding. If a student fails to correctly register by the end of the add/drop period, their tuition scholarship, stipend, and health subsidy may be terminated, and they may be required to pay back their stipend.
- In certain exceptional cases, students may change their registration after the add/drop period by contacting Student Services .
Master’s student funding
TGS does not provide funding for MA, MS, or MPH students. Some programs may provide a small amount of scholarship resources. Master’s students may also apply for student loans. MFA students do qualify for support from TGS, but they are the only exception. To discover what programs provide scholarship resources, contact your program directly. To learn more about the student loans that are available, please visit the Graduate Financial Aid website or visit the Federal Student Aid website.
Additional funding options
Students needing additional funds to pay for their education may wish to apply for loans . Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are enrolled at least half-time are eligible for federal loans. There are alternative loan options for part-time students and for international students. Please contact Graduate Financial Aid for more information.
Permission to work
Information about making a request for permission to have additional remunerative work in addition to TGS fellowship/graduate assistantship funding can be found on the Permission to Work information page . The Permission to Work Policy can be found on our Student Funding Policies page. For more information, please contact Graduate Student Funding at [email protected] .
Eligibility for financial aid
Graduate students must remain in good academic standing and demonstrate satisfactory academic progress toward their respective degrees to be eligible for all forms of financial aid. Learn more about this policy.
Regulations and guidelines for all recipients of University assistance
If you are a student in TGS receiving financial support administered by the University, please review the following policy guides:
- Regulations Governing Recipients of University Assistance
- Guidelines for Continuing Support for Multiyear Awards
- Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants
See our PhD Student Funding FAQs page for answers to common questions.
Additional University resources:
- Evanston Office of Graduate Financial Aid
- Federal Student Aid
- Office of Fellowships
DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY
- Program Areas
Program Director: Dr. Richard Zinbarg Clinical Program Handbook
Mental health in the United States has become a national priority. Clinical psychology has taken an important role in the development of new interventions and assessment devices, as well as sophisticated research evaluations of them. Clinical psychology has also made important contributions to our understanding of the causes of various mental disorders. An understanding of causal factors is necessary before prevention progress can be developed.
Through course work and practical experience, students in the Clinical Psychology Program receive training in the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of emotional disorders. However, the major emphasis of the program is clinical research and research methods and prepares students for primary careers in research and teaching in clinical psychology.
The Clinical Psychology Program of the Department of Psychology at Northwestern University on the Evanston Campus is a member of the Academy for Psychological Clinical Science and is accredited by both the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) and the American Psychological Association (APA).
PCSAS was created in 2008 to promote superior science-centered education and training in clinical psychology, to increase the quality and quantity of clinical scientists contributing to the advancement of public health, and to enhance the scientific knowledge base for mental and behavioral health care.
More information about PCSAS, including its goals and history, can be found at the following website: www.pcsas.org. Any questions about the status of the program’s APA accreditation should be directed to:
The Commission on Accreditation American Psychological Association 750 First Street, NE Washington DC, 20002-4242 TEL: 202-336-5979