Psychology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students

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FAQs in Applying to Graduate Psychology

Q: How do I apply?

Click here to view the application process for Mason psychology graduate students.

Q: What are your application requirements and deadlines?

The application requirements/deadlines differ based on degree. 

Click here to view the requirements/deadlines for the MA in Psychology. (Applied Developmental, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Industrial/Organizational Psychology, or Human Factors/Applied Cognition programs available).

Click here to view the requirements/deadlines for the PhD in Psychology. (Applied Developmental, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Industrial/Organizational Psychology,Clinical Psychology, or Human Factors/Applied Cognition programs available).

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

A: 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. 

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, the graduate program, the faculty, and research going on, as you can.
 
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/program, it is unlikely that you would be a good match for their program, and ultimately you would probably become dissatisfied with your experience. It is all about the fit between your interests and that of the program/faculty, and this has to be clearly indicated in your statement of purpose. Research the faculty in the graduate program. It is often good to contact 1-2 faculty members of interest to you ahead of time to see if they are accepting new students in the year for which you are applying.
 

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

A: DEFINITELY! We encourage all interested students to apply. We take the entire application into consideration and look at ALL the applicant’s experience, strengths, and weaknesses.

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.

 

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