The Department of Psychology offers several degree options for graduate students: Master's-level students may pursue an MA in General Psychology. Doctoral-level students may pursue a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology or Social-Personality Psychology.
All applications are reviewed soon after the deadline. Most applicants will be notified via email of the final outcome of their application. PhD decisions are generally made by March 1 and MA decisions by May 1.
As the MA and PhD programs are research-based, applicants with clear and focused research interests and goals, along with prior research experience, tend to have stronger applications. However, different program areas may be looking for different qualities in applicants. Applicants may contact the respective area head of the degree program of interest to discuss any additional specific criteria.
The department will review applications missing certain application materials, such as one letter of recommendation. However, applications missing all letters of recommendation, undergraduate transcripts or GRE scores will not receive full consideration.
After an application has been submitted for formal review, applicants can view their application along with their supporting documents online by logging back into their application. For questions regarding how to access your online application, please visit the Graduate School.
The Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo uses a holistic admissions process in our consideration of applications. This means that we evaluate the entire application, rather than any single indicator or a few indicators. Thus, applicants are viewed as a whole person, the sum of their experiences, accomplishments, and aspirations. Consistent with this, we do not rely on or use “cut offs” for numerical indices of an academic record such as grade point average or Graduate Record Examination. A holistic approach also means that a candidate who may be less strong in some areas, can still have a highly competitive application by having greater strength in other areas. All elements of an application are taken into consideration, to maximize a good fit of the applicant with our training program and potential mentors, to reduce bias that can result from reliance on a limited number of components, and to reduce inequities in access to opportunities for graduate training.
Over the years, we have learned that a holistic admissions process helps us identify applicants who are likely to succeed in our graduate programs, brings a diversity of experience and ideas into our academic community, and supports a fair review of all applicants. Our goal is to recruit the next generation of academic psychologists who are passionate about making new discoveries and generating new knowledge in their chosen discipline. We expect students to bring hard work, professional ambition, resilience, grit, intellectual acumen, and enthusiasm to our graduate programs.
Although we value quantitative criteria like GRE scores and GPA, we take a broad view of academic excellence and recognize that indices of success in our graduate programs and professional achievement cannot be reduced to numbers alone. In short, we endeavor to balance quantitative and qualitative indices of success. Because we want to give students the greatest opportunity to thrive in our program, we place a strong emphasis on fit with our programs and potential faculty mentors. A highly qualified applicant may not be strongly considered if their interests and goals do not provide a good fit with the orientation of our training program or with faculty research interests. Accordingly, we consider the following components in our admissions decisions: personal statement, undergraduate transcript and GPA (and prior graduate record if applicable), GRE verbal, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing subtest scores, letters of recommendation, and resume/research experience. These components are weighted equally. After initial review of applications, the Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, and Social-Personality programs invite a small pool of applicants for interviews. Interviews are not part of the admissions process for the Cognitive Psychology program. Schomburg statements are optional for students interested in being considered for a Schomburg Fellowship. These statements are not used for admissions decisions.
Helps contextualize the more quantitative and objective credentials of an applicant. The statement is used to evaluate the applicant’s goals and fit with the program and research interests of the faculty as well as how they would contribute to the diversity of thought and perspectives.
Describe the area of research you are interested in pursuing during your graduate studies and explain how our program would help you achieve your intellectual goals. The statement should include your academic background, intellectual interests and training or research experience that has prepared you for our program. The statement should also identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with your own interests.
Uploaded as part of the online application.
Provides evidence that the applicant is seeking challenging coursework, while excelling and showing academic growth. The University at Buffalo requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. However, applications with an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 can still be considered, particularly when other components of the application are strong (e.g., a high graduate GPA, high GRE scores, etc.).
Upload scanned copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts as part of your online application. Include the English translation, if applicable.
Mastery of quantitative methods, critical thinking, and good analytical writing are crucial to succeeding as an academic psychologist. The GRE Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning, and Analytic Writing scores provide common benchmarks in these domains.
Request an official electronic score report from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Use Institution Code: 2925 and Department Code: 2016, 2001 or 2015. Official electronic scores will be automatically linked to your online application.
Q. Can GRE scores be waived? Can you accept another test in place of the GRE?
A. We do not waive the GREs, nor can we accept another test in its place. There are no exceptions.
Q. Is the GRE Subject Test required?
Q. What are the GRE codes (Institution and Department)?
A. The Institution Code is 2925. Any other Institution Code, regardless of the Institution name attached to the code, will not reach our office. You can use any Department Code (2001, 2002, 2015 or 2016), as we will receive all scores sent to Institution Code 2925.
Q. I sent my scores a while ago, but the department still doesn't have them. Why?
A. Most often this is because the Institution code was incorrect. Note that we ONLY receive scores sent to Institution Code 2925. If you accidently sent the scores to a different code, you will need to contact ETS and have them send the scores to the correct code. Another reason we may not have received your scores may be because your name is spelled differently on your GRE test than on your application. If this is the case, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the spelling you used on your GRE test.
Q. I sent my scores to the wrong Institution code. Can you still retrieve my scores?
A. No. You will need to contact ETS to have them resend your scores to Institution code: 2925 and one of the following Department Codes: 2001, 2002, 2015 or 2016.
Q. I am taking the GRE near or after the deadline. Will it be a problem if my scores arrive late?
A. Any application materials received after the deadline are not guaranteed review. As applications are reviewed shortly after the deadline, it is best to schedule your GRE test at least three weeks before the deadline. If you are taking the test after the deadline, it is highly unlikely that your application will receive full consideration.
Q. What are acceptable GRE scores? Is there a minimum score required?
A. There is no minimum requirement for GRE scores to either our MA or PhD programs.
Q. What are the average scores of admitted applicants?
A. The average GRE Verbal Score is in the 81st percentile, the average GRE Quantitative Score is in the 68th percentile and the average GRE Analytic Writing Score is in the 80th percentile. (The average rate of acceptance is between 15% and 20% of all applicants.)
Q. Can I still apply if my GRE scores are low?
A. Yes. Low GRE scores (or a low GPA) aren’t necessarily a problem if there are other strong credentials, such as having a lot of research experience or great letters of recommendation.
Provides a third-party endorsement of the applicant’s attributes, ability to succeed in the graduate program, and potential to contribute to the field. The letter offers a perspective on the applicant’s prior achievements and potential to succeed, along with concrete examples of the subjective traits described in other elements of the application.
Letters must be submitted electronically. Further instructions are included in the online application.
Provides information on how the applicant has practically applied ideas and concepts learned in the classroom. It helps show that applicants possess the skills and dispositions needed to conduct extensive research and make substantive contributions to their chosen field.
Uploaded as part of the online application.
Interviews are a way for programs to get to know applicants as a person. They provide a qualitative means of: (a) contextualizing quantitative and objective credentials, and (b) evaluating how well an applicant’s goals and training needs fit with the program and potential mentors. In addition, The Clinical Program also uses the interview to evaluate suitability for clinical work.
A Schomburg Fellowship offers support for students in doctoral programs who can demonstrate that they would contribute to the diversity of the student body, especially those who can demonstrate that they have overcome a disadvantage or other impediment to success in higher education. In order to be eligible for the Schomburg Fellowship, you need to be either a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident and have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above.
Here is a link to more information about Schomburg Fellowships.
The Schomburg statement provides useful information in helping the faculty decide whether to nominate an applicant for the Schomburg Fellowship.
If you would like to be considered for a Schomburg Fellowship, please upload a written statement with your online application (maximum of 500 words) describing how you will contribute to the diversity of the student body in your graduate program, including by having overcome a disadvantage or other impediment to success in higher education. Please note that such categorical circumstances may include academic, vocational, social, physical or economic impediments or disadvantaged status you have been able to overcome, as evidenced by your performance as an undergraduate, or other characteristics that constitute categorical underrepresentation in your particular graduate program such as gender or racial/ethnic status.
Uploaded as part of the online application.
Applicants may apply to only one degree at a time within the same department. Applicants will not be able to apply for both the MA program and a PhD program, nor can they apply to two PhD programs, during the same admissions cycle.
Students who wish to pursue an MA or PhD degree in the Department of Psychology must create an account and submit an online application via our online application system:
All applicants are accepted based on the recommendation of individual faculty. In your application, please list faculty members whose research interests provide the best fit to your own interests.
UB requires international applicants to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. In addition to the above application materials, international applicants must also submit the following:
The TOEFL/IELTS are waived for students who are citizens of, and who claim to be, native speakers of English, and who were educated in the English medium. Citizens of Singapore who completed their education in an English medium environment and who obtained a grade of D or better on the Singapore O-level examination and can provide a copy of their scores can waive the TOEFL/IELTS. TOEFL/IELTS scores are waived for current UB students. Also, students currently attending another U.S. institution with less than a one-year break in study AND who can provide a photocopy of their expired score report may qualify if the original score meets UB’s minimum score requirement.
The graduate application fee is $75 U.S. (payable online or by check or money order made payable to the University at Buffalo). After you formally submit your application, you will receive an email with additional instructions for submitting your payment. Currently, UB accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover.
Other fee waivers are only available to students in the Ronald E. McNair Scholars program (anywhere in the United States), Educational Opportunity Program in New York State (EOP), Higher Education Opportunity Program in New York State (HEOP), Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program in New York State (SEEK), TRIO, Upward Bound, GRE Fee Waivers, AmeriCorps Program, certain categories of sponsored, university recognized and approved exchange programs applicants, or applicants with that have an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of $0 on their Fee Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA). If you fall into one of these categories, please contact us to request an application fee waiver to be submitted on your behalf. In all cases, you will need to provide official supporting documentation.
Applicants interested in taking graduate level courses without applying to one of our degree-granting programs should contact us directly at email@example.com for instructions on how to access the application. Non-matriculated applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores in the 50th percentile or higher, and written instructor permission to take at least one course on the upcoming course schedule to be eligible for consideration. Accepted non-matriculated students can earn no more than 12.0 credit hours total per University policy.
Please contact us with any questions about the application process.