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PhD in Clinical Psychology Program


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Hello all,


I am a recent grad of Stanford University. I did not study psychology, I studied American Studies and Art Practice. I received a 3.7 gpa and produced an honors thesis under a respected academic who will write a great recommendation for me when the time to apply for grad school comes. I will be taking the next year off to study psychology/ audit psych classes in Bozeman, Montana and prepare for the GRE before attending grad school in fine arts at SFAI.


I think I may want to switch tracks and apply for a phd in psychology because I am feeling passionate about psychology, specifically clinical psychology. I am very curious about the intersection of art and identity formation and intend to do research on the topic. 


Does it make sense to try and apply to PhD programs in clinical psychology after I study very hard an nail the GRE and GRE psych subject test? Are the odds good that my interdisciplinary research focus during undergrad has prepared me to adapt to psych research, or would it be better to start with a masters program (not really something that I can afford?) 


Can anyone give me insight into whether or not it is a bad idea to try and apply to psych programs?




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Hi there,


Clinical psych is pretty cool. So it's cool that you're wanting to look into it.


I think what will help you really decide is to read papers about what you intend to study (the cheapest thing you can do right now ...besides finding an position in a research lab in what you're interested). Read Read Read. And then see if you can volunteer someplace ...and then see how you feel about spending money applying to clinical psych programs. 


You are in a good position to apply, but it's good to see if you'll be happy/successful after getting in (because sometimes getting in is the easy part ...sometimes...)

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Clinical psychology is a very complicated and competitive area to get into, so I definitely wish you the best of luck in your goals! Your research interests are very niche, so take a look at the researchers that integrates art and identity (or anything related) into their practice/line of research. Research in psychotherapy comes to mind as well, which actually brings up the idea of exploring counselling psychology programs as well. Those are competitive, but a tad easier to get into than clinical psychology.

Overall, I agree with ravyn. Explore more volunteer opportunities, do well on your GRE tests, and look for more options for your LORs. One from a respected academic is a great start, but you may need more that relate closer to your current field of interest (e.g. professors in psychology).

Good luck!

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Your interests and goals are admirable. Your experience is relevant. Just keep in mind these programs are ridiculously competitive (200+ applicants; maybe 8 slots). So acquire as many relevant experiences (research, academic, volunteer/job) as possible, and start seeking out strong letters of recommendation from EVERY recommender. Also, keep a wide net of places you apply. Look around to see if other psychology programs besides clinical also appeal. That way you have a wide girth and cover more bases.


You'll get in somewhere. With your passion and drive, you're the type of applicant they want. Just a matter of which program your the 'best fit' for.

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