How to Apply

NOTE: Our virtual recruiting weekend will be held on January 31- February 1, 2025. Our in-person recruiting will be held on March 14-15, 2025 for those who are accepted to the program.


Application Requirements

The department uses a self-managed application procedure. Applications are submitted through the GradCAS website. Official reports of GRE and TOEFL exams (when required/accepted), are sent to us electronically by the testing services. Your recommenders must also submit their letters of recommendation through GradCAS. Copies of transcripts are accepted and will be uploaded through Liaison. Upon admission to the program you will be required to submit official transcripts from all prior institutions. Your application can be evaluated only when it is complete. Please use this Check List to be sure you have completed all requirements. All credentials must be received by December 1st.


We require the following application materials:


1. Application for Admission to Graduate Study

Applications must be submitted online through GradCAS:  Please choose 'Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology' from the list. You will be able to enter the specific program of interest further into the application. The online application system will be disabled after the December 1st deadline. The application form serves as an application for both admission and financial aid (fellowships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships) in the Department of Psychology. You do not need to apply separately for financial aid.


You can apply to more than one program if you feel they meet your interests. Your chances of admission are not increased by applying to multiple programs. You should also indicate one or more faculty with whom you would most like to work. Please make sure that faculty member is accepting students for the 2024-25 admissions year. Profiles are up-to-date for the 2024-25 admissions year. Please check faculty profiles using this link: Please do not list faculty who are listed as 'not accepting' as that particular faculty member will not review your application.


2. Application Fee

An application fee of $75.00 will be paid online through the GradCAS application. In an effort to reduce financial barriers to attending graduate school, the Kenneth P. Dietrich Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offers application fee waivers. Please note that fee waivers are approved on a case-by-case basis and not all fee waiver requests will be granted. See below for further instructions on how to apply for a fee waiver. You must apply and wait for notification of the waiver before submitting the application. If you pay the application fee before the decision on the waiver is made a refund CANNOT be awarded.


We are pleased to offer application fee waivers on the basis of participation in the following programs, fellowships, and events:

  • American Geophysical Union Bridge Program (AGU Bridge)
  • American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) 
  • AmeriCorps (current participant or recent alum, within the last two years)
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) 
  • BTAA 
  • Cientifico Latino Graduate School Mentorship Program (GSMI)
  • Ecological Society of America Diversity Forum
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • HIS Pathways to the Professoriate
  • Hot Metal Bridge Program, University of Pittsburgh (HMB)
  • Institute of for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT)
  • Laureates & Leaders Program
  • Leadership Alliance
  • Lewis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-AMP) 
  • Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program (MMUF) 
  • Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) 
  • Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP)
  • National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM) 
  • National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE)
  • National Science Foundation - Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) 
  • National Society for Hispanic Physicists (NSHP)
  • National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP) 
  • Peace Corps (current participant or recent alum, within the last two years)
  • Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP/NIH) 
  • Project 1000 
  • Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) 
  • Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE/NIH) 
  • Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
  • Teach for America (current participant or recent alum, within the last two years)

Also, we are pleased to offer application fee waivers to the following applicants: 

  • Applicants who have earned or are in the process of earning an undergraduate or graduate degree from a Minority Serving Institution (MSI)
  • Honorably Discharged Veterans and Active Duty members of the U.S. Armed Services
  • Applicants who currently have DACA status
  • Current University of Pittsburgh staff

For International applicants: students applying through certain outside fellowship organizations may be eligible for a fee waiver.


All requests received will be reviewed and responded to within 48 hours during normal business hours: Monday - Friday 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. EST.  To be considered for a fee waiver, Please complete the following fee waiver survey for review:


3. Statement of Goals

All of our programs use a holistic review procedure that looks for a good fit of interest with the research conducted in our department and considers a wide range of factors associated with success in graduate school. A required Statement of Goals is an essential component of this holistic review because it provides a personal perspective on each applicant. This statement should be no more than 1,000 words long and explain your plans and preparation for graduate study and a professional career. Please be as specific as possible about (a) the development of your academic interest in psychology and reasons for pursuing the PhD, (b) past research experience and mentorship, and its relationship to your current research interests, (c) clinical experience (if applicable), (d) other skills, abilities, and experiences that have helped to prepare you for graduate study (e.g., data management and analysis skills; experience with advanced methods such as neuroimaging or psychological assessment), and (e) why you have chosen to apply to the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology and how your interests fit with the research program of the faculty member(s) whom you indicated on the application form. 


4. Personal Essay

In a personal essay of no more than 500 words, share information about any of the following: leadership or outreach efforts in your school or community; employment or athletics that you have balanced with academic demands; learning that you have undertaken outside of the classroom; challenges that you have overcome in persevering towards your goals; or if you wish, any issues relevant to equity, diversity and inclusion, broadly considered.


5. Transcripts of All Credits

Transcripts are required from each undergraduate (and graduate) school attended. Please submit your transcripts through GradCAS by uploading copies of all transcripts. Please only upload UNOFFICIAL COPIES for the application. Official transcripts will be required upon matriculation into the graduate studies program. Please do not email any transcripts to the Psychology Department as you must contact GradCAS directly for any assistance with uploads. See contact information at #9 below. 


6. Three Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be written by professors with whom you have studied or worked. The method of receipt is through the online system GradCAS system. 


7. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Scores

Please see the requirement of each program listed below: 

Clinical: GRE optional

Joint Clinical-Health: GRE optional

Joint Clinical-Developmental: GRE optional

Biological & Health:  GRE optional

Developmental: GRE optional

Cognitive: GRE not considered/accepted

Social: GRE not considered/accepted

The University of Pittsburgh school code is 2927. Do NOT enter a department or program code. Only official score reports submitted by ETS will be accepted for admission consideration.

The Psychology Subject Test - For the clinical program and joint clinical programs, this exam is not required, but recommended, especially for non-psychology majors. Please note: the GRE psychology subject test is usually given only once in the fall, and again in the late spring. You may still apply even if you missed the fall test. In this case your psychology GPA will be more heavily weighted in the application review process. It is optional for other psychology programs.

For information concerning the GRE, contact the Educational Testing Service, Box 955, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, or the testing center of the school you are attending.


8. Additional Materials

You may upload additional materials online (e.g., papers, reprints) that you think might assist the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application.


9. English Language Testing Scores (TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo)

International graduate applicants must possess proficiency in English at a level that enables them to succeed in graduate-level studies. Applicants in the following categories meet this requirement: citizens of a country whose official languages include English; graduates of regionally accredited institutions in the U.S.; graduates of institutions whose language of instruction is English and located in countries whose official languages include English.


These scores are required for all applicants whose native language is not English. The minimum requirements for each exam are listed below: 


TOEFL: score of 90, with a score of at least 22 in each of the four sections of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. TOEFL scores submitted must not be more than two years old.

IELTS: score of 7.0, with at least 6.5 in each of its four sections. IELTS scores submitted must not be more than two years old.

Duolingo English Test: score of 120


If you are completing the Duolingo English Test: The Duolingo English Test is an online English proficiency test that can be taken on demand in one hour (requires computer with camera, microphone, speakers, internet connection). It involves an adaptive test via a graded section that evaluates applicants’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills (45 mins) and a video interview recording answers to open-ended questions (10 mins). Certified results are available within 48 hours of the test session. For more information, please visit Duolingo’s website


10. Assistance with GradCAS

If you are having issues with any part of your on-line application for the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences please reach out to the GradCas Applicant Help center:  If you cannot find the answer to your question you can also contact them by phone 857-304-2086 or via email:  For the quickest response it is best to contact them via chat on the Applicant Help center page.


If you have any questions please email: