Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What makes Widener different?

A:The significant characteristics that make our program different are:

Our exclusively-affiliated internship. 
Nationally, almost all PsyD and PhD students go through the annual Match Day in order to receive their APA-approved internship. For their internship year, students are not guaranteed the opportunity to stay in the same city where they studied. Further, because of a shortage of placements, up to 25% of students do not get APA-approved placements at all.

Widener's exclusively affiliated internship:

  • Guarantees an internship to all students in good standing.
  • Allows students to stay in the Philadelphia area.
  • Offers the opportunity to continue integrating lessons from the classroom throughout all five years.

Opportunities for training as a generalist and specialist, all in one place. 
Most of our students pursue areas of interest or certificate programs in school psychology, neuropsychology, or biofeedback. Many also complete dual degrees in law, business, criminal justice, or sexuality. These dual degree opportunities are rare, and some are indeed unique to Widener University. Psychology is an increasingly competitive field, and these specialties give Widener graduates an advantage.

These specializations, however, do not come at the expense of a comprehensive, generalist training in clinical psychology. Some students pursue specialized careers in their specialties, and some decide to work in a generalist clinical psychology setting.

Clinical work. 
Students work in the field throughout the program, beginning in the first semester. Over the course of training, students experience five different yearlong clinical placements.

Q: When did Widener's PsyD program start?

A: Our doctoral program began at Hahnemann University in 1970 and is one of the oldest accredited PsyD programs in the United States. The program transferred to Widener University in 1989.

Q: How long does the program take?

A: The program is designed to take five years, including our exclusively-affiliated APA-approved internship. PsyD/JD students complete their joint program in six years. Postdoctoral Respecialization students, who already hold a doctorate in nonclinical psychology, can complete the program in three years.

Q: How many clinical placements do students experience?

A: Students complete five year-long placements. The first three years include three practicum rotations, and the final two years are the APA-approved internship. Unlike most programs, in which students complete a separate, full-time, year-long internship, Widener's exclusively-affiliated internship allows students to continue to integrate classes and clinical work during their entire training.

Q: How many days per week would I work in the field?

A:During the first three years, students complete practicum placements, which are two days per week. The clinical placements during the last two years are half-time APA-approved internships, which are three days per week.

Q: Where are the clinical placements available?

A: Practicum and internship rotations are available throughout the greater Philadelphia area, including sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. They include hospitals, college counseling centers, prisons, specialty clinics, and many more settings.

Q: What kind of work do students do?

A:During the five years, students are required to complete a variety of placements in order to ensure a broad and comprehensive training. Students must complete rotations in therapy and assessment, adults and children/adolescents, inpatient and outpatient, as well as with at least one special needs population, e.g. children under five years old, senior citizens, or mentally retarded clients.


Q: What is the application deadline?

A: Applications, including all supporting materials, must be received by December 7.  The top candidates are invited to participate in one of four mandatory interview days, which include both an individual interview and informal sessions. 

Q: What are the application requirements?

A: Applicants must have a BA or BS degree from an accredited institution.  A major in psychology is desirable but not essential.  However, all entering students must have completed the following courses by the time they matriculate in the fall:  statistics, abnormal psychology or psychopathology, and research design or experimental psychology. 

Evaluation of an applicant's ability to do graduate work will be based on past academic performance and recent high scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). 

All applicants are required to take the GRE and the GREs must be taken within the last five years. Personal character and attributes of emotional maturity and stability, as well as a capacity for relating to and working with other people, are also major factors in reviewing the credentials of applicants. Evidence for these attributes is sought from records of past performance, letters of reference, autobiographical statement, and work history.

Q: If I already have a Masters degree do I still need to take the GRE?

A: ALL applicants are required to take the GRE in order to be considered for admission.

Only the general GRE is required but the Psychology subject test is strongly suggested as well.  To schedule an exam time, please contact Educational Testing Service (ETS). The school code for the GRE is 2642.

Q: If I already have a Masters degree will the program take 5 years to complete?

A: Yes.  Students entering the program with a Masters degree can waive matching, Masters-level courses with the approval of the faculty member.  Students can waive one course per semester, but must then take an elective or upper-level course in order to make up for the waived credits.  Please be aware that students are responsible for the content from any waived course that may be assessed in the Third Year Qualifying Examination.

Q: How do I schedule an individual meeting or sit in on a class?

A: All applicants who are being considered for admission will be invited to attend a full day event during which they will meet with faculty members and current students, as well as briefly tour Widener University's Main Campus.  However, due to various logistical complications, including the large number of calls and applications and the frequent discussion of confidential case material in class, it is not possible to honor requests for individual visits.  This includes both meetings with faculty members and attendance of a class.

Open House events are hosted by the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology throughout the calendar year and interested applicants are encouraged to attend.   

Q: What happens if I am unable to attend my scheduled interview?

A: An interview is required for admission into our program.  If for some reason an applicant is unable to attend his/her scheduled interview, advanced notice is required.  Applicants are then put back into the applicant pool and will be considered for another interview day.  Please note that there is no guarantee that an applicant will be selected for an interview a second time. 

Q: What materials need to be submitted to complete my application, and where should these materials be sent?

A: The following materials are required to ensure a complete application:

  • Completed online application
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Official GRE scores from ETS, with the exam taken within the past 5 years
  • 4 writing samples: an autobiography; Why you wish to do graduate work in Clinical Psychology; why you think Widener's Clinical Psychology program will serve your training needs; describe academic honors, publications, recent achievements or activities reflecting interest in clinical psychology.  Additional details and essay requirements can be found by clicking here.
  • $50 check or money order made payable to Widener University to cover the application fee

    All materials should be sent to:
    Widener University
    Attn: Graduate Enrollment Office, Muller Hall
    One University Place
    Chester, PA 19013


Q: What is your academic calendar?

A: PsyD required courses are offered in the fall and spring. Elective courses are available during summer sessions. Many students who complete a dual-degree complete some of their additional courses during the summer.

Q: Do students take summer courses?

A: Summer courses generally are not required, though many students choose to enroll in PsyD and dual degree courses during summer sessions.

Q: Can I attend part-time?

A: No. Because of the structure of the program, including the integration of clinical and academic work, students are only enrolled on a full-time basis.

Q: Where are classes held?

A: PsyD classes are held in Bruce Hall. Students have access to a Student Study Lounge, a social lounge and kitchenette area, vending machines, a computer lab, outdoor seating area and several classrooms.  

Q: Where do students live?

A:Students live in a variety of locations around the area, including in Philadelphia and neighboring suburbs. Because of Widener's location, students can choose among urban, suburban, and more rural areas in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. PsyD/JD students tend to live in or near Delaware in order to be closer to the law school on Widener's Wilmington campus. 

On-campus housing for graduate students is available but limited. Students interested in on-campus housing should admit an application after they have been accepted to the program."

Q: Do they have jobs?

A: Some students work, and others do not. If financially possible, it is suggested that you wait until October of your first year in order to begin a new job, so that you may get acclimated to your work load of classes and practicum.

Q: What do they do? How much do they work?

A: Students work in a variety of jobs, including administrative, research, and other positions. Some students, especially those with master's degrees, have clinical jobs as well. Students working in the field of psychology are asked to get permission from the institute before doing so.

Q: Do they really have a life outside of school?

A: Absolutely. While this is certainly a rigorous program, students and faculty understand that a life outside of graduate school is necessary. PsyD students have created the Student Forum, which organizes a variety of social events around the area, including happy hours, baseball games, a biennial photography contest, and other activities