Application Procedure

Apply here: USC Office of Graduate Admission

In preparation for the application, please read the information below and the following items that must be submitted:

    • Applicants are only admitted for the Fall semester.
    • The Fall 2024 admission application will open on September 1st, 2023.
    • There is only one Psychology PhD application.  Within the application, applicants should choose one area of study when applying. Please refer to our “Areas of Study” page.
    • The priority deadline for clinical program applicants is November 10th, 2023 and the clinical area will begin reviewing applications at that time. Final Deadline is December 1st, 2023.
    • All other areas, except for Clinical Science, have a deadline of December 1st, 2023.
    • The application will close at 11:59pm PT (Pacific Time) on December 1st, 2023. Late submissions will not be considered.
  • Applicants must submit a personal statement that provides the following information:

    • Present interests in psychology
    • Ways in which your experiences and courses have influenced your intellectual development and interest in psychology
    • Direct experience with psychological work (research assistantships, volunteer work, etc.)
    • What you hope to be doing in the field of psychology ten years from now?
    *There is no minimum or maximum page requirement.
    • Three letters by professors or supervisors familiar with your potential for graduate training and professional contributions to psychology are required.
    • Letter of recommendations must be submitted by the December 1st deadline.
    • Letter of recommendations must be completed within the application system. Please contact Liason Tech at if you have any technical difficulties with the letter of recommendations upload.
    • Upload a scanned copy of your transcripts in the online application portal.
    • Top applicants who reach the interview round may be required to send copies of their official transcripts.
    • The GRE is not required for admission into our program and will not be reviewed if provided.
    • A copy of your latest resume/CV must be uploaded to the application.
    • International students must submit a TOEFL or IELTS exam (Institution Code 4852). Go to this website for details and exceptions: International Students English Proficiency
    • The subject psychology exam is not required.
    • The application fee is $90 for Fall 2024 admission.
    • Our department does not sponsor application fees; however, there are some general USC fee waivers that can be viewed here.
  • If you are you applying to the clinical science area, please see additional admission information here.  It also includes GRE and GPA data for entering clinical science classes that is in compliance with APA Implementing Regulation C-20.

  • Students are admitted by each specialty area (please refer to the Areas of Study; for admissions to the clinical program, please see this page). Different areas of our department emphasize different coursework, but we recommend that prospective students choosing classes include Introductory Psychology and coursework drawn from the following areas:

    • Elementary Statistics
    • Research Methods
    • Biological Foundations – including coursework such as Comparative Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Sensation and Perception, Learning and Memory, Cognitive Psychology, or Motivation and Emotion
    • Developmental, Social, and Personality Foundations – including coursework such as Developmental Psychology, Social Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Personality
    • Cognitive Foundations – including coursework such as Learning, Memory, and Intelligence

    More advanced or specialized courses in psychology (e.g., Neuropsychology, Behavior Genetics, Advanced Statistics, Adolescence, Cognitive Development, Interpersonal Relations, Criminal Psychology, Psychology and Law, Organizational Psychology) are desirable, as are courses in the biological, physical, and social sciences and in mathematics. Students with outstanding records, but with less background in psychology will also be considered.

Admission FAQs

  • Please direct all questions to the Office of Graduate Admissions Ask USC” portal (under Graduate Admission). You may also submit a question (see Ask Us link at top of page) if your question is not answered.

  • The USC Graduate School is committed to providing detailed information on the inputs, outcomes, and overall characteristics of its PhD programs. Please feel free to review more in-depth data here (select Psychology):