Psychology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

FAQs for Prospective Students

Q: How do I apply?

A: See the How to Apply link for detailed information on the GMU application process.

Q: What are your application requirements and deadlines?

A: The requirements and deadlines for each degree are different.

Q: If my application is submitted past the deadline, will I still be considered?

A. You may still apply. However, please note there are no guarantees that faculty will consider late applications.

Q: Do you require the SAT Reasoning Test?

A: Both SAT Reasoning Test and/or the American College Test (ACT) are accepted at Mason. Mason receives SAT and ACT scores electronically from each testing agency. Applicants should request scores to be sent directly from SAT and/or ACT. Student score reports will NOT be accepted. More freshman admissions requirements can be found here.

Q: What if I am a transfer student? Where do I start?

A: Transfer students come to Mason at different times in their academic careers. The GMU admissions office outlines the requirements needed.

Q: Do you require the GRE General Test? What about the GRE Subject Test in Psychology? Where do I send my GRE scores?

A: The General GRE is required for all applicants. It must be no more than five (5) years old. The Clinical PhD program recommends (but does not require) the Psychology Subject test in addition to the General test. If multiple tests have been taken, we look at the best scores overall. GRE scores are automatically sent to the College/University you choose on your registration form.

Q: How do I know if George Mason (or any other school) is the right school for me?

A: You should read the websites of the schools you are interested in attending. Find out as much information about the department, their teaching methods, research philosophies, and overall attitudes towards scholarship and training as you can.

For graduate applicants, it is particularly important that you identify your research and professional interests early and thoroughly review the current research interests of the faculty. If your research and professional goals do not match up well with a particular school, it is unlikely that you would be a good match for their program, and ultimately you would probably become dissatisfied with your experience. Unfortunately, many students skip this important step, and we must decline admission to highly qualified students because their interests do not match those of the faculty.

Q: If my grades and scores are just below the requirements, should I still apply?

A: We encourage all interested students to apply. However, we do adhere to stated minimum grade point averages and/or GRE scores. For specifics on these requirements, graduate applicants, please visit the webpage that describes the program you are applying for. Undergraduate applicants, please visit the undergraduate admissions website

Q: How should I select a specific graduate program?

A: The primary consideration in selecting a graduate program is that it offers coursework and research related to your area of interest. For example, if you are interested in counseling psychology, Mason is not the place for you as we do not offer a graduate program in counseling psychology. Most programs have detailed webpages that prospective applicants will be expected to review thoroughly. Cold-calling programs for information that is accessible via the web does not reflect well on you as a potential applicant. Graduate programs encourage prospective applicants to ask questions, but expect that the prospect has also done their homework. As trivial as it may sound, it is important that you realize that once you have made the decision to pursue an advanced degree, the first day of your career has begun and first impressions are important.

Once you know that a university offers the program in which you are interested, you should consider other factors. You should consider, for example, basic facts such as whether they offer the specific degree (master's or doctoral) that you seek, whether your scores (GPA, GRE) are in the ballpark of those students they accept, location, and cost. However, there are other issues you should also consider:

  • Do you work full-time and need a degree program that accommodates your schedule? While some graduate programs offer evening/weekend classes or even distance learning options, others follow a more traditional route with daytime lectures, labs and study groups.
  • Is an internship with hands-on-experience the key to your success? If so, ensure that the program has such a program.
  • Do you dread the idea of writing a formal thesis? If so, perhaps a doctoral program is not for you.

Q: Should I apply for a Master's degree or a Doctoral degree?

A: Although there are exceptions, the master’s degree is generally targeted at individuals who want to work in a specified field within psychology, but who are not interested in research. Our master’s programs provide students with a “tool kit” that they can take with them to a job. All of them, however, are grounded in research and theory.

If you are unsure of your commitment to research, we encourage you to consider the master’s program where there are opportunities to perform research and find out if that is something you want to pursue further.

You should also know that there are differences between graduate programs, both in academic goals and practical philosophies. In deciding on which schools to apply to, you should spend a significant amount of time thinking about your own goals and directions, and use that knowledge to weigh differing graduate programs before you decide where to apply. If at all possible, make an appointment to speak with your undergraduate faculty advisor and/or professors to seek out their assistance and guidance.

Print Friendly and PDF