2011: Graduate Study in Psychology

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Introduction and methodology

In January of each year the APA’s Education Directorate notifies the chairs of graduate departments of psychology of the annual Graduate Study in Psychology effort. The following month the chairs are sent a link to the survey. This original email is followed by three subsequent contacts requesting participation in the study. APA receives a notification email when a program has completed the survey and graduate programs are dropped from the database when they have not updated their data for two straight years. The information is provided voluntarily by graduate departments and schools of psychology.

The objective of Graduate Study in Psychology is to provide information about more than 500 graduate departments, programs, and schools of psychology in the United States and Canada that award a degree in psychology or related fields on the topics of student costs and support, faculty, enrollment and attrition rates, and requirements for admission. These data are available in a searchable online database. Students can locate information on specific departments using this tool.

Graduate Study in Psychology has been an ongoing effort for more than 20 years. Previous reports included demographic characteristics of faculty and first-year psychology graduate students, as well as application, acceptance, and enrollment characteristics of U.S. and Canadian graduate departments of psychology. The report also includes admission and graduation requirements, tuition information, and information on financial support available to U.S. and Canadian graduate students in psychology. More data from previous Graduate Study in Psychology efforts can be found online.


When using the information in this report, readers should be aware of possible sources of error. Analyses are based on the subset of departments that participated in the survey, not the population at large.

Master’s programs can reside either in doctoral-level departments or departments where the master’s is the highest degree granted. Therefore, information on some master’s degree programs would be presented in tables reporting doctoral department data.

Characteristics of faculty in graduate departments of psychology

In 2009-2010, data were reported by 553 U.S. and 29 Canadian graduate departments of psychology. There were 16,003 faculty members reported in US departments and 1,273 in Canadian departments (Table 1). Over half of U.S. faculty were in public settings (58%) while 42% were in private institutions. Sixty-eight percent of all U.S. faculty were full time in 2009-2010 while 32% were part time. In 2007-2008, almost ¾ were full time.

The distribution of full-time and part-time faculty varied noticeably between public and private graduate departments such that sixty-nine percent of full-time faculty were in public settings compared with 36% of part-time faculty. Conversely a larger percentage of part–time faculty were located in private settings compared to full-time faculty (64%, vs. 31%, respectively). Just under half of faculty in departments in private settings (49%) were part time compared with 20% of faculty in public departments. Obviously, departments in private settings rely on part-time faculty to a greater extent than do departments in public settings.

In 2009-2010, women represented just over 49% of all faculty and 46% of full-time faculty in U.S. graduate departments of psychology. They were 57% of those working part time. In U.S. graduate departments of psychology almost equal proportions of male and female full-time faculty were in public versus private settings. Similar patterns were noted for male and female part-time faculty. By contrast, women were 43% of all faculty in Canadian departments of psychology, 41% of full-time faculty and 52% of part-time faculty (Table 1).

Minority faculty represented just under 13% of the total faculty in the 537 responding U.S. graduate departments of psychology in 2009-2010. Representation differed for full- and part-time minority faculty by type of institution, with two thirds of full-time minority faculty employed in public settings and 36% in private settings. The reverse is true for part-time minority faculty, with 68% in private settings and 32% in public. The same patterns hold for non-minority faculty. (Table 5).

Faculty in doctoral-level departments

Four hundred and five U.S. doctoral departments of psychology reported 12,870 faculty in 2009-2010. Fifty-five percent of these individuals were employed in public institutions. Sixty-nine percent were employed full time while 30% were employed part time (Table 3).

Just over two thirds (67%) of full-time faculty in doctoral departments of psychology were located in public settings while 33% were in private settings. In contrast, part-time faculty were more often found in departments in private institutions (72%), not public settings (28%). Stated another way, 84% of the faculty in public doctoral departments were full time, compared to 51% of the faculty in private doctoral departments.

Women were 48% of faculty in doctoral-level departments in the U.S. in 2009-2010. They were 45% of full-time faculty and 56% of part-time faculty. These patterns hold for doctoral departments in public and private institutions.

Patterns for distribution of faculty by race/ethnicity in doctoral departments of psychology in U.S. institutions resembled those noted above. (Table 7). Fourteen percent of faculty in U.S. doctoral graduate departments of psychology were members of a minority group in 2009-2010. A little less than two thirds (62%) of full-time minority faculty were located in doctoral departments in public settings, with 38% in private settings. For part-time minority faculty, most (78%) were found in private settings. In 2002-2003, minority representation was just over 10%.

Eighty-three percent of faculty in Canadian doctoral departments were employed full time, while 17% were employed part time. Women represented 43% of Canadian faculty in doctoral departments. Women represented 41% of Canadian faculty employed full time and 53% of faculty employed part time in 2009-2010. (Table 3).

Faculty in traditional academic and professional school settings

Sixty-seven percent of graduate faculty were located in doctoral-level departments in traditional academic settings while 33% were found in professional school settings. Eighty-four percent of the faculty in traditional academic settings were full time compared to 42% of faculty in professional schools. Looked at another way, eighty percent of full-time faculty were in traditional settings while 20% were in professional schools. Among part-time faculty, 36% were in traditional settings and 64% were in professional school settings.

Fifty-three percent of women faculty were working in professional school settings compared to 46% in traditional academic settings. Men were slightly more likely to work in traditional academic settings than were women (54% traditional academic settings, 47% professional school settings). In comparison with men, women represented a larger proportion of part-time faculty in both traditional and professional school settings. (Table 2).

Twenty-seven percent of full-time minority faculty were located in professional schools compared to 19% of full-time non-minority faculty. (Table 6). The largest proportions of full-time minority and non-minority faculty were found in traditional settings (73% and 81%, respectively). The reverse is the case for part-time faculty such that 71% of part-time minority faculty and 65% of part-time non-minority faculty were employed in professional school settings.

Faculty in master’s-level departments

One hundred and forty-eight U.S. Master’s departments of psychology reported 3,133 faculty in 2009-2010. Seventy-three percent were located in public settings. Sixty-three percent were employed full time while 37% worked part time. (Table 4).

Seventy-seven percent of full-time faculty in U.S. master’s departments were in public settings, with 23% in private settings. Unlike doctoral departments, most part-time faculty in master’s departments were found in public settings, not private (64% and 36%, respectively).

Women represented almost 55% of faculty in master’s departments. They were a slightly larger proportion of part-time faculty than full-time faculty (61% versus 52%). Women outnumbered male faculty in master’s departments in both public and private settings, and as full- and part-time faculty.

Minority faculty were 12% of faculty in U.S. master’s departments of psychology in 2009-2010. Part-time faculty were more apt than full-time faculty to be employed in private departments and this holds regardless of race/ethnicity. (Table 8). In 2002-2003, full-time minority faculty were just over 10%, part-time minority faculty were 7.6%.