2010 Graduate Study in Psychology

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Test Score and GPA Requirements – U.S. Master’s Departments

Tables 21 and 22 address requirements for entry as noted by master’s-level departments of psychology in the United States. One hundred and thirty-three departments responded overall but not necessarily to each of the items.

Over 95% of the responding departments required verbal and quantitative GRE scores as well as the overall undergraduate GPA. Eighty-nine percent required the last 2 years GPA and 90% required a Psychology-specific GPA. GRE Analytic, Subject and MAT tests were less often required. Average minimum and median scores/GPAs can be found in Table 21.

Test score and GPA requirements among master’s departments by institution type (public/private) can be found in Table 22. Departments were pretty similar across institution type with a few exceptions. Departments in private settings more often required the GRE-Analytic than did those departments in public settings. Further the MAT was more a factor for departments in private settings. Almost all master’s departments in public settings required the GPA from the last two years compared to only 71% in private settings. Private institutions noted somewhat higher average GRE verbal and quantitative median scores.

Test Score and GPA Requirements – U.S. and Canadian Departments

Table 23 presents data on the requirements for entry into master’s and doctoral programs in graduate departments of psychology in the US and Canada. The vast majority of U.S. and Canadian departments required the GRE-V and GRE-Q, the overall undergraduate GPA, and last two years GPA of applicants to master’s programs. Most departments also required a Psychology GPA score. Canadian departments were substantially more likely to require the GRE-Analytic and -Subject scores at the Master’s level than were U.S. departments.

Large majorities of both U.S. and Canadian departments required the GRE-V, -Q, and Analytic, as well as the overall undergraduate GPA for entry into doctoral programs. Forty percent of U.S. graduate programs and 45% of Canadian graduate programs reported requiring the GRE -Subject test in Psychology. Canadian departments were more likely to require the additional GPA information (last two years, Psychology and Master’s GPA) than were U.S. departments (82% or better vs. 74% or less).

Generally speaking, the scores reported for entry into master’s programs were lower than those reported for entry into doctoral programs in the U.S. Due to the small number of Canadian departments responding in certain categories, the minimum and median scores are not available for these departments.

Test Score and GPA Requirements – U.S. Master’s and Doctoral Programs in Doctoral Departments in Public and Private Settings

Doctoral departments in public settings were more likely to require GRE-V, GRE-Q, and last two years GPA scores for entry into master’s programs than were departments in private settings. See Table 24. Analytic portions of the GRE were required by about half of the departments regardless of setting, while Subject GRE scores were required by one fourth or less. Almost 90% of all departments required an overall undergraduate GPA. Psychology GPA was required for entry into a master’s program by over half of the departments.

The GRE-V, GRE-Q, and overall undergrad GPA were required for admission into doctoral programs by over 90% of the responding departments in both public and private settings. Better than three-fourths of departments required the GRE-Analytic and around 40% the GRE-Subject scores for admission to doctoral programs. These held across setting type. Last two years GPA was more often required by departments in public settings than those in private settings, while the reverse was true of the psychology GPA and Master’s GPA.

For the most part, scores were higher among doctoral programs than among masters.

Test Score and GPA Requirements – Traditional Academic and Professional School Settings

Table 25 presents data on reported scores and requirements for master’s and doctoral programs in doctoral departments in traditional academic and professional school settings. The undergraduate GPA was the most often required score for master’s programs in both types of settings. GRE verbal and quantitative scores were required by a larger percentage of master’s programs in traditional settings than was the case for those in professional schools (over 85% as opposed to under 60%). The last two years GPA was deemed important in both settings. Psychology GPA was more often required in master’s programs in professional school settings than was true of programs in traditional settings. Although the great majority rely upon the GRE and undergraduate GPA, doctoral programs in traditional academic settings were more apt to require GRE-V, GRE-Q, GRE-Analytic, and the last two years GPA. Doctoral departments in professional schools placed greater emphasis on psychology GPA and master’s GPA. Minimum and median scores for doctoral departments were higher for those departments in traditional academic settings. Minimum and median scores can be found in Table 25.

Importance of Admission Criteria by Level of Department and Type of Institution

Table 26 presents the data for this section. At 74% or better, doctoral programs in public settings gave the greatest importance to letters of recommendation, a statement of goals and objectives, the GPA and research experience. Those in private settings ranked a statement of goals and objectives highest, followed by letters of recommendation, the GPA and the interview. Lowest-ranked admission criteria (least apt to be rated as highly important) included extracurricular activities and work experience.

Master’s programs in public and private settings chose as the top three admission criteria: GPA, letters of recommendation and a statement of goals and objectives. Least important at the master’s level was the category of extracurricular activities. Work experience and clinically related public service were each judged as medium in importance.

All program types and classifications valued letters of recommendation (75% or better stated that they were highly valued) and statements of goals and objectives (65% or better stated that they were highly valued). GPA information was also deemed important across all program types and institutions. GRE/MAT scores were more often ranked as being of high importance among public institutions at both the Master’s and Doctoral level than private institutions at either level.

Extracurricular activities did not appear to be a critical factor in admissions decisions, regardless of program type or institution. Clinically-related public service and work experience were deemed to be of moderate importance in admissions decisions by all program types in public and private settings. Research experience was most highly valued by doctoral programs, particularly in the public setting than by Master’s programs.

An interview was ranked as having greater importance among doctoral programs and this was particularly so for programs in private settings.