FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students

FAQs for Prospective Graduate Students

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 most programs. 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.

Due to the Global Pandemic, the PhD programs for Applied Developmental, Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, and Industrial Organizational Concentrations and the Masters Programs for Applied Developmental, Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience, and Industrial/Organizational Psychology will not require the GRE for the Fall 2021 Admissions Cycle

We will NOT accept or consider GRE scores for applications submitted this fall 2020 for the listed programs. Applicants should NOT submit their GRE scores through ETS nor report their scores in the application portal or on their CVs or personal statements.

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: What additional paperwork will I need if I'm an international student?

You will still need the regular graduate student fee, the goals statement, and the GRE*, but you will also need to supply transcripts that may need to be translated if English is not the first language of the institution from which you received this degree. While Mason will provide translation services free of charge, please keep in mind that due to the high volume your transcripts may take some time to be translated. Keep this in mind when applying, and you should work to get your full application in at least a month before the stated deadlines to make sure there are no delays in your application.

You will also be required to submit a verification of English proficiency as part of your package. Acceptable tests include: TOEFL, IELTS, SAT/ACT, and Duolingo English Test, which can be taken at home. Waivers are also granted for those students who have who will have completed four years (grades 9-12) of college preparatory English. Please see this page for full details on waivers.

A full list of requirements for International Applicants is available via the Admissions Webpage. Applications are not passed on from admissions to the psychology department until they are complete.

*Please see the previous note regarding the GRE scores for Fall 2021 Applications.

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.

Q: Do I need a Master's degree in order to apply to a PHD Program?

No, you can apply to a PHD program right out of your Undergraduate Program. You even have the option to get your Master's degree while you are pursuing your PHD program.

Q: Can I be considered for a Master's program if I do not get into a PhD program?

Several of the PhD concentrations have an option on the application itself where you can select that you would like to be considered for the MA program if not admitted to the PhD.