Graduate Application FAQs

Is the GRE required in my application?

For Fall 2023 matriculation, submission of GRE scores is optional. Submission of GRE scores is not required. Please know that we do not view the lack of GRE scores negatively. No application will be dinged in the review process by not including GRE scores. However, if an applicant has taken the GRE and feels their inclusion would enhance their application, then they should be included.

Can I receive a waiver of the mandatory application fee?

The Department of Psychological Sciences will provide a limited number of waivers of the Graduate School's mandatory application fee.  To receive a waiver the applicant must begin the graduate application online and answer questions on the form linked here.
For full consideration for the waiver, the request should be submitted before October 15, 2022.  

Applicants who are members of underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply to to our program and for the waiver of the application fee.

Do you have any advice on navigating the admission process?

Yes. The American Psychological Association has a free video series that takes prospective graduate students step-by-step through the preparation, application, interview and admission processes. Here is a link to their video series

What is the minimum GRE score required for admission to your program?

GRE scores are only one piece of information we use to make admission decisions.  Our faculty members closely review transcripts, letters of recommendation, writing samples, and fit with an ongoing faculty-led research program at Mizzou.  A high GRE score does not guarentee admission and a low score does not mean a student will nopt be admitted to the program.

The GRE and GRE subject test are not required for students applying to begin graduate training in Fall 2023. Students may choose include GRE scores in their application.

Who should I ask for a letter of recommendation? How do I ask?

Letters of recommendation should  come from people who can honestly speak to why you are a good fit for a graduate program.  If you are currently enrolled in college, your letters of recommendation are likely going to come from three of your professors. Ideally, you want to ask psychology professors.  It is okay to ask a professor from outside psychology for a letter of recommendation if they are able to speak about skills you have that they believe make you a good fit for graduate training in psychology.

If you are not in college, professional contacts and colleagues are appropriate.  However, like faculty letter writers, these writers should be able to speak on your skills that make you a good fit for graduate psychology training.

The University of California at Berkeley had good advice for the process of securing letters of recommendation on their website.  Good advice is also provided by Rice University on their website.

What are the GRE codes that I will need so that you receive my scores?

The University of Missouri code is 6875. Psychology is 2016.

What is the TOEFL code that I will need so that you receive my scores?

The University of Missouri code is 6875. 

What is the TOEFL code that I will need so that you receive my scores?

The University of Missouri code is 6875. 

I am a U.S. military veteran or an active service member, can I receive a waiver of the application fee?

The Graduate School waives application fees for U.S. military veterans and active service members. If you self-identify during the application process in the online system, you will receive waiver instructions automatically.

How do I find faculty members that may be considering new graduate students?

Our webpage will be updated each year around September with faculty that may be considering new graduate students the following year.  You can learn more about our faculty members and their research here, and it is appropriate to contact faculty mentors via email about their interest in recruiting and mentoring graduate students.

Can I make changes to my application after I've submitted it? 

No. Once you submit your application you cannot make changes to it. However, you can log into the application and upload new or updated documents and make changes as many times as you wish before you submit your application. You can update and save information and documents as often as you wish until you hit the submit button.  

Do I need to take the GRE Psychology subject test?

The Psychology Subject Test is not required. This is different than the regular GRE test. 

I already have a Master's Degree. Do I have to earn one at Mizzou?

A student who has completed an empirical masters elsewhere may ask to have their thesis reviewed to meet our MA requirement. If it is accepted, the student will not have to complete a thesis in this program before beginning further work on their PhD.

What can you tell me about financial aid?

Currently, all students accepted into the PhD program receive guaranteed funding for five years, usually in the form of a teaching assistantship or research assistantship. Some students receive a campus fellowship. Assistantships and fellowships typically carry with them a tuition waiver, stipend, and health insurance subsidy.

What should I include in my 500 word statement of purpose?

We offer the following guidance to help you prepare your personal statement. Faculty evaluate personal statements to learn about you in 3 primary ways:

  • General qualities that make you well-suited for graduate school, such as intellectual curiosity, passion, persistence, work ethic
  • Specific experiences and interests that make you a good fit for the program and the potential mentor’s (or mentors’) lab.
  • To get a general sense of your writing ability and ability to think about psychological questions and issues.


There are different ways to approach writing a personal statement and you should take an approach that best allows you to convey the information that you want us to know.  The following questions may be helpful for thinking about how to structure your statement and what kinds of points to integrate.  You don’t have to try and address all these points.  We note these as examples of more specific questions that may help to get you started.

  • What academic, professional, or nonacademic life experience(s) have led you to your career goals and research interests?
    • How do your prior experiences and interests make you a good fit for the University of Missouri? You can write about experiences in research, applied/clinical work, courses, or other life experiences. 
    • What experiences have prepared you to join your potential mentor’s lab at the University of Missouri?
    • It can be especially informative to not just describe your experiences, but also what you have learned from them
  • What are the research areas, ideas, or questions you’d like to pursue? Feel free to discuss your ideas in detail, and if you know how you would research them, please explain.
  • Describe a particular challenge or problem you have (in academics, research, job, or life) and how you addressed or overcome that challenge, and how you learned from it.
  • How do you want to make an impact with a graduate degree in psychology?
  • What are some of your characteristics that you think have prepared you for graduate school?

Finally, the statement of purpose is also an opportunity provide additional information about you and your experiences that we should know but has not been asked in other sections.

Must I have majored in Psychology to apply to the PhD program?

While most of the students admitted to the PhD program majored in psychology in their undergraduate years, we do accept students from other disciplines with a strong interest in the various fields of psychological research.

Do you offer a Master's degree in Psychology?

The only terminal Master's degree we offer is the MA in Quantitative Psychometrics. Students enrolled in the PhD program will earn a MA as part of their program of study.

Do you accept part-time students?

No, the program is designed for full-time, on campus, continuous study.

Can I complete my graduate degree online?

No, the program is designed for on campus study.

Can you send me printed information about your program?

The best source of information about our Graduate Program is this website. We no longer print hard copy materials.

Eryn Adams

"In my time in this department thus far, I have been afforded the opportunity to conduct hands-on research with kids in the community, write and submit a grant, as well as begin teaching my first undergraduate-level course. Each new opportunity has provided me with vital skills for the increasingly competitive job market." - Cognition & Neuroscience Graduate Student Eryn Adams

Kelsey Irvin

Kelsey Irvin was selected for the MU Distinguished Thesis Award for "Association between Positive Affect Regulation and the Reward Positivity."  Her research, mentored by Dr. Debi Bell and Dr. Bruce Bartholow suggests that positive affect regulation may be an important factor to consider when examining the nature of the relationship between psychophysiological reward processing and adjustment indicators, that interventions focusing on increasing savoring may positively impact self-reported adjustment, and that savoring may be a particularly useful affect regulation strategy for individuals with a low sensitivity to rewards.