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Clinical Science

Clinical Science

Vision: The Clinical Science area is recognized as an elite program in the integration of science and practice through commitment to research, undergraduate education, and graduate training. We value rigorous scientific methods across multiple domains (e.g., biological, behavior, social, affective, cognitive) and using innovative technologies. To use scientifically informed methods to enhance mental and physical health, wellbeing, and healthy decisions through the interplay of research, application, and implementation across diverse and underserved populations.

Mission: Our program's mission is to advance clinical science. Clinical science is defined as a set of processes and methods directed at the promotion of adaptive functioning; at the prevention, assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems in behavior, affect, social relations, cognition or health; and at the application of knowledge in ways consistent with scientific evidence. Our program's emphasis on the term science underscores its commitment to empirical approaches to evaluating the validity and utility of testable hypotheses and to advancing knowledge by this method. We seek to develop individuals who are committed to being productive leaders in careers in basic, applied, and translational research, and in evidence-based approaches to prevention, practice, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation. Our program is most suited to students who are interested in pursuing science-, research-, academic-, or training-related careers. Students whose primary interest and career goal is solely the direct practice of psychology would likely be more satisfied in a different training program.

Goal: Our program's goal is to produce graduates who are competent, productive, and successful at (a) conducting research relevant to the prevention, assessment, understanding, and treatment of health and mental-health disorders; and/or (b) using science methods and evidence to design, develop, deliver, evaluate, supervise, disseminate, and implement evidence-based prevention strategies, assessments, and interventions. Based on our program's model and a commitment to knowledge and competencies that are expected and measurable, we have set explicit degree, course, research, and practice competencies and milestones for students as they progress through the program. These competencies and milestones are part of the annual Student Activities Report (SAR) that serves as the basis for evaluating students' performance.
Commitment: Our program's commitment is to provide the highest standards in the education and training of clinical scientists. To ensure this we are actively committed to accreditation by and membership in national organizations that promulgate, evaluate, and recognize the quality and advancement of graduate education in clinical psychology. We are currently accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS), and a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (APCS), the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) and the Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Training Council (CCaPPTC).
Recognition: Our Clinical Science Ph.D. program is one of 37 elite programs accredited by PCSAS. A member of the prestigious CCaPPTC. Selected as Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) 2017 Outstanding Training Program

Undergraduate Preparation, Selection, Offers, and Acceptances

The clinical concentration presumes a background in psychology equivalent to our undergraduate major. This includes courses in psychopathology, personality, research methods, and statistics. Courses in physiological psychology, biopsychology, or neuropsychology are also highly recommended for students who wish to pursue a neurological emphasis in their training.

We consider undergraduate grade point average (GPA), Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, letters of reference, and a personal statement from prospective students when making admission decisions. In addition, research experience and "fit" with faculty and research areas are also considered by our faculty when making admission decisions. Other characteristics taken into account are the quality of the prospective students' writing samples, the degree of difficulty in undergraduate course selection, research experience, phone and personal interviews, the reputation of the undergraduate institution, and diversity.

We follow a mentoring model of selection in which individual faculty choose finalists from a pool of applicants. There are no strict cutoffs for acceptable GPAs or GRE scores, but competitive applicants typically have GPAs above 3.2 and GRE Verbal and Quantitative scores at or above the 60th percentile. Other scholarly accomplishments, particularly research experience and scholarly productivity, are desirable and may offset lower GPAs or GRE scores. We look especially for compatibility between individual faculty interests and the research interests and actual research experience of individual applicants. Given this process, it is very important to nominate a preferred advisor on your application.

Upon approval from the Doctoral Admissions Committee (DAC), individual faculty contact prospective applicants. This approval is based upon a review that the candidate meets all the required program, departmental, and Graduate School requirements and cutoffs and the number of open applicant slots for the faculty advisor and the program. We conduct interviews of prospective candidates in early February.

Offers of admission can be extended during a large time period. Most of our initial offers of admission are extended by March 15 but can continue until April 15 based on number of acceptances and available slots. 

As a member of the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) we adhere to CUDCP's guidelines for offers into doctoral clinical psychology programs, CUDCP_Policy_for_Admissions_Offers_and_Acceptances.pdf

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

We want to provide potential graduate students, current students, and the public with accurate information on our program and on program expectations using the most up-to-date data on education and training outcomes including admissions data, time to completion, program costs, internship placement, attrition, and licensure. Hopefully these data along with detailed program information provided by our brochure and manual allow applicants to make informed decisions about entering our program.

Link for student_admissions_outcomes_and_other_data_set_of_tables_final2018.pdf

Link for clinical_science_area_manual_virginia_tech_ay2018-19.pdf