College of Humanities and Social Sciences


PhD in Psychology

Application Requirements

All applicants for graduate study at George Mason University must meet the admission standards specified in the Admission chapter of the University Catalog.

Applicants to the doctoral program in psychology must submit:

  • Completed Application for Graduate Study (online).
  • Nonrefundable application fee.
  • Virginia In-State Tuition Rates application if claiming entitlement to these rates.
  • Unofficial transcript(s) from previous domestic institution(s) attended (uploaded via online application).
  • Goals statement of two to three typed pages describing professional goals, training history, and reasons for seeking the PhD (uploaded via online application).
  • Resume or CV (uploaded via online application).
  • The names and email addresses (via online application) of the three individuals who have firsthand knowledge of the applicant’s academic capabilities or work experience who will be submitting the required letters of recommendation.
  • GRE scores (NOTE: The test should be taken within the past five years and before the application deadline. Applicants should take the GRE by October because applications cannot be processed until these scores are received. The general test is required, but scores for the Advanced Test in Psychology may also be submitted. The concentration in clinical psychology recommends but does not require the psychology subject test.)

Applicants with international academic credentials should:

NOTE: Applicants may supply an official international transcript evaluation from an independent evaluation agency approved by NACES or AACRAO. The WES-ICAP evaluation service includes verified academic credentials as part of the evaluation package. If you prefer to have Mason evaluate your international transcripts, you should apply 45 days before the posted deadline date.

  • provide proof of English proficiency: either TOEFL, IELTS, or Pearson Test of English. Please refer to the university’s English Proficiency Standards
  • submit your official transcripts in a sealed envelope directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions either via postal mail or in-person to:

George Mason University
Office of Graduate Admissions
4400 University Drive, MSN 4C8
245 Johnson Center
Fairfax, VA  22030

For questions regarding the application process, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at or (703) 993-9700.

Application Deadlines and Decision Timelines

New students are admitted for fall semester only. All applicants are strongly advised to submit applications and all supporting documents by the programs' posted deadline dates. Deadlines vary by concentration.  Each graduate concentration expects to make initial admission decisions by the dates posted below. However, decisions will continue through April 30 as applicants are selected from the waitlist and the programs reach capacity.

  • Applied Developmental Psychology deadline*: December 1

Initial decisions typically made by March 1 after open house event in February.

  • Biopsychology (Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience) deadline*:  January 1

Initial decisions typically made by March 1.

  • Clinical Psychology deadline:  December 1  

Initial decisions typically made by February 15 after interviews in late January, early February.

  • Human Factors/Applied Cognition deadline*: January 1

Initial decisions typically made by February 15.

  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology deadline: January 1

Initial decisions typically made by February 1.

*Applications for the Applied Developmental Psychology, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, and Human Factors/Applied Cognition concentrations received after the deadline may be considered on a space-available basis. 

Additional Information

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all materials arrive before the application deadline. Applicants in the final candidate pool may be required to participate in an interview.

Applicants are expected to have the following background:

  • For the PhD with a concentration in industrial/organizational psychology or in human factors/applied cognition, at least 15 credits in psychology, including a statistics course and a laboratory course in psychology. A tests and measurements course is recommended.
  • For the PhD with a concentration in clinical psychology, at least 15 credits in psychology, including a statistics course, laboratory science course, and abnormal psychology. Courses in developmental psychology, personality, physiological psychology, and tests and measurements are desirable.
  • For the PhD with a concentration in applied developmental psychology, at least 15 credits in psychology, including statistics and a laboratory course in experimental psychology.
  • For the PhD with a concentration in biopsychology, at least 15 hours of psychology, including physiological psychology, statistics, and a lab course in experimental psychology.

The department considers all applications, considers them as a whole, and there are no rigid minimum scores required. However, we typically prefer applicants with an undergraduate GPA > 3.00, a GPA in psychology course work > 3.25, and GRE scores > the 50th percentile. Experience, letters of recommendation, publications, and (in some programs) an interview, can help compensate for deficiencies in numeric qualifications. No specific set of qualifications guarantees admission. 

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