The primary goal of graduate study in psychology at Oklahoma State University is to produce scholars-researchers with sufficient breadth and depth to permit successful independent and significant research. While major emphasis is given to the preparation for research, organized and concerted effort is also made to give students the necessary background for teaching, practice, or any combination of these fields. The department admits only full-time students planning to work toward the Ph.D. degree. The M.S. degree is awarded as the first step in doctoral training. Throughout training, students develop skills in research, teaching, and other professional activities integral to psychology.
The Department of Psychology is proud of the academic and cultural diversity of its students, faculty, and staff. The department encourages applications from African American, Asian American, Hispanic, and Native American candidates as part of its effort to maintain and advance a rigorous and well-informed academic community.
About the University
Oklahoma State University is located in Stillwater, a city of 42,000 located in north central Oklahoma. The university is coeducational and has an enrollment of approximately 32,000 students on its four campuses. Approximately 23,537 are on the Stillwater campus. The graduate student enrollment totals 4,589. Of these students, 57 percent are from Oklahoma, 17 percent are from other states, and 30 percent are from foreign countries.
The university is committed to equal educational opportunity. Students and faculty are selected without regard to ancestry, sex, age, religion, lifestyle, or handicap condition. Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education amendments of 1972, American with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulation, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, disability or status as veteran in any of its policies practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid and educational services.
The clinical psychology program at Oklahoma State University has been continuously accredited by the American Psychological Association* since 1971. The program integrates scientific and professional training through didactic, practicum, and research experiences. The goal is to educate students for eventual roles as research scientists, clinicians, and problem solvers in the public and/or private sphere. The program emphasizes the development of knowledge and skills in basic psychology, clinical theory, assessment and treatment procedures, and research. Three specialized tracks are offered: clinical child, health psychology, and general clinical psychology.
The program uses a Scientist-Practitioner Model of training which emphasizes a mentorship model of research training, wherein students participating in the ongoing research of a faculty member, as well as initiating their own independent research. Students are expected to participate in a variety of research experiences throughout their training to develop the necessary conceptual skills to design and evaluate clinical research. The clinical faculty publish in top quality research journals and are active leaders in professional organizations.
Students will participate in seminars, core courses, and clinical practicum in order to gain experience with the discipline of psychology. Students acquire clinical training through both a departmental training clinic and community agencies. Students are required to complete a one year APA-approved internship prior to completion of the Ph.D. degree. Students who enter with a master's degree follow a similar curriculum.
The clinical psychology program at Oklahoma State makes disclosure data available on its students. We urge potential applicants to keep the following caveats in mind when interpreting the data. Our program does not screen applicants only on GRE scores in order to report high scores as indicating something about our students' qualities. We have found many excellent students who have experiences and abilities not reflected in particularly high scores. Students present various credentials and we review all applications for admission. In its applications review, the Admissions Committee considers (in no particular order): (a) research experiences, (b) clinical and "people" experiences, (c) quality of undergraduate/graduate training and specificity of letters of recommendation, (d) GRE/GPA, and (e) fit of applicant's interests to program features. Also in the spirit of these policies, our Graduate Student Handbook and Clinical Program Supplement are available for download. It contains specifics on what is required of our graduate students.
The deadline for the Clinical Program is December 1st of each year. The Clinical Program expects prospective students to attend an Open House. Applicants will be notified by late December if they are to be invited.
For more information about the Clinical Program write to:
Thad Leffingwell, Ph. D.
Director of Clinical Training
116 North Murray
Stillwater, OK 74078
Telephone: (405) 744-7494
Lifespan Developmental Psychology
The program in Lifespan Developmental Psychology has three primary goals: instruction in content areas of developmental psychology, training in research methodology and quantitative analysis, and preparation for research and/or teaching careers.
The Lifespan Developmental Psychology program faculty conduct research in a variety of areas across the lifespan, including nutritional deficiencies on cognitive development in infancy, children's social development, comparative approaches to behavioral analysis, cognitive aging, language processing, the impact of mass media on human behavior, memory in older adults, personality assessment, retirement planning, body image across cultures, and time perception and time experience. Students typically work with a primary research advisor in accordance with a mentorship model of graduate training.
All students are required to complete a master's thesis and doctoral dissertation. In addition, students are expected to participate in research activities throughout their graduate training. Research experience is complemented by course work in statistics and research methodology and design. All students also take a practicum course in the teaching of psychology, and most gain experience as instructors. In addition, students in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology program are encouraged to develop applied skills to enhance their job market potential.
Click the links to download the Graduate Student Handbook and Life-Span Developmental Supplement.
Click here for more information on the Lifespan Developmental Psychology program
Any bachelor's or master's degree can be the basis for seeking admission, provided the applicant has completed the prerequisite courses. Background courses deemed essential for graduate study are Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Quantitative Methods in Psychology, and History of Psychology. If otherwise admissible, students lacking History of Psychology will be permitted to acquire this course after their admission to the program.
Factors generally helpful in gaining admission to the program include a high undergraduate grade point average, high scores on the Graduate Record Examination, strong letters of recommendation, demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, evidence of quantitative and research skills, and evidence of interest and commitment to one or more aspects of psychology represented by department faculty. Additionally, for the Clinical Psychology program, evidence of interpersonal facility is an essential factor.
Both departmental programs require full-time enrollment.
Application and Admission
Two options are available for downloading the Psychology Graduate Program application. You may either download it as a Microsoft Word document or as an Adobe Acrobat PDF by clicking on those links.
A last requirement is that you complete an application to the Oklahoma State Graduate College.
We do not require that applicants have a bachelor's degree in psychology. We do require, however, that the applicant have specific courses on the transcript. These are Introductory Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Quantitative Methods in Psychology, and History of Psychology. If otherwise admissible, students lacking History of Psychology will be permitted to acquire this course after their admission to the program. Abnormal Psychology is recommended if the student is applying to the Clinical Program. Naturally, grades of "B" or better are highly recommended. Students who are successful in their application typically have GPA's of 3.3 or higher.
We require three letters of reference. These letters should be from psychology faculty from whom you have taken classes or under whom you have carried out research. If you are applying to the Clinical Program, it is advisable that you include letters from individuals with whom you have worked that can attest to your abilities, industriousness, interpersonal facility, stability, and so forth. Be aware that letters of reference should contain specifics about the referee's knowledge of you. Positive general letters of reference are not especially helpful to us.
We require a three- to four-page Statement of Purpose. This statement should be typed and well-written. This statement should address (a) why you want to become a psychologist, (b) experiences you have had that enhance your psychology application, (c) future plans after you achieve the doctorate, etc. For those applying to the Clinical Program, carefully chronicle any job experience in the helping professions, especially any jobs relating to mental health. Include both paid and volunteer experience in these areas.
We require that you submit a paper representative of your writing abilities, preferably from an experimental psychology course, a convention paper presentation, or a manuscript submitted or accepted for publication. If one of these is not available, any paper from a psychology course will suffice. Please note, however, that the paper will be examined for evidence of both writing skills and research expertise.
One very important requirement for admission is taking the general aptitude tests of the Graduate Record Examination. Average GRE aptitude scores for our admitted students are 1100-1300 for verbal and quantitative combined. It can pay to do extensive preparatory study for these examinations. The computer based general GRE is given year-round. Please note our deadlines. Scores from November examinations often do not reach the Department until after January 1st. Registration forms can be obtained through testing offices at most universities and colleges. GRE scores will not be accepted if over five years old.
Please send your materials as soon as possible. Early submission of materials allows for early review so that if a critical item is missing we can notify you. Please submit the enclosed Graduate Student Information Form with your materials to the Psychology Department, December 1st for the clinical program and January 15th for the developmental program. Students from minority groups are actively encouraged to apply.
The Department of Psychology recognizes that students who enter graduate school typically have both the need and the desire to be self-supporting. Since our graduate training programs aim at high-level professional training, we believe that every student should be provided with adequate financial support to complete the program. The Department does not encourage graduate students to enroll in the programs while supporting themselves with a job not associated with their academic pursuits.
The Department's goal is to provide some financial support for all graduate students through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, and traineeships. The Department also helps students locate other sources which can support their graduate training. Although it is not always possible to do so, the Department is committed to the concept of student support because of the desirability of students devoting full-time attention to graduate work.
Special activities are designed to introduce students to the academic and social resources available in the Department, across campus, and in the community. Throughout the student's graduate career, the department offers support services through the Psychology Diversified Students Program, the American Indians Into Psychology Program, and the Psychology Graduate Student Association. We provide students with information about financial aid and support services within the department.
The Department of Psychology is located in North Murray near the center of the OSU campus. All students are provided with an office. The department owns a wide variety of equipment for research and instructional purposes. Laboratories are equipped with microcomputers for automatic presentation of stimuli, recording psychophysiological data and other response parameters, controlling experiments, and establishing data files. Well-equipped laboratories for comparative and physiological work are available as well. The department has a networked computer lab which access the university's IBM 9672-R32 and over 20 University Unix machines.
The department operates the Psychological Services Center, an on-campus facility for clinical work and research. The Center has equipment and facilities to accommodate a number of specialized services and functions, including biofeedback, play therapy, videotaping, direct observation of clinical work using one-way mirrors, and direct supervision through telephones placed in therapy rooms. The department maintains liaison with many off-campus organizations and agencies which provide the student with access to special populations for research as well as clinical activities.
*The APA can be contacted in writing at American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington DC 20002-4242,by telephone at 800.374.2721 and 202.336.5510, by TDD/TTY at 202.336.6123, or you can visit their website at www.apa.org.