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Applying to Graduate School

While earning a Bachelor´s degree in psychology can provide you with a number of career opportunities, many of the most interesting careers in psychology require you to attend graduate school and earn an advanced degree (such as a Master´s degree, a Ph.D., a Psy.D., or an Ed.D.).

Getting through the graduate school application process can be complex and grueling. Some applications include clear and explicit instructions; others seem like an aptitude test in analytical reasoning. However, you are not alone! The psychology department advisor is available to help you with the application process, and faculty members are always happy to answer any questions you might have. Further, this web page contains information and links to numerous resources on the internet which can help you decide which graduate school to apply to, how to make yourself a competitive candidate, and how to get through the entire process in one piece!

How to Apply to Graduate School
Choosing an Area of Psychology
Making Yourself Competitive
Deciding Which Schools to Apply to
Applying Now vs. Later

Deciding Which Schools to Apply to

Once you´ve made the decision to apply to graduate school, and you´ve decided the area of psychology you´d like to study, your next major decision is deciding which schools you´re going to apply to. This decision will likely involve a fair amount of research on your part, as you try to find programs which will suit your needs and to which you will be well-suited.

Several key factors to look at when making this decision include:
1. Program Emphasis and Orientation - will the program teach you the things you want to learn, and will it prepare you well for your desired career?
2. Faculty - are there faculty members conducting research you´re interested in? Are the faculty members well-known and respected in their field?
3. Location - do you mind moving across the country, or would you prefer to remain close to home?
4. Financial Assistance - does the program provide any financial assistance to its graduate students? Is the funding in the form of teaching assistantships or research assistantships or internships or ... ?
5. Faculty-Student Ratio - how many students does each faculty member advise? Will you be able to get enough personal attention from your advisor?
6. Admissions Criteria - do you meet the minimum requirements for admission? Are there things you can do now to improve your chances?
7. Degrees Offered - does the program offer the degree you seek?
8. Special Facilities or Resources - what kind of laboratory facilities does the program have? What kind of computer resources are available? Is there an on-site clinic or treatment center?
To maximize your possibility of getting in, apply to many schools -- maybe 12 or so (assuming, of course, you can find 12 programs which suit your needs). Apply to really outstanding programs as well as less competitive programs. This will increase your chance of getting accepted somewhere -- even it it isn´t your first choice. And don´t be too upset if you get some rejection letters because chances are very good that you will be rejected by at least one school. Don´t take it as a personal affront -- it doesn´t necessarily mean that you weren´t a good candidate, but perhaps just that they didn´t think you were a good fit for their program.

There are several ways to find schools offering the kind of graduate program you´re looking for. One great resource is the Graduate Study in Psychology book published by the APA. This book provides a detailed listing of over 500 graduate programs in psychology, including information on: degrees offered, degree requirements, admission requirements, financial assistance, and more. It is available in the ASUN Bookstore and the library, or you may order one directly from APA.

For more information about schools and their specific graduate programs, visit www.gradschools.com

University of Nevada, Reno - Department of Psychology/296
1664 N. Virginia Street Reno, Nevada 89557