Common Qualifications for Graduate Education in Psychology
Background in Psychology
- Over 70% of Ph.D. recipients also received their bachelor's degree in Psychology
Past and Current Work and Research Experience
- Work experience relevant to the field
- Research experience demonstrating ability to interpret, design, and conduct research
- Creating a picture of you as a worker--your character, reliability, and judgment
Letters of Recommendation
- 3 faculty members who can write more about you than, "This student got an A in my class..."
- Insight into your potential as a graduate student and professional in your field
- Capacity to withstand rigors of graduate education and conduct independent projects
- Who you are, why you want that degree, and why you chose that specific program over the rest
High Grade Point Average
- According to the APA, the median GPA for applicants accepted into master's degree programs is roughly 3.5; doctoral programs 3.65.
- Many master's programs require a 3.0 GPA just to apply; many doctoral programs a 3.5 GPA
- The more highly ranked the specific program, the more competitive the GPA and other qualifications will be. For example, a graduate degree at USC will be more competitive to be accepted to than the same degree offered at a California State University.
- Certain general programs are also more difficult to get into than others. A Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, for example, often requires at least a 3.7 GPA, along with other additional demands.
- The GRE is an essential piece of the graduate application. Even over 80% of master's programs now require the GRE.
- Get your GRE prep through Kaplan or Princeton Review
- Many graduate programs, especially Ph.D. programs, will want you to provide an academic writing sample as proof of your ability to write an APA style, graduate level research paper.
- Department of Psychology
- University of Southern California
- SGM 501
- 3620 South McClintock Ave.
- Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
- Phone: (213) 740 - 2203