Clinical psychology is a fascinating field that involves the study and treatment of mental health disorders. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in clinical psychology, you may be wondering how hard it is to get into a PhD program. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that can impact your chances of getting accepted into a clinical psychology PhD program.

Admissions Requirements

Before we dive into the factors that can impact your acceptance into a clinical psychology PhD program, let’s take a look at the admissions requirements for these programs. Typically, you’ll need to have completed an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field with a high GPA. You’ll also need to provide transcripts, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores.

Factors That Impact Acceptance Rates

Now let’s explore the factors that can impact your chances of being accepted into a clinical psychology PhD program.


Clinical psychology is a highly competitive field, and admission to PhD programs is no exception. According to data from the American Psychological Association (APA), only about 8% of applicants are accepted into clinical psychology PhD programs each year.

Research Experience

Having research experience is essential for gaining acceptance to clinical psychology PhD programs. Programs want to see that you have experience conducting research and are capable of contributing meaningfully to ongoing research projects. Research experience can be gained through participation in undergraduate research programs, internships, or independent studies.

Letters of Recommendation

Strong letters of recommendation from professors or other professionals in the field can greatly increase your chances of acceptance into a clinical psychology PhD program. These letters should speak to your academic abilities, research experience, and personal qualities that make you well-suited for graduate study in this field.

GPA and GRE Scores

Your GPA and GRE scores are also critical factors in the admissions process. Most PhD programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0, but many successful applicants have GPAs much higher than that. Similarly, while there is no set minimum GRE score, a high score can help you stand out in a competitive applicant pool.


Getting accepted into a clinical psychology PhD program is no easy feat, but it’s certainly not impossible. By focusing on building your research experience, cultivating strong relationships with faculty members who can write you strong letters of recommendation, and preparing well for the GRE exam, you can increase your chances of success. Remember to also keep an open mind and consider applying to multiple programs to give yourself the best shot at achieving your academic and career goals in this exciting field!