Frequently Asked Questions

*Please note the following FAQs are pertinent to the PhD program in Psychological Science (non-clinical)*


Are there any independent study courses for non-degree seeking students?

We do not have any independent study courses for non-degree seeking students.

I would like to prepare for graduate admission by auditing some of your graduate courses. Is this possible?

We do not allow auditing of our graduate courses by anyone not enrolled in a UC graduate program.

Do you offer a Master's in Psychology?

Although we do not offer a general Master degree in Psychology, our department now offers an online Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology. For more information about this program, please visit

What is required for admission to your graduate program?

In our admissions process we view applicants holistically and do not consider any aspect of an applicant’s record (grades, GREs, prior research experience, letters of recommendation) in isolation. Every application is reviewed by at least two faculty, and we carefully consider whether the applicant would be a good “fit” with what our program has to offer. The competitive applicant typically demonstrates strong academic credentials, a desire to conduct research, a solid interest match with one or more of our tenure track faculty members, and a commitment to diversity and creating an inclusive environment in the academy. Although the profile that is described is the "typical” admit, not all students we have admitted over the years fit that exact profile. Thus, a strong record in one area may be able to compensate for weakness in another area. If an applicant looks promising, they will usually be invited for an interview, usually the mid/end of January (the Winter prior to Fall admission).

Are students admitted to work with a specific faculty member?

Yes, students are admitted to work with a primary advisor. This faculty member typically serves as the student’s primary advisor throughout the student’s time in the program. Therefore, you should list the faculty members that you primarily want to work with on your application in rank order. However, students are not required to only work with that faculty member while enrolled in the program. In fact, many students conduct research with faculty members other than their primary advisor during their graduate career. 

I am in the process of applying to your graduate program and want to set up an interview or meeting with a faculty member and/or a graduate advisor.

You are welcome to speak to our Student Affairs Office about your admission to UCI. If your application looks promising, you will be invited to our campus for an interview -- that won't occur until the mid/end of January (the Winter prior to Fall admission). At that time, you will have plenty of opportunity to meet with many faculty members and current graduate students in our program.

What are your prerequisite courses for admission to your graduate program?

We do not have any formal course prerequisites. Nonetheless, we certainly expect some familiarity with psychology so that we know that you have been exposed to the content of the field (and we know that you are clear what you are getting into!). Perhaps more importantly would be some research experience in psychology - that is very important to be competitive in the application process.

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in Psychology to apply to your graduate program?

No, this is not a requirement although it is important to have had some background in psychology; courses in research methods, critical thinking and statistics are also helpful. In addition, having research experience is  an extremely important requirement for successful admission into our doctoral program.

If you do not have a psychology background, and you would like to take some courses and/or garner research experience in psychology, you might consider our Post Baccalaureate Program.

Are interviews required as part of the admission process to the PhD Program in Psychological Science?

Yes, we do conduct interviews as part of the admissions process.  If your application is viewed as promising by our admissions committee, you will be invited for an interview (with in-person interviews likely to be held toward the end of January).


Is it possible to transfer in spring or summer quarters or just fall quarter? What are the deadlines?

We have a single admission date to our program. The application deadline for the non-clinical program is December 1st, the year prior to admission for fall quarter (e.g. December 1, 2022 for Fall 2023 admission). 

My application for admission was previously denied but I wish to re-apply. Must I submit my official transcripts, official GRE, TOEFL score report and 3 letters of recommendation again?. 

We do not keep admission materials, so if you were previously denied admission, you will need to submit all new materials and a new online application.

I am an international student. Can I still apply?

We welcome and encourage applications from international students and remain committed to bringing international students to UCI. Please note that admitted international students receive the same level of funding (teaching assistantships), but international students’ non-resident tuition is covered only up until their 3rd year. Therefore, international students are highly encouraged to advance by the end of their 3rd year, which is earlier than domestic students. If they do not advance in this timeframe, international students could be financially responsible for the non-resident tuition starting in their 4th year. This fee typically amounts to $5,034 per quarter. We recognize that this could cause some financial hardship and feel that it is important to inform international students of this during the application process.


GRE scores for the upcoming admissions cycle are optional. We do not require applicants to our graduate program to submit a GRE score report as part of their application. Applicants may choose to submit GRE test scores, and they will be reviewed as one part of the application evaluation. Applications with GRE scores will not be given greater consideration than those without scores. For applicants who wish to include their scores to supplement their application, please note that the Educational Testing Service (ETS) code for UCI is: 4859. Please visit the Graduate Division Website for more information. 


I am interested in obtaining a degree in clinical or counseling psychology. Is that available at UCI?

The Psychological Science Department offers two separate Ph.D. programs, one in Psychological Science and one in Psychological Science with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. As with our other specializations, the clinical concentration is heavily research focused. If you have strong interests in the practice of clinical work and do not have an interest in psychological research, our graduate program may not be a good fit for you. 

For more information on the clinical area, please visit this link.

I want to become a Forensic Psychologist. Does your Ph.D. in Psychological Science offer a program or specialization in Forensic Psychology?

Our Ph.D. program does not offer a specialization in Forensic Psychology. However, our program does offers non-clinical training in Psychology and Law that can supplement students' training in a core specialization area. Although our Ph.D. program does not offer a specialization in Forensic Psychology, we do offer an online Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology program. 

For students pursuing the Ph.D. in Psychological Science with a concentration in Clinical Psychology, there may be opportunities for clinical training in forensics, such as practica (clinical training) placements. 

I have previous Master's credit (Master's degree in Psychology). Would this count towards a Ph.D. in Psychological Science?

Students' work in master's programs are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and in rare instances, some of the work may be applied to our requirements. Information regarding prior graduate courses and training can be submitted and will be reviewed by a Graduate Committee for consideration.

Do you offer financial assistance to students accepted into your graduate program (i.e., assistantships, scholarships, or fellowships)?

All students who are admitted to our program are provided with financial assistance that is awarded on a case-by-case basis, either through teaching assistantships, research assistantships or fellowships. If you are admitted to our program, you would be provided with full financial assistance.

How many hours (or years, usually) are needed for graduation?

A typical student completes our PhD program in 5 years.

Can your graduate program be completed on an evening/night or part-time basis?

Our Ph.D. Program is a full-time, day program. The vast majority of graduate courses are offered between the hours of 8am-6pm.

Can I select the faculty member I wish to serve as my primary mentor during my graduate career?

If you are accepted into our graduate program, you will be admitted to work with a faculty member as your primary advisor. Therefore, you should indicate on your application which faculty members you are interested in working with and carefully consider whether that faculty member’s research interests are a good fit with your own. However, one of the advantages of our program is that we encourage our students to network with several faculty during their graduate career. Some students are formally co-mentored by multiple faculty and some have a primary mentor and a more informal collaborative relationship with another faculty member.