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Interested in applying to Doctoral Programs in Psychology? Want to learn more about further education?

Here are some tips to help you learn about different types of doctoral study offered in the field of psychology and the application process. The search for a doctoral program can be both exciting and nerve wracking, so we urge students to be prepared. While these are some tips for applying to doctoral programs, students should continue to do additional research about the programs that they are interested in.

Research Programs

Researching doctoral programs is an important step in beginning to narrow down the schools you want to go to and creating your application. Because there are numerous types of programs that are offered, students should identify whether they want to go into programs focusing on Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Foresnic Psychology, Social Psychology, or another branch of psychological study.

Building an Application

As a masters student you should be actively preparing your application to doctoral programs. Most doctoral programs will ask for several letters of recommendation from faculty members, GRE scores (General and Subject), and a CV. In addition, many schools will request a writing sample from applicants.

Key Components of a Strong Doctoral Application:

Letters of Recommendation
MA Thesis
Transcripts and GRE Scores
CV / Resume
Personal Statement
Writing Sample

The Application Process

Once you have researched schools and narrowed your choices, it is now time to begin the application process. Ideally, the application process should follow a timeline:

Spring / Summer

  1. Research schools and programs. Re-take GRE's and take Psychology Subject GRE's if necessary.

  2. Try to identify possible advisers that you would want to work with for your PhD program in needed

September / October

  1. Ask faculty members for letters of recommendation. Usually, two or three letters of recommendation are required. Make sure that you give faculty members plenty of time and be formal and courteous. Provide all of the necessary information about the programs that you are applying to and all of the necessary paper work (forms and envelopes). Be very organized and professional in this process and make sure that you waive your right to read letters of recommendation in your application.

  2. Write your personal statement.


  1. Get your transcripts and GRE scores.

  2. Fill out application forms.

December / January

  1. Send out application forms.

January / February

  1. Follow up

  2. Interviews

March / April

  1. Acceptance / Rejections

  2. Choosing the Best Fit

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions about the Application Process

Please visit the FAQ Application Page to learn more about the application process and to see common questions about the application process.