Admission FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about the admissions process at Saybrook University. If you have any further questions please contact us at regarding our process, or review the Saybrook University Catalog:

Can I get credit for previous academic work or life experience? Transferable coursework must have been graded A or B or equivalent and parallel courses offered at Saybrook. Transcripts are reviewed on a course-by-course basis.

Exact credit for prior academic work depends on the degree program you have chosen. For example, M.A. applicants in psychology who have completed some graduate level coursework from a regionally-accredited school, or who hold a master’s degree in an unrelated field, may receive up to 12 credits towards the Saybrook master’s degree in psychology. Doctoral applicants in psychology who have earned a master’s degree in a related field from a regionally-accredited school may transfer a maximum of 18 credits towards a doctoral degree.

M.S. students in Mind-Body Medicine may transfer up to three credits and PhD students may transfer up to nine credits. An exception is made for students pursuing the Ph.D. MBM – Integrative Mental Health specialization, where up to 30 graduate level credits may be transferred toward the 92 credit PhD, provided that students have a licensable degree in mental health. Transfer credits in MBM must be used toward an elective, or must represent a good fit for a required course.

M.A. students in the Department of Humanistic and Clinical Psychology may transfer up to six credits (of which three may be from cognate fields), completed during a graduate degree program from an accredited university; non-degree Saybrook certificate credits; or other non-degree credits taken at Saybrook University within the last five years. No transfer credit will be accepted from courses already applied toward another graduate degree that was previously awarded. Transfer credits will be determined by the Office of the Registrar in consultation with the degree program director and the Dean of the College of CSS. Ph.D. students may transfer up to 12 credits (of which six may be from cognate fields), completed during a graduate degree program from an accredited university; non-degree Saybrook certificate credits; or non-degree credits taken at Saybrook University within the last five years. No transfer credit will be accepted from courses already applied toward another degree that was previously awarded. Transfer credits will be determine by the Office of the Registrar in consultation with the degree program director of the Department of Humanistic and Clinical Psychology and will be applied toward required electives.

Saybrook does not give direct credit for life experience, but competency in certain areas from previous graduate work, independent learning, or work experience may contribute to the pace with which you complete the programs.

Will my Saybrook coursework transfer to other institutions?

The transferability of credits you earn at Saybrook University is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the degree you earn in your educational program is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the credits or degree that you earn at this institution are not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your coursework at that institution.

Can students apply for a Ph.D. with only a bachelor’s degree?

Students must complete a master’s degree at Saybrook or elsewhere before applying for the Ph.D. An exception is made for students who are applying to the Ph.D. Clinical Psychology program, who have completed a B.A./B.S. in Psychology, Counseling, or Social Work, or 12 semester credits/20 quarter credits of Psychology coursework at a regionally accredited college or university.

For most of our students, up to 31-credits from the master’s degree may transfer into the Ph.D. program in the same program area. For Mind-Body Medicine, all 35 credits from the Saybrook M.S. MBM degree will transfer toward the 82-credit PhD MBM program. Transfer credits between degree programs or from master’s degrees earned elsewhere will be reviewed for relevance.


What are the application deadlines?

Applications for all programs are reviewed year-round for all terms on a rolling admissions basis.  You will be notified of your admissions status a few weeks after we have received your completed application. We don’t wait to notify all students at the same time. We urge you to submit all your application materials at least four weeks before the term in which you want to enroll to allow time for processing and to ensure that we are able to reserve a space for you.

While there is no specific deadline for admissions, we do award scholarships on a first-come-first served basis. This means that the sooner you are accepted, the greater your opportunity for awards. NOTE: you should start your financial aid application (FAFSA) process at least three months prior to your proposed enrollment date to guarantee timely disbursement of tuition funds.

When can I begin the program?

Each school has two start dates, one in the January and the other in August. Please consult the Admissions Calendar for each college for additional information.


May I speak with Saybrook students, alumni, and/or faculty?

Yes, we’re happy to arrange that.  Please contact Admissions at 510.593.2934, or e-mail if you would like to speak one-on-one with current students, alumni, and/or faculty. Speaking with someone within the Saybrook community is a great opportunity to gain a more comprehensive perspective on our programs and community.  You can also visit our blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube pages to get a flavor of Saybrook. Our Events offer many opportunities for you to meet many people at once: participate in a live open house/webcast, call into a teleconference, or attend a Residential Conference as our guest.


What does Hybrid Learning mean?

At Saybrook, we employ a hybrid learning model for *all programs. This model generally revolves around online learning, and culminates in twice-yearly conferences where students take in-person classes and seminars.  (*Seattle campus MA Psychology model, our one exception, is a two-year low-residency/experiential model)


Should I take the GRE?

No, our program does not require GRE test results. We determine your compatibility and readiness for our programs based on other criteria such as your previous academic history, letters of recommendation, personal statements, etc.


How long will it take me to graduate?

Because most of our programs allow for individualization within the curriculum, there is no predictable number of years a degree will take to finish. Each program has specific credit requirements that each student must complete in order to acquire their degree. In addition to credit requirements, some programs also have mandatory internship components in order to graduate. In general, beyond our MA in Management – which is a prescribed 18-month program, you can expect that each Masters will take approximately two years, and each PhD will take approximately 4 or 5.


May I apply while completing my current degree program?

Yes, we offer a Contingency Acceptance prior to completion of your current program of study. Please be sure to apply using a current transcript and we will require a full transcript with degree conferral prior to the start of classes.


How much work/study/reading is required outside of class?

We recommend that you prepare to devote 15 – 20 hours per week to be successful in our programs of study. This amount is common in most graduate degree programs


How do I get licensed in my home state?

Students are responsible for researching the requirements for any licensure in their state. Our Seattle MA Psychology program prepares students for the WA State Mental Health Counselor licensure process. Our Clinical Psychology program licenses students in most states that are not APA contingent for licensure. Our MA Counseling prepares students for multiple licenses. Please follow up with an admissions counselor for more information.


What are the differences between MHC, LMFT, and LPCC licensure?

Our MHC program is 51 units of study, our online LMFT requires 60 units of study.  The LMFT & LPCC are found in California and Oregon and other states.  WA State requires the MHC licensure.


What is the difference between our Hybrid-online and Seattle programs?

Our Hybrid programs work primarily on an online basis with two residential conferences per year. Seattle’s residential program is two years in length, with variety of face to face events/options (3-day and 5-day weekend sessions) in both 1st and 2nd year, including Internships and professional seminars (prosems) in year two.  Talk to Admissions about your preferred learning style and degree options.

Does Saybrook help with Internships and Placements for students?

Saybrook University has a very successful rate of internship placement, and a dedicated faculty member who mentors all students on internships. Saybrook Seattle has been in the region for 40 years and we have many connections in our network of agencies, locations, sites, for internships. Other states may require specific arrangements for internships and traineeships. Please talk to your faculty member about your state.

I’m an international student. Can I apply to Saybrook?

Saybrook welcomes international students to apply to its degree and non-degree programs. Saybrook prides itself on its global community. Our students come from many different backgrounds and from all over the world. Across the world, our alumni, students, and faculty are making a difference.

For your convenience, call us toll-free during business hours 800.825.4480 Pacific Time, or e-mail us at