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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

The preferred method of application is through use of the online application forms available at theUMBC Graduate School website. The online application will include both the Application for Graduate Admission and the Supplemental Application for the Human Services Psychology program. If it is impossible for an applicant to apply on line, paper copies of application materials can be obtained by contacting the Psychology Department at 410-455-2567. The application deadline is December 1.

When is the application deadline for the HSP Ph.D. Program?

The Application for Graduate Admission may mention several application deadlines as required by the Graduate School, however, the application deadline for the Human Services Psychology program isDecember 1st. All materials including the Psychology GRE and the General GRE must be received by this date. Letter of recommendation should be submitted by mid-November, well before the deadline. Please note that not all GRE test dates will allow submission of the GRE scores in time to meet the application deadline.

Is an interview required as part of the admission process?

The Human Services Psychology program does conduct in-person interviews as part of the applicant evaluation process. If you cannot interview in person, it may be possible to arrange a phone interview. Interviews will be conducted March 3 – 4, 2011.

How many students apply and are accepted each year?

Enrollment figures vary slightly from year to year. For example, for 2005, 2006, and 2007, there were 121, 126, and 122 applications, respectively. Acceptance rates for the three years were 9.1%, 11.9%, and 9.9%, respectively.

Can I apply to the program for entry in the Spring semester?

No, we only accept applications for entrance in the Fall semester.

What is the length of the program?

For students entering with a baccalaureate degree, the program is designed to take the equivalent of 5-6 years of full-time study to complete. This includes a one-year internship for clinical psychology students, which is usually taken in the student’s fifth or sixth year.

Can students pursue the Ph.D. on a part-time basis?

The program is designed to be completed on a full-time basis by all students. While there have been rare instances in which students need to pursue the requirements on a part-time basis, these instances have been associated with extenuating circumstances and need to be approved by the full HSP faculty.

Are there minimum GPA or GRE requirements?

The minimum GPA for admission is a B average, or a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. While there is no minimum score for the GRE tests, scores on any test that fall below the 50th percentile are typically cause for concern regarding the overall application. Beyond these requirements, admissions are competitive based upon scores on the Verbal, Quantitative, and Advanced Psychology tests of the Graduate Record Examination, grade point average, letters of recommendation, and any other information relevant to assessing a student’s potential for successfully completing the program.

Do I need to take the GRE Psychology subject test?

Yes. The Human Services Psychology program requires that you take the Graduate Record Examination Psychology subject test. There are no exceptions to this requirement, except when the applicant already has a Ph.D. in another area of psychology. Please note, the GRE Psychology subject test dates are limited, and some are too late for our deadline. We will accept November subject test results as long as the scores are submitted to UMBC by ETS in mid-December. Applications will not be reviewed until the Psychology GRE scores and all other materials have been received.

What materials must I submit for my application to be complete?

  1. Application for Graduate Admission
  2. Supplemental Application for the Human Services Psychology Program
  3. Application Fee ($50 for online application; $70 for paper application)
  4. Letters of Recommendation (3)
  5. GRE Scores (Including Psychology Subject Test)
  6. Official Transcripts

This information is also available from the Graduate School application checklist.

Is funding or financial aid available?

Funding is available in the form of graduate teaching and research assistantships. Support from special needs funding programs and other grants through the department and the Graduate School is also available. Loan information is available through UMBC’s Office of Financial Aid

What careers do most graduates from the HSP program pursue?

Recent graduates from our Human Services Psychology program have found initial career placements in a variety of settings which involve psychological services, teaching and research. Approximately 30 percent have moved into direct service provision in private practice settings. The majority have found employment in a variety of state and university institutions as staff psychologists, research associates and assistant professors. Recent employment settings range from Johns Hopkins University, NIH, and medical schools, to community hospitals, schools or correctional institutions.

Must I have been a Psychology major to be eligible to apply?

You do not need to have been a psychology major to apply to the program. However, ideal preparation for the Ph.D. program consists of a solid background of coursework in the realm of psychology, including coursework in statistics and research methods. A broad knowledge of mathematical, biological, and social sciences is also recommended. Psychology coursework you must have completed includes: Introductory Psychology, Abnormal Psychology (if you are pursuing the Clinical track), Psychological Statistics, and Research Methods. Recommended courses include: Personality, Physiological Psychology, and Developmental Psychology.

What does it mean for a student to pursue multiple tracks within the HSP Program (aka being a “slasher”)

Students may pursue multiple tracks within the HSP Program. These multiple track subspecialties span the differing programs and include: Clinical/Behavioral Medicine, Clinical/Community Psychology, and Behavioral Medicine/Community Psychology.

Do you offer a Master’s Degree in Psychology?

No. The Human Services Psychology program only admits students into a Ph.D. program; a Master’s degree is typically earned en route to completion of the Ph.D. The HSP Clinical, Community Psychology, and Behavioral Medicine programs are not appropriate for students who want a terminal Master’s degree. The only terminal Master’s degree offered within the HSP program is the M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis that has been developed and maintained by the UMBC Department of Psychology and the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Department of Behavioral Psychology.

Is there a Child Psychology program?

The Human Services Psychology program does include a Child Clinical specialization (concentration) within the clinical program. It is also possible to combine a Child Clinical concentration with either the Behavioral Medicine (Child Clinical/Behavioral Medicine) or Community Psychology (Child Clinical/Community) tracks.

What is the difference between the Human Services Psychology program and the Applied Developmental Psychology program (both offered through UMBC’s Psychology Department)?

The Human Services Psychology Program is an innovative, integrative conceptual structure encompassing three component specialty programs in behavioral medicine, clinical psychology, and community psychology. Within the HSP Program’s conceptual framework, these programs are regarded as differing primarily in their particular focus within the human services matrix and in how they conceive of and approach the generic problems of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of psychological and physical disorders. The Applied Developmental Psychology program encompasses three concentrations in early development/early intervention, socioemotional development of children within and across cultures, and educational contexts of development. There is flexibility both within and between concentrations. The ADP program is designed to prepare its graduates for careers as practitioner researchers concerned with the design, evaluation and improvement of ways of enhancing the quality of human life. The ADP program does not offer a degree in Clinical Psychology.

Can I apply to work with an ADP faculty member if I apply for the HSP program?

All students in the HSP program have an HSP mentor. Sometimes HSP and ADP faculty will “co-mentor” a student whose research interests match both faculty members.

About UMBC

UMBC is the fifth and newest campus of the University System of Maryland, having been established through authorization of the 1963 session of the state’s General Assembly. UMBC is located on a 477- acre site 7 miles from downtown Baltimore. The Baltimore Beltway and Interstate 95 provide convenient access to the many cultural, scientific, and professional opportunities in the Baltimore- Washington area. The 33 – building campus offers superior academic resources and facilities.

Graduate education at UMBC is offered in conjunction with the University of Maryland Graduate School, Baltimore which offers over 86 graduate degrees through the combined resources and expertise of the UMBC campus and the University’s professional school campus in downtown Baltimore. The proximity of UMBC to the Baltimore city campus provides convenient exchange of resources and talent, and development of cooperative graduate programs with the professional schools of medicine, dentistry, law, pharmacy, nursing, and social work. Emphasis on scholarly research and educational quality at UMBC is demonstrated by its position among the top five percent of arts and sciences colleges in the nation receiving NIH biomedical research funds.