Application deadline: December 1 to be admitted for fall semester. We do not admit new students for the spring semester.
In addition to the general requirements required by the Graduate School, the social psychology program requires the following:
Additional program-specific admission requirements
- Psychology/sociology background - In order for us to be able to issue an offer of admission, you must have taken a minimum of 18 credits at the undergraduate level in either psychology or sociology. You do not have to be a sociology or psychology major to be eligible for admission. However, if you are not, we would like for you to be able to demonstrate some background in a closely related field (aside from the 18 credits in psych or soc mentioned above).
In addition, we would like for you to have taken at least 6 credits in sociology or psychology (i.e. 18 credits in one field, 6 credits in the other). You can be admitted without these 6 undergraduate credits, but you must make up this requirement while in the program by taking 1 graduate-level course. This is an “admission requirement deferred,” and this 1 graduate-level course will not count toward the Ph.D.
- GRE - For the current round of application, GRE scores are optional, and not required. As a program we do look at GRE scores when they are submitted, but we are not obsessed with test scores. We conduct a holistic review of all application materials. GRE scores are only one of many pieces of information we hope to learn about you. If you have GRE scores that are lower than seems desirable, but you do have other accomplishments to show for and fit well with our program, by all means: Do apply!
- Statement of purpose - Share with us what you believe we should know about you. We are particularly interested in learning what motivates you to apply to our program. What are your current research interests, and what are your long-term goals? How do you see yourself fitting with our program? Also, we would like for you to identify at least one, but if appropriate up to three possible graduate advisors from among the faculty of the program. Your statement does not have to have any particular form; you may wish to address our questions in whatever way you see fit. However, your statement should be no longer than two pages (single-spaced).
- Sample research paper - Writing is a critical way in which scholars share their ideas, insights and results. As a research-focused social science program, we want to make sure that you are adequately prepared. We would like you to show us an original piece of your writing that relates to research, broadly conceived. Applicants who have completed a thesis (undergraduate or Master’s level) typically submit this document, in full or in part (depending on the state of completion). If an applicant has a first-authored or solo-authored research paper that they have submitted or are planning on submitting for publication, do submit this as your writing sample. Alternatively, you might wish to submit a paper you wrote for a class that you are particularly proud of. We do not have any specific requirements, but want to see the quality of your writing and thinking.
- Three letters of recommendation - We would like to hear from three people in your life who know your abilities and work habits as they relate to research. Letters tend to carry more weight if the letter writers are themselves researchers, regardless of whether they are currently in academia, the public sector or private industry. Comments from letter writers who supervised your work in relevant jobs and positions (including internships) are also useful to the admissions committee.
Admissions committee review
We admit those who are planning to spend at least four years of their time at the University. We do not offer an online training option because much of the training takes place through personal interaction and as part of research teams. During this time, students work with faculty on their own research. The goal is to create a record of scholarly accomplishment by the time that student graduates with their Ph.D.
Our admissions committee evaluates each applicant holistically. Broken down by specific criteria, the admissions committee considers the following:
- above-average grades as a student
- good test scores on the GRE (generally 50th percentile and higher; in quant not below 40th percentile if the applicant has strengths in other areas)
- good letters of recommendations, ideally from individuals who know the applicant's potential for research
- a background in psychology, sociology or a closely related field (minimum requirement of 18 credits in either psych or soc, plus a minimum of 6 credits in the other)
- courses in both research methods and statistics
- research experience
- research interests that are compatible with those of the faculty of our program
Reach out to faculty
Before applying, students are encouraged to contact any faculty that they might be interested in working with as their graduate advisor. Feel free to contact more than one faculty member. View our filtered faculty listing to see who is currently accepting students.
The following faculty members are open to accepting new graduate students for this coming academic year (starting in Fall 2021):
- Emily Berthelot
- Melissa Burnham
- Daniel Cook
- Deborah Davis
- Paul Devereux
- Marta Elliott
- Mariah Evans
- Matthew Leone
- Markus Kemmelmeier
- Shawn Marsh
- Monica Miller
- Colleen Murray
- Clayton Peoples
- Yueran Yang
Review a faculty member’s website, and get to know some of their work before you choose them as possible advisor. If you feel that their research interests match yours, you are encouraged to email them. There is no guarantee that you will be selected for admission–this decision is made by the admission committee. However, you may gain an advocate in the process.
Do not despair if a faculty member does not write back; this may mean that they are busy. It does not reflect on whether you are a qualified candidate for our program or not.
What are my chances of being admitted?
Acceptance into our program is competitive and depends on various factors, including your qualifications, the pool of applicants, your research interests, etc. We encourage everyone to apply even if not all of their qualifications do meet our criteria; we are always on the lookout for applicants who show exceptional promise.