The clinical psychological sciences graduate program is a charter member of The Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, which is a coalition of doctoral training programs that produce and apply scientific knowledge to the assessment, understanding and advancement of human problems. Our program is committed to excellence in scientific training and uses clinical science as the foundation for designing, implementing and evaluating assessment and intervention procedures.

The program is designed to give you a broad background in psychology and expansive knowledge of clinical psychology through didactic courses and seminars. You will receive clinical experience in the Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics (PPTRC) as well as other clinical practice and courses. To gain research experience, you will join a research team and participate in a first-year project, master’s thesis, preliminary paper/examination and PhD dissertation.

Program Highlights

  • The clinical psychological sciences program is defined by our dedication to training new clinical scientists who have the research and analytical skills to advance basic knowledge in clinical science.
  • The program provides the skills to integrate basic knowledge with empirically supported clinical techniques to help you effectively assess and treat a wide range of behavioral and mental health problems.
  • Program faculty are committed to a training process that ensures you develop effective skills to work effectively with members of the public who embody a diverse range of intersecting demographics, attitudes, beliefs and values.

Potential Careers

  • Clinical positions focused on empirically-supported psychological assessments and psychological interventions for adults, adolescents and children
  • Research and/or policy-focused positions in local, state, federal and private agencies/foundations
  • Faculty positions in universities, colleges and medical centers

Clinical Training

Before beginning practical training, you are given a thorough grounding in behavior disorders, assessment and psychological interventions through coursework in your first two years.

In the third year, you will enroll in clinical psychology practica in our in-house Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics. Faculty supervisors emphasize competence in evidence-based interventions. In your practicum, you will see clients in both the Adult Services Clinic and the Child Behavior Management Clinic.

After successful completion of the in-house practicum sequence, you may seek advanced clinical opportunities in the community or around the state. These include training in school, hospital and community mental health settings.

The program does not promote one theoretical approach exclusively, although there is a strong cognitive-behavioral emphasis that reflects our value on evidence-based practice.

Licensing laws vary by state, and these may require courses or extensive supervised postdoctoral clinical experience that the program does not provide.

Program Philosophy

The clinical psychological sciences program at Purdue University employs a clinical scientist model of training. The program seeks to produce excellent researchers who generate new knowledge in clinical psychology as well as competent clinicians who can deliver empirically-based clinical services (i.e., assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders). These goals are achieved through a strong research apprenticeship model, high research requirements, didactic training and participation in clinical practica. Individuals seeking training primarily for careers in clinical practice will not find this program suitable.

The clinical psychological sciences program’s primary emphasis on research illuminates its four major training goals:

  • Competence in conducting, reviewing and evaluating empirical research
  • Development of knowledge in the bases of research and psychological theory
  • Competence in the delivery of evidence-based professional psychological services
  • Equipping you to contribute to the field through responsible and exemplary professional behavior as psychologists

The clinical psychological sciences program is accredited by the APA CoA (Commission on Accreditation, American Psychological Association) and by PCSAS (Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System). For a complete description of our educational objectives, student outcomes and enrollment and graduation data, visit our accreditation page.

View Clinical Psychology Handbook View Graduate Program Handbook
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Research

The program’s faculty have a wide range of research interests, investigating mental health issues that impact children, adolescents, adults and families. As a graduate student, you’ll have an opportunity to work alongside faculty to advance discovery in your area of interest, including substance misuse, neurodevelopmental disorders, relationship conflict and more.

Bridge Topics

Within the clinical psychological sciences program, faculty also have research interests in several bridge topics, including diversity and inclusion, individual differences, maladaptive behavior and social relationships. Clinical psychological sciences faculty studying diversity and inclusion focus on the effect of cultural transition on mental health. Individual differences research spans across deviance, emotion regulation, personality pathology and relationships. Faculty who study maladaptive behavior focus on a variety of issues ranging from personality disorders to substance abuse to disruptive childhood disorders and beyond. Additionally, clinical psychological sciences faculty who study social relationships examine issues related to partner violence, marriage’s influence on mental disorders and more.

Person sitting on couch

Research Opportunities

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Individual differences associated with mental health problems
  • Substance misuse
  • Relationship conflict and interpersonal violence
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion

Research Facilities

  • Purdue Autism Research Center
  • Brain imaging facilities connected to the Center for Research in Brain, Behavior, and NeuroRehabilitation (CEREBBRAL)
  • Purdue Psychology Treatment and Research Clinics (PPTRC)

Admissions/Requirements

The clinical psychological sciences program engages in a holistic review process when considering applicants. The criteria listed below are balanced across experience, attributes and academic metrics, considering how specific individuals may contribute to the program as well as the broader field of clinical psychology. Background, opportunity and evidence of compensatory factors are used to contextualize strengths and weaknesses in the application.

Because we are a mentor-based program, it is critical that your application reference the clinical faculty with whom you hope to work with during your time at Purdue. Please note that not all faculty are accepting applicants each year.

While more details about the application process are provided below, keep in mind that all application material should be in the hands of the graduate admissions administrative assistant no later than December 1 prior to the year in which the student is applying for admission.

The following Clinical Psychology faculty are recruiting new graduate students for Fall 2023 admission:

Admissions Criteria

The Graduate Schools provides a complete overview of admissions criteria.

Online application for admission must be completed by December 1 for enrollment in fall of the following year.

The Department of Psychological Sciences has provided more information about application materials required by the department. The Graduate School also offers information about application fees and possible fee waivers.

Interviews for Admission

Review of applications will begin immediately after the December 1 application deadline. Faculty typically identify a list of applicants for additional consideration and may contact applicants from this list for additional discussion by email, phone or online video/audio meeting. Faculty may then further reduce this list to identify a smaller number of applicants to formally interview for admissions to the program. These official interviews occur during the Graduate Recruitment Visitation Program (GRVP), which is a department-wide interview event that is typically scheduled on a Thursday and Friday at some point between early January and early February of the entry year. The official admissions interviews that occur during GRVP involve meetings with program faculty and students as well as an overview of the broader department and university.

Course List

You will take courses that will give you a foundation in:

  • Social and developmental bases of behavior
  • History and major systems of psychology
  • Individual differences and personality
  • Cognitive-affective bases of behavior
  • Biological bases of behavior
  • Experimental design
  • Statistics
  • Ethics

Within clinical psychology, you will take courses that prepare you for:

  • Diagnosis and assessment of adults and children
  • Planning and execution of evidence-based treatment procedures
  • Understanding individual, interpersonal and cultural influences on behavior
  • Research methods and measurement approaches commonly used in clinical science and related areas of psychology

View a copy of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Handbook.

View Full Course List

Clinical Internship

The capstone of clinical training is the required year-long clinical internship. American Psychological Association (APA)-approved internship training positions can be obtained through the matching system managed by the Association of Predoctoral and Postdoctoral Internship Centers (APPIC). Since 2004, the internship match rate for students in the program is over 93%. All were paid, full-time APA- and APPIC-accredited internships.

Licensure: Consumer Disclosure

The clinical psychological sciences PhD program at Purdue University provides education and training in clinical psychology that is compliant with national standards. The practice of psychology, however, is regulated at the state level and may require training experiences and examinations beyond the educational and training requirements provided by the PhD program.

Purdue University, to the best of its ability, determined that the curriculum offered by our program meets — or does not meet — the educational requirements for licensure or certification to practice psychology in each of the 50 states in the United States. Access our consumer information disclosure.

You are also encouraged to review the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards’ online tool, PsyBook, which summarizes requirements for most states and territories, and to contact the licensing authorities directly in the state for which you hope to get licensed.

View Admissions Criteria View Full Course List

Connect with Us!

If you have questions or to learn more about this program, please contact the Department of Psychological Sciences Graduate Program Coordinator, Nancy O’Brien at nobrien@purdue.edu.

Contact Us

Nancy O’Brien
Purdue University
701 Third Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907

(765) 494-6067