Graduate FAQ

 

Application Process

Would you please send me an application and information packet about your program?

Our program information is on our website. Once you get there click on Prospective Graduate Students. You can also submit an on-line application at this site. We no longer send out hard copies of material.

Does the Department of Psychology have a separate application form in addition to the one that the University requires?

No.

Can an application fee be waived?

It is recognized that application fees can become prohibitively expensive and can be waived in special circumstances. If you are interested in applying for a fee waiver, please see http://gsas.virginia.edu/admission/deadlines.  NOTE:  Fee waivers may be requested beginning on September 1. The DEADLINE for submitting a request for a fee waiver is December 11 at 5 p.m. for the December 15 application deadline.

What should I say in my personal statement?

You should focus your thinking on why you want to go to graduate school and what you would do once you are here. Your personal statement should convince the review committee that you know what you want to do while at graduate school.

What is the Department's deadline for the application?

December 15

How many letters of recommendation do you require?

The Psychology Department requires three (3) letters of recommendation.

What is the UVA code to have ETS send my GRE scores to UVA?

5820. There is no departmental code.

Can I call the Graduate School to see if my application is complete?

No, please do not call the Graduate School to see if your application is complete. They are so busy that they will just transfer you to the department you applied that probably will not be able to tell you anything until after February 15.

If my application is not complete by the time the Graduate Committee starts the review process, will my application not be considered?

Yes, your application will be considered even if it is not complete. If the committee wants to accept you, then you will receive a call or email alerting you to any materials that are missing.

I applied last year and was denied admission. I will be applying again this year and want to use some of the same materials from my earlier application, is that possible?

Yes, we keep applications for 2 years. If you applied within the last 2 years, just send a letter with your application stating that you are reapplying and would like to use certain documents (tell us what they are) from your previous application.

 

Admissions

What is the first step I need to do in order to apply to your graduate program?

The first thing you need to do is think about what you want to do in graduate school. Our department is divided into seven areas (clinical, cognitive, community, developmental, neuroscience and behavior quantitative, and social) and admissions are run almost entirely separately by area.

All of our programs are pretty intensely research-oriented. If you were more interested in professional training in a counseling direction, you probably wouldn't be happy here. This is true of our clinical area as well.

Once you have decided on an area, the next task is to figure out which faculty member you might like to work with. The single most important determinant of admission is finding someone whose research interests are compatible with your own. The place to begin is on the Department web site http://www.virginia.edu/psychology. Find the faculty member, whose work seems the most interesting to you, then get some of their papers and read them. At that point, you might consider getting in touch with one or two faculty members via email.

When all of this is done, you will be ready to apply, and to write a convincing personal statement. You should focus your thinking on why you want to go to graduate school and what you would do once you are here. One other thought - money should not be an issue if you get over the admissions hurdle. We only admit students we can support (at a fairly meager level) once they are here. Very few of our students pay their own tuition.

Do I have to be a psychology major in order to be accepted into your program?

No, you do not have to have a psychology background in order to apply. However, we will want to know WHY you are applying to Psychology and that you understand what you are getting into.

What are the requirements for admission to your program?

Application
Application fee
GRE scores
3 letters of recommendation
Official transcripts from previous schools
There are no particular Psychology course requirements, but having experience will make your application better.

Do you have a spring admission?

No, we only accept in the fall.

 

What is the average GRE score for admission?

General required, not Subject test.

UVA code is 5820. (No department code).

Scores (V + Q):

Most areas 1300+ (314 on the new GRE scale)
Clinical 1400+ (321 on the new GRE scale)
1200- (308 on the new GRE scale) (slim chance of admittance but other materials within application will be considered)

How long are GRE scores valid?

ETS will report GRE scores up to five years following the test date. An applicant would want to be sure that he/she would apply to a graduate school within that five-year period. If it is longer than five years, scores are not reportable and the applicant would need to retake the examination.

What is the average GPA for admission?

Between 3.6 and 3.7.

I will be in the UVA area in a few weeks and would like to stop by Gilmer Hall to talk to someone about admissions. Can you tell me if someone will be available?

Our faculty would prefer not to meet with students that do not have an application in for admission but will gladly talk to you over the phone or via email.

UVA offers admission as well as historical tours. If interested, please contact our Tour Guide Service at 434-924-3239.

I applied last year and want to know why my application was denied.

Your application was evaluated along with a great deal of applications from other potential graduate candidates. The admissions committee considers each application and they are then rank ordered according to 1) GPA, 2) GRE scores, 3) Type and quality of previous research experience 4) Quality and merit of the letters of recommendation and 5) Suitability of interests with faculty members in a specific area of psychology in our department. The top students with the above credentials are then selected for an interview and then a small number from this group are offered admission. Most students are not aware of the fact that graduate programs do not admit an unlimited number of students each year. Rather, only 2 to 4 students are offered admission for a given program within the department each year. Thus, there may be nothing to improve upon in your application. You were evaluated with several others on all of the credentials listed above. If other applicants' ranked higher than you in these categories, then they were selected for an interview. Please do not be misled, there are several students who do not receive offers of admission that we would love to admit into our program (and you may be one of these). However, given that there is a limit on the number of students each area can accept each year, we are left with the burden of selecting only the top 3 to 4 candidates out of an extremely large pool of applicants. I hope this information clarifies the admissions process for you.

I am an International Student and have been studying in the U.S.; do I still need to take the TOEFL test?

If your first language is not English, you will be required to submit a TOEFL test score.

Required score = 600 paper-based; 250 computer-based.
Take it no later than January.
Admitted students must take VA English Language Proficiency Exam upon arrival.

 

How many students are accepted each year?

 

Admission is very competitive. We accept fewer than 10% of our applicants. This is no reflection of the applicant's qualifications.

ADMISSIONS SUMMARY

 

Year

# of Applicants

# Admitted

# Accepted our offer

2015-16 

Clinical

Cognitive

Community                                                        

Developmental

Quantitative

Sensory and Systems Neuroscience

Social

Total

 

245

32

27

52

20

12

97

485

 

6

2

2

4

5

2

7

28

 

4

1

1

2

2

2

3

15

2014-15 

Clinical

Cognitive

Community                                                        

Developmental

Quantitative

Sensory and Systems Neuroscience

Social

Total

 

242

30

17

56

28

15

146

534

 

3

2

2

2

2

1

4

16

 

3

0

1

2

2

1

0

9

2013-14

Clinical

Cognitive

Community

Developmental

Quantitative

Sensory and Systems Neuroscience

Social

Total

 

274

48

35

48

22

13

138

578

 

8

2

3

5

2

1

3

24

 

3

0

2

3

0

1

2

11

2012-2013

Clinical

Cognitive

Community

Developmental

Quantitative

Sensory and Systems Neuroscience

Social

Total

 

275

66

17

42

21

23

137

581

 

5

3

2

2

3

2

3

20

 

4

3

1

1

1

2

3

15

2011-2012 

Clinical

Cognitive

Community

Developmental

Neuroscience and Behavior

Quantitative

Social

Total

 

308

52

27

55

27

20

162

651

 

6

4

2

4

3

3

6

28

 

4

2

1

2

1

1

2

13

 

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation on my behalf?

You should get people that know you, your coursework, and/or lab work well to write letters of recommendation on your behalf, like a past advisor, lecturer, etc. The Graduate Committee relies heavily on the letters of recommendation, so take these seriously.

Do you require the MAT test to be taken for admission?

No, we do not require the MAT test.

If I have no background in Psychology, what can I do to strengthen my application?

You do not have to have a background in Psychology in order to apply. You could take some Psychology courses but better than that you could work in a research lab for a year or so. This is the type of experience the review committee looks for.

Can a person be accepted into one area and do research with another faculty member is another area?

Certainly, though they are going to need to have a primary contact with a faculty member in the area to which they were accepted to get admitted.

Can a student be accepted into your program as part-time?

No, we do not have a part-time program.

 

Programs

What areas of specialization does your program offer?

We have seven areas of specialization: clinical (research, teaching and practicing), cognitive, community, developmental, neuroscience and behavior, quantitative, and social.

What is the difference between the Department of Psychology's clinical program and the Curry School of Education's clinical program?

The Department of Psychology's clinical program is geared more toward research and teaching, but you can also be licensed to practice.

The Curry School of Education's clinical program is geared more toward practice.

So it depends on what you want to be able to do with your PhD as to which program you would apply.

Do you offer a forensic psychology program or degree?

The Psychology Department at the University of Virginia does not have:

a formal program in law and psychology
a clinical forensic program
a PhD/JD program
With that stated, we do accept students who wish to pursue research in law and psychology through one of the generic areas, usually community, social, or clinical. For those students interested in law, children, and families, Professor Emery (ree@virginia.edu) and Reppucci (ndr@virginia.edu) should be consulted. Our goal is to train methodologically sophisticated psychologists who will focus on research issues of direct relevance to the law. Core seminars are offered on "Children, Families and the Law" and "Cognitive and Social Psychological Issues in the Law." Most students also take one or more relevant courses in the law school. Most of our graduates obtain faculty positions in universities or research organizations or pursue a career related to public policy. We have a very good relationship with our law school and several law professors (e.g., Bonnie, Monahan, and E. Scott) have served regularly on dissertation committees. Professor Emery is Director of the Interdisciplinary Center on Children and the Law, which is centered in the psychology department. A few forensic practica are available for advanced clinical students. Students apply to either the social, clinical, or community programs. (Note: It is very unlikely that more than three students per year will be accepted into the graduate program.)

What will I be able to do with my Ph.D. degree once I graduate?

Most of our graduates obtain employment in an academic or research setting. A few obtain employment in the private sector. Some have become:

Faculty members at a College or University doing teaching and/or research
Postdocs at various universities/colleges or at the National Institutes of Mental Health
Clinical supervisors at a county jail
Legislative and Federal Affairs Officers at the American Psychological Association
Private Practice
Biostatisticians at a Pharmaceutical company
Health Research Analysts at a company like Klemm Analysis Group, Inc.
What is the total number of current graduate students in your department?
We currently have about 95 full-time graduate students.

Do you offer a sports psychology program?

No, please visit the Curry School of Education.

I am interested in doing a certain type of research; can you tell me if any of your faculty is doing this type of research?

Please visit our website and click on faculty areas of interest. If you see the research you are interested in doing, please contact the faculty member via email.

Does the teaching/internship requirements have to be done at UVA? I currently work at another institution.

Our program is full-time and all work is done in the Psychology Department. You probably will not have time for an additional job.

Will hours from a previously completed Master's degree transfer in as an area of concentration?

Perhaps. The applicant must first be accepted to the program and then request that the master's credit be applied toward the PhD degree.

Does UVA have a joint Ph.D./J.D. program?

UVA does not have a joint Ph.D./J.D. program. The Psychology Department and Law School do have close ties and there are several courses you can take in each that would get you credit in the other but there is no provision for a joint degree.

Can I receive a terminal Master's degree from your program?

No, we do not have a terminal Master's degree program. When you apply to our program you are applying for the Ph.D. degree, but you may pick up the Master's degree along the way.

Does your department have an Internship program in which clinical graduate students can do their practicum?

No, the Department of Psychology does not have an Internship Program. There are two internship programs at UVA:

University Counseling Center (434-924-3751)

Division of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry via the web http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/psychiatric/behavior.cfm

If I were accepted into your program, would any of my prior courses be transferable?

If you are accepted to UVA, some of your coursework may be transferable for a PhD, but not for getting your Masters.

To get a Masters you need 30 hours of graded courses TAKEN AT UVA and to get a PhD you need 38 hours of graded courses but some can be taken elsewhere (both degrees have other requirements, of course). What happens most often is that people get 8 credits of statistics and then they can get both masters and PhD from UVA. But sometimes someone who comes in with, say, 12 credits, applies all to the PhD and just doesn't bother to even get a Masters from UVA - it is not required to get the MA before the PhD.

So, yes, prior courses may be transferable - but only if you are here for the long haul.

 

Courses

Does your department offer any courses via the Internet?

No - please contact the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Can I take classes in your department if I am not a graduate student?

Non-full time students may take courses through the Psychology Department by contacting the School of Continuing and Professional Studies on the web, or by calling 1-800-346-3882.

May I receive a listing of your graduate courses?

A graduate course is a 5000-level and above. You can obtain a listing of our graduate courses on our Graduate Student information page.

Descriptions of our graduate courses can be also be found via the web at the University Registrar website.

What are the codes that are listed after the course?

S - offered fall and spring semesters
Y - offered at least once every academic year (fall or spring semester)
E - offered when the fall semester occurs in an even year (e.g., 2002-2003)
O - offered when the fall semester occurs in an odd year (e.g., 2001-2002)
SI - offered upon sufficient student interest
IR - offered irregularly
SS - offered during summer session
I need a couple more courses to be licensed in Virginia. Can you tell me whom I should contact?
Please visit the Curry School of Education website.

 

Funding/Tuition

Do your graduate students receive any financial assistance from your department?

All students admitted in the program are offered a financial support package, consisting of $24,000 ($20,000 academic year and $4,000 summer) stipend for the year plus full tuition and individual health insurance coverage for 5 years pending satisfactory progress in the program which will be paid to you by a combination of teaching assistantships, research assistantships and/or fellowship funds.  Fellowships for graduate study are also available from various government agencies, such as the National Institute of Mental Health and National Science Foundation, as well as from private foundations and associations. Several psychology graduate students have received these awards in recent years.

How much tuition will I pay if I am accepted into your program?

Your tuition is paid in full your first year and pending funding and satisfactory progress in the program, will be paid in full for at least the next four years.