Applying to the Program

The program admits up to 8 students per year, typically out of a pool of between 60-110 applicants. As such, the application process is competitive. We accept students in the fall only, and each cohort of students works closely together over the two-year program. Because of our program size we do not offer part time admission into the program.

In line with our Training Philosophy, we very much value unique life experiences, diverse backgrounds, and varied clinical practice experiences when we evaluate applicants to the program. Because incoming students begin clinical training within weeks of starting the program, our program requires that incoming students have at least a year (preferably more) of clinical practice experiences. These experiences may include any paid or non-paid position that involves supporting the mental health of individuals, children, or families either in-person or remotely in the form of hot-lines (i.e. suicide prevention, child abuse prevention, crisis lines) or warm-lines (i.e., Friendship line for elderly individuals, parenting support). Clinical experience that is solely gained through text-based modalities is not adequate. The Clinical Psychology Program no longer requires the GRE exam.

We do require the following upper-division undergraduate coursework (preferably before applying to the program): Statistics, Theories of Personality, and Abnormal Psychology.

In addition to our traditional clinical training program (i.e., Clinical Focus), we now have opportunities available for up to 2 trainees per year to engage in clinical research training (i.e., Clinical/Research Focus). We require that applicants interested in this focus area additionally have at least one year of research experience. Those interested in the Clinical/Research Focus should indicate that preference clearly within their application essay, as well as specify with which clinical research mentor (or mentors) he/she would be most interested in working. More information on the research mentors and their areas of research can be found via this link.

Applications are due on February 1. Details are in the department application materials or in the Admission FAQ. You can also write or call the Graduate Services Liaison, Department of Psychology, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132.Phone: 415-338-2713; email:

Important note:  All trainees in our program work at a community-based placement during their time in the program. To be able to work at this placement (and most community-based placements), trainees must pass a background check (e.g., fingerprinting, review of criminal history). If you have concerns about passing this background check, you may want to consult with our clinical director (David Gard, We understand that having a criminal history should not preclude you from working in a clinical placement (or from getting your license), but want to make sure that you are aware of limitations that exist in many placements and also with the Board of Behavioral Sciences. Specifically, an inability to pass the background check may jeopardize your ability to participate in the program’s training sequence.