General Information on Admissions

Most students who are admitted have completed a B.A. or B.S. in psychology, although persons with outstanding records who have majored in other subjects will be considered. Similarly, individuals who have an M.A. degree in psychology from another university will be considered when their credentials are unusually strong.

The competition for admission is keen, with eight or fewer students selected each year from a large pool of applicants (see Student Characteristics table below). Grades (especially the last two years of undergraduate study), GRE scores, and letters of recommendation (preferably from psychology instructors) are used to select the most promising students among the applicants. Flexible admission criteria are used in an attempt to select those students with the best potential for success in our program. We admit students to work with specific faculty members, although students may choose to work with another faculty member if the initial match is not satisfactory. Please see our faculty webpage of core clinical faculty and affiliated research faculty to consider your fit with our program. Students should make their research interests clear in their applications including which faculty member(s) they would like to consider them for admission. Clinical admissions are for the fall semester. In order to insure full consideration for admission, applications to the clinical area should be completed by December 1st. Students are notified of our admissions decisions by April 15th. Our program follows the policy for Graduate School Offers and Admissions outlined by the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) that can be found here.

Assistantship decisions are made following admissions decisions. Historically, all incoming students are offered a graduate assistantship for the academic year which includes a monthly stipend and a tuition waiver.

Application Procedure

Have the following completed and turned in to the Graduate School by December 1st:

  • Complete the online application form and pay your fee of $40 ($60 for international students).  Send three letters of recommendation. In addition to a letter, the Graduate School has forms for the individuals who write your letters to complete. (Also note, your letters of recommendation can be submitted electronically to NIU as part of your online application.)
  • Send your official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work
  • Send your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to NIU.  The General GRE is required.  We do not consider the Psychology Subject GRE.
  • A Statement of Purpose is required and can be uploaded during the online application.  This statement should indicate your previous experiences in the field, your research and clinical interests in graduate school, your career goals, and your fit with our program.  You must indicate which faculty member(s) you are interested in working with to be considered for our program as we admit students to work with specific faculty members.
  • While we only consider applicants who are interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology (i.e., we do not consider students interested in a terminal master’s degree), if you only have a bachelor’s degree, you should indicate on the application you are pursuing the M.A. degree.   Students who are admitted to the program will first work toward their M.A. and then will seamlessly transition to the Ph.D. program if they have made adequate and timely progress in the program.  They will not need to reapply.
  • In addition to the application to the Graduate School, applicants should complete the supplemental application form and email it to  Students may also choose to submit CVs and writing samples to this email address.


Please click here to read over our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Open House

Each year the clinical program holds an Open House for selected applicants, which includes interviews with clinical faculty members. The Open House provides an opportunity for applicants to meet with faculty and students in the clinical program and learn more about the training environment, the campus, and the local community. Attendance at the Open House is strongly encouraged although phone interviews are acceptable.  The Open House is by invitation only.   More information will be sent when the invitations are made in mid- to late January. For students applying for admission for the 2014-2015 academic year, the Open House will be held on February 19 and 20, 2014.

Student Characteristics

Students currently in the clinical curricular area of study are distributed as follows:

  • Male: 18%
  • Female: 82%   
  • The average age of students when entering the program: 25
  • Age range of students upon entering the program: 21 - 44
  • Minority: 18%
Applicant data for academic year beginning in August of: 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Number of applicants: 145 166 151 219 235 221 233
Accepted for admission: 17 15 16 13 14 15 16
Actual size/incoming class: 8 9 8 8 7 7 5
Number receiving financial aid: 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Of those entering in: 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Mean Verbal GRE (Median): 556 (565) 526 (520) 544 (530) 570 (560) 160 (160) 158
Mean Quantitative GRE (Median): 650 (640) 654 (670) 675 (660) 669 (680) 156 (156) 154
Mean Undergraduate GPA: 3.73 3.78 3.62 3.83 3.74 3.71 3.44