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 (BS, MS), 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 PsyD program for the purpose of completing the MA 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 CAGS 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 the 60 credit introductory course requirements are met. In some cases, Advanced Standing students may be required to complete introductory course requirements not covered in their previous Master’s, Specialist, or CAGS/EdS programs or that were completed more than 7 years prior to admission. The Program Director may, in consultation with faculty, require that some courses taken within the 7 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 MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, the EdS in School Psychology, and EdS 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 competition on good standing of their remaining introductory course requirements. Students are never admitted to the PsyD program for the purpose of completing the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and/or Ed.S. in School Psychology or Counseling programs.

 

Applicants are reviewed and evaluated on the following criteria:

  • All requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies:
    • Transcripts all from colleges and universities attended
    • Resume or CV
    • Letters of reference (see below); and
     
  • For Traditional admission
    • An earned Bachelor’s degree in psychology or a closely related field from an accredited institution
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (this minimum standard maybe waived in cases in which applicants are exceptional in other areas).
    • General GRE scores within the last 5 years
    • The GRE Examination in Psychology is optional
    • Statement of purpose (see below)
     
  • For Advanced Standing
    • An earned Master’s degree or higher in a field related to psychology or counseling from an accredited institution.
    • A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in graduate studies (this minimum standard maybe waived in cases in which applicants are exceptional in other areas).
    • General GRE scores within the last 5 years.
    • The GRE Examination in Psychology is optional
    • Statement of purpose (see below),
    • Students whose native language is not English must provide 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),
    • Interviewed successfully with the Program Admissions Committee, and
    • Evidence of commitment to the values, goals and mission of the University and the Program.
     

 (2) Application Requirements

A complete application, made through the Admissions Office, must be received by the office of the Director of Clinical Training by midnight of the deadline date as announced annually. A complete application shall 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; and
  • A written statement of the student’s purpose in seeking doctoral study that reflects in detail upon the following:
    1. the applicant’s professional experience and how that experience relates to the applicant’s intended doctoral study;
    2. the applicant’s reasons for pursuing doctoral study;
    3. the potential research and/or clinical goal(s), problem(s), and/or question(s) the applicant is interested in addressing through doctoral study and research;
    4. the ways in which doctoral study will enhance the applicant’s personal and professional career goals and plans in the field of psychology;
    5. why the applicant believes they would be a good fit with the Combined Program;
    6. diversity experiences and evidence of a commitment to serving diverse populations; and
     
  • At least three (3) letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s professional and/or academic work, potential for successful completion of doctoral study, and character (see below).
  • Writing sample
    1. For Traditional Admission students, an academic writing sample is required.
    2. For Advanced Standing students, representative clinical work samples of current professional skills (i.e., test reports, treatment plans, case conceptualizations or summaries, etc.) are required. If these are not available, an academic writing sample should be submitted.
     

 

(3) Letters of Recommendation

Each applicant is required, as part of their application for the Doctoral Program, to submit at least three (3) letters of recommendation 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 those individuals making the recommendations with a copy of their personal written statement of purpose in seeking doctoral study, to ensure that the recommendation being written will be in line with the application being made. In all instances the letters of recommendation submitted by the applicant must be dated within six (6) months of the date of the completed application.

Additional letters of recommendation may be submitted to the Admissions Committee by the applicant if the applicant believes such recommendation to be relevant and necessary (e.g., the recommending individual is uniquely qualified to provide additional and relevant information not already covered by the three required letters of recommendation).

 

Please note: Letters of recommendation may be written by current members of the faculty of the Division of Education of Rivier University. In the case where a current faculty member agrees to write a letter of recommendation for an applicant to the Doctoral Program and that faculty member is currently serving on the Admissions Committee, said faculty member must recuse themselves from the Admissions Committee while the applicant’s application for admission is being considered. Additionally, if a faculty member of the Admissions Committee recruits an applicant to the Doctoral Program, the faculty member must also recuse themselves from the Admissions Committee while the applicant’s application for admission is under consideration.

The Admissions 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 in the context of their deliberation and decision-making process.

 

(4) Interviews

Students with exceptional applications are typically invited to campus for in-person interviews with Program Faculty (i.e., the Admissions 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 or disability.

 

(6) Application Deadlines

Each spring, prior to the application cycle for the upcoming academic year, the Director of Clinical Training shall provide a timeline for the admission process to the Doctoral Program which states all associated deadline dates.

The application deadline is established so that prospective applicants may complete their applications, including taking the Graduate Record Examination and submitting those scores in a timely manner. The general time frame of the dates for the admission cycle is:

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