Department of Psychology

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  Timeline for Psychology Graduate School Applications

Please note that this timeline is for students who are planning to attend graduate school immediately after they finish their undergraduate degree. In general, graduate school applications are due the academic year prior to beginning the program, so if you are taking time off after completing your bachelor's degree you can adjust your schedule accordingly.

Freshman and Sophomore Years

  • Take the Introduction to the Major (PSY 101) course to learn more about careers in psychology, graduate program offerings, etc.
  • Visit Career Services on campus ( and ask to talk with a counselor about your interests, strengths, etc. and how these might translate to different careers in psychology. Career services can also help you identify the kinds of graduate programs you might need to consider given your career goals.
  • Speak with your advisor about your interest in attending graduate school. Find out what GPA you should be aiming for, and what experiences you should be getting in addition to your coursework to be prepared for graduate school (i.e., research assistantships, internships, etc). Start doing some research on graduate programs and the general requirements of the kind of programs you are interested in.

Junior Year

  • Begin preparing to take the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Psychology GRE (if applicable). Almost all graduate programs require the general GRE, and some also require the Psych GRE.
  • Sign up for and take the Mock GRE (sponsored by Psi Chi in the fall) to find out your baseline score. This will help you gauge how much you need to prepare to get the GRE scores you need to apply to graduate schools.
  • Start getting experiences that will strengthen your graduate school application. These may include a Research Assistantship (particularly if you are applying to Ph.D. programs), Internship, or Independent Study.
  • Try to do an Internship that is in the kind of setting that you would like to eventually work in (or where people have the kinds of graduate training that you would like to get). Now is the time to find out whether you really like that kind of setting.
  • Make sure that you are getting to know your professors. You will need letters of recommendation from faculty who know you well.
  • Begin preparing to take the GREs in the spring of your junior year.

Summer After Junior Year

  • Take the general GREs and prepare to take the fall Psych GREs, if applicable.
  • Do more in depth research and start making a list of the graduate programs you will apply to. Do research on how competitive each program is and make sure you are selecting programs wisely.
  • Begin putting together information on the application requirements for each program you will be applying to.
  • Begin to draft a general personal statement and a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Career Services can help with a resume, and see your advisor or other faculty member for help with a CV.

Fall of Senior Year

  • Finalize the list of graduate programs you will apply to. Make sure you know the deadline for each program so that you can get the materials sent to them in time! Keep in mind that some elements of your materials need some lead time (i.e., GRE score reports, transcripts, letters of recommendation). Seek consultation from your advisor or other faculty members as you finalize your list.
  • For graduate programs with fall deadlines (these include almost all Psy.D. and Ph.D. programs), complete your applications, allowing time for you to ask your advisor and/or other faculty members to look over your personal statements, CV, etc, and give you feedback.
  • Ask faculty to write letters of recommendations for you (see Tips for Letters of Recommendation) Give your recommenders 4-6 weeks lead time to write these letters!
  • Make sure to request that your GRE scores be sent ahead of time.

Winter/Spring of Senior Year

  • Most master's degree programs have application deadlines in the winter or spring (or have rolling admissions), so you may have some applications to complete in the winter and spring.
  • For graduate programs that require interviews, be prepared to go on these interviews in the winter and spring.
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