Admissions Process

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The new application for Fall 2014 admission will be available through the UNC Graduate School’s website on August 1, 2013. The application deadline for the Department of Psychology will be December 3, 2013.

Please read the following information before contacting the Department of Psychology.

Official GRE Scores

Applicants who recently requested their official GRE scores to be sent to UNC should allow at least two weeks for the UNC Graduate School to update the status of their application. To confirm receipt of your official GRE scores, please email the UNC Graduate School directly at gradadmissions@unc.edu.

Letters of Recommendation

All recommendation letters must be submitted electronically through the UNC Graduate School’s online application system. The Department of Psychology will not accept letters of recommendation via email or mail.

Three letters of recommendation are required. This is the suggested number in most cases. If an applicant feels that an additional letter is necessary to make the case for his or her admission, four may be submitted.

The online application will prompt you to submit the names and email addresses for your three required recommenders. Email invitations will be sent to recommenders once you select “Save” in the online application. You can also send reminder emails to your recommenders within the online application. Please note you will not be able to change recommenders once your application has been submitted, although you are still able to send reminder emails via the online system.

Please advise recommenders to check their spam or junk mailbox. The email will be addressed from “University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-The Graduate School [support@hobsons.com]” and the applicant’s name will be in the subject line. The instructions include a link to the online recommendation, along with a personal access code and password. Technical support can be requested here

Transcripts

PREVIEW YOUR UPLOADED TRANSCRIPT(S) to ensure legibility so that the processing of your application is not delayed.

  • Make a low-resolution black and white photocopy of your transcript (this will reduce file size).
  • Your scanning software should ask you what resolution to scan your document, either before or after the scan. Be sure to scan at no more than 72dpi.
  • Upload all pages of your transcript but only one example of the back page to provide us with your university’s transcript key.
  • Check file size and do not exceed 1024kb.
  • Scan multiple page transcripts as one file to upload.
  • Save your .jpg file as a .doc, .wpd, .rtf, .xls, .pdf, or .txt format. For Macintosh users, please note that the filename must include the appropriate 3 letter extension. Also, please do not attempt to upload a document that is password-protected or that contains macros. This will cause the process to fail.

One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded within the application. Please do not mail transcripts as part of your admission application; we only accept unofficial uploads for application evaluation. If you are offered admission, one official transcript for each university attended will be required prior to the first day of the term.

Application Fee Waiver

Applicants who would like to request an application fee waiver must follow the instructions listed on the UNC Graduate School’s webpage. If you have questions about the application fee waiver, please contact the UNC Graduate School directly at gradadmissions@unc.edu.

The deadline to apply for Fall 2014 admission is December 3, 2013.

Please visit the UNC Graduate School’s website to access the online application. All application materials must be submitted electronically as instructed on the online application. It is not necessary to mail any materials to the department.

In considering the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a place for graduate training in psychology, each applicant should bear in mind the following:

  1. Admission to these graduate programs is highly competitive. We seek talented people who can profit from our programs and who show promise of making original contributions to psychology. Because only a small proportion of the applicants to a program can be accepted, we urge every applicant to apply to other graduate schools also.
  2. The curriculum is organized to accommodate students who enter in the fall semester. We do not admit students in the spring semester.
  3. Under some circumstances it is possible to enter psychology at the graduate level without an undergraduate major in psychology. For example, an applicant with an undergraduate major in mathematics might be considered for the Quantitative Psychology Program or an applicant with a major in sociology might be considered for the Social Program.
  4. We accept into our programs only students who plan to work toward the Ph.D. degree. 
  5. We are unable to admit students to our program with the Special Student Status. Non-degree seeking students should contact the UNC Friday Center for Continuing Education for more information.

NOTE: Additionally, any offer of admission to the UNC Clinical Psychology Program is contingent upon the results of a routine criminal background check.

Application Instructions

Please refer to The UNC Graduate School’s website for detailed application instructions: You can also find specific admissions information about the Department of Psychology’s graduate program here.

Required materials for all applicants

  • Graduate School online application
    • Please select only ONE Area of Interest/Specialization via the drop-down box within your application (i.e.: Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Quantitative Psychology, or Social Psychology).
  • Application fee: $85 (non-refundable)
  • Transcripts:
    • One unofficial transcript from each university attended must be uploaded within the application. Please do not mail transcripts as part of your admission application; we only accept unofficial uploads for application evaluation. If you are offered admission, one official paper transcript for each university attended will be required prior to the first day of the term.
  • Letters of recommendation:
    • Three letters of recommendation are required. This is the suggested number in most cases. If an applicant feels that an additional letter is necessary to make the case for his or her admission, four may be submitted.
    • The email address of three recommenders will be required within the application for electronic submission and delivery.
  • Standardized test scores: GRE (general), no more than 5 years old
    • UNC Graduate School Institution Code: #5816 (no department code)
  • Statement of purpose: to be uploaded on the online application
    • Write a personal statement that describes (1) your career goals and how they evolved, (2) research experiences and other psychology-related experiences you have had that have helped to prepare you for graduate school, and (3) research interests you would like to pursue in graduate school and why you feel UNC fits these interests. Feel free to include any additional information that you think would help us to understand your strengths as an applicant for graduate study. Suggested length is 400-700 words.
  • Faculty interest: Applicants may list up to five faculty members with whom they would like to work, but they are not required to do so. This section of the application is optional. However, if you are applying to the Clinical Psychology Program, please list at least one member of the Core Faculty who you believe could serve as your primary mentor.

For International Applicants only

International applicants must follow the instructions listed on the UNC Graduate School’s webpage. If you have questions about the TOEFL or Financial Certificate requirement, please contact the UNC Graduate School directly at gradadmissions@unc.edu.

Once we have received all required application materials and fees, the review and evaluation of your application will begin. While the recommendations and test scores will likely arrive at The Graduate School at different times, it is your responsibility to make sure the online application is submitted and paid prior to the program’s posted deadline.

Financial Aid

Our policy is to provide financial aid to all enrolled graduate students for up to five years of study, assuming they are making satisfactory progress toward their Ph.D. degrees.  We assume all applicants need financial aid, so you do not have to apply separately for it.

Stipends are of several kinds. Assistantships involve service to the Department, either in its teaching mission (Teaching Assistantships) or its research mission (Research Assistantships). Other students receive their stipend from training grants or fellowships. The type of stipend a student receives can vary from year to year and depends on a number of factors, especially the availability of funds from various sources. While University resources have traditionally provided a financial safety net for up to five years, enrolled students are encouraged to apply for extramural fellowships (for example, from APA, NIH, and NSF) for their support in later years.

Health insurance and in-state tuition are normally paid from the funding source that provides the stipend. In addition, we have a long record of being able to pay the out-of-state tuition of enrolled students until they are able to obtain NC residency.

Visiting Day

Visiting Day for graduate school applicant finalists will be held in early-February 2014 and we will post the date here once it has been selected. This all-day event, which is by invitation only, allows applicants who have been chosen as finalists to visit the Department, learn more about the program to which they have applied, and provide additional information about their interests and qualifications to program faculty. Applicants for whom our Department is a top choice may want to reserve this date on their calendars in case they are invited to attend.

Diversity and Equality

The Department of Psychology participates in the NSF-funded Atlantic Coast Social, Behavioral, & Economic Sciences Alliance (AC-SBE Alliance), which is administered through the UNC Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP). The goal of the AC-SBE Alliance is to increase the number of underrepresented minority students receiving Ph.D.’s in SBE disciples. For more information about the AC-SBE Alliance, please visit their website.

The Department of Psychology supports the University’s core values encouraging diversity and equal educational and employment opportunities throughout the University community. These values are articulated in the University’s non-discrimination policy and by the office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is committed to equality of educational opportunity. The University does not discriminate in offering access to its educational programs and activities on the basis of race, color, gender, age, national origin, religion, creed, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. The Dean of Students (CB# 5100, 450 Ridge Road, Suite 1106 (Student Academic Services Bldg.), Chapel Hill, NC 27599-5100 or 919-966-4042) has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the University’s non-discrimination policies.

This Department believes that it is in compliance with this regulation. Therefore it asks that individuals who believe that they have been subjected to such discrimination in any part of the educational program of the Department, or who believe they have knowledge of the practice of such discrimination in the Department, make a written report thereof to the Chair of the Department.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where should I send my GRE scores?

Please have ETS send your GRE scores directly to The UNC Graduate School (ETS Institution Code #5816, no department code).  Please refer to the UNC Graduate School’s website for more information.

Q. Is the Psychology GRE Subject Test required for admission?

No, the Psychology GRE Subject Test is not required for admission. However, you may include these scores on your application if you wish.

Q. What are the average GPA and GRE scores of applicants?

Graduate admissions statistics are available on The UNC Graduate School’s website. Information for specific Psychology program applicants may be available on the program’s website.

For more information about each of our six graduate programs, please visit the programs’ website. If you have specific questions, please email the respective Program Coordinator: