Psychology (PSYC)

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Psychology is a remarkably broad field that studies mind and behavior at all levels of analysis ranging from the micro to the macro; from single cells to complex systems; from individuals to groups and cultures; and from invertebrates to humans. Some of these endeavors connect with the biological sciences and others with the social sciences. As analytical, methodological, and theoretical advances in one domain increasingly influence developments in another, psychologists collaborate in ever greater numbers with scientists in neighboring disciplines, resulting in new subfields that blend the biological and social sciences.

Our department reflects well this combined diversity of and collaborations among approaches. In recognition of this fact, we organized our training structure into 5 Ph.D. program areas:

- Clinical

- Cognitive and Neural Systems (CNS)

- Counseling

- Developmental

- Social, Decision, and Organizational Science (SDOS)

Research collaborations across areas are common and we encourage students to consider training across areas as well. The Department's doctoral programs in both Clinical and Counseling Psychology have been approved by the American Psychological Association. School Psychology, also an APA approved program, is offered in the College of Education.

Admissions Information

The Department accepts only those applicants who have demonstrated competence for completing the requirements of the doctoral degree. The typical student admitted to the graduate program has an overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.5 or above, a psychology grade point average over 3.5, GRE scores of 160 and above for Verbal and 148 and above for Quantitative, appropriate background experiences, outstanding letters of recommendation, research experience and/or previous relevant work experience, and goals congruent with the program. The Department of Psychology encourages applications from members of racial/ethnic minority groups.

All of the programs offer doctoral level programs and do not accept students who are interested in terminal Master of Science degrees. To be considered for admission for the fall semester, all application materials must be submitted by December 1st of the prior year.

Students admitted to the graduate program often earn the M.S. en route to the Ph.D., however, this varies across specialty areas and the specific requirements within a given specialty area should be consulted. All students must be full-time until completion of all requirements of the doctoral program other than the dissertation have been met.

Application Deadlines
Type of Applicant Fall Spring

Domestic Applicants; US Citizens and Permanent Residents

Deadline: December 1

International Applicants seeking admission under F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas, as well as those seeking admissions under A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.

Deadline: December 1

Application Requirements

  1. GRE General required
  2. GRE Subject recommended
  3. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  4. Transcripts
  5. Statement of Goals and Research Experiences
  6. CV (Current Resume)
  7. Supplemental documents requested by area in Counseling and Social, Decision, and Organizational Sciences (SDOS). Supplemental Documents can be found here:

Degree Requirements

Master of Science (M.S.)
The M.S. degree requirements are a research thesis (6 credit hours) and 24 credit hours including two courses in statistics. The department does not offer a terminal M.S. Rather, students admitted to the graduate program often earn the M.S. en route to the Ph.D.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
In addition to a quantitative core consisting of three courses, all students are required to take three core courses in areas outside their specialty program. These core courses are designed to provide a breadth of knowledge in psychology. Additionally, each program has requisite coursework and comprehensive examinations. A minimum of 12 credit hours for the dissertation is required for a doctoral degree. In addition to attending classes, students are expected to take part in research.

Facilities and Special Resources

The Department shares a building with the Biology Department and is centrally situated on campus near three libraries and the student union. The Department has state-of-the-art laboratories, computer facilities, and video equipment. The geographic location in a suburb of Washington, D.C. provides access to a wide variety of laboratory and training facilities in governmental and other agencies. In addition, we are near the national headquarters for The American Psychological Association and The American Psychological Society.

The Department follows all regulations involved in the use of human subjects and animals.

Financial Assistance

The Department attempts to provide financial aid for all incoming students, although aid is not guaranteed. The different possible types of financial support include fellowships (nominated by the department), teaching assistantships, research assistantships, work on campus, and funded externships.

Contact Information

Additional information concerning the graduate program including specific specialty area information may be obtained by accessing our website at

Graduate Studies Office
1141 Biology-Psychology Building (Mailing Address) 0124 Cole Field Activity Building (Office)
MD   20742-4411
Telephone: (301) 405-1454
Fax: (301) 405-5915


Related Programs and Campus Units

Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
Family Science
Center for Superconductivity Research
Education: Counseling Psychology, School Psychology, and Counselor Education

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