How to Prepare for a PhD Clinical Psychology Interview

Written by david koenig
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How to Prepare for a PhD Clinical Psychology Interview
(James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Clinical psychologists take the principles of psychology and apply them in practical situations for the care and treatment of patients. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they "are concerned with assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders." The U.S. considers a clinical psychologist a medical professional, and she will often find employment in a hospital, private practice or other health care facility. An independent clinical psychologist should have a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Once accepted for a university interview, follow a few steps to make the best impression and secure success.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Research the university and the psychology department thoroughly. Examine the website for the department to find out the exact requirements of the clinical psychology Ph.D. The interviewers will want to know why you chose their university and what appealed to you about the contents of the course. Knowing something about the psychologists on staff—details of their research work and publications, for example—will help.

  2. 2

    Research and rehearse interview questions for a clinical psychology Ph.D. program. Interviewers may ask why psychology interests you, why you think you will enjoy working with patients, and your views on the value of psychotherapy tests such as the Rorschach test. Give honest opinions, showing that you have a wide background knowledge as well as a good mind for analysis and interpretation.

  3. 3

    Practice an interview with a friend, colleague or mentor who knows something about the field of clinical psychology. Because clinical psychology involves caring for individuals, the interviewers want to see evidence of social skills. Practice making eye contact, speaking clearly and controlling your nerves to present yourself as someone who gets on with others easily.

  4. 4

    Dress smartly and arrive on time. A clinical psychologist must show she can organise herself and present a professional appearance, as the job comes with heavy demands and potential stress. Show the interviewers you suit this type of role.

  5. 5

    Organise supporting documents such as degree certificates and evidence of experience, so that you can present them at a moment's notice during the interview.

  6. 6

    Take time to relax and think before the interview. Remind yourself why you chose psychology and what you would like to achieve through your career as a clinical psychologist. Having these things at the front of your mind will help you answer interview questions in a way that reflects your personal values and goals.

Tips and warnings

  • Breathing exercises will help you control your nerves on the day of the interview.

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