How to Apply

Important: The CNU College of Psychology uses PSYCAS, a centralized application portal for graduate psychology programs. All applications materials should be submitted through the PSYCAS portal, which can be accessed by following this link:

Application Timeline

Applications are accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis, and offers of admission are made throughout the winter and spring until available spaces in the following year’s cohort are filled.

Application Process

  1. Create an account at PSYCAS – APA’s centralized application portal.
  2. Select California Northstate University College of Psychology from the list of available programs. (PSYCAS charges a standard fee of $65 to apply to one program through their portal and $35 for each additional program)
  3. Follow instructions through the PSYCAS portal to complete your online application, making sure to include each of the application materials described below.
  4. Review and submit your application.
  5. Upon review by the Admissions Committee, applicants will be notified by email of their application status.
  6. Interviews will take place at the CNU College of Psychology campus in Elk Grove, CA. Interviewees will also receive a campus tour.
  7. Offers of admission and notices of alternate status will be sent by email.

*Please make sure to check junk mail throughout the application process. Correspondences from CNU will arrive from


Applicants to the Psy.D. Program must meet the following requirements:

Undergraduate Degree: An undergraduate degree in any subject from an accredited college or university is required to attend the Psy.D. Program at CNU. We do not require a BA, BS, or Master’s degree in psychology.

Minimum GPA: We require an undergraduate GPA of no less than 3.0 or a graduate GPA of no less than 3.3.

GPA Exemption Petition – Applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement may submit a petition for exemption if they feel that extenuating circumstances have adversely impacted previous academic performance. Petitions should include a brief personal statement explaining the factors involved and the reasons why an exemption from the GPA requirement should be considered. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit supplemental documentation demonstrating academic ability and previous intellectual/academic achievement. Examples include: GRE score, scholarly publications, other indicators of academic potential

 Please complete the form below and email to

GPA Exemption Request Form

Coursework: Applicants are required to have completed at least 3 units in each of the following courses (or equivalents) before beginning classes at CNU (applicants who have an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology are exempt from this requirement):

– General Psychology

– Developmental Psychology

– Abnormal Psychology

– Statistics

The following are not required, but are encouraged:

Clinical, Volunteer, and/or Research Experience: While not required, preference is given to applicants with demonstrated interest in the field (e.g. volunteer work, community outreach, crisis line work, ABA experience, counseling, case management, research/lab assistant experience, etc.).

Graduate Records Exam (GRE): We encourage applicants to take the GRE general test (the psychology subject test is not necessary). GRE scores provide our admissions committee with valuable information concerning aptitude and preparedness for graduate-level coursework.

 The CNU College of Psychology institutional code is 4045. Enter this code on the ETS website to electronically send your GRE scores directly to CNU College of Psychology.


Application Materials:

The following materials should be submitted through PSYCAS, not directly to the CNU Admissions Office. 

Application Form: The application form should be submitted through the PSYCAS online application portal.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV): Follow instructions within the PSYCAS portal to upload a resume or CV that lists all employment, training, and any volunteer work relevant to the field of psychology.

Personal statement: Personal statement: Follow instructions within the PSYCAS portal to upload a personal statement of no more than 1,200 words. Your personal statement should tell us: something about who you are as a person and what makes you tick; your interest in the field of psychology; defining experiences, circumstances, or relationships that have had a substantive impact on your intellectual and/or psychological development (or that have shaped your desire to become a psychologist); your professional and/or academic goals.

Official Transcripts: Transcripts from undergraduate and graduate institutions attended must be sent directly from the institution, even if a degree was not awarded. Official transcripts should be mailed by the issuing institution directly to the PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center. Request forms are made available by the PSYCAS service during the application completion process.

Letters of Recommendation: We require three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with your abilities and potential to succeed in a rigorous clinical training program. Follow the instructions within the PSYCAS portal to send requests to your references for letters of recommendation.

Application Fee: PSYCAS charges a standard application processing fee of $65 for the first program application, and $35 for each additional program application. The APA offers a fee waiver for students who qualify.

GRE Test Scores: The GRE is optional but strongly encouraged. Scores should be submitted following instructions in the PSYCAS application portal.

The CNU College of Psychology institutional code is 4045. Enter this code on the ETS website to electronically send your GRE scores directly to CNU College of Psychology.


Admissions Interviews:

Individuals who have provided information indicating that they have met the minimum application requirements (minimum GPA and prerequisite coursework) will be considered for admissions interviews.

We strongly recommend that applicants attend admissions interviews in-person at our campus in Elk Grove, CA. Visiting the school allows applicants to meet and speak with our current students, faculty, and administrators; and to better assess the facilities, culture, and goodness of fit. Students for whom travel is not possible will be granted interviews via telephone or Skype.


International Students:

We are excited to announce that the College of Psychology is now able to accept international applicants.

International Coursework: If the student has attended an international university with instruction in a language other than English, they must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining a score above 80 on the TOEFL or a score of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS. If transcripts are in a language other than English, they must be translated before review. A request for such services can be made through the PSYCAS system.

Results of English language proficiency tests may be mailed to the following address:

California Northstate University
College of Psychology
2525 West Taron Court, STE 100
Elk Grove, CA 95757
United States of America

International transcripts must be evaluated and/or translated for U.S. equivalency. Applicants can request an evaluation through the PSYCAS system.

Learn about Studying in the United States

Find information for F and M international students

Read the latest Study in the States blog posts

Use tools that help throughout the international student life cycle


Policy Concerning Withdrawal of Admissions Offers:

CNU College of Psychology reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission if:

  1. You make false statements in your application materials
  2. Your academic performance drops significantly or you fail to earn an undergraduate degree prior to beginning classes at CNU.
  3. You engage in behavior prior to matriculation that violates legal, professional, or ethical standards or otherwise raises concerns about judgment and integrity.

CNU College of Psychology does not discriminate based on race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status.

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