Frequently Asked Questions
Table of Contents
- General information
- Graduate student life
- Program opportunities
- Financial support
- GRE/English-language proficiency test
- Personal statement
- Letters of recommendation
- Interviews and decisions
If you have additional questions, please contact us at PsychAcademics@ur.rochester.edu.
Yes, our department has a PhD program in clinical psychology. The program is accredited by the APA through the year 2028. The department is not currently accredited through PCSAS; however, we are a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Sciences and are in the process of seeking PCSAS accreditation.
Our department does not offer a terminal master’s degree program, though doctoral students will earn a master of arts in psychology during the course of their PhD program.
While the University of Rochester psychology department uses a wide range of methodologies and theoretical perspectives, the PhD program for cognitive sciences is housed in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS), which is conveniently located next to the Department of Psychology. Faculty research interests in BCS include cognition, perception, neuroscience, and cognitive development.
The PhD program is designed to be completed in five years of full-time study. However, the time to complete the program depends on individual students’ goals and progress. Clinical psychology students also complete a 1-year internship as part of their degree, and the majority of clinical psychology students finish their degree in six years. See the Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data (pdf) for more details on the clinical PhD program.
Requirements vary by subfield program and can be found in the Psychology Graduate Handbook.
Rochester is the third most populous city in New York state. Located on Lake Ontario in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York, Rochester is home to both the beautiful outdoors and urban life. The city includes a variety of museums and performing arts centers. Areas like the East End, Park Ave, and South Wedge provide fun dining and nightlife. Rochester is surrounded by many national parks, is only about 40 minutes away from the famous wineries of the Finger Lakes, and is located only 90 minutes away from Niagara Falls. Additionally, Rochester is located nearby several other cities, including Buffalo (1 hour), Toronto (3 hours), Cleveland (4 hours), Pittsburgh (4.5 hours), and New York City (5.5 hours).
The department is no stranger to students having children while enrolled as graduate students. To support students who have children, the department offers an 8-week parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child. See the University Graduate Handbook for more information.
Our application lists the faculty who are accepting students. You can also look at each program area’s admission criteria web page (clinical, developmental, social-personality). Additionally, faculty that are accepting students have a bolded statement at the top of their bio on their faculty web pages which can be accessed from our faculty directory.
The University of Rochester psychology programs are mentor-based programs, which means that applicants are encouraged to apply to a specific faculty member(s) whose work aligns with their research interest. That faculty member will act as the primary mentor to the student. This does not mean students cannot collaborate with other faculty, as collaboration is a common occurrence within and outside our department.
The graduate application allows you to select more than one faculty member; however, it is not necessary to select more than one. The application will ask you to select one faculty member as your first preference for a potential mentor, and you may select one additional potential mentor (two additional for clinical applicants). Because our department is a mentor-based program, faculty are looking for students whose research interests (but not necessarily experience) align with or complement their own. A research interest that is either too broad or an applicant who selects too many faculty may be harder for faculty to evaluate.
Absolutely! You are encouraged to reach out to faculty of interest in order to introduce yourself and learn more about their current research. However, given the volume of emails that faculty receive, it may not be possible for faculty to respond to every email. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back from them right away. Contact information for faculty can be found on the faculty directory page. Additional faculty who may be accepting students in the clinical psychology program can be found on the clinical psychology page.
The faculty directory includes a list of all faculty in the department by discipline. When you select a faculty member’s name you will be sent to their faculty page, which lists their research interests and related information. These pages also often include links to their lab-specific websites.
The Certificate in Quantitative Psychology program trains students in the application of advanced methodological and statistical methods. It enables students to engage in high quality methodological practices within their substantive areas. Upon completion of the requirements (see Psychology Graduate Handbook), the certificate will be recorded on the student's transcript and may be listed on the student's curriculum vitae.
The developmental psychopathology emphasis in clinical psychology and the developmental psychopathology track in developmental psychology take advantage of the extensive training resources in developmental psychopathology available at the University of Rochester. Each emphasis or track has different requirements, but both prepare their students for research in developmental psychopathology.
The University of Rochester has a robust neuroimaging research program that includes the research-dedicated Center for Advanced Brain Imaging and Neurophysiology (CABIN), which is located within walking distance of the department. The CABIN hosts a Siemens 3T MAGNETOM PrismaFit, a Mobile Brain/Body Imaging system (MoBI), among other resources for researchers to use.
All graduate students serve as a teaching assistant for a minimum of one semester. Teaching assistantships often include opportunities to guest lecture or teach labs. In addition, undergraduate courses in our summer semester are taught by graduate students.
The Office of Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs provides an introductory training for all new teaching assistants, and the department has a series of teaching workshops for first-time instructors to help prepare new teachers, as well as a faculty mentoring program for ongoing support while they are teaching. In addition, the University of Rochester has developed two teaching programs: Foundations in Teaching and Advanced Teaching. Graduate students who complete the requirements for either (or both) will receive a notation on their transcript recognizing completion of the teaching program(s).
All students are accepted into our programs with a full tuition scholarship and nine-month stipend for five years. Stipends typically come from teaching or research assistantships. Students are responsible for the cost of a graduate activity fee and international student fee, if applicable. See the Bursar’s website for the most up-to-date information about fees.
The departmental stipend for incoming students during the 2022-2023 academic year is $24,000. Stipends typically come from teaching or research assistantships. Additionally, some students secure funding from external fellowships (e.g., NSF, NIH NRSA).
University Sproull Fellowships and Provost Minority Fellowships provide additional awards to incoming graduate students of exceptional academic promise. There is no additional application required to be considered for these fellowships.
Assistantships and/or fellowships are NOT guaranteed during the summer months; however, there may be opportunities to receive summer funding through research assistantships in faculty labs, summer teaching, and other opportunities for funding outside of the department.
Yes, international students receive the same financial support as domestic students.
The University provides a student health insurance plan at no cost to the student for five years. You are not required to sign up for University insurance if you are covered as a dependent or if you choose to purchase health insurance directly through an insurer, as long as those plans meet the University Insurance Criteria. The University also covers the cost of the Mandatory Health Fee for five years, which covers a range of primary care services through University Health Service.
You may purchase health insurance from the University for any of your own dependents (spouse, children, etc.). For more information, please see the University Health Service website.
The deadline for applying to the PhD program is December 1.
A complete application includes:
- A statement of purpose
- A CV/resume
- Unofficial transcripts*
- Three letters of recommendation
- A writing sample (optional)
- English proficiency scores (if applicable)
GRE scores are not required for Fall 2023 admission, but students may submit them if they desire. The faculty will be de-emphasizing scores in our admissions process and evaluating applications with a holistic approach.
*Only unofficial transcripts are necessary for the application. Official transcripts will be requested for admitted students.
The application fee is $40. If the fee is a financial burden for you, you can email us at email@example.com to ask for a fee waiver, no questions asked.
The application lists the faculty members who are interested in mentoring students for the upcoming academic year. The application will ask you to select one faculty member as your first preference for a potential mentor, and you may select one additional potential mentor (two additional for clinical applicants). There is also a place where you can clarify or explain your mentor preferences.
No. Although most applicants have degrees in psychology and related fields, many do not. Applications are judged holistically and students who have shown an interest in the psychological sciences, whether through research assistantships or volunteering, can also be and are often competitive applicants.
Yes! Many students in our program joined us several years after graduating from their undergraduate institution, and this is becoming more common across all programs.
An applicant’s experience and interest in research are strongly considered. The admissions committee values evidence of the applicant's scholarly potential as well as comments by endorsers concerning the applicant's potential as a research psychologist and as a teacher. Prior experience in psychological research is given strong weight.
Due to the variability of advanced degree programs, having an advanced degree does not necessarily influence your application.
No, only unofficial transcripts are required with your application. We will need official transcripts if you are admitted to our program.
If the degree is equivalent to 120 credit hours, then we will accept it as an undergraduate degree. We will accept a 30-hour credit equivalent for master’s degrees. If you are applying with a three-year degree from a foreign institution, you will need to provide a WES evaluation stating that the degree you were awarded is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree.
Applicants who have completed graduate work at other universities are evaluated by the same criteria as other students. Transfer of credit for graduate work with approval can be made up to a state-mandated maximum of 30 hours toward the PhD degree, but these arrangements cannot be made until after an applicant is offered admission. Students with prior coursework may also place out of introductory requirements with approval from the program director and instructor.
The writing sample is an optional component of our application; however, you are encouraged to submit one. Anything that shows your ability to write at a graduate level (such as a research paper or paper submitted to a journal) is preferred.
The application reveals sections as you work through it. Begin to fill out the application and once you have filled out enough information, a section titled “Reference” should appear. You can click there to add in their contact information.
Yes, as long as your main application has been submitted by the deadline, we allow about a two-week window for GRE scores and letters of recommendation to be submitted. We will review your application once those materials are received.
If you make a mistake on your application, email the psychology academic coordinator at PsychAcademics@ur.rochester.edu.
No, neither the GRE general test nor the GRE subject test are required for the 2022-2023 application cycle. Applicants may submit GRE scores if they choose, but the faculty will be de-emphasizing scores in the admissions process and evaluating applications with a holistic approach.
No, there are no minimum GRE scores.
All international applicants from non-English speaking countries must demonstrate proficiency in the English language through one of the following:
- You are a native speaker of English in your home environment
- You completed three or more years of postsecondary education at an American or international school where English is the primary language of instruction
- You have fulfilled the English proficiency examination requirement through one of the following:
To request a waiver, applicants need to have graduated from an institution where English was the primary language of instruction. Applicants who graduated from a school in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand will automatically receive a waiver. For schools in other countries, applicants will need to supply proof from the registrar of the schools that the courses were taught in English. For further questions regarding a waiver, please contact PsychAcademics@ur.rochester.edu.
The minimum score for the TOEFL is 90; the minimum score for the IELTS is 7.
- Institution: 2928 or 7267
- No department code needed
No. Expired scores are not accepted.
The personal statement should discuss your psychology academic/research experiences and interests, and tie into the research of the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with.
There is no specific length or format requirement.
You need to include at least three letters of recommendation.
On your application, you will be prompted to include your recommenders’ email. They will be emailed instructions on how to complete the recommendations.
If your recommenders are not receiving their email reference requests, please:
- Verify accuracy of your recommender's email address
- Encourage your recommender to check any filters/spam folders
Still having problems? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, your recommender's name, and contact information. Please include information about your troubleshooting efforts.
Yes. Faculty of each area will conduct interviews with promising candidates in February. Because of the large number of applicants, interviews are arranged by invitation only. We regret that we cannot honor requests for interviews initiated by applicants.
Interviews are typically held in late January to early February. The format of interviews for Fall 2023 admission is still to be determined. The health and safety of our applicants, graduate students, and faculty is very important to us, so we will thoughtfully make a decision at a later time based on guidelines set by the University of Rochester.
We will notify interviewees of their status before the University's April 15 decision deadline. Please note that our programs subscribe to the Council of Graduate School’s resolution on the April 15 deadline for acceptance of offers of financial support.