Top Clinical Psychology PhD Programs

July 2, 2016

#2 Yale University

The Clinical Psychology Program at Duke University is a Ph.D. program for students seeking excellence in academic, scientific, and clinical training. This program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and by the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS). Our program has a strong history of scientist practitioner (Boulder) model and more recently has adopted a clinical science model of training in which the science of psychology and its clinical application are mutually interdependent and mutually evolving. That is, our program is designed to train clinical scientists who are capable of functioning successfully in academic, research, clinical, and community settings. Within this multifaceted training framework, we seek to develop students who are interested in careers in which the science of psychology is applied to address public health issues related to mental and physical diseases both nationally and internationally. The program is not appropriate for students interested solely in clinical practice and not in research. Rather, we strive for excellence in both the science and practice of clinical psychology.

At Duke, graduate training in clinical psychology emphasizes three domains of knowledge: adult clinical, child clinical, and health psychology. The expertise of the faculty, drawn from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Duke University Medical Center, extends to a large number of interdisciplinary problems involving human behavioral and physical adaptation in its varying social contexts. Duke University’s Clinical Psychology Program is annually ranked among the top clinical psychology programs in the United States. Duke’s doctoral program in Clinical Psychology is a member of The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is a coalition of doctoral training programs that share a common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge to the understanding, assessment, and amelioration of human problems.

Specific interests include intervention and prevention methods across the life course for such phenomena as aggression and antisocial behavior, depression, personality disorders, eating disorders and obesity, substance abuse, HIVAIDS, cardiovascular disease, and chronic pain. Our faculty also study behavioral cardiology, behavioral medicine, global mental health, reducing disparities in minority mental and physical health services, assessment and intervention in pediatric psychology, and gene-environment interaction.

Clinical program faculty are also actively involved in University Institutes, including the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS), Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), and Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI).

Each year the Department admits 4-6 clinical graduate students, which will result in approximately 30 students being advised by our faculty at one time. As of September, 2015, our faculty advise a total of 30 students receiving clinical training, (5 males and 25 females, 7 of whom are racial/ethnically diverse). In the past, our Department has been fortunate to have students matriculate with excellent undergraduate training, outstanding academic performance, and average GRE scores of 160 (quantitative) and 165 (verbal). For more detailed program statistics, please see our section on Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data.

In accordance with American Psychological Association requirements, a more complete description of the clinical program's goals, clinical training resources, and special requirements can be found in the on-line Clinical Graduate Student Handbook.

The clinical psychology program has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1948. Our most recent site visit was in March 2013, and we were re-accredited for the maximum duration, seven years. Our next site visit will be in 2020. The APA Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation is located at the following address:

Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation
American Psychological Association
750 First St., NE
Washington, DC

Telephone: (202) 336-5879

Anticipated clinical program admissions process for 2016:

Our program usually admits between 4 and 6 students per year and we anticipate admitting a similar number of new students for the incoming class of 2016. Given the relatively large size of our faculty, no faculty member takes a student every year. We suggest that you email faculty members with whom you might like to work, and ask if they might take a new student in the coming year. They may be able to tell you if they are certain that they cannot take a student. They may not be able to tell you for sure whether they will be able to do so. We also suggest that you mention more than one faculty person who might serve as a good mentor match for you, when you make your application.

Our interview day this year will be February 12, and we will send invitations to interview at least two weeks before that date. Generally, applicants can expect to have 3 interviews with faculty members, a group meeting with the Director of Clinical Training, a lunch meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies, and an evening reception typically on interview day.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

Each year we receive between 300 and 350 completed applications for admission to our clinical psychology program. A variety of bases for admission are utilized, although some common themes emerge. Applicant's GRE scores and grades are usually quite high (see chart below). In our search for qualified graduate students, we look for the potential to conduct original research, to engage in scholarship, to work effectively with others, including future clients, and to have an impact on the broader field of clinical psychology. We seek applicants who are interested both in research and in clinical practice. It is important for applicants to consider and to articulate potential matches with the research interests of one or more potential faculty mentors. While an undergraduate integrative psychology major is not required, most of our students were psychology majors. Every year about 20 applicants are contacted for interviews with our faculty. Interviews are required for clinical applicants. Interviews take place in late January - early February with invitations extended a few weeks prior to interviews.

All students accepted into the program are guaranteed five years of stipend support, as well as full tuition. Stipends may be based on fellowships, research or teaching assistant positions, or, for more senior students, their own external research support.

Data on Incoming Classes
Academic Year 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of Applicants 238 241 244 316 328 341 289
Number Offered Admission 10
Number Accepting Admission

Applicant Data (averages)
GRE - Verbal 670 668 164/(670) 165/(690) 161 165
GRE - Quantitative 748 710 157/(730) 160/(760) 157 158
GRE - Writing 4.75 4.6 5.1 4.9 5.0 4.4 5.4
GPA 3.6 3.8 3.78 3.7 3.77 3.68

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