When is my application due?
What happens after I submit my application?
Your application will be entered into the admissions electronic system (APY) by the Graduate School. The program director will be notified that your application is ready for review by program faculty.
What is the next step?
Program faculty will review applications for each area of emphasis and will submit recommendations to the Program Director. The Director will invite the top applicants for a face-to-face interview in mid- to late-February. Top applicants will receive an admissions offer in late February or early March.
What should I include in my essay?
Your essay should address the following: 1) reasons for pursuing graduate training in Health Psychology; 2) the specific area of emphasis that you are seeking admission to; 3) academic, professional, and personal experiences or training that are relevant to your potential as a graduate student (i.e., what skills would you bring to the program?); 4) your research interests and the program faculty with whom you would like to work during your graduate training; and 5) your short- and long-term professional and research goals.
How is the essay this used to select students for the program?
We use this information to evaluate the extent to which applicants’ expertise and interests are congruent or “match” with the program’s philosophy and training opportunities.
What do you look for in an applicant?
We consider both the quality of the applicant (see below) and the match with research interests of our faculty. We follow a mentor model, meaning that each student works closely with at least one faculty member who supervises the student’s research.
Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?
Faculty members or supervisors who are familiar with your skills in research, writing and academic performance.
When will I hear if I was accepted?
The Program Director will contact top applicants by mail in late February or early March.
Can I begin the program in the Spring semester?
No, the program admits students once a year during the Fall semester.
Can I go part time in the evenings?
No, the majority of required courses are offered during the day.
Can I work full time while in the program?
No, we provide intensive doctoral training that requires a full-time commitment from students.
How can I get more information about your program?
Please consider attending the informational sessions offered by the program or contact the Program Director. Sessions are held every year in early October.
Where can I get an application?
Can you send one to me? We employ an electronic application process; please visit the UNC Charlotte Graduate School website.
Do you require the Psychology GRE subject test?
How are admission decisions made?
Program faculty will review applications for each area of emphasis and will submit recommendations to the Program Director. Faculty takes into account applicants’ academic record (GPA and GRE), research and professional experience, and the extent to which their research and professional interests are congruent with the training our program offers.
What are the average GRE scores and GPA of admitted students?
A combined verbal and quantitative score of 1200 and an undergraduate a GPA of 3.6.
Will my graduate courses transfer?
We make decisions about course transfers on an individual basis. The UNC Charlotte Graduate School allows for a maximum of 30 hours of prior graduate credit to transfer. All transfer courses must be approved by the Program Director and the student’s academic advising committee, made up of three or more faculty members, including the student’s advisor.
Do I need a master’s degree to get accepted?
No, we accept students with baccalaureate degrees in psychology or other related disciplines.
Will taking courses at UNC Charlotte help me to get accepted?
Not necessarily. We take multiple factors into account when we make admissions decisions.
If I am accepted into the General Health Psychology program or Community Health Psychology program, can I change to the Clinical Psychology program?
No, students interested in changing to another area of emphasis need to re-apply for admission to that area.
I made a low score on the GRE. How will that affect my application?
Some research shows that GREs scores predict performance in graduate school--students with low scores are thus at significant risk for experiencing difficulty and/or dropping out. As a faculty, we seek to minimize this on the front end by not admitting students with very low scores (i.e., anything less than 400 on either Verbal or Quantitative). Having said that, we occasionally admit students with scores closer to 500, assuming that their application has other elements that suggest they have the potential to succeed in graduate school (i.e., considerable prior research experience or publications, unique skills/talents, professional experiences that are of relevance, etc.)
If I meet the minimum standards will I get accepted?
No, we admit the best qualified students that are the best match for our program. The application process is competitive.
Do you require an interview in person?
Yes, we typically schedule face-to-face interview with the top applicants. We can make accommodations to conduct interviews via internet video but we prefer to meet with applicants in person. This provides the student with more information about our program and the university, while also providing the faculty an opportunity to interview and get to know the applicant in more detail.
Do you offer a terminal master’s degree?
No. The psychology department offers a master’s in clinical and community psychology.
I am very interested in opening a private practice or being a psychotherapist. Is this program right for me?
Our program is a good match for students who are considering a research or academic career. The primary emphasis of our clinical training is to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to function as productive clinical researchers in psychology. Individuals whose primary career goals include working as a professional providing therapy or counseling services should consider applying to a master’s program in clinical psychology, a Psy.D., or a doctoral program in counseling.
How can I find out more about faculty research? How can I determine which faculty member would be a good match for me?
Faculty members’ research interests are listed on our program website. Also you can search for their recent publications. Our program newsletter (click here for the most recent edition) lists recent publications for faculty and students.What can I do with a degree in Health Psychology?Health psychologists work in a variety of areas depending on their specific training. Please visit the website for APA Divsion 38 for additional information regarding careers in Health Psychology.
Is Clinical Psychology program APA accredited? When will it be?
At present, the clinical program (track) is not accredited by the American Psychological Association, but we are well on our way to accreditation. Our self study was reviewed favorably by the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) and the subsequent site visit was completed on October 1st and 2nd, 2012. At this time, we are awaiting written feedback from the site visitors. Assuming all goes smoothly, our program would be reviewed at the spring CoA meeting, which is in April of 2013. If we get accredited, accreditation will be retroactive to the site-visit; in other words, students enrolled in the Clinical program at the time of the site visit will graduate from an accredited program
What are implications of being in the process of seeking APA accreditation?
If a program is not APA accredited when a student applies for internship, some internship sites, such as the VA, will not consider that student, however, many will. In fact, as of today, all of our students who have applied for clinical internship have obtained an internship at an APPIC or APA accredited site. Having said this, students graduating from the Clinical Psychology program are eligible for licensure in North Carolina and most other states.
Where will I complete practica?
Students in all areas of emphasis are required to complete practica. Clinical students are able to work in a wide variety of settings, including a hospital inpatient cancer treatment program, a neuropsychology outpatient clinic, an outpatient rehabilitation facility, family medicine primary care offices, and the Counseling Center on campus. Clinical students complete at least two years of practicum experience, providing a variety of experiences.
Do Community Health Psychology program and General Health Psychology program students complete practica?
Yes, students in the Community Health Psychology and General Health Psychology programs complete a research practicum experience in another program on or off campus. Students have completed their practicum requirements in a variety of organizations including non-profit organizations, community clinics, and off campus research labs.
How is the program “Interdisciplinary”?
Students are required to take courses from fields other than psychology (e.g., Public Policy, Health Services Research, Nursing, etc.). We also have core and auxiliary faculty members from many departments on campus, providing diverse perspectives on health and wellness. Our core health psychology courses all offer an interdisciplinary focus on how health psychologists can work with professionals from other fields.
Can I assist faculty with research?
Yes, students are expected to get involved in research activities from the beginning of their training. Typically students begin working in the lab of their primary advisor. Additionally, students complete three independent research studies as part of their programmatic milestones--2nd year project, comprehensive examination, and doctoral dissertation.
Do I need prior research experience?
Prior research experience is one of the many aspects of an application we consider for our program--without it, applicants are at a distinct disadvantage and, if admitted, would likely struggle with the heavy research demands and expectations.
How long will it take me to finish?
Our Community Health Psychology and General Health Psychology programs are designed to be completed in four years; the Clinical Psychology program is five years, including a one year pre-doctoral internship completed off-site.
I have been working for a number of years. Will I be the only older student in my classes?
No, we have students who just graduated with their bachelor’s degree, and students who have worked in other fields for 20 years before applying to our program. There is a wide range of ages and prior training and experience among our students.
Is there housing available on campus for grad students?
At this time UNC Charlotte does not offer graduate housing, however, there is affordable housing throughout Charlotte.
Can I do the program online?
If I get a graduate assistantship, what type of work would I be done?
Our program assistantships include teaching, research, and administrative work. Other campus assistantships include clinical work at the Counseling Center, tutoring, and administrative work.
When do classes meet?
Most classes in the program meet during the day Monday through Thursday. Interdisciplinary courses meet at a variety of times, including evenings. Summer classes are optional.
How much time will I expect to spend on studying?
Students are expected to spend at least 3 hours studying for every one hour spent in class. Additionally, there are meetings to attend. Most students spend at least 40 hours per week on coursework, in addition to classes and meetings.
I’m not that interested in research. Do I have to write a dissertation?
Yes, our program is research intensive. If you do not have a strong interest in research, this is not the program for you.
Will I be expected to do research?
Yes, all students complete a 2nd year research project (unless a psychology thesis was completed in a previous program), a comprehensive project (3rd year of training), and a dissertation.
Will I work with just one faculty member?
Students select a primary advisor who will supervise their research. Sometimes students change advisors if research interests change during their program. Additionally, students form an academic advising committee, with their advisor and two or more other program faculty members. Students can belong to more than one research lab.
Dr. Virginia Gil-Rivas
The Health Psychology Program is located on the 4th floor of Colvard
Virginia Gil-Rivas, Ph.D
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223-0001