The Department of Psychology offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program, which provides students with breadth of training in psychology and in-depth study in specialized areas. Qualified students are accepted into the Ph.D. program after their completion of either a baccalaureate degree or a master’s degree. Interested applicants should select to join a specific concentration. All students who are admitted for graduate study will begin in the subsequent fall semester.
Note: Applicants for the Community-Public Health Dual Degree are not required to submit separate applications through this process and the School of Public Health’s process using the SOPHAS system. However, applicants may choose to submit a SOPHAS application if they wish to be considered separately for the MPH or the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health.
Deciding to Apply
We use a holistic approach in evaluating applications. We review grades from undergraduate coursework, letters of recommendation, application essays, prior research experience, and research interests. We are particularly interested in applicants with focused research interests that are compatible with the interests of faculty who are reviewing applications. Our department is also actively committing to building an inclusive field. Part of that commitment is prioritizing diversity and support for diverse individuals within our own department.
Candidates’ research interests and compatibility with the program are determined in large part by the candidate's application essay, the Statement of Purpose. Here is a helpful guide for Crafting Your Personal Statement
While we do not require an undergraduate degree in psychology, some social science coursework is recommended. Because the program is quantitatively oriented, college-level math and statistics are also advised. Research experience is helpful: successful applicants typically have worked on research projects as part of college courses, written an undergraduate thesis, or volunteered in a psychology research lab.
No single predictor is used to accept or reject an applicant. See Student Admissions, Outcome, and Other Data for information about the number of applications received yearly, the number of applicants accepted yearly, their average GPA, etc. Previous research experience and, in the case of the Clinical and Community Programs, relevant applied experience is evaluated favorably in the admission process.
Although an undergraduate major in psychology is not required, applicants are expected to have a background in psychology that includes a minimum of two courses that cover psychological statistics and research methods. These courses do not need to be taken at Georgia State.
Since applicants are expected to have a minimum of two courses that cover psychological statistics and research methods to apply, it would not be possible to take the courses at a later time.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to review the websites and publications of Faculty Reviewing Applicants to decide whether our department is a good match for the applicant’s research interests. "Fit" of applicant’s interests with faculty’s current research is important for admissions decisions.
We encourage you to seek guidance from psychology professors at your undergraduate institution. The APA also publishes a book that may be helpful: Getting In: A Step-by-Step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology.
Unfortunately, the Psychology department does not have the capacity to do personal tours for prospective applicants. You are welcome to visit the campus and can schedule a campus tour (keep in mind that this tour is geared toward undergraduate students).
Approximately 500-700 applications are received each year, and we typically accept 15 to 22 new students per year. Across years, the overall acceptance rate is thus 2% to 4%, but acceptance rates also vary across concentrations.
Applicants nominate recommenders through the application for admission. Recommenders will then receive an email with instructions on how to submit the letter. This is the only format that letters of recommendation will be accepted. Read more about letters of recommendation.
The GRE is no longer an application requirement for applying to the Psychology Ph.D. program. See application requirements.
The letters of recommendation should be written by someone who can speak to your academic or research skills. You may choose a research mentor, clinical supervisor, instructor, employer, or anyone who knows you well. It is suggested that a friend, relative or peer not be used as a reference. Be mindful to give recommenders adequate time to submit their recommendation.
Unofficial transcripts can be submitted with the application. Official transcripts must be submitted if the applicant is admitted to the graduate program. Graduate School’s Admissions website for more information.
For international applicants from countries/education programs in which English is not the official language, IELTS or TOEFL scores are required. See Requirements for international applicants. For information on Georgia State’s International Student and Scholar Services.
No. Incomplete applications are not reviewed. Please begin the application process well before the deadline to ensure all material is received. It is especially important to request transcripts well in advance of the deadline.
With proper documentation, application fee waivers will be granted to applicants in programs designed to diversify graduate programs. Applicants can request this waiver and upload the appropriate documentation within the Office of Admissions – Graduate Programs application.
We admit cohorts of students to begin in fall semesters only. We have only one deadline per year as described on this website.
The faculty review committee reviews all applications in a holistic manner and with that in mind, the review process can take many weeks after the application deadline. Applicants are typically notified of a decision in mid-February.
Program and Course Descriptions
Applicants cannot petition to have their thesis or courses waived. After being admitted and enrolling in the program, students with an MA degree will consult with their faculty advisor about whether waiving courses or their thesis is consistent with their training plan. If so, the student may petition to waive their thesis or courses. Petitions are reviewed by a committee of faculty.
We do not offer a terminal master’s degree program. Students are only admitted into the Ph.D. program. Students do receive a master's en route to the Ph.D.
No. This program requires a full-time commitment, and often more than full-time. The work includes coursework, lab work, participation in seminars and lab meetings, and 20 hours/week of paid instruction or research.
No, applicants are not able to transfer to our program from another graduate program. Regardless of whether a student is coming directly from an undergraduate program or moving from another graduate program, all applicants must complete the same application. After being offered and accepting admission to the Department of Psychology, students who have earned a master’s degree from another institution may petition the Directors of Graduate Study to review graduate level courses for course waivers. Students who have completed a master’s thesis at another institution may also petition the committee to waive the master’s thesis requirement.
After admission to the program, students who have completed graduate courses at other accredited institutions may request that such courses be evaluated for transfer of credit. Admitted students can refer for the Graduate Handbook for more information on this process.
Psychology graduate classes are held at Georgia State University’s downtown campus. Classes are held during the day and there are some evening classes. There are no weekend classes; see the university schedule.
While we offer a few online classes, we are not a distance education program, and classes are held in person on Georgia State’s campus.
All students are offered a monthly stipend and tuition waiver during their first 4 years of graduate school, if they remain in good standing with the department (i.e., maintaining the required GPA and meeting departmental responsibilities). The level of support for incoming students is determined when they are accepted; no separate financial application procedure is required. The Graduate School website has information about fees, financial aid, and fellowships.
Office Hours (Available Remotely):
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Office Hours (In Person):
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Department of Psychology
Georgia State University
Urban Life Building
140 Decatur Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083