Application Process Overview

In Brief: Admission Requirements

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

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Overall graduate GPA of 3.3 or higher
  • Coursework in general psychology, abnormal psychology, statistics, and developmental psychology
    • Applicants with an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology are exempt from this requirement

Necessary items for a complete application:

  • College of Psychology application
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Official college transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation  

Not Required but Recommended: 

  • Clinical and/or research experience
  • GRE General Test

The following are not required for application to the PsyD program:

  • An undergraduate degree in psychology
  • GRE Psychology Subject Test
  • Master's Degree in psychology  

Applications for Fall 2018 will be accepted on a rolling basis through August 24, 2018.

All application materials must be submitted by this date to be considered for Fall 2018 enrollment.

Application Process

CNU College of Psychology follows the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology Guidelines for Graduate School Offers and Acceptances.

1. Complete the online application.

2. Applicants will be notified by email and subsequent written communication if they have been selected for invitation to attend an onsite interview. Skype interviews are available for applicants who are unable to travel to the Elk Grove campus. Applicants who have not been selected for interview will also be notified that their application is no longer being considered. 

3. Interviews will take place at the CNU College of Psychology campus in Elk Grove, CA. Interviewees will also receive a campus tour.

4. Offers of admission and notice of alternate status will be sent by email and subsequent written communication. 


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, and a graduate GPA of no less than 3.3 (if applicable).

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 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 scores

- Scholarly publications

- Other indicators of academic potential

 Please complete the form below and email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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:

- General Psychology

- Developmental Psychology

- Abnormal Psychology

- Statistics

Applicants who have an undergraduate or graduate degree in psychology are exempt from this requirement. 


The following are not required but are strongly encouraged:


Clinical 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, 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:


Application Form: The online application form is available here.


Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV): Upload a resume or CV that lists all employment, training, and any volunteer work relevant to the field of psychology.


Personal statement: Submit short essay answers to each of the following questions:

(maximum 400 words per question)

  1. Why do you want to be a psychologist?
  2. Tell us about an event or experience that changed how you view yourself or how you view the world. How did this event or experience change your views and why?
  3. Imagine looking at something meaningful to you. It can be a place, object, person, memory...anything...Share why this chosen object/person/memory is meaningful to you.


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 CNU College of Psychology at the following address:

California Northstate University 
College of Psychology 
9700 W. Taron Dr. 
Elk Grove, CA 95757


Letters of Recommendation: We require three (3) letters of recommendation from individuals who are familiar with your character and abilities, and who can attest to your potential to succeed in a rigorous clinical training program. Suitable recommenders may include professors, supervisors, mentors, community leaders, business associates, or colleagues. At least one letter should be from an academic source, such as a professor. These letters should be sent directly to the CNU College of Psychology at the following address:

California Northstate University 
College of Psychology
9700 W. Taron Dr. 
Elk Grove, CA 95757


Application Fee: An application processing fee of $50 will be charged to submit your application. 


GRE Test Scores: The GRE is optional but strongly encouraged. 

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.


International Students:

Please note: At this time, the College of Psychology can only enroll students who are permanent residents of the United States or United States citizens. 

For students whose first language is not English, CNU College of Psychology requires a demonstrated proficiency in English. Either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) qualify as measures of English language proficiency.

International transcripts must be evaluated and/or translated for U.S. equivalency. Applicants can request evaluation through the PSYCAS system. Evaluation and translation are performed by private entities for a separate fee and require official transcripts.

The State of California publishes the following list of evaluation/translation services:  


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 judgement 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.