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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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PhD Program in Clinical Health Psychology

Apply to the Program

PhD Admissions

Application Deadline: December 1

2016 Interview Dates: February 4-5, February 18-19

Questions about the online application:

Questions about the CHP Program and admissions

Admission to CU Denver's Clinical Health Psychology PhD Program is competitive with an average of 5 students admitted each year. Students in the program receive the highest quality training and mentoring as well as financial assistance. Minimum requirements for admission include a BA or BS from an accredited college or university, GPA of 3.5, valid GRE scores (within 5 years of the year in which the exam was taken) and undergraduate courses in Introductory Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods, and Abnormal Psychology. The program does not disqualify applicants on the basis of scores alone, but the average scores of all students in the CHP program may be useful for potential applicants:

Average GPA (undergraduate or graduate):  3.69

Average GRE Verbal score: 158.5 (78.1 percentile)

Average GRE Quantitative score: 152.2 (52.4 percentile)

Average Analytical Writing score: 4.6 (65.6 percentile)

We strongly value diversity and encourage members of underrepresented groups to apply. The admissions committee looks favorably on courses in the biological and physical sciences, demonstrated interest and/or experience in health psychology research and clinical work, interest in a scientist-practitioner model of training and career, and interpersonal skills and abilities that are suitable for teaching, research, and clinical work in psychology. For statistics on students that have been accepted into the program in the past and their progress, click on the "Program Data: Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data" tab on the left hand side of this page. 

Applicants are asked to identify at least one to three core faculty members (see list below) within the Clinical Health Psychology Program as a potential research mentor. Incoming students have one primary research mentor although opportunities for collaboration exist across mentors and their research labs. Because we use this method of training, the degree of compatibility between your interests and those of core faculty mentors is a very important consideration with regard to admission.

Each year many applicants who exceed the minimum requirements are not selected for admission. Whereas the admissions committee considers all applicants with excellent academic credentials, research potential and clinical interest or experience, successful applicants are those who also best demonstrate an excellent fit with our program and faculty in their applications and interviews.

Core Faculty

Elizabeth Allen, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Couples Functioning & Health, Military Marriage, Relationship Education, Infidelity

Edward Dill, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Clinical Child and Adolescent (Pediatric) Psychology, Psychological Assessment, Quantitative Methods, Health-Related Quality of Life, Psychosocial Correlates of Health, Victimization and Bullying

Kevin Everhart, Ph.D. Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Clinical Psychology, Psychological Assessment, Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology, Infant Mental Health

Jim Grigsby, Ph.D.Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Neuropsychology, Cognitive Neuroscience

Kristin Kilbourn, Ph.D.Associate Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Stress and Health, Psychosocial Oncology, Palliative Care, Psychoimmunology, Caregiver Stress

Krista W. Ranby, Ph.D.Assistant Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Relationship Partners and Health Behavior, Smoking, Physical Activity, Social Psychology, Quantitative Methods
Kevin Masters, Ph.D.Professor & Clinical Health Psychology Program Director. Expertise: Spirituality & Health, Cardiovascular Disorders, Exercise
Jonathan Shaffer, Ph.D., Ph.D., M.S., Assistant Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Behavioral Cardiology, Geriatric Cardiology, Meta-analysis, Psychometrics
Barbara Walker, Ph.D.Clinical Professor of Psychology, Coordinator of Clinical Training, & Director of the Psychology Clinic. Expertise: Clinical Health Psychology, Chronic Pain, Integrated Primary Care, Processes of Evidence-Based Psychology Practice, and Chronic Disease Management
Affiliated Faculty

Mitchell Handelsman, Ph.D.Professor of Psychology & CU President's Teaching Scholar. Expertise: Ethics, Teaching

Peter Kaplan, Ph.D.Professor & Chair. Expertise: Postpartum depression and child development



How Do I Apply?

Applying to the CHP Program involves completing an Online Application, Personal Statement and Supporting Materials. More information about the Personal Statement and Supporting Materials is provided below.

Personal Statement

In the Personal Statement, applicants provide the names of the faculty members with whom they would like to work and answers to three key questions. The admissions committee pays close attention to the Personal Statement. 

Applicants can fill out the Personal Statement Template below and upload it into the online application, or they can directly input the same information into the space provided for the Personal Statement in the online application. 

Personal Statement Template 2014.pdfPersonal Statement Template 2014.pdf

Supporting Materials

Supporting materials are submitted electronically by the issuing organization or uploaded to the online application.

  • Resume or Curriculum Vita: Include education, employment, publications, theses, research and other activities related to clinical health psychology
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three, at least two of which must be academic references, are required. Recommenders can upload them to the online application or email them to
  • Transcripts: One official transcript from each college and university attended.       Address for standard mail: The Graduate School, University of Colorado Denver, Campus Box 163, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217                          Address for an item that requires a signature: The Graduate School, University of Colorado Denver, 1380 Lawrence Street Suite 1251, Denver, CO 80204
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Scores: Take the GRE General Test (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) at least six weeks before December 1 to ensure that the scores arrive on time. CU Denver's school code is 4875; the Psychology Department code is 2001.
  • Application Fee: $50 for US citizens; $75 for international students   ​​
  • International Students - The additional admissions requirements for international students can be found at CU Denver International Graduate Admissions.


After I Apply

The admissions committee reviews all applications to the CHP Program from the December 1 application deadline through mid-January.

About 20 of the well over 100 individuals who apply to the porgram each year are invited for one of the two interview dates in February. Interview invitations are made by phone calls or emails from faculty directly to those applicants.

After the interviews, 5-6 applicants are chosen to receive an offer of admission to the CHP Program. Offers of admission are made by phone calls or emails from faculty directly to those applicants. In-person interviews are strongly preferred but telephone interviews can be arranged if necessary.

Allowing for the time needed for programs to decide upon and issue offers of admission,  and for applicants to accept or decline those offers, the CHP Program generally has  received acceptance forms and knows the composition of its incoming cohort by mid to  late  March. 

Transfer Students/Credits

A maximum of 24 credit hours of transfer course work may be applied toward the doctoral degree though the program does not guarantee that any transfer credits will necessarily be accepted. Decisions must be made on a course by course, case by case basis. Transfer credit is defined by the Graduate School as any credit earned at another accredited institution in the United States, or credits earned as a non-degree student within the University of Colorado system. All transfer courses must meet the following criteria: 

  • The courses are recommended for transfer by the Program Director, the course instructor(s), and the student's primary advisor for transfer and are approved by the Graduate School Dean.
  • The courses are graduate level (5000 or above).
  • The student received a grade of B or better (no pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory grades are transferable).
  • The courses were completed within five years of the student's request for transfer.

In some instances the Program Director, course instructor(s), or student's primary advisor may accept the transfer of credits only if additional requirements are satisfied that demonstrate the student's competence in the subject matter under consideration. Determination of these requirements is at the discretion of the Program Director, course instructor(s), or student's primary advisor and will be decided on a case by case basis.  ​