Clinical Psychology

The Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Clinical Psychology.


The clinical psychology doctoral program in the Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University is designed to provide broad clinical training utilizing a scientist-practitioner model. Graduates from this program are competent to function in a variety of professional roles including research, practice and college teaching. The balance of research and practice is obtained in part by practicum and research training within an on-site clinic, as well as practical experience in community agencies and research activities within faculty members’ independent laboratories.


The program is accredited by the American Psychological Association.

Fast facts

Formats: In-person

Credits required: Bachelor's degree with 18 semester hours in psychology

Minimum GPA: 3.0

GRE: Recommended, but not required 

Application deadlines:

  • PhD - Dec. 1

Important documents:

Clinical brochure

Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data—Find costs, time to degree and answers to other enrollment questions. 

Program overview

The curriculum requirements are structured according to the scientist-practitioner model as well. The orientation of the program is decidedly behavioral with an emphasis on empirical research and empirically supported practice. All students are exposed to the broad content areas of the field.

A master of arts degree is earned in the process of earning a Ph.D.; however, all students will be permitted to complete the requirements for the doctorate only insofar as their performance merits continuance in the program. The program is planned as a six year curriculum with the sixth year comprising the doctoral internship. Students entering the program with prior graduate training may accelerate their training if faculty approve the adequacy of specific program requirements.

The Ph.D. program requires successful completion of 95 credit hours of academic work including practica, internship, advanced doctoral coursework, a comprehensive examination, a thesis and a dissertation. Ph.D. students must finish a 750-hour pre-masters practicum, many of which are completed at the internal Psychology Clinic, a 500-hour post-masters practicum and a 2000-hour pre-doctoral internship in a healthcare setting.

Program details

Credit requirements to degree:

  • 95 hours of academic work
  • 750-hour pre-masters practicum
  • 500-hour post-masters practicum
  • 2,000-hour pre-doctoral internship

Our philosophy

The clinical psychology program is dedicated to preparing competent intervention oriented clinical psychologists. Our training program has a behavioral orientation and operates according to the scientist-practitioner model. Doctoral-level graduates are prepared to function in professional roles that involve teaching, research, administration and direct clinical service. Recent graduates have typically taken academic faculty positions, faculty and post-doctoral positions at university based medical centers, and private practice positions. Students work closely with faculty and other clinical psychologists throughout their training.

The clinical psychology faculty is committed to making the educational experience a positive one for everyone involved. Every effort is made to meet the legitimate needs of students, including those with special requirements.

Program requirements

Review the complete list of doctoral program requirements.


Meet the clinical psychology faculty.

Financial Support

All admitted students receive a commitment of financial support in the form of an assistantship for the first year of the program and every effort will be made to maintain this level of funding for three years. Funding typically takes the form of teaching, research or clinical assistantships. Students are also encouraged to apply for the following programs: Graduate College fellowships, and Thurgood Marshall Awards or King/Chavez/Parks Fellowships for members of underrepresented groups. To learn more on the cost of attending graduate school, see financial information.

Application information

  • How to apply

    The Department of Psychology at Western Michigan University uses the graduate online application process. If you have questions about the application process, contact Amber Hutson, the graduate training administrative assistant.

  • Specific program requirements

    In preparation for applying, the following material will need to be gathered:

    • All official transcripts from any college or university attended.
    • The GRE is recommended, but not required for both the clinical psychology program.
      • Minimum scores corresponding to the 50th percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE.
    • Personal Statement (submitted through online application)
    • Professional Goals Statement limited to two pages (submitted through online application) including the following:
      • Research and clinical experience
      • Research and clinical interests
      • Practicum experience
      • Other relevant experiences
      • Post graduation professional goals
      • List of clinical program faculty to apply with and why
    • Curriculum Vitae (submitted through online application)
    • Three letters of recommendation (submitted through online application)
    • Include a writing sample, maximum of 20 pages, unbound. (e.g., publication, portion of honor’s thesis, presentation, class paper).
    • Supplemental Questions (submitted through online application)
    • For international students, TOEL or IETLS scores.

    Tips for international students.

    International applicant information

    * Applications will be reviewed only if all material is completely submitted by the application deadline.

    The faculty seek qualified students for training in the Doctor of Philosophy program and especially encourage members of historically underrepresented groups including ethnic and racial minorities, and people with disabilities to apply.

  • Important considerations

    Applicants with criminal convictions should be aware that felony convictions will likely make it difficult to complete the external agency training experiences (i.e., external practicum, internship) required for the Ph.D. If students are unable to obtain and complete these required experiences, their program of study will not be able to completed nor will they be able to graduate. In addition, be aware that students may not be eligible for renew their license by the State of Michigan Board of Psychology or the boards of other states.

    The Michigan Board of Psychology has indicated on their Web page that applicants who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor will be reviewed on an individual basis and that they take into consideration the type of conviction, the age at the time of the incident and the time elapsed since the conviction. Thus, it is also possible that future employment would be limited.

  • Preferred qualifications
    • A bachelor's degree with at least 18 semester hours in psychology
    • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Application deadlines

    Application materials for main campus programs are due by Dec. 1. 

    • Given COVID considerations, applications for clinical psychology will be considered after this due date through April 1 and are encouraged.
    • Admissions will be made until the cohort is at capacity.
    • Priority review will be given to those who met the initial application deadline.   
  • Frequently asked questions

    How students are admitted?

    Students are admitted by the psychology faculty. Many aspects of a student’s background are considered when admissions decisions are made including GRE scores, GPA, letters of reference, research and work experience, social and professional skills, and the extent to which the interests of the applicants match the program’s offerings and strengths.

    What are the average GREs and average GPAs of students who are admitted the program?

    We only require the verbal and quantitative sections of the GREs for the program that require the test. Programs like to see test scores in the top 50th percentile. The average GPA of admitted students (on a 4 point scale) was 3.65.

    Is the psychology GRE subject test required for admission?

    The subject test is not required for any program within the Department of Psychology. 

    I took the GRE more than once. Will you take the best of all my scores?

    Yes. We will take the best GRE score across all tests as long as they were sent to WMU.

    How do letters of recommendations work and how are they submitted?

    Applicants will provide contact information for the letter writer and the application system will send an email request to them directly; everything is requested and submitted online. Applicants do not need to wait until letters have been returned to WMU to submit their application,

    Do I need to list a faculty member on the supplemental application?

    Yes. Applications are reviewed by faculty based on who is applying with them. It is very important that applicants indicate at least one faculty on their supplemental application.

    Will my graduate level credits transfer to WMU from another university?

    Transferring courses from another university is discussed with the faculty advisor before they are submitted to the instructor and department for approval. We do not transfer in courses before applicants have been been admitted.

    Should I visit WMU while applying?

    If you would like to know more about the program and/or interact with faculty members prior to applying, then it is a good idea to visit WMU. However, it is not necessary. During the admissions process, we will contact you and invite you for an interview if you are being considered for admission. It is very important that you attend this interview, if you are invited.

    When will I know if I have been accepted?

    Letters notifying applicants of their status are sent by April 15.

After graduation

Clinical psychology graduates may find careers in:

  • Academic faculty positions
  • Clinical faculty positions at medical schools and veterans administration medical centers
  • Private practice

Clinical Program Facts

  • The program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1991.
  • The next visit by the American Psychological Association will be in 2027.
  • The program is structured around the scientist-practitioner model.
  • Clinical and research interests in:
    • Anxiety disorders/PTSD
    • Behavior health in primary care
    • Behavioral medicine
    • Behavioral pediatrics
    • Child injury and maltreatment
    • Depression
    • Emotion regulation/experiential avoidance
    • Habit behavior
    • Interpersonal victimization
    • Multimedia-based treatment
    • Psychotherapy process and outcomes
    • Sexual deviations and dysfunctions


Clinical Psychology
3700 Wood Hall

Contact us
Dr. Scott Gaynor, co-director
Dr. Amy Naugle, co-director