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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology

Applying – Experimental Psychology

Degree Offered

The experimental program, as well as our clinical program, leads to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree. Students in our program are required to complete a Master’s thesis and earn a Master’s degree; however, this degree is designed to be part of the overall doctoral training program, and has very different requirements than would be found in a terminal Master’s degree program. As such, our Master’s degree cannot function as a terminal degree. Neither do we offer a Psy.D. degree. The program typically takes 4-5 years to complete. For students with previous graduate experience, the length of academic courses/training may be reduced.

Mentoring Model

The program employs a mentoring model under which the student works closely with a faculty member. While it is expected that one faculty member will assume responsibility for guiding the student to degree completion, the student has the option of studying with multiple faculty. Many of our clinical faculty also involved in training experimental students, as they often serve as members on an experimental student’s masters, preliminary exam, and dissertation committees—dependent on the student’s interests. Also, the student has the freedom to switch experimental faculty advisors should his/her interests change during the course of his/her studies.

Recruiting Faculty

Teaching Opportunities and Training

This program offers many opportunities for teaching both lower- and upper-division undergraduate psychology courses. We offer instructor training and supervision for both “live” and “online” courses. Students receive “best practice” training on a diverse range of pedagogical topics, including: course design, lecture construction and style, utilization of teaching technology, instructor-student interaction, facilitation of “live” and “online” discussion, syllabus and assignment construction, and the assessment of learning. Particular emphasis is given to lecture preparation and delivery as well as the creation and management of teaching environments capable of supporting a variety of learning styles. Students receive personalized feedback on both practice and “real” lectures as well as on syllabus and assignment construction. Training and supervision also includes discussion of ethical issues involving privacy, plagiarism, cheating, diversity, equity, and the protection of individual rights are also discussed.

Number of Students Admitted

The Experimental Psychology Graduate Program admits 5-8 new students annually and enrolls approximately 25-30 doctoral students at any one time. The clinical graduate program admits 5-6 students annually, and there are typically 30 clinical graduate students on campus at any one time (for more information about the clinical program, see clinical program ). Thus, the psychology graduate program (experimental and clinical combined) consists of approximately 60 students.

Admission Consideration

To merit consideration for the Experimental Program, the applicant must have completed at least 18 credits in Psychology and earned at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA. Applicants with less than these numbers will not be considered for admission regardless of circumstances.

For those who meet the above requirement, evaluation of the application is based on: undergraduate GPA (3.0 minimum); graduate GPA (if any); GRE scores (subject test is not required-Verbal plus Quantitative score usually averages around: If took GRE prior to August 1, 2011, score = 1160; If took GRE after August 1, 2011, score = 312.); transcripts; letters of recommendation; clinical, research and/or teaching experience; the variety and difficulty of coursework completed, with the expectation being that the student has completed a large number of upper-division courses both within and outside of the major; extracurricular activities and jobs related to psychology; and a demonstrated ability to function independently and responsibly.

The department actively recruits students from cultural groups that have been under-represented in professional psychology.

To be considered for admission to the Department of Psychology’s Graduate Programs, all of your completed application materials must be received by our December 1st deadline.

Interview, Admissions, Acceptance Timeline

Invitations to interview are usually made by mid-January; offers of admission are usually made by the end of February. Upon selection for admission to the graduate programs, a member of our faculty will contact you to make a verbal offer. The faculty member will provide details about the program, indicate whether the offer comes with financial support (usually in the form of an assistantship appointment) or without support, and answer any questions you may have. A letter will be sent to confirm the details of the offer and you will have until April 15 to accept or decline in writing and via zzusis.

Application Instructions

Applications are accepted September 1 – December 1 for fall admission. To be considered for admission to the Department of Psychology’s Graduate Programs, all of your completed application materials must be received by our December 1st deadline.

To apply to the Washington State University Department of Psychology, Experimental Graduate Program you must complete the Washington State University Graduate School Application Process

*Please note that your references are required to submit letters of recommendation by the December 1 deadline, so please email the link to your letter writers so they can meet the application deadline.

Also, please contact the faculty member(s) you wish to work with to ensure that they are recruiting students next fall semester.

Questions concerning this process, please contact Kendra Cochrane, Program Coordinator, Psychology Department at


To make your application more competitive, your personal statement should include the following:

  1. your previous research and/or clinical experiences
  2. your future career goals
  3. your reasons for wanting to attend the WSU graduate program in Psychology
  4. the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with and why
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