Admissions Requirements

The Combined Psy.D. Program in Counseling and School Psychology seeks to recruit and retain a diverse student group across a number of dimensions including but not limited to ethnicity, prior degrees (B.S., M.S.), professional interest area, geography, and gender. The Psy.D. in Counseling and School Psychology is designed as a cohort model. There are two routes of admission to the program, Traditional and Advanced Standing.

The Traditional route is for students who hold a bachelor’s degree and requires the completion of a minimum of 120 credit hours for conferral of the doctoral degree. This program of study will include coursework, practica, research and internship requirements as outlined in the curriculum. Students who enter the program under this classification may transfer into the program a maximum of 9 graduate credits.

Students who enter under this classification may earn an Ed.S. in Counseling degree enroute to the PsyD. Students are never admitted to the Psy.D. program for the purpose of completing the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Ed.S. in School Psychology or Counseling programs.

The second route to admission, Advanced Standing, is for students who graduated from a regionally accredited institution with a master’s, specialist, or C.A.G.S. degree or the equivalent in Psychology, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or School Psychology. For these applicants, student transcripts and course syllabi will be reviewed to ensure that up to 45 credits of introductory course requirements are met. In most cases, Advanced Standing students may be required to complete introductory course requirements not covered in their previous master’s, specialist, or C.A.G.S./Ed.S. programs or that were completed more than seven years prior to admission. The Program Director may, in consultation with faculty, require that some courses taken within the seven-year time frame are retaken if content is not reflective of current knowledge or standards in the field.

Students who satisfy Advanced Standing qualifications or credentials will be required to complete a minimum of 60 hours of core (“800 level”) credits which will consist of coursework, research, practicum, and internship requirements as outlined in the proposed curriculum model to reach the minimum of 120 credits for program completion.

It is important to note that the curriculum of the existing M.Ed. in Counseling and School Psychology, the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the Ed.S. in School Psychology, and the Ed.S. in Counseling programs overlap with the doctoral program and serve, in part, as introductory courses. As such, current students in these programs may apply for admission to the doctoral program after successful completion of 40 graduate credits. If granted admission, these students will be approved to move to Advanced Standing upon completion in good standing of their remaining introductory course requirements.

Applicants are reviewed and evaluated on the following criteria:

  • For admission to all Rivier University graduate programs:
    • Transcripts all from colleges and universities attended
    • Letters of Reference (see Letters of Reference below)
    • Statement of Purpose (see Admission Requirements below)
  • For Traditional admission to the Psy.D. Program:
    • An earned bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field from an accredited institution
    • Resume or CV
    • Undergraduate grade point average, with a preference of 3.0
    • General GRE scores within the last 5 years
    • For students whose native language is not English, evidence of proficiency in the English language. Official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) are accepted. Doctoral programs require minimum scores of TOEFL (95), IELTS (7.0), and PTE (66)
    • Interview with the Core Faculty Committee
    • Evidence of commitment to the values, goals, and mission of the University and the Program in the Statement of Purpose and Letters of Reference
  • For Advanced Standing admission to the Psy.D. Program:
    • An earned master’s degree in a field related to psychology or counseling from an accredited institution and coursework relevant to the Program (see below regarding Introductory Courses for Advanced Standing)
    • Resume or CV
    • Undergraduate grade point average, with a preference of 3.0, and graduate grade point average, with a preference of 3.5
    • General GRE scores within the last 5 years
    • For students whose native language is not English, evidence of proficiency in the English language. Official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Pearson Test of English (PTE) are accepted. Doctoral programs require minimum scores of TOEFL (95), IELTS (7.0), and PTE (66)
    • Interview with the Core Faculty Committee
    • Evidence of commitment to the values, goals, and mission of the University and the Program in the Statement of Purpose and Letters of Reference
  • Introductory Courses for Advanced Standing. In order to be eligible to apply for Advanced Standing applicants must 1) possess a master’s, specialist, C.A.G.S., or Ed.S. degree or the equivalent in Psychology, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, or School Psychology from a regionally accredited institution and 2) provide evidence of preparation at the graduate-level equivalent to that provided by at least 36 credits from the below Introductory Courses offered in the Psy.D. Program:

ED 501  Fundamentals of Research (3)
ED 505  Advanced Psychology of Human Development (3)
ED 530  Assessment of Learning and Reading Disabilities (3)
ED 538  Cognitive Assessment I (3)
ED 610  Basic Human Interaction (3)
ED 611  Psychotherapy for Children (3)
ED 614  Clinical Counseling Theories (3)
ED 615  Clinical Counseling Techniques (3)
ED 616  Group Counseling (3)
ED 618  Professional Orientation and Ethics of Clinical Mental Health Counseling (3) or
ED 701  Foundations of School Psychology (3)
ED 623  Marriage and Family Therapy (3)
ED 624  Psychopathology (3)
ED 625  Testing and Assessment (3)
ED 629  Addictive Behaviors (3)
ED 681  Career and Lifestyle Development (3)
ED 704  Personality Assessment I (3)
ED 705  Neuropsychological Assessment I (3)
ED 720  Social/Cultural Foundations of Counseling and Education (3)
ED 721  Advanced Multicultural Perspectives (3 credits)

Courses that may be credited for advanced standing will be reviewed during the admissions process. That is, any such courses should have been taken at a regionally accredited institution, should have earned a “B” grade, should be at the graduate level (500 or above), and should have been taken in the previous six years.

Advanced Standing students may be required to complete Introductory Course requirements not adequately covered in their previous graduate programs or not reflecting current knowledge and standards in the field. Any such courses will be indicated in the letter of acceptance and also noted in the student’s Program of Study. In essence, Advanced Standing students may be granted credit for 36 to 45 credits of previous coursework and thus bypass one year of full-time study. Credits granted to satisfy specific course requirements for Advanced Standing do not appear on the transcript. However, they do appear on the student’s Program of Study, thus indicating that the requirement for those courses has been met.

(2) Application Requirements

A complete application, must be received by the Admissions Office by midnight of the annual deadline date. The application must include:

  • A completed and signed online application, available at rivier.edu/PsyD
  • A $100.00 non-refundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions where the applicant has received degrees and/or course credit
  • A written statement of purpose (3-6 pages) that reflects on the following:
    1. your professional experience and how this experience relates to doctoral study
    2. your reasons for pursuing doctoral study
    3. research and/or clinical goal(s), problem(s), and/or question(s) you may wish to address during doctoral study and research
    4. how doctoral study will enhance your personal and professional career goals
    5. why you think you would be a good fit for the combined program in counseling and school
    6. diversity experiences and evidence of a commitment to serving diverse populations
  • At least three (3) letters of reference that speak to the your professional and/or academic work, potential for successful completion of doctoral study, and character (see Letters of Reference below)
  • Writing sample
  1. For Traditional Admission students, an academic writing sample
  2. For Advanced Standing students, a minimum of one representative clinical work sample of current professional skills (i.e., test reports, treatment plans, case conceptualizations or summaries, etc.). If none of these are available, an academic writing sample should be submitted.

(3) Letters of Reference

Each applicant is required to submit at least three (3) letters of reference that speak to the applicant’s professional and/or academic work, potential for successful completion of doctoral study, and character.

Applicants are encouraged to provide individuals making the recommendations with a copy of their personal written statement of purpose to ensure that the recommendation addresses these matters. Letters of reference must have been written within six (6) months of the date of the completed application.

Please note: Letters of reference may be written by current members of the faculty of the Division of Education of Rivier University. If a current faculty member agrees to write a letter of reference and that faculty member is serving on the Core Faculty Committee, said faculty member must recuse him/herself from the admission decision process while the applicant’s application for admission is being considered. Similarly, if a faculty member of the Core Faculty Committee has recruited an applicant to the Doctoral Program, that faculty member must also recuse him/herself from the admission decision process while the applicant’s application is under consideration.

The Core Faculty Committee may invite members of the faculty of the Division of Education who have provided letters of recommendation to speak on behalf of an applicant while the Committee is deliberating.

(4) Interviews

Finalists for admission are invited to campus for in-person interviews with members of the Core Faculty Committee. Depending upon circumstances and availability, some interviews may be conducted by phone.

(5) Diversity

Rivier University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran or marital status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability in admission or access to, treatment in or employment in its programs and activities, and Title IX requires that the University not discriminate on the bases stated above.

The Program seeks to recruit and retain a diverse student group across a number of domains including, but not limited to, ethnicity, race, color, national origin, religion, age, veteran or marital status, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and disability.

(6) Application Deadlines

Each spring, prior to the application cycle for the upcoming academic year, the Director of Clinical Training provides a timeline for the admission process that states all associated deadline dates.

Unless otherwise advertised on the website the dates for the admission cycle are:

February 1                   Application deadline

Mid-February              Decisions on interviews

March  1                      Notification of interview decisions

April 1                         Notification of admission decisions

April 15                       Student notification of decision deadline

(7) Application Review and Interviews

After the Office of Graduate Admissions forwards completed application to the Program, copies are provided for members of the Admission Committee. Committee members independently review and rate the application. These ratings are then reviewed at a meeting of the Committee.

On the basis of ratings and Committee review, finalists for admission are invited to campus to be interviewed by members of the Core Faculty Committee. In this interview applicants are asked to clarify and/or expand on aspects of their application, including but not limited to their personal statement of purpose and reasons for seeking doctoral study. Following the interview the Core Faculty Committee reconvenes to discuss applicant interviews.

After review of all applicant files and interviews, the Core Faculty Committee selects applicants for admission to the Doctoral Program. These selections are submitted to the Dean of the Division of Education for review. Following this review, the Office of Graduate Admissions notifies applicants of their admission status.