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Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Overview

Rosemead’s Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology program offers an integrated approach to the study of human behavior by bringing together the Christian faith and study of psychology. Those enrolled in the Ph.D. program are interested in combining clinical work with other psychological competencies, such as teaching and research. Research training in Rosemead's Ph.D. program is strong in selected areas of ongoing faculty research. Thus the Ph.D. is particularly appropriate for students who desire both to develop quality clinical skills and research skills related to clinical practice. The program has been accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) since 1980.

There are several key advantages to enrolling in Rosemead’s Ph.D. program in clinical psychology, such as

  • Receive strong training in research and clinical skills to apply to clinical practice, research or teaching.
  • Learn from distinguished Christian psychologists and philosophers, with a student-faculty ratio of 5:1.
  • Earn a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology after the first two years of the Ph.D. program, pending fulfillment of all degree requirements.

For more reasons to choose Rosemead School of Psychology for your education, see the Why Rosemead? page.

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Professional Licensure

Please visit the Professional Licensure page to see the states for which Biola University meets the educational requirements for the professional licensure program you are interested in.


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Courses

What will I study as a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology student?

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology is a rigorous doctoral program that involves extensive coursework, research, a clinical internship and a dissertation.

View the full program structure and requirements

Admissions & Deadlines

As a Christian institution, Biola seeks to admit applicants whose backgrounds clearly demonstrate scholarly aptitude, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, personal character and integrity, and a positive service-oriented motivation toward their field of study. Biola does not discriminate on the basis of the applicant's race, color, sex, socio-economic status, disability, or national or ethnic origin.

Education and GPA Requirements

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with an average grade of at least a "B" (minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale).
  • Note: If you do not meet the degree or GPA requirements above, you may still be considered for admission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions office at graduate.admissions@biola.edu. If you are an international student, contact grad.international@biola.edu.

Prerequisites

  • Applicants with a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology (or a closely-related field) — No prerequisite courses required
  •  Applicants with a bachelor's or master's degree in an unrelated field — Achieve a passing grade (C- or better) in five basic psychology courses (15 credits total)
    • Four required courses in:
      • General Psychology (introductory course)
      • Statistics in Psychology
      • Experimental Psychology (or Research Methods)
      • Abnormal Psychology
    • One additional course in any of the following (or related coursework):
      • Theories of Personality
      • Cognitive Psychology
      • Social Psychology
      • Developmental Psychology
      • Physiological Psychology
      • Multicultural Psychology

GRE Test Scores

  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing) are required from a test taken within the last five years. Competitive scores based on the score scale for the revised GRE are 308 (you are not required to take the GRE subject test in psychology).

English Proficiency Requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you are required to display your English proficiency before admittance into a Biola University graduate program. See “English Proficiency” in the application steps section below.

Important Dates and Deadlines

Deadline Type Date
Early Action Deadline November 1 ($65 application fee is waived; use code: RSMDEARLY23)
Regular Deadline December 1
Information SessionsSeptember-March
*PhD/PsyD General Information Session and Faculty & Student Panels. Please RSVP under the News & Events tab.
Interviews Will take place in January and February
Admissions Decisions Decisions will be made by the end of March

Visit Biola

Explore our sunny Southern California campus in person or virtually. Learn more about your program of interest and the admissions process by scheduling an appointment with an admissions counselor.

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Virtual Tour

Meet Your Admissions Counselor

If you have more questions about the program, admissions process or Biola in general, schedule a phone call or send an email to your admissions counselor.

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Photo of Arianna Kokol
Arianna Kokol

Email: arianna.kokol@biola.edu
Text or Call: (562) 564-6688
Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

International Graduate Admissions Counselor

The Office of International Admissions serves students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Email: grad.international@biola.edu
Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

Application Steps

  1. Complete and submit the online application

  2. Submit a non-refundable $65 application fee

  3. Submit supplemental application materials through your online application portal:

  4. Official Transcripts

    • Submit all official transcripts from previous academic institutions.
      • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
      • If enrolled at the time the application is filed, be sure to request transcripts of work finished to date and final transcripts upon completion of your course of study.
      • Transcripts will be considered official only when a) mailed directly from the institution to Biola, b) sent electronically through an approved vendor or c) physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.
        • Mail transcripts to:
          Biola University Office of Graduate Admissions
          13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639
    • Note for International Students: All international transcripts need U.S. grade equivalencies noted (i.e. GPA on a 4.0 scale). If your transcripts do not show U.S. grade equivalencies, you must have them evaluated by a credential evaluation agency like SpanTran (Biola Discount), World Education Services (WES) or Foundation for International Services (FIS). Be sure to choose "course by course report" and have SpanTran/WES/FIS send them directly to Biola University via online portal or post (13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639) in order to be considered official.

    Four Reference Letters

    • Pastoral reference (should be written by a pastor, spiritual director, a ministry/church leader, or a bible study/small group leader)
    • Character reference (can be written by anyone except a family member)
    • Two academic references (should be written by a faculty member)
    • Note: Additional instructions can be found in the online application.

    Essays

    • Note: The essay prompts can be found in the online application.

    Resume or CV

    • A copy of your resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    English Proficiency (required for non-native English speakers)

    • Evidence of English proficiency is required for all students to support student success. Proficiency must be shown through one of the methods described below:
      • Minimum test score on a qualifying standardized test
        • TOEFL: minimum score of 100 iBT
        • IELTS: minimum score of 7.5
        • Duolingo: minimum score of 125
      • A degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) issued by an institution where English is the medium of instruction.
        • Official written communication from the institution (Registrar, Controller of Examinations Office, or Undergraduate College)
        • Official degree statements or transcripts may be accepted given English is stated as the medium of instruction
        • Official catalog verification
        • Note: For universities from non-Anglophone countries, further language assessment may be required.
      • Completion of the English Language Scholars (ELS) with passing status on the ELS's final exit exam, which must be approved by the ELS Director in collaboration with the academic program committee. An updated TOEFL or IELTS score may be used at the end of a term to test directly into the graduate program for the following term.
      • Qualify for English Language Scholars (ELS), which allows students who do not meet the minimum TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores to still enroll in their graduate degree program. Students would be taking academic English courses concurrently with the graduate degree program courses. 
        • Students eligible for ELS will be assessed by the ELS Director to determine the total number of academic English courses to take while enrolled in their graduate program courses. The following are the scores needed to qualify for ELS: TOEFL iBT 90 / IELTS 7.0 / Duolingo 110–124.
        • Note: Students must be admitted to the graduate program first to be considered for ELS.
  5. Interview with a faculty member (will take place in January and February)

  6.  

    Things to Note

    • Track your application status at any time. You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can complete a portion and finish at a later time. Your information will be saved. When you apply, to guarantee confidentiality, you will be asked to create a user name and a password, and will receive a personalized identification number. Track your application status by logging in to the online application.
    • Our admissions committee will carefully review your application. All those who are considered for acceptance will be placed in a group to be interviewed and ranked before the end of March. At that time, we will offer a limited number of acceptances to the highest-ranking applicants. A limited number of applicants will be placed on the waiting list for each program. When there are no further opportunities to be placed in the program, all applicants will be notified.
    • Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student’s academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.
    • International students who will be studying on campus are required to apply for an F-1 student visa. For more information, visit biola.edu/international/admitted-students.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Biola is committed to help make your studies affordable — each school offers different scholarship, grant and loan opportunities to help finance your education.

Tuition Per Term (2024‑25) The block tuition rate for students per term (12–16 credits)$16,945
Total Program Tuition (Estimated) Based on total program credits and 2024‑25 cost per term$149,210

Faculty


FAQs

General

What are the differences between clinical psychology and pastoral counseling programs?

A clinical psychology program prepares you for licensure and working in all kinds of environments with all kinds of clients. A pastoral counseling program prepares you for working in a church setting using Bible-based counseling. Rosemead has two doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology:

Can someone be accepted into one of the programs and switch later to the other program?

Applicants should think NOW about which program they want. Prospective students can apply to one or both programs; if they apply to both, they can rank their first and second choice. 

Cons to switching programs after acceptance:

  1. Requires another application process and is not guaranteed approval
  2. Adds another year to the student’s program
  3. Hurts Rosemead’s attrition rate with APA (American Psychological Association).

Do you have time to work at Rosemead? What do teaching/work opportunities look like?

The amount of time to work off-campus will vary depending on the semester as well as individual commitments and practicum schedules. The program has many commitments that extend beyond courseload, including clinical practica, consultation groups and research requirements. As such, any time spent working will need to be on a part-time basis and scheduled around the requirements of the Rosemead schedule. Many students find about 10-15 hours per week to be feasible alongside school requirements.

There are various opportunities for employment within Rosemead that are often easier to incorporate into students’ busier schedules than external jobs. There are numerous opportunities to work as a Teaching Assistant (TA), which can include grading coursework and/or leading small groups of students in a “lab” format. Further into the program, there are opportunities to work as a Staff Therapist at the Biola Counseling Center (which involves carrying a caseload of 7 clients) as well as teaching an undergraduate course, as available.

What kind of housing is available?

Limited off-campus housing options are available through the graduate housing office at Biola (562-944-0351, ext. 5814). Apply early for a better chance at getting in.

Explore Grad & Family Student Housing

Program

What are the main differences between the Psy.D. program and Ph.D. program?

The two programs are approximately 75% the same. The Psy.D. program is more clinically-focused (practitioner-scholar model). Requirements include six lab courses, one additional testing course and a dissertation. 

The Ph.D. program is more research-focused (scholar-practitioner model). Requirements include four lab courses, two more research courses, an M.A. project and a dissertation.

Learn more about the differences between the Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs

Do you have a master's program?

Rosemead does not offer a terminal master's program. The Psy.D. and Ph.D. students are awarded the master's degrees after successful completion of two years of the program and other requirements. Committing to Rosemead is a commitment to obtain a doctoral degree.

How long does it take to complete the Psy.D. or Ph.D. program?

Typically, it takes a student five years to complete either program (four years of coursework and practica experience, and a year-long internship). However, when certain competencies are not met within the designated time, for whatever reason, a student’s time in the program may be prolonged.

Do you offer any specialization tracks?

No. Rosemead's main focus in training clinical psychologists is to provide the skills needed for general clinical psychological services. Our students gain experience in a wide variety of clinical services with a wide variety of clientele. Specialization in the field is usually gained after the doctorate, and even after the license is obtained. Our students gain the broad training to be competent therapists; our alumni specialize in many different facets of service.

Students desiring to focus their professional practice on a particular population or area of emphasis (e.g. children/families, neuropsychology) can take elective courses in these particular areas, as well as apply for practicum experiences in those areas over the course of the program. Students may also write their dissertations or doctoral research papers in a preferred area or population.

When do students start seeing therapy clients and how many? What types of clinical work do students do while at Rosemead?

Students start seeing therapy clients in the second semester of their first year at the Biola Counseling Center (BCC) during the Pre-practicum experience. At this point, students will see one volunteer academic client. 

The following year, students will be placed at two practicum sites (i.e., a school site and at the BCC). At the school site, practicum students will work with many students giving psychological assessments, and at the BCC, students will hold a caseload maximum of three undergraduate students as well as conduct bi-weekly intake assessments. 

During the third and fourth years, there are many practicum opportunities in which students can complete psychological assessments or conduct psychotherapy. It will depend on the practicum site regarding how many clients students see every week (could be up to 10+ clients). Most practicum sites require students to be on-site from 15-25 hours per week. Some examples of practicum placements include university counseling centers (UCC), inpatient and outpatient hospitals, VAs, jails, and prisons. 

During the internship year, students complete a full-time, year-long internship.

What does research look like at Rosemead?

Research at Rosemead is a highly individualized experience and thus can be represented in a variety of ways. Ph.D. students are required to complete a master’s thesis and dissertation, and Psy.D. students are required to complete a dissertation or doctoral paper. 

In the Fall semester of the first year of the program, a research colloquium is held so students can be made aware of the variety of research interests each faculty member maintains. Students then have the opportunity to forge relationships with faculty members who align with their own research interests, creating a synergistic and collaborative research environment. 

Further, there are a few research groups you can join, typically related to the subject matter you are researching (e.g., Women’s Studies). These may meet on a regular basis to encourage continued growth in research as a competency as well as give the opportunity to support other students in their research endeavors. 

There are times as well where faculty have been awarded grants to conduct research, and students may participate in completing those research projects.

Can you talk about diversity and multicultural training at Rosemead?

Our goal and desire in this program is to train graduate students who are not only equipped with the skills to work with diverse populations, but the heart to do so in order to create lasting impact in the world in the present and beyond. This is part of the integrative nature of our program, not just the integration of psychology and theology, but of heart and mind.

We offer three core and specific courses on multicultural processes and application in clinical settings, all of which are taught by professors with culturally diverse backgrounds and experiences. More so, our training in diversity is a step-wise iterative process that spans throughout the entirety of your time in the program in a variety of settings.

In the first year in the program, students are required to take a Seminar in Multicultural Issues. This course is designed to help students gain awareness of their personal biases and position themselves with cultural humility while developing sensitivity to differences between and within various culture groups. The course covers a broad range of multicultural topics including race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability/disability, class, and religion, all with an intersectional lens on identity in keeping with APA’s multicultural guidelines.

In the second year in the program, students are required to attend what are called Multicultural Grand Case Presentations where a licensed clinician presents a clinical case with myriad cultural layers. In the first half of the presentation, the clinician presents their case. In the second half of the presentation, the clinician dialogues with two of our clinical faculty regarding specific aspects of the case, whether related to process or other multicultural case-related content. These presentations are positively received by students as they give insight into how to begin applying multicultural training to clinical work.

In the third year, students are required to take a course entitled Multicultural Issues in Clinical Psychology. This course aims to further increase students’ multicultural competence in working with clients from various cultural backgrounds. As students are often in very diverse practicum settings during this year, attention is given to direct clinical application of multicultural training to students’ clinical experiences. 

In addition to the required courses that are specific to multicultural issues, multicultural content and consideration of culture and diversity is taught, encouraged, and practiced in all of our courses in the program, whether it be in a clinical, professional, or personal context. Further, many of our practicum sites give ample opportunity for students to obtain diverse clinical experience and the relevant supervision experience that will build upon the classroom training they receive. Each of our program hurdles (e.g., second year evaluation, third year comprehensive exams, fourth year professional qualifying exams) require that students reach multicultural benchmarks in order to move along in the program.

Finally, we also have a committee dedicated to the advancement of cultural responsiveness at Rosemead. This committee is made up of various faculty and a student-elected student representative. This committee hosts events each semester dedicated to the advancement of diversity training opportunities in a variety of domains.

Are Teaching Assistant positions available (TAships)?

Yes, TAships are available, though not guaranteed. A student is welcome to apply to available TAships beginning the second year of their program. A number of TAships are available to help students gain experience and supplement income each year.

Will this program prepare me for state licensure?

Rosemead's APA-accredited degree programs and connections with APA-accredited internship sites meet most, if not all, state licensure requirements. The education you receive at Rosemead will also prepare you to take and pass the licensing exams most states require. Check with your state's board of psychology for more specific information.

Does Rosemead teach conversion therapy?

We recognize that it is commonly assumed that faith-based psychology programs teach conversion therapy. Rosemead School of Psychology and Biola Counseling Center do not teach or practice conversion therapy for same-sex oriented individuals. However, we believe that individuals who seek psychological treatment in order to process any incongruent feelings, beliefs, behavior and attitudes between their sexual orientation and religious convictions should be treated with respect to these differences in a client-centered approach.

The faculty at Rosemead School of Psychology take seriously our mission of producing graduates who can integrate both the science and practice of psychology with Christian theology, and who are prepared to meet the psychological needs of the world in general, and the Christian community specifically, through professional service and scholarship. Our goal is to integrate faith and practice in a way that dignifies all people as image bearers of God. We believe that Scripture provides the greatest insight into the human condition. This is why the integration of theology and psychology is important in training psychologists to understand their role in partnering with God in his redemptive work in an individual’s life and the Spirit’s guidance in their practice.

Admissions

What is the application process/timeline?

  • Early application deadline is November 1.
  • Final application deadline is December 1.
  • Interviews are conducted in January and February.

In March, the Admissions Committee reads and reviews each application. As per APA guidelines: Decision letters/offers are sent out by April 1. Those who receive an offer must respond by April 15.

Approximately ⅓ of offers are for the Ph.D. program, ⅔ of offers are for the Psy.D. program. Classes begin in the fall semester.

How can I make my application more competitive?

Along with test scores, GPA and references, let the admissions committee get to know you by constructing well-written and authentic essays. Research experience and other extracurricular involvement in the field of psychology should be noted on the application. Any kind of work or volunteer experience in the human services field will be helpful. Noting involvement in church ministry and activities is also beneficial.

What are the acceptance rates?

Out of about 150 applicants every year, about 40 are accepted (25%) and 25–30 of those decide to attend Rosemead.

What is the process and requirements for transferring in units from another program?

If a student has previous graduate coursework that they would like to transfer in, credits are able to be transferred as long as they received a B or higher. However, there is no guarantee that courses will be approved. Typically, the amount of transfer credits allotted is determined after admission, sometime during the first semester. This is because the Director of Doctoral Programs goes through the syllabi of the courses to determine if they fulfill the necessary competencies needed, which can be a time-consuming process. Transferring in units will not shorten the length of the program but may lighten the student’s unit load.

  • Students coming in with an M.A. degree can sometimes transfer in psychology electives. Courses in ethics, psychotherapy labs, or diagnosis/testing often cannot be transferred in.
  • Students coming in with theology credits may be able to transfer some of these in.

What are Rosemead’s tuition and fees?

See Rosemead Tuition & Costs page to view the current year’s tuition rates and fees.

  • Students typically take 12–16 credits per semester for four years (8 semesters).
  • Required summer units: 6 credits after the first year and 3 credits after the second year. Students should set aside money for summer tuition.
  • The Personal Growth Fee acts as a “savings account” to help pay for didactic therapy.
  • Students pay the internship fee during their internship year (two semesters) instead of tuition.

What kinds of scholarships are available?

All incoming students receive some scholarship dollars upon entry. All students are eligible each year to receive further funding. These are need-based scholarships and require completion of a scholarship application. Rosemead scholarships can only be used towards tuition. 

The Financial Aid Office also awards scholarships. Explore Rosemead's Scholarships and Aid page.

Additional Information

Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data

Find admissions and outcome data for our Ph.D. program through the report below.

Download the PDF Report

Biola Graduate Community Standards

Commission on Accreditation

For questions related to the program’s accredited status, please direct them to the Commission on Accreditation.

Compare the Ph.D. and Psy.D.

Discover which of Rosemead’s two doctoral programs is the best fit for you.

Compare the programs

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Format

On Campus: You'll study in person at Biola University's campus in Southern California.

Total Credits

Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.

Cost Per Term

This is the cost for Fall/Spring terms for students taking 12-16 credits.

Standard Completion Time

This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary depending on transferred coursework and preferred courseload.

Accreditation

Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.