Applying to Graduate Schools

Although we have considerable information on our graduate section, my advice is that you should consult the following books.

First, get a copy of the APA’s Graduate Study in Psychology.

A great resource from the American Psychological Association to assist those interested in graduate study in psychology. This book lists over 500 graduate departments and schools of psychology and provides information for each. A useful guide for choosing which schools to apply to.

It lists all programs and their requirements and provides a starting point for considering which school to apply to. There is a directory in this book that categorizes programs by specialty area, which should save you a ton of work.

Of course, you should also get the advice of your academic advisor at your undergraduate institution.

The other two books provide substantial guidance on the actual application process and what graduate programs look for. Both are excellent. However, in general, I recommend Patricia Keith-Spiegel's The Complete Guide to Graduate School Admission.

A book you should definitely have in your collection. It guides you through the entire application process: deciding which schools to apply to, finding the information you need, completing the tasks you need to before you apply, the application itself, and managing the post application period. A very thorough resource. 

Books like these will be an excellent investment, and I've discovered that students who consult the following guides tend to produce better graduate school applications, and also make better graduate students.

The remaining two recommendations are also great and worth checking to make sure you cover all bases:

Getting In: A Step-by-step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology

Having an inside knowledge of how graduate schools evaluate applications can be the deciding factor in being accepted to a good school.

This book attempts to help you maximize your chances for success by allowing you to make informed choices and giving you insider knowledge what you need to do to have a competitive application. Provided by the American Psychological Association.

Preparing for Graduate Study in Psychology: 101 Questions and Answers

This book addresses the many questions asked about the graduate application process. It is split into two major sections, including FAQs of undergraduates. and a series of appendices on the ins and outs of the paperwork involved in the application process.

Short and concise, this is a great tool to use when filling out applications. Written by William Buskist and Thomas R. Sherburne.

General Resources about Applying to Graduate School 

Many of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) article that gives general information on applying to graduate and professional schools can be accessed through their website.

Graduate options at William and Mary
A great source from The College of William & Mary for advice on evaluating and choosing a graduate program and also for tips on how to tackle the different elements of the graduate school application.

Graduate Record Examinations Website
All you need to know about the GRE--find out about the computerized administration, download a demo program (Mac users: prepare to be discriminated against...)--plus a directory of graduate programs and an online application service.

A Guide to Getting Into Graduate School

The APA Education Directorate's three keys to graduate school acceptance: preparation, application know-how, and patience.

Applying to Graduate School
A summary from SUNY Brockport designed to help you make an informed decision on whether or not to go to graduate school and what it entails. If you are still trying to decide your next step after graduating or want to know what applying involves, read through this site.

Insiders Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, 2018/19

Listings of Universities and Psychology Departments 

Ranking of U.S. Psychology Ph.D. Programs This site on contains a listing of 185 psychology PhD programs that are rank according to quality by the National Research Council. Separate links for departments!

College and University Home Pages Christine DeMello's huge list (>3000 entries) of university sites in more than 80 countries.

University Pages Another list of U.S. Universities. Categorized by state.

America's Best Graduate Schools According to U.S. News & World Reports, anyway. To navigate to a university web page, use one of the above lists.

Psychology Schools Directory A directory from that allows you to search for a graduate school that offers the graduate program you want. You pick the subject area and the database provides schools from the US, Canada, Europe, or elsewhere. Problem: not all programs are listed here since schools pay to be listed -- double check with APA's Graduate Study in Psychology which has an index that categorizes graduate programs (e.g., clinical, cognitive, etc).

Listings of Types of Psychology Programs 

Clinical Psychology Programs Ranking of U.S. and Canadian Clinical Psychology Programs. Another great site is, which contains a listing of 183 clinical psychology PhD programs that are rank ordered by how well their graduates did on the Examination for Professional Practice.

APA's list of accredited psychology programs (e.g., clinical/school, counseling/school)

Developmental Psychology Programs A searchable list of Developmental programs sponsored by List may not be comprehensive -- programs pay to be listed here.

Evolutionary Psychology Programs. Brought to you by the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at UCSB.

Also take a look at John Nickols' Forensic Page, and outstanding information source, where you will find extensive listings on criminal psychology, forensics, the forensic dictionary, and much more - a must see site in forensics. Forensic psychology students also have a group over at

You may also want to consult the Society for Health Psychologists.

Human Factors Programs A list of programmes provided by the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. HFES also has a number of free brochures on their publications page. If you are interested in Human Factors you should definitely visit this site.

Industrial/Organizational Psychology Programs A searchable list of I/O programs sponsored by Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology The site has considerable information about I/O psychology.

Neuroscience Programs A great starting point for some of the top Neuroscience programs around the world.

Personality Psychology Programs Schools with political psychology courses. This is a fantastic resource. If you are interested in personality issues, you should spend a little time at The Personality Project.

Political Psychology Programs A resource from the International Society of Political Psychology. Also, these are Great links from the Center for the Study of Political Psychology and the American Political Science Association. Likewise, see this from the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence brought to you by the American Psychological Association.

Positive Psychology Researchers This is a list developed by Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania on positive psychology.

School Psychology Programs The Department of Education at UC Berkeley’s page on school psychology.

Social Psychology Programs A list maintained by the Social Psychology Network. One stop shopping for social psychology. A great website!

Sports Psychology Programs

This is not an exhaustive list. APA's Graduate Study in Psychology has a great index by program type. Be careful though of websites such as They have listings for many areas, but they only list schools that have paid a fee to be listed -- so this might not provide representative search results.

We still need program listings for developmental disabilities, educational psychology, psychometrics, quantitative, mathematical psychology, and psychopharmacology, and possibly others. Let us know if you know of any links we should know about.

Letters of Recommendation

How to Ask for Letters of Recommendation
Dr. Ann Fischer, of Southern Illinois University, offers thoughtful advice on what information you should give your letter writers so they can do the best job on your behalf.

How To Get Good Letters of Recommendation
More advice from Dr. Margaret Lloyd's Careers in Psychology Page. Here, she gives important information on what the letter of recommendation is, what needs to go into it, and what it can do for you. Plus, "the single best thing you can do to get a good letter of recommendation."

Writing the Personal Statement

Writing the Personal Statement
Writing the personal statement is often one of the most difficult parts of the application process for students. The Writing Center at Colgate University offers suggestions on writing style for the personal statement in a downloadable PDF.

Writing Effective Personal Statements
Excellent suggestions for the personal statement including self-analysis questions, general advice, some examples of successful statements, and invaluable advice from admissions representatives. Provided by The Purdue University Online Writing Center.

Writer's Handbook
What is the personal statement and the application essay? This site explains what they are, gives tips on writing them, and answers frequently asked questions. It also provides spaces for you to write notes, draft parts of your essay, and get some extra help. An excellent tool from the University of Wisconsin.

Writing Personal Statements for Graduate School
How to conquer the three C's of writing the personal statement: clarity (word choice, organization, mechanics, formatting), content/creativity, and conciseness according to the University of Washington's Psychology Writing Center.

Writing a Compelling Vita (or Resume)  

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
A general overview of the CV from the MIT Careers Handbook. Provides a sample CV that can be downloaded in an Adobe Acrobat format or Microsoft Word format.

Writing Your Vita
Provides a blueprint to use when preparing your vita. What information goes where? What's the basic form? Also, provides info on other general considerations to take into account.

Preparing a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
An article that gives a general breakdown of typical categories and headings that go into a CV provided by LiveCareer. This site also gives links to helpful books, articles, and other websites about vitas.

Resume Resources
A collection of resume resources on the Web provided by the same site that will help answer all your resume questions.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) 

Graduate Record Examinations Website
All you need to know about the GRE.

GRE Test Preparation
Find out about the GRE and answer some sample questions from Peterson'

Once You Are Accepted! 

Rules for Acceptance of Offers for Admission and Financial Aid
On this site,the CDSPP provides info on accepting offers and the financial aid that may be available to you.

What If You Do Not Get In??

You're screwed, right? Well, it isn't quite that simple and catastrophic. There are resources to help you, such as several pages in Getting In: A Step-by-step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology.

Other Stuff to Worry About... 

Don’t fall into a ‘debt trap’
Learn from experience what you are getting yourself into when choosing a costly education via student loans. Use this valuable advice while you are looking at universities and make a more educated decision.

Psychology Doctorate Recipients: How Much Financial Debt at Graduation?

An article from the National Science Foundation (NSF) that explores the factors that lead to more debt for psychology majors than in the other science and engineering fields. Be sure to take a look at the section titled: "Do debt levels vary among different psychology subfields?" Though the article is relatively old, it does still contain some valuable advice.

Psychological Associations  

The Interview 

Interviewing at a University that is considering your application will be informative but stressful. The only resource that we have found that discusses this situation is Getting In: A Step-by-step Plan for Gaining Admission to Graduate School in Psychology . (If you know of other sources, please let us know.)

Financial Aid 

Financing a Graduate Education
A breakdown of the three basic ways to finance your graduate education--fellowships and traineeships, teaching and research assistantships, and loans. It does, though, incur a small cost of $1.

Scholarships and grants.
Information on grants for students provided by U.S. government, international, corporate and private funding services, in addition to departments within NYU.