Graduate Education Guidance

Graduate Education in Psychology

Becoming a professional psychologist requires graduate training leading to careers in research, academia, or clinical psychology.  Traditional research areas include Cognitive, Developmental, Quantitative, Sensory and Systems Neuroscience, and Social Psychology. Persons interested in these areas usually pursue a doctoral degree.  Applied areas include Clinical, Community, Industrial/Organizational, Counseling, Educational Psychology and School Psychology. Careers in these areas are usually possible at the master's or doctoral levels. Graduate programs in Counseling, Educational Psychology, and School Psychology may be offered in Education or Educational Psychology Departments instead of traditional Psychology Departments.

General Graduate Program Resources

  • Want general information about applying to graduate school?

Advanced Degrees in Psychology

Visit these American Psychological Association resources:

Becoming a Psychological Scientist - Video Series 

A Series to Successfully Apply to Grad School and Help Diversify the Field. 

  • APA is excited to present Becoming a Psychological Scientist: A Series to Successfully Apply to Grad School and Help Diversify the Field. The series will walk through the grad school application process step-by-step.   

    The application process for doctoral programs for psychological science has several steps. Join APA for a series of 6 videos and live question and answer sessions with psychological scientists and current graduate students from different subfields with lived experience and expertise in the application process. Sessions will offer advice and strategies for navigating all the steps of the application process, discuss important considerations for selecting a program, and highlight resources for funding your graduate education. The series will address challenges and systemic barriers for students and is free and open to all. It is of particular interest to students applying to graduate school for the Fall 2023 term. 

    Watch the Video Series

Help Applying to Graduate Programs in Psychology

About Counseling Careers

About Clinical Psychology

About School Psychology

About Forensic and Legal Psychology

  • The American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) is an interdisciplinary organization devoted to scholarship, practice, and public service in psychology and law. It functions as both a free-standing organization as well as a division (Division 41) of the American Psychological Association (APA).

About Licensure

About Psychiatry

Meet with UVA Pre-health to prepare for medical school. Visit psychiatry.org to learn more about a career in Psychiatry.

UVA Psychology Graduate Programs

Graduate Education Outside of Psychology

Psychology majors are not limited to graduate studies in psychology. Some majors use their background to pursue careers in Social Work and Education.  Other students go on to Medical School or Law School. Careful preparation will ensure the proper background.  Review the following helpful resources to learn more:


Letters of Recommendation

Regardless of whether you plan to get a job or go to graduate school following graduation, you probably will find that you need letters of recommendation. Because the majority of lower-level courses in the psychology program are large lecture courses, many students reach their fourth year and find they have not established close relationships with faculty members. No matter how good a student you are, a letter written by an instructor who can only discuss your in-class performance will not be as strong or convincing as a letter written by someone who knows you better. You must plan ahead! Some tips: Take your relationship with your major advisor seriously. Schedule an appointment outside class with an instructor whose class you really enjoy. Sign up for an independent research project. Sign up for smaller psychology classes  so you can begin building relationships with your professors.