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PhD Program in Clinical Health Psychology

Program & Application Information

PhD Admissions

Application Deadline: December 1

2018 Interview Dates: February 2, February 16

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 GRE Psychology Subject Test is not required, but is encouraged and may be helpful to supplement your application, particularly if you do not have a degree in Psychology. The program does not disqualify applicants on the basis of scores alone, but the average scores of the most recent cohort of sudents in the CHP program may be useful for potential applicants:

Average GPA (undergraduate or graduate):  3.75

Average GRE Verbal score: 160.17 (87th percentile)

Average GRE Quantitative score: 152.83 (54th percentile)

Average Analytical Writing score: 4.5 (80th 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. The table called Student Admissions, Outcomes, & Other Data has statistics on students that entered the program in the past and their progress.

Applicants are asked to identify 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 & Mental 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., M.P.H. Associate Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Psychosocial Oncology, Palliative Care, 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. M.S. Assistant Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Behavioral Cardiology, Geriatric Cardiology, Meta-analysis, Psychometrics
Amy Wachholtz, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Pain management, psychopharmacology.
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

Carly Leonard, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology. Expertise Relevant to Clinical Health: Individual differences in attentional processes, Perceptual influences on decision-making, Goal-related changes in perceptual processing. Research methods: Psychophysics, EEG/ERP, eye-movements, puillometry

Adria Pearson-Mauro, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Family Medicine, Anschutz Medical Campus. Expertise: Chronic/Severe Mental Illness, Women's Mental Health, ACT Treatment Development and Outcomes Research

Jennifer Morozink Boylan, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences. Expertise: Cardivascular Psychophysiology, Health Disparities, Psychological Well-Being

Jason Watson, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology. Expertise: Cognitive psychology, attentional control, working memory, potential cognitive benefits of naturalistic settings


How Do I Apply?

To apply to the Clinical Health Psychology Program, please go to​ 

Towards the bottom of that page, you will see two options:

"Returning users" Log in here to continue an application

"First-time users" Log in here to create an account to start a new application

When you are ready to start a new application, you will be asked to "Select an application type: 2018"

In that drop-down menu, select "2018 Graduate Admissions"

Within that application, there will be tabs on the left hand side. To select our program, under the "Academic interest" tab, please do the following:

When asked: "Are you interested in applying for a Doctorate or Masters- EdS, Lecensures and/or Endorsements?" please select "Doctorate"

In the drop-down box that will then emerge for "Doctorate", please select "Clinical Health Psychology (PhD)"

When asked: "Please select the term you plan to enroll", please select "Fall, 2018"

Application Materials

  • Personal Statement: You will be asked to identify up to three core Clinical Health Psychology faculty members who would be a good fit with your research interests and to complete a personal statement. The written statement should be a total of 2-3 double-spaced pages in length and should address all three of the following questions. Please use the following three headers in your statement: (1) Fit, (2) Accomplishment, (3) Future Impact. (1) Fit: Please describe your fit with our program. Specifically, discuss your (a) relevant clinical, research, and/or educational experiences, (b) why our scientist-practitioner program in Clinical Health Psychology is a good fit for you, and (c) which core faculty member(s) you most want to work with and why. (2) Accomplishments: Tell us about a project or goal you set for yourself that took you a great deal of time and/or effort to accomplish. What challenges and obstacles did you face and how did you overcome these? (3) Future Impact: What impact do you hope to have on the field in the long term (after acquiring a Ph.D.)?
  • Resume or Curriculum Vita: Include education, employment, publications, theses, research and other activities related to clinical health psychology. Applicants upload their resume or CV directly into the online application.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation, at least two of which must be academic references, are required. Once applicants submit their applications, their recommenders receive email instructions from CU Denver on how to upload their letters into the online application.
  • Transcripts: One official transcript from each college and university attended. Transcripts are mostly sent electronically on the applicants' request via the online application or are scanned and uploaded into the online application. f these methods don't work, these methods apply. Standard mail: The Graduate School, University of Colorado Denver, Campus Box 163, PO Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217. Express Delivery (that requires a receiver 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. Until the fee is received, your applcation will not be officially submitted.
  • International Students - The additional admissions requirements for international students can be found at CU Denver International Graduate Admissions. Conditional admission is not offered.


After I Apply

The CHP Program does not send individual confirmation to students regarding receipt of applications. We do review all complete applications sent to us from the Graduate School. The admissions committee reviews all applications to the CHP Program from the December 1 application deadline through mid-January. Again, we do not individually notify each applicant that they are being reviewed.

Initial invitations begin mid to late January, but additional invitations may continue to be made through the entire duration of the process (until April 15th). About 20 of the around 200 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. In-person interviews are strongly preferred but telephone interviews can be arranged if necessary.

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. 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 late March. However, the final deadline for decisions is April 15th. After April 15th, the program begins to send notices to all applicants regarding final decisions.

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.  ​