Graduate admissions: Ph.D. in Psychology

Admission requirements for the Ph.D. in Psychology.


  • Apply by Dec. 1
  • January: Top applicants invited to an open house/interview day in late February
  • March: Offers of admission to the program
  • Apr. 15: Deadline to accept or reject
  • Apr. 15 through May 31: Additional offers of financial aid and/or admission
  • May 31: Persons selected as alternates will be notified of our final decision

Application requirements

Application deadline: Dec. 1 (offering once a year beginning in the fall semester)

Applicants should submit the following items electronically. Hard-copy materials will not be accepted.

  • Digital transcripts and GPA requirements

    Applicants must upload official or unofficial transcripts from all previous institutions (including Wayne State if you previously attended classes here). Official transcripts are required only for admitted applicants.

    Although an undergraduate psychology major is not mandatory for admission, applicants must have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours in psychology, including a course in experimental psychology (with laboratory experience) and a psychology statistics course.

    The Graduate School requires a final cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for undergraduate coursework (or graduate coursework if the applicant has a master's degree). However, most students accepted into the program have grade points much higher than 3.0.

    If your GPA is below a 3.0, you have two options: Complete a second bachelor's degree and earn a GPA higher than 3.0 or complete a master's degree program without a minimum GPA admission requirement and earn a 3.0 or higher.

    If your GPA is above 3.0, but you earned poor marks in psychology courses (especially statistics, experimental, research methods courses) or math and science courses, you may want to consider retaking some of those courses to show competency. Retaking courses after you have graduated, however, will not affect your final cumulative GPA.

  • Test scores

    For fall 2024:

    The general GRE is optional for the following concentrations: clinical psychology, social-personality, and developmental psychology.

    The general GRE is required for the following concentrations: behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, and industrial and organizational psychology.

    The psychology GRE is not accepted or considered for any concentration.

    Visit for more information. WSU Institution code: 1898

  • International student requirements

    International Students are required to take the TOEFL or MELAB examination. A minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based), 80 (internet-based), or a minimum MELAB score of 85 is required for admission consideration. These exams are not necessary if an international applicant completes a bachelor's at an accredited U.S. institution or in a country where English is the native language.

    View additional international student information and requirements.

  • Letters of recommendation

    Completed by professors or other professionals who know you and your academic work sufficiently well to judge your qualifications for graduate study. These are submitted electronically by your letter writers via the online application system.

    Three letters of recommendation are required for behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, clinical psychology, developmental psychology and social-personality. A fourth letter is optional for these concentrations.

    Four letters of recommendation are required for the industrial and organizational specialization. Note that the fourth letter of recommendation should be from a non-academic reference (i.e., not a professor). This letter could be from a former supervisor or colleague who is able to attest to your abilities to work with others and in a team, to receive and act on constructive criticism, to work with others of different backgrounds than you, etc.

  • Statement of purpose

    Required: Up to two pages, single-spaced, professional statement describing your areas of interest in psychology, preparation for graduate school (including any previous research experience) and career goals. Please state the faculty member(s) you are most interested in working with and why you are a good match for their lab.

    Applicants are encouraged to have obtained experience in the conduct of psychological research as part of a team or developing their own independent research projects. Some applicants have made presentations at professional conferences or co-authored publications with faculty mentors.

  • Faculty selection

    Applicants are expected to submit the names of one or two faculty within their chosen concentration with whom they may like to work.

    Student/faculty match to the program is an important consideration. Potential applicants should consider the interests and expertise of our faculty and compare them to their own educational goals and scholarly interests. Even the best student would be ill-served if accepted to a program without mentors who could facilitate their interests. The ideal applicant can identify one or more members of our faculty whose research matches their interests.

  • CV or résumé

    Applicants are encouraged to upload a CV or résumé. No page limits.

  • Writing sample

    Required: Writing samples may include a senior thesis, conference presentation or publication. It's important that the work submitted represent the applicant's own writing. Thus, for example, if a student submits a publication, it should be clear what portion was written by the applicant. No page limits.

  • Application fee

    Application fees will be waived for the 2024 winter, spring/summer and fall semesters.

Apply for admission

Application status

Applicants are responsible for verifying that all application materials have been received via the online application checklist.

If you make an error on your application or have a problem with the online application, please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions at 313-577-4723 or

If you need additional assistance, contact the psychology department graduate office at 313-577-2823 or Alia Allen.

Financial aid

Admission to our Ph.D. program is contingent on receiving some form of funding through the university. We do not admit students unless we are able to provide either a graduate teaching assistantship, a graduate research assistantship, a fellowship, or some other form of financial support through the university.

Typical funding packages include a nine-month stipend of around $20,000, a 10-credit tuition scholarship for the fall and winter semesters and two credits in the summer semester (this represents a full-time course load), as well as 12-month subsidized medical, dental, and vision insurance.

Applicants to doctoral programs, domestic and international, will automatically be considered for departmental graduate teaching and research assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships. Please contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for other funding options.

International applicants may delay the submission of their statement of financial support until after they learn they have been selected for admission. Applications missing these documents will be evaluated by the normal process.

Transfer students

A student may transfer certain graduate courses taken at other programs if the courses are deemed equivalent to courses at Wayne State University. However, Ph.D. students must complete at least 30 credits of coursework and 30 dissertation credits at Wayne State.

Note: The clinical program does not accept or transfer fundamental clinical courses taken elsewhere (assessment, therapy, psychopathology, ethics, practicum) because the core of clinical training needs to be from our program.

If the student has an empirical master's thesis, then that thesis is reviewed by the area faculty and, if deemed equivalent to one completed at Wayne State University, the student does not have to complete a second formal master's thesis. However, all graduate students are expected to be involved in research at all times not merely as part of conducting a master's thesis or dissertation project.

The evaluation of course equivalency and/or master's theses are handled on a case-by-case basis and occurs only after the student has been admitted to the program.At a minimum, the student must provide the syllabi for the courses they wish to transfer.

Contact 💬

For questions concerning the application procedure or requirements for admission, please contact Academic Services Officer, Alia Allen, M.A. You may contact any faculty member in the psychology department directly to discuss your interest in our graduate program.