Clinical Behavioral Program Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

What do the GPA and GRE scores of admitted students look like?

3.55 [SD = 0.31; IQR = 3.35 to 3.81, range = 2.75 to 4.0]
GRE Quantitative percentile*
45 [IQR = 30 to 56, range = 6 to 99]
GRE Verbal percentile*
59 [IQR = 47 to 74, range = 2 to 98]
GRE Analytic Writing percentile*
64 [IQR = 50 to 81, range = 7 to 98]
*GRE metrics are provided for historical comparison purposes for those considering the optional submission of scores


How are applicants' files evaluated?

Applicants to the EMU Clinical Behavioral Master’s Program are evaluated in terms of GPA, clinical experience, research experience, letters of recommendation, and program fit. We review all applications and review candidates based on their total profile. We do not have any cut-off scores for metrics like GPA or the optional GRE.

We typically get between 60 and 100 applications and admit about 12 students each year. Thus, there generally is an "arms race" regarding the qualifications among the most competitive applicants. 

  • Individuals with low grades in math and statistics courses should make sure to provide additional information in the application process regarding their readiness for a graduate course in statistics (e.g., have this addressed in one of your letters of recommendation). The graduate statistics course is taken in the second year of the program and is required for graduation. Failure is an option, and we do not want to set prospective students up for failure. If you have any grade below a "B", your application materials should speak to your readiness for taking a graduate course in statistics.
  • The GRE has not been required for program admissions since 2021. As an optional element of an application, the admissions committee looks at these scores as an additional data point for your academic record. Candidates with lower GPAs and who have grades below a "B" on their transcripts (often from early in their academic journey) sometimes use GRE scores to illustrate that their quantitative skills  and other skills are consistent with readiness for graduate study. Since 2021, 11% of admitted students have elected to include GRE scores as part of their application.
  • For clinical experience, you should have some experience working clinically with one or more populations. The big function this serves it to let the admissions committee know that you have worked with clinical or otherwise vulnerable populations, have a tangible sense of what operating as a psychologist means and that when you get placed in your clinical practicum the second year of the program you will not have buyers remorse because you discover that working clinically is definitely not what you want to do. It is ok if your clinical experiences are rather modest in their duties or scope. The idea is to demonstrate that you have had adequate exposure to clinical or vulnerable populations to make an informed career decision.
  • Research experience is not required because Michigan is a terminal master’s state for applied practice as a Master's Limited Psychologist (MLP) or Licensed Behavior Analyst. That said, research experience is looked upon favorably especially if that research supports your fit with the training goals of the clinical behavioral program.
  • For program fit, your personal statement will be where you will describe your career aspirations and how the training goals of the program fit with these. If there is a bad fit, you are less competitive as a candidate.
  • Finally, you will want strong letters of recommendation from individuals with graduate degrees who can speak to your academic and clinical aptitude. Letters from research mentors are also appropriate. Letters from non-professionals or other types of character references do not carry any weight.

The American Psychological Association has a set video tutorials from the APA Graduate and Postgraduate Education resources and a second set of video tutorials from the APA Science Directorate on preparing and applying to graduate programs in psychology. These are worth reviewing as they contain advice on how to select programs and write effective application materials.

The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies also has useful supports for getting into graduate school in clinical/health services psychology. While most of these materials focus on the requirements for doctoral level training, there are great supports for preparing your application materials and thinking about your future career here.

Help me understand the differences between the Clinical Behavioral MS program and the General Clinical MS program

Both programs:

  • Prepare students for the MLP credential in the state of Michigan.
  • Support student involvement in research: you can be involved in the research labs of any faculty regardless of program affiliation.
  • Have program graduates that go on to practice in diverse areas.
  • Have program graduates that go on to doctoral programs in psychology.

Key differences

  • Clinical Behavioral program: concepts and principles grounded in behavioral science serve as the foundation for the program’s curriculum and underlie the rationale for the program’s assessment and treatment courses. The program’s course requirements are designed to give students a solid foundation for lifelong learning as scientist-practitioners.
    • The program’s course sequence meets the course content requirements for the BCBA credential. Eligibility for the BCBA credential is dependent upon meeting that credential’s practicum (supervised experience) requirements. Students of the Clinical Behavioral program are trained in the foundational competencies for working as behavior analysts.
    • The majority of the empirically supported treatments evaluated by the American Psychological Association’s Division 12, Society of Clinical Psychology are behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatments. Students of the Clinical Behavioral program are trained in the foundational competencies for CBT practice.


  • General Clinical program: this program requires two courses that focus on personality (one theory, another assessment) and has room in its curriculum for about four elective courses. The elective credits provide students in the program with more flexibility in the courses they take, but this comes with the challenge that not all elective courses are offered regularly. Contact the General Clinical program coordinator ([email protected]) to find out if the elective courses you are interested in are likely to be offered during the time you aim to be in the program. The program does not require courses that are foundational for understanding evidence-based cognitive-behavioral therapies. The program coordinator will also be able to describe to you other strengths of the program.

Comparison of required courses:

Clinical Behavioral MS
General Clinical MS
Conceptual foundations
PSY 623 Concepts and principles of behavior

PSY 646 Personality


Required therapy courses

PSY 625 Clinical behavior analysis

PSY 627 Behavioral and other evidence-based therapies

PSY 751 Interpersonal processes in psychotherapy (required)


PSY 720 Evidence-based therapies for children and adolescents


PSY 752 Evidence-based psychodynamic therapy



PSY 619 Behavioral Assessment

PSY 770 Self-report assessment of personality


PSY 771 Performance-based assessment of personality



PSY 615 Design and analysis in small-n research

PSY 620 Theoretical foundations of behavioral science

PSY 701 Supervision and management in service settings


(take electives)


3 credits

13-14 credits


Courses required for both programs

PSY 600 Psychological statistics I

PSY 670 Scientific and professional ethics

PSY 683/684 Field practicum with seminar

PSY 743 Psychopathology

PSY 762 Cognitive assessment


Other FAQ regarding choosing one program or the other: