The deadline for receipt of application materials is December 15 of each year. Admissions decisions are made in February with each new incoming class beginning the program in August.

Applying to the Program

The clinical program seeks mature, committed and responsible individuals of diverse personal, cultural, ethnic and geographical backgrounds who are interested in both psychological research and clinical practice.

Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university or its equivalent in another country. An applicant who applies while still an undergraduate can be accepted only on condition that that bachelor's degree will be received in time for fall enrollment.

We do not require that applicants have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. However, we do require that the applicant has at least 18 semester hours in psychology coursework (with a grade of B- or better).  In addition, foundational knowledge in affective, biological/physiological, cognitive, developmental and social aspects of behavior and history & systems of psychology is required. This foundational knowledge may be shown in one of two ways:

  • Specific Courses: Grade B- or better in specific courses
  • Affective Bases of Behavior/Emotion/Emotion & Motivation/Affective Science/Abnormal Psychology
  • Biological Psychology/Physiological Psychology/Brain and Behavior
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology (must be lifespan)
  • Social Psychology
  • History and Systems of Psychology

Applicants may want to check with the program if they are unsure if their undergraduate courses qualify. The program may ask for a copy of the syllabus for the course they are inquiring about.


  • The GRE Psychology Subject Test. Scores at or above the 70th percentile on the Biological, Cognitive, Developmental, and Social subtests of the Psychology GRE Subject Test will serve as a demonstration of foundational knowledge in those areas. (Note: If the GRE Subject test option is taken, applicants must still take courses in the affective aspects of behavior and history & systems of psychology as those areas are not covered on the test.)

Students admitted to the clinical program will be formally admitted to the doctoral program but will be expected to complete a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in psychology enroute to completion of the Ph.D. We do not offer a terminal master's degree in clinical psychology.

Applicants who have completed, or are in the process of completing, a master's degree in psychology (with an empirical thesis) prior to enrollment in our program, may not be required to complete a second master's degree. This is not an option for students completing master’s degrees in other disciplines. For more information, please contact the Program Director or refer to the Clinical Program Graduate Handbook.

Required Application Materials

  • Graduate School Application. Including:
    • One official transcript verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for all students
    • Three letters of recommendation
      Letter of Recommendation Form
    • Statement of Purpose
  • Clinical Program Supplemental Application. Please respond to each of the questions. Do not simply attach a personal statement that has been prepared for another application or for other purposes.
  • Research Mentoring Preference Form. The clinical psychology program follows a research mentor model of training in which each graduate student works closely with a clinical faculty member who serves as the student’s research mentor and advisor. In order to match the clinical psychology research interests of each prospective graduate student with those of a faculty member, applicants are invited to review the research activities/interests of the clinical faculty below. Once you have reviewed this information, please identify up to four faculty whose research program matches your interests.
  • Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination General Aptitude Test. To ensure that the official scores are received by December 15, applicants should take the General GRE no later than early November of the year you apply. GRE scores will not be accepted if they are over five years old. On test retakes, the admissions committee will consider the higher scores.

Please have official scores sent to:
University of South Dakota (Code 6881)
Department of Psychology (Code 2001)

You may send an unofficial copy with your application packet for informational purposes, but only official score reports mailed from ETS will be accepted for final admission consideration. For information concerning the GRE, contact the Educational Testing Service or the testing center of the school you are attending.

NOTE. The Subject GRE (Psychology) is not required but is strongly recommended for applicants without an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology.

  • Vita/Resumé. Applicants are encouraged to provide a CV/resumé that describes relevant educational, research, and work/volunteer experiences. Service activities and honors/awards should also be included.

For additional information regarding the admissions process, please see our page on Application Review, Interviews and Admissions Offers.