Prospective Students

Dr. Moser and graduate students smile at the camera while at a conference.

Curious about joining the MSU Clinical Science program?

The graduate students in our Clinical Science program are the backbone of the program. The program has 20-25 active graduate students at any one time, and all students are actively involved in research labs, staffing the training clinic, and assisting in course instruction. The quality of our students is evidenced by their high-level of research productivity and their success on the internship and job market, including a 100% match rate to APA-accredited, APPIC internships in the past 15 years.

Graphic that says 100% match rateHere, we have a mentorship model that encourages an apprentice-like relationship between our students and advisors.  Advisors assist students in conducting cutting-edge research, developing individualized training experiences, and closely guiding them through the program. We also encourage students to work in multiple labs and develop expertise in multiple methodologies that they may apply to their own work.

Our graduate students train in evidence-based assessment and therapy from relational psychodynamic, CBT, and third-wave CBT approaches in our state-of-the-art Psychological Clinic, which boasts a strong relationship with the broader community. Clinical supervisors, including our faculty as well as experienced clinicians in the community, guide and provide feedback and instruction to student clinicians.

We also have a monthly brown bag series for students and faculty to come together and learn from one another. This series illustrates our value of life-long learning and has proven to be a meaningful integration of clinical and research skills. 


Information for Prospective Students

  • Message for Prospective Students

    We are delighted that you are considering applying to MSU's Clinical Science Program!

    Indeed, we are proud of our program and hope you will take some time to visit the rest of our website and the links below to obtain more information about our mentorship model, admissions process, curriculum/program requirements, and graduate life at MSU.

    If you join our program, you will join an outstanding graduate student body that is actively engaged in all aspects of clinical science. The quality of our students is evidenced by their excellent undergraduate academic records and high-level of research productivity and their success on the internship and job market. Indeed, all of our students are active in presenting at national and international conferences and publishing their research (see Research Output Table on the Current Student page).

    Our students also develop clinical excellence during their training, as evidenced by our 100% match rate to American Psychological Association (APA) accredited, APPIC internships for the past 15 years. Our students have matched to highly competitive sites, including programs at the University of Washington, McLean Hospital/Harvard University Medical School, Yale University Medical School, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic/University of Pittsburgh Medical School, and Stanford Medical School.

    Finally, our students are employed in a range of clinical science positions, including postdoctoral or faculty positions in academic settings and clinic director positions.

    Please consider applying if your interests and values in clinical science are a good match with our program. We look forward to considering your application.


    Alytia Levendosky, Co-Director of Clinical Training (Co-DCT)

    Kelly Klump, Co-Director of Clinical Training (Co-DCT)

    Natalie Moser, Associate Director of Clinical Training (ADCT)

  • List of Clinical Faculty Accepting New Students for Fall 2024

    Drs. Burnette, Burt, Drahota, Ingersoll, Levendosky, Klump, Moser, and Thakkar will be considering a student for the Fall 2024 admissions class.


  • Virtual Information Session

    Interested in our graduate program?

    Watch a recording of a virtual information session to find out more about our program.


  • Application Procedures and Information

    General information about how to apply, including deadlines, components of the application, and admissions procedures can be found here (scroll down to the Admissions Information).


    Our Clinical Science Program requires interviews for admission. We will notify our top candidates that they have been invited for an Admissions Interview by early January 2024. 

  • Graduate Record Exams (GRE) Requirement

    As you will see in the Application Procedures and Information link above, applicants to our program are required to take the GRE. We are actively working through the many university and upper-level changes needed to remove this requirement in the future, as we recognize the concerns with the test regarding access, cost, test biases, and its ability to predict graduate student success.  We are hopeful that we will be able to remove the GRE requirement for future admissions cycles.  However, in the meantime, applicants are required to submit GRE scores as part of their application to our program. 

    As such, we would like to be transparent about how GRE scores will be used during application review. Briefly, we review all applications in full, regardless of GRE score. Our program reviews applications holistically, and GRE scores are just one of many pieces of information. We weigh previous research experience, research interest fit with your preferred mentor, course performance, and career goals most highly. We recognize, however, that some students may not have had opportunities to develop their research skills or interests and that there are many factors that can influence your GPA. In these cases, GRE scores will be considered to the extent that they may better reflect your potential for graduate school success. To help defray some of the cost of taking the GRE, please see information about the GRE Fee Reduction Program that can be found here (  

  • Admissions Interview Day

    Our Clinical Science Program requires interviews for admission. The 2024 MSU Admissions Interview Day will occur via Zoom on Tuesday January 16th. The interview day will be an all-day event that includes information sessions about our program and interviews with faculty members and graduate students. Invitations for Interview Day will be sent in late December 2023 or early January 2024.

  • FAQ - Application and selection process

    Thank you to Dr. Jessica Schleider, PhD, for the inspiration & outline for this document. 

    Below are a list of commonly-asked questions about our applicant review process. We hope that this will help make the application process more transparent for applicants, especially for those without the privilege of strong faculty mentors or professional connections. 

    When should I apply to MSU’s graduate clinical psychology program?   

    The application deadline is December 1st. Be sure to take your General GRE test early enough that the scores will be released to MSU by the deadline. Application materials and instructions can be found here: Apply for Admission 

    How is my application evaluated?   

    All applications are evaluated holistically by both the first-choice mentor as well as other members of the clinical area admissions committee. They take into consideration:          

    • Applicant's fit with proposed mentor(s)’ research interests and mission of program              
    • Prior research experience          
    • Career goals 
    • GPA 
    • Letters of recommendation           
    • GRE scores          
    • Relevant work experience related to mental health           
    • Independent research projects (e.g., honors thesis)          
    • Rigor of undergraduate program of study 
    • Personal circumstances as reflected in the personal statement  


    How many students apply to the graduate program? How many are admitted?  

    Approximately 150-200 students apply each year to MSU's clinical science program. We typically admit 4-5 students each year.  

    How important are GRE scores? 

    The Clinical Science program currently requires the general GRE.  Our program reviews applications holistically and uses GRE scores as just one of many pieces of information in determining an applicant’s potential for success in our program.  We weigh previous research experience, current research interests, and career goals most highly. We recognize, however, that some students may not have had opportunities to develop their research skills or interests. In these cases, GRE scores will be considered to the extent that they may better reflect your potential for graduate school success. 

    Is the GRE Psychology Subject Test required? 

    No. However, scores on this test have been shown to be very good predictors of graduate school performance (see Kuncel, Hezlett, & Ones (2001), Psychological Bulletin, 127, 162-181). Nevertheless, we do not require the test, i.e., you can apply to our program without having taken the GRE Psychology Subject Test. 

    My undergraduate GPA is below 3.5. Will this remove me from consideration? 

    No. We understand that there are many factors that can can influence your GPA, including your major, health challenges, family obligations, and other commitments. We will look at your GPA in the context of your entire application. However, if you believe your GPA does not reflect your potential as a future scientist, it would be beneficial to directly address that in your application. You may consider asking one of your recommenders to share more about any circumstances that may have influenced your GPA and address the degree to which your GPA reflects your potential, in their estimation. We also encourage you to address this yourself in your personal statement. 

    Are there any other ‘screening criteria’ you use to review applications? 

    No. All applications are reviewed in full by faculty. 

    Should I email my proposed mentor to express my interest in applying to their lab? 

    You are more than welcome to do so, but it will not impact your odds of receiving an interview invitation or an offer of admission. Faculty members who are considering accepting a student for the current admissions cycle are listed on the website.  You are encouraged to read through proposed mentor(s)’ individual website, the Clinical Science program site, and the Department of Psychology site, and site to familiarize yourself with our labs, program, and department. 

    What should I include in my personal statement? 

    We find it helpful when applicants include the following information in their personal statements: 

    • A clear statement of your research interests and how they relate to the mentor's lab mission and program of research in which you would like to work. 
    • A statement of why you are interested in working with that mentor in their lab, rather than other similar labs 
    • A statement about your career goals (your best guess right now!) 
    •  A discussion of your independent research experience: (What skills did you learn?; What new questions or research ideas did you take away from the experience?; How did it impact your trajectory?) 
    • It is okay to include information about your life experiences or personal relationship to mental health issues if they pertain to important aspects of your identity or relate to your experience overcoming obstacles to higher education. However, your personal/lived experiences should not be the focus, and they should be clearly connected to the rest of your statement. Your research interests, experience and goals should be the emphasis. 


    I am interested in full-time clinical practice. Is MSU’s Clinical Science program a good fit for me? 

    We aim to recruit students seeking rigorous training in both clinical research and clinical application. Both skill-sets inform each other necessarily. As such, students who are happiest and most productive in our program tend to want careers that incorporate research activities in a substantive way (e.g., conducting independent research, program evaluation, or program administration). Because we adhere to the clinical science modelour program is likely not the best fit for applicants who are interested solely in clinical practice careers. 

    Is it advantageous to list multiple mentors of interest (or just one) on my application? 

    Faculty closely review all applications on which they are listed as a first-choice mentor. Listing multiple potential mentors may be appropriate if your interests and goals clearly bridge two faculty members’ research programs (as described in your personal statement)—and in some cases, co-mentorship by two faculty members in the clinical science area is possible.  Applicants do not gain an advantage by listing multiple faculty mentors on their application, and should not list more than two.  

    I have never had to write a CV—just a regular resume. How should I organize this document? 

     The following resources may be helpful: 


    I want to apply, but the application fee would create real hardship for me. What should I do? 

    Follow this link to see if you are eligible for an application fee waiver: 

  • Mentor Model

    Consistent with our philosophy of multi-level and cross-disciplinary work, our mentorship model is one in which students have a primary advisor within the Clinical Science Program, but are encouraged to work with a range of faculty in our Clinical Science program as well as related disciplines.

    Although the research training is done primarily through an apprenticeship with the primary mentor, the full Clinical Science faculty are actively involved in the overall student training through coursework, clinical practica, evaluation of students, and intellectual activities (e.g., colloquia series and the grant writing seminar). Thus, students are exposed to the multiple perspectives, training, and expertise of the full Clinical Sscience faculty. We believe that this mentorship model facilitates flexibility in methods and theory, provides the best approach for fostering positive mentor-mentee relationships, and develops research scientists who have a breadth and depth of training in the clinical science field.

    In addition to working with a primary, Clinical Science faculty mentor, many of our graduate students have secondary mentors or thesis committee members from outside of the Clinical Science Program. These secondary mentors come from a variety of disciplines and programs including Ecological/Community Psychology, Social/Personality Psychology, Organizational Psychology, Cognitive Science, and Behavioral Neuroscience. These multidiplinary collaborations are an explicit expression of our clinical science orientation and focus on multi-level work, as our faculty recognize the need for interdisciplinary collaborations in order to conduct state-of-the-science research and remain competitive for top journals and extramural grant funding (see Principles and Values). Graduate students choose secondary research mentors and committee members in collaboration with their primary mentor based upon fit with the student’s research topic and need for additional training/expertise in diverse areas of science.

  • Curriculum and Program Requirements

    Our program is structured so that training in courses, research, and clinical work is intended to be sequential and cumulative, such that students move toward increased independence and sophistication in their work as they progress through the program. The Master’s portion of the program is designed to take two years, while the doctoral program generally takes four years (including the internship). The training model is implemented through (i) core courses, (ii) practicum, (iii) a cognate, (iv) a comprehensive examination, (v) mentored research projects (i.e., master’s thesis and dissertation), and (vi) a clinical internship. You can learn more about our curriculum and program requirements, including clinical practica and internship training, in the Graduate Student Handbook.

    Michigan Licensing Requirements

    Per our APA accreditation, Clinical Science Area graduate students must meet any additional requirements that the State of Michigan has for licensing.  Michigan licensing law requires no additional courses, but the program must be accredited. The Clinical Science Program is accredited by APA and PCSAS, so this requirement is automatically met.

  • Student Resources

    Upon admission, each student is guaranteed four years of funding (i.e., a stipend, tuition reimbursement, and insurance coverage) from the department via teaching assistantships (TA) and research assistantships (RA). Although summer funding and funding after the 4th year are not guaranteed, in the past 5+ years, all of our students have been supported in the summer and beyond their 4th year. In addition, some of our students have been funded through competitive, university-wide fellowships that provide incoming students with 1 or 2 years of financial support to engage in their own independent research rather than serve as a TA or RA. 

    Our program, department, and university also provide additional monetary support for and recognition of graduate student clinical research and activities, including clinical work and dissertation research, through various awards and fellowships. The Department of Psychology and College of Social Science additionally provide funding for conferences through travel awards and conference travel grants. For more information about graduate funding opportunities through the College of Scoial Science, see here

    Finally, several of our graduate students have successfully secured multi-year, individual training grants from the NIMH, National Science Foundation, Autism Speaks, and the Canadian Health Institute for Research. Our students have been highly successful at obtaining other external grant support through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the American Psychological Foundation (APF), and other non-profit organizations.

  • FAQ - General Program Questions

    How many classes do students typically take? 

    Students typically take three (3-credit) classes each semester during their first year, in addition to working on their master's thesis. In subsequent years, students take one to three courses per semester, in addition to research and clinical practicum. Generally students are able to complete required coursework by the end of their third year, although many students choose to take additional courses during their fourth or fifth years.  

    How long does the graduate program take to complete? 

    The students in our program complete a curriculum that facilitates their growth as clinical scientists. The Master’s portion of the program is designed to take two years, while the doctoral program takes four years (including the internship).

    Will I be assigned to work with a particular professor, or will I get to choose whom to work with? 

    Our mentorship model is one in which students choose a primary advisor within the Clinical Science Program, but they are encouraged to work with a range of faculty across clinical science and related disciplines. Although the research training is done primarily through an apprenticeship with the primary mentor, the full clinical science faculty are actively involved in the overall student training through coursework, clinical practica, evaluation of students, and intellectual activities (e.g., colloquia series). Thus, students are exposed to the multiple perspectives, training, and expertise of the full clinical science faculty. We believe that this mentorship model facilitates flexibility in methods and theory, provides the best approach for fostering positive mentor-mentee relationships, and develops research scientists who have a breadth and depth of training in the clinical science field.  

    Will I receive a teaching or research assistantship? 

    All students who are admitted to MSU's clinical program receive a teaching or research assistantship or a university fellowship. During the last decade, we have been able to provide funding for students through their fifth year in the program. If you are admitted to our program, the letter of admission will specify the number of years of funding you are guaranteed. The clinical program is a full-time program. Thus, it is not feasible for students to complete the necessary graduate work and, at the same time, hold a full- or part-time job. Therefore, MSU's clinical program only admits the number of students that can be supported through departmental or university funding.

     Where are graduates employed?

    Graduates of MSU’s clinical Ph.D. program are employed at universities, colleges, hospitals, government agencies, consulting firms, industry, and private practices. 

    What year does clinical work begin? 

    Students begin their formal clinical practicum training during their second year in the program, with an introduction to completing brief assessments in the spring of their first year. 


    Do students live on or off MSU’s campus? What is a typical monthly rent payment in the East Lansing area?  

    There is a graduate dormitory on campus (Owen Hall) and there are also university apartments. However, almost all students choose to live off-campus. There are plenty of reasonably priced apartments and townhouses in either walking or short-driving distance from campus. See here for more details about living near MSU.

     When do students make living arrangements?  

    Students generally come to the East Lansing area to look for an apartment and sign a lease during the early summer. However, some students start looking as early as April, because some apartment complexes will put you on a waiting list, and will contact you when a unit comes available within the time frame that you would like to start your lease.   

    Do I need to have a car?  

    While you may decide you don't want to have a car if you live very close to campus, most of the current students do have cars. There are bookstores, restaurants, athletic facilities, and a few small stores near campus, but most of the supermarkets and many other stores and restaurants are not a reasonable walking distance. A bus line runs throughout the East Lansing area to outlying shopping areas. A car, taxi, or Uber/Lift is necessary to reach the Lansing City Airport. The Detroit Airport can be reached by commuter bus or by car. Amtrak stops near the MSU campus and has routes to Chicago and elsewhere. Campus parking permits are available for purchase by students who have assistantships and fellowships. These allow graduate students to park in specific areas of campus. See here for more information about parking on campus. There are other low-cost or free parking options within a short walk of campus that many students choose to utilize. 

    Will I need to take out student loans, or can I afford to live off the assistantship?  

    The assistantship stipend is designed so that one student can afford to live modestly. Whether you need a loan will depend on your lifestyle and if you have mitigating factors, such as a partner or dependent children, high moving expenses, etc. Some current students do have loans; however, there are also a large portion of students who are managing the process loan-free.

    Do I have to pay tuition? 

    In fall and spring semesters, students with assistantships receive a tuition waiver for nine credit hours; during summer session, five credit hours of tuition are waived. Students who take more than nine credits (or five credits in the summer) are required to pay for those additional credits, but this situation is quite rare.   

    Do I receive any health care coverage?  

    All graduate students on a 9-month assistantship or fellowship receive student medical insurance coverage for a full calendar year, free of charge. See here for more details.

    What do students do for fun? 

    Students often take advantage of the many clubs, bars, and restaurants on Grand River Avenue near campus and downtown. The campus and community hold concerts, theatrical performances, and sporting events throughout the year. You can learn more about East Lansing here.

    Students often take advantage of the beautiful Great Lakes surrounding the state of Michigan. The beaches of Lake Michigan are gorgeous and the closest are about a two hour drive away. 

  • Licensing and Certification Disclosure

    Federal regulations require MSU to publicly disclose, for each educational program designed to meet the educational requirements for a specific professional license or certification required for employment in an occupation (or advertised as meeting those requirements), information about whether program completion would meet those requirements in a state. These public disclosure requirements apply to all programs, regardless of their modality (i.e., on-ground, online, and hybrid programs). MSU discloses the required information for its Clinical Science Program on page 74 of the table at this link.

    All current and prospective students are encouraged to contact the applicable professional licensure/certification boards in their respective states for additional information regarding professional licensure/certification requirements, including, without limitation, information regarding any non-educational requirements (such as post-doctoral supervision, licensing examination). 

    The information in the table should not be construed as guaranteeing that any particular professional licensure/certification authority will approve a student’s application; nor should the information in the table be read to imply that other requirements for professional licensure/certification do not exist or that other requirements for professional licensure/certification have been determined to have been met by MSU’s program/course, or that any necessary approvals for clinical or other experiential learning placements are secured by virtue of a student’s enrollment at MSU.

    State professional licensure/certification requirements are subject to change at any time.