PhD in Psychology

Become a Mason Graduate Student

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

You are responsible for submitting all required application materials by the posted deadline. Review your program's Admissions Requirements and Deadlines before you begin your application. You can also visit our Grad Admissions page for helpful hints on how best to prepare your transcripts and other Admissions materials.

Step 1: Complete and submit the online Graduate Admissions application. George Mason University requires all graduate applicants to upload all possible required supplementary materials, such as unofficial transcripts, goals statement and writing sample, at the same time you submit your application. Online applications require a non-refundable $75 application processing fee.

Step 2: Within a few days of submitting your online application, you will receive an email with your Mason G number (G#). This is a tracking number provided to all applicants that allows us to match your supporting documentation to your completed application.

Step 3: Check your application status and requirements checklist in your application portal. Initial processing takes 3 to 5 business days from the date of submission. You can use your application log-in and password to access your information throughout the application process. Graduate Admissions may send updates or notify you of issues with your application through your admissions portal, so it is best to log in periodically to monitor your application status.

Step 4: For newly admitted students, refer to the CHSS New Graduate Student webpage for tips on confirming enrollment, submitting official transcripts, registering for class and more.

Please see each concentration below for the concentration specific requirements:

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*:  February 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 15

Initial decisions typically made by February 15.

  • Industrial/Organizational Psychology deadline: December 15

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

Most graduate programs in Psychology require full time study.

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 goals statement should be about 2-3 single-spaced pages articulating: A) your training/education history and preparation for graduate school, B) research and/or clinical experience to date relevant to the degree/concentration being pursued, C) your professional goals and how the degree (and the GMU program) fits into those goals, D) reasons/motivation for seeking the degree, and E) 1-2 core, full-time, faculty members in the concentration/program that you are interested in working with as a potential faculty advisor, and why such a person(s) are a good fit with your goals/interests. (uploaded via online application).

For those programs that require the GRE or the GRE is optional, the submitted GRE scores should be from tests 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 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. 

Additional Requirements for