UNR Home - Quicklinks

navbutton navbutton navbutton navbutton


Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of our Frequently Asked Questions divided into 5 categories: General, Graduation, Graduate School, Transferring, and Our Psychology Department. A full list of these questions is also available in .pdf format. If you have a question that is not on the list, please email the psychology advisor.

  1. General
  2. Graduation
  3. Graduate School
  4. Transferring
  5. Our Psychology Department

16. I am planning on applying to graduate schools soon, and I will need to get at least 2 or 3 recommendations from professors. When should I ask?

When you are going to need a recommendation from a professor, make sure to give him or her plenty of warning before you need it (i.e., several weeks). Also, be sure to provide them some information about your academic history as a student. For example, you may want to include a copy of you curriculum vitae, your statement of purpose, and anything else that's relevant to your career in psychology. Also, to help your recommenders keep organized, be sure to provide them with a list of due dates for all of your necessary letters.

17. How can I go above and beyond the basic Psychology to enhance my grad school applications?

Below are a few ways to pump up your grad school applications:

Grad School Prep/Research Specialization Track: The Graduate School Preparation track (2011 catalog)/Research Specialization track (2013 catalog) for the Psychology major is a course sequence option that goes above and beyond the psychology general track requirements by just a few courses. Specifically, some additional research methodology coursework and direct learning (i.e., research/field experience) is required. For more information on direct learning, please see the "How does the "direct learning" courses work?" question under "Our Psychology Department".

Direct Learning (Research/Field Experience): Consider signing up for credits of research and/or field experience. Working in a faculty member's lab can help expand your experience with different kinds of psychological research, as well as help you to decide which area of psychology you are most interested in. It also will give you more opportunities to seek out recommendation letters from faculty when and if you do apply to graduate school. Finally, you may even get a chance to participate in some presentations at conferences or even publications (and that REALLY looks good when you apply to graduate school).

PSI CHI/Psychology Club: If you are not already, you may also want to become a member of PSI CHI or the Psychology Club. Involvement with an academic honor society looks great on your vita, can expose you to other aspects of Psychology, and introduce you to other students interested in the area. Also, there are lectures (colloquia) given periodically by visiting scholars, and that is a really good way to learn about what's brand new in Psychology. When colloquia are scheduled, a flyer is posted on the Psychology bulletin board on MSs first floor.

Research and Contact your Graduate Programs and/or Faculty of Interest: You should contact the graduate program(s) to which you are planning to apply and ask THEM what they expect in a good candidate. Good questions to ask include:

-What kind of projects are your students working on?

-Is the program structured in a way that makes students cooperative or competitive with each other?

-Are there opportunities to work with multiple faculty, or will most projects be with the same person?

-How supportive are faculty with regard to original ideas for research?

-What kind of external grants or private grants does the program have?

-What kind of teaching opportunities are there?

18. I currently am pursuing a double major because I thought that it might look good and help me get into graduate school. What's your opinion?

In general, a double major may appear better than a single major because it shows that you can focus, plan, and make the most of your undergraduate educational experience. You may even be able to find ways to combine your majors in order to focus on your specific interests. There are several majors available that my combine with Psychology to better meet your needs and interests.

-If you want to work in organizational/industrial psychology, consider a double major or minor in Business Administration.

-If you want to work in therapy with older adults, consider a double major or minor in Gerontology.

-If you want to work in experimental psychology, consider a dual degree or minor in Biology.

-If you want to work in forensic or criminal psychology, consider a double major with Criminal Justice.

-If you want to work with addicted populations, consider a minor in Addiction Treatment Services.

-If you want to work in more divers settings, a major or minor in Spanish might be helpful.

All of these second majors (or minors) would be in your area of inerest and therefore not only justifiable, but also would look good to graduate school admissions committees.

19. What is a "Curriculum Vita"?

Curruculum vita is Latin for "life story". You may hear people refer to a curriculum vita using several other name including just "vita" or also "CV". No matter which way it is referred to, it is like a resume for the academic world. It includes sections on your personal history, educational history, professional positions, memberships in professional organizations, professional activities, editorial activities, grants, presentations, publications, projects, professional interests, and professional references. You will need to produce a curriculum vita if you plan to apply for most graduate schools and professional positions. For instructions on how to write a vita, you should read "Writing your vita," by Steven C. Hayes and Linda J. Hayes (see http://psych.hanover.edu/handbook/vita2.html). This short paper was originally published in the May 1989 issue of the American Psychological Society Observer.

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