Welcome to the Department of Psychology at Georgia Southern University

Psy.D. Program

Why a Georgia Southern Psy.D.?

Georgia Southern psychology faculty are dedicated to preparing students for clinical psychology work, focusing especially on clinical practice in rural settings. We work closely with students, give feedback regularly, and pride ourselves on giving students a "small school" experience in a 17,000 student university.


Most students applying to a doctoral program in psychology look for an accredited program. Newly developed programs in psychology doctoral education cannot be accredited immediately and, for this reason, you are applying to a "non-accredited program." As a new program, we must apply for accreditation in the year of completion of the first class of doctoral students. This allows the accrediting agency, the American Psychology Association, to overview the full curriculum following a full cycle of implementation. This process will also allow the first graduating class of doctoral students the opportunity to graduate from an accredited program.

The Department of Psychology has the full support of Georgia Southern University in this endeavor and is fully engaged in the preparation and evaluation process needed to secure accreditation. Georgia Southern Psychology department faculty members are actively engaged in maintaining ongoing memberships in organizations that sponsor cross-collaboration relating to building, modifying, and maintaining program fidelity. Our curriculum has been carefully designed to meet the goals and objectives set forth by accrediting bodies so that appropriate competencies are established. Faculty are engaged in processes that strengthen our involvement in the accreditation process, including attending workshops and conferences focused on accreditation preparation, serving as an accreditation program reviewer, and studying and visiting other programs that have been successfully accredited. While there are no guarantees regarding our status, we are vigorously pursuing the types of activities that lead to accreditation-granting status.


Given the ongoing demand for doctoral level training in professional psychology and the limited number of students that we will admit per year, the admission process for students is expected to be quite competitive.

Although academic background, intellectual potential and professional experience and skills will be key selection criteria, we intend to recruit students who are committed to providing service to our region. Therefore, students should carefully consider their interest in rural and underserved populations before applying to the program. Applicants will only be considered for the Psy.D. program (i.e., students will not be admitted for a terminal masters degree in clinical psychology).

Application for Advanced Standing. Students who already have a masters degree in psychology from a regionally accredited institution can apply for advanced standing in the Psy.D. program. Course equivalencies will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Any course deficiencies will need to be completed with attention to course sequences and prerequisites before a degree can be awarded.

Undergraduate Prerequisites. To be admitted to the Psy.D. program a student must earn a minimum grade of B in the following courses: Introductory Psychology, Psychological Statistics, Research Design, Abnormal Psychology. In addition, students must have taken at least two of the following courses: Personality, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning and/or Cognition, Health Psychology, Tests and Measurement, Theories of Psychotherapy, Psychology of Substance Abuse. Additional coursework in psychology and in related discipline is likely to strengthen a candidate's application.

The specific admissions procedures are as follows
  1. Applications will be evaluated once per year for Fall admissions. The deadline for applications is January 15.
  2. Applicants will submit an application packet which will consist of all material listed in the Application Checklist.
  3. An admissions committee, consisting of 5 program faculty elected by the entire program faculty, will review and rank order applications based on the criteria described below.
Admission decisions will be based upon
  1. A successful completion of a bachelors degree from a regionally accredited institution. Students' academic record will be evaluated based on official transcripts from all previous enrollments in higher education.
    • The following minimum GPA standards will be applied: Undergraduate: 3.25 (out of 4.0) Graduate: 3.5
    • A minimum grade of B in the following undergraduate courses: Introductory Psychology, Psychological Statistics, Research Design, Abnormal Psychology
    • Record of having taken at least two of the following courses: Personality, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Learning and/or Cognition, Health Psychology, Tests and Measurement, Theories of Psychotherapy, Psychology of Substance Abuse.
  2. Current (last 5 years) scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The minimum scores allowable for admission are
    • 550 (verbal)
    • 550 (quantitative)
    • 550 (psychology subject test)
  3. Three letters of recommendation from former professors or appropriate employers/advisors.
  4. A written statement of professional goals and a rationale for how the Psy.D. program will further the students' career objectives. This statement will help the committee evaluate applicants' commitment to providing professional service to the rural areas of this region, as well as their understanding of the time commitments involved in undertaking doctoral study.
  5. Based upon the recommendation of the Admissions Committee, a personal interview with applicants may be scheduled as part of the admissions process.
The Psy.D. Program Objectives convey more details about the program.

The Curriculum for the Psy.D. may be viewed here. (pdf file)

Clinical Psychology in Rural Areas

If you are interested in some of the unique challenges facing clinical psychologists in rural settings, take a moment to view Dr. Pamela Feldt's slides from her lecture on the subject. She delivered the lecture, Practicing Psychology in a Rural Setting, to Georgia Southern faculty and graduate students October 4, 2007.

Individual questions may be e-mailed to

Dr. Edward W. L. Smith (Psy.D. program director) ESmith@georgiasouthern.edu
Dr. John Murray (Department Chair) JMurray@georgiasouthern.edu