Frequently Asked Questions

IMPORTANT: Graduate training in psychology is offered in two different departments at UCI (described here). To apply for admission to our program, you must apply via the School of Social Ecology is available via SLATE

Please indicate your area of interest (Affective Science, Developmental, Health or Social/Personality) in your personal statement. Note that a concentration in Psychology & Law must be paired with a specialization in one of our 4 major areas (Affective Science, Developmental, Health or Social/Personality).


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?

Our admissions process is a competitive one in which we consider the applicant's record as a whole (grades, GREs, prior research experience, letters of recommendation), whether or not we feel he/she is a good "fit" with our program, and what we have to offer (we usually depend on the personal history statement to assess that). The competitive applicant typically has approximately a 3.7 undergraduate GPA (usually with a major in psychology), GREs around 320 combined verbal and quantitative scores, a great deal of research experience, and 3 strong letters of recommendation based on exposure to the applicant in a research or classroom setting. 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, he or she 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?

We do not follow a strict apprenticeship model in our department. Although students are assigned an advisor in their first year, they are not required to only work with that faculty member while enrolled in the program. In fact, although some students do only work with a single mentor, many others conduct research with several faculty members during their graduate career. You are welcome to include potential mentors of interest on your application to our department.

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 Bacclaureate Program.

I am interested in clinical psychology or counseling. Is your program for me?

No, we do not currently have a clinical psychology program at UCI.  Our program is heavily research focused.  If you are interested in clinical work or counseling, our graduate program is currently unlikely to meet your needs. We do have an Affective Science specialization, which includes research on some clinical disorders and relevant emotion processes. You can read about the department specializations here.

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 is December 1st of the year prior to admission for fall quarter.

Can I apply to your program using a paper application form instead of the online forms?

There are no longer any paper application forms for admission to UCI. Please refer to the Office of Graduate Studies at Applying to UCI page

My application for admission was previously denied but I wish to re-apply. I had already submitted my official transcripts, official GRE and TOEFL score report and 3 letters of recommendation. Do I need to submit those documents 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.

How should I send my transcripts?

Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts (for all institutions attended since high school) directly into the online application. If an applicant is admitted, official transcripts will be requested only from the institution(s) where a degree was earned and we will direct them to mail it to the Graduate Division office.

Do you have any suggestions/guidelines for the Personal Statement and Personal History Statement?

Please prepare statements that describe your background, research experience, current and future research interests, future goals, and how you see yourself fitting in our department. You might seek to keep them under 3 pages, although there is a limit of 1200 words total.

Your school's application provides students with a form for letter of recommendation writers. Do I have to use that form?

No, paper LORs will not be accepted.. Letters of recommendation must be uploaded digitally. Additional information regarding letters of recommendation can be found here: Letters of Recommendation

My school provides a Graduate Application letter service and they have their own forms for the letter of recommendation writers. I was told by the letter service that most schools have no problem with students using their forms.

See answer above.

What materials should be submitted in order for an application to be considered complete?

  • UC Irvine Graduate Division Application - Application for Graduate Admission (AGA), as well as the $105 (US Resident/Permanent Resident) or the $125 (all other applicants) application fee.
  • GRE Scores (Only the General test is required, even for students who have already obtained a Master's degree. The Psychology advanced GRE is unnecessary.)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial transcripts from each post secondary school (Community College, University, Extension Program, Summer Sessions) attended.

I am having difficulty covering my application fee. Does UCI offer a fee waiver program?

Yes, an application fee waiver program is offered by UC Graduate Division. Please click here for more information.

I am an international student. Can I still apply?

Yes. International students are eligible to apply and for full financial support from UCI.


What code should I use when submitting test scores to UC Irvine or the Department of Psychological Science?

Please submit all test scores using school code: 4859. A department code is not required, all scores will be forwarded to our department by Graduate Division.

I am looking to take the GRE in the spring or early summer. Can I apply for that fall's admission?

If you were thinking of applying for a fall admission cycle, you would need to take the GREs far earlier than the prior spring or early summer. All materials and application must be submitted by our December 1st deadline (for fall admission the following year).

My scores from the GRE test may not be available by the December 1st deadline. Do you accept unofficial scores or official scores past the due date if everything else is complete?

We will accept unofficial scores until the "official" ones arrive (even if after the due date) -- please send official test scores to UC Irvine using school code: 4859 as soon as they are available.

Do I need to take the psychology subject portion (Psychology Subject Exam) of the GRE along with the general exam?

While the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) must be submitted to be considered for admission to our program, the Psychology subject portion of the GRE is not required.

I have taken the GRE more than once. Which scores will you use?

The formal application record reflects the most recent administration of the GRE. However, we typically look at all the scores provided, and take into account the highest total score obtained. If an applicant's most recent scores are not the strongest, he or she should be sure to provide us with copies of the results from earlier GRE exams.

For additional information, please refer to the Grad Division page on GREs.


What graduate specializations are available at UCI?

In our graduate program, students must pick one specialization from the following: Affective Science, Developmental Psychology, Health Psychology, or Social and Personality Psychology. In addition to these major specializations, students may take a concentration (minor) in Psychology & Law. Students also pick other minors, and as such, regularly take courses in more than one research area. Please indicate your specialization(s) of interest on your graduate application under "Specific Area of Interest".

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

We do not currently have a clinical psychology graduate program.  Our program is heavily research focused.  If you have strong interests in clinical work or counseling, our graduate program may not be a good fit for you.  As noted above, we do have an Affective Science specialization, which includes research on some clinical disorders and relevant emotion processes. You can read about the department specializations here.

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

Please be advised that we do not currently have a clinical psychology graduate program at UC Irvine. Thus, previously obtained clinically-oriented credits or course work would be unlikely to be applicable to our graduate degree requirements, although such courses can be reviewed on a case-by case basis if you are admitted to our program.

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

No, our doctoral program does not offer any specialization in Forensic Psychology. This sub-discipline is a recognized specialty area of Clinical Psychology, and we do not have a clinical program in our department at this time. We do offer non-clinical training in a supplemental track in Psychology and Law that can supplement students' training in a core specialization area.  See
Although our Ph.D. program does not offer a specialization in Forensic Psychology, we do offer an online Master of Legal and Forensic Psychology. For more information about this program, please visit

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.

Is a practicum possible within the program?

We do not currently offer traning in clinical psychology or departmentally sponsored practica.

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

A typical student completes our PhD program in 5 or 6 years -- shorter is possible, longer is discouraged.

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 assigned a faculty mentor based upon mutual interests and availability. But one of the advantages of our program is that we encourage our students to network with several faculty during their graduate career. This may mean that your initial faculty-student pairing may change as you move through the program. If there are specific faculty members that you are interested in working with, do indicate so on your application to the program.