The American Psychological Association has prepared a series of twelve videos--Preparing and Applying for Graduate School in Psychology--that take prospective graduate students step-by-step through the preparation, application, interview and admission processes.  We encourage applicants to review these anxiety-reducing strategies for mastering each step of the application process.

Below are some common questions and answers for students as they consider applying to our PhD program.  Additional help can be received from our Director of Graduate Studies, Dennis Miller (

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

You can learn which faculty members are interested in recruiting new students for Fall 2024 by clicking here.  The list will be periodically updated through the summer and fall.

You can learn about our faculty members and their research interests on our webpage by clicking here.  Applicants are encouraged to reach out to potential mentors to learn about their research and mentorship style via email.

Is the GRE required for admission to your program? What is the minimum GRE score required? Do I need to take the GRE Psychology subject test?

Submission of GRE scores, including the subject test, 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.

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 be denied admission to the program.

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.

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 (click here to begin the application) and answer the following questions (click here to go to the website to answer the questions).

For full consideration for the waiver, the request should be submitted before October 15, 2023.  Recipients of the waiver will be notified between October 15 and October 30.  Requests submitted after October 15 will be considered and awarded based on remaining available funds.

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


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.

What should I include in my 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 might you and your scholarly interests contribute to diversity, equity and inclusion in our department and/or within the overall field of psychology?
  • 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).

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.  

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 seek students from diverse backgrounds?

Diversity is a reality in the world and in our American society. The University of Missouri values this diversity because it is inherent in our institutional values of respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence. Valuing diversity grows out of respect for others and for self, despite our differences. Honoring diversity is required in order for us to carry out our institutional responsibility and moral obligation to all the citizens of Missouri. Being open to diversity is essential for discovery because what we ourselves know is not all that is. Welcoming diversity is integral to achieving excellence, since without it our own views and opinions are not challenged and honed.

The Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, is committed to fostering and supporting a climate of inclusion and diversity. A diverse department is one in which faculty, staff and students represent differing cultural, gender, gender identity, political, racial, socio-economic, and sexual orientation backgrounds.  A diverse department offers a rich environment that leads to greater knowledge, understanding, acceptance, and mutual respect. We celebrate diversity and encourage cutting-edge diversity science. The department's commitment to diversity is consistent with the university’s Diversity Initiative that fosters a diverse and inclusive campus environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Do you accept international students for graduate study?

Our department welcomes international students.  International students are eligible for full financial support including assistantships and many campus fellowships.  Additional information for international students, including information on immigration and visas, can be found from the Mizzou International Programs office

What are the English language proficiency requirements for international students?

All non-native English-speaking applicants are required to provide proof of English language ability.  Information on these requirements, testing and exemptions & waivers can be found on the University of Missouri Graduate School's website . 

Our department does not require test scores that are higher than the minimum English language proficiency requirements posted on the Graduate School's website.  An applicant should assume that the Graduate School's requirements will be applied as written.  Any requests for special waivers will typically not be considered until after an applicant has been recommended by the department for admission.

Do you offer graduate degrees in counseling psychology?

Our department not offer degrees in counseling psychology.  Counseling psychology is offered by the College of Education at Mizzou and click here to learn more about that program.

Do you offer a Master's degree in Psychology?

Students enrolled in the PhD program will earn a MA as part of their program of study.  Students who only want to earn the MA are not admitted to our program.

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.

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.

What can you tell me about financial aid?

All graduate students in good standing are eligible for five years of guaranteed financial support. This support is in the form of graduate teaching or research assistantships or campus fellowships. Financial support includes a tuition waiver,  stipend and participation in student medical insurance plans.

Please see the Financial Support section of our webpage for more information.

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.


Many questions you might have about our program and your application can be answered in our Graduate Program FAQ or by contacting our Director of Graduate Studies, Dennis Miller (

We have a Canvas page with continually-updated information on the psychology program and opportunities for current Mizzou graduate students and faculty members.  If you're a current student or faculty member interested in opportunities in psychology, self-enroll in the Canvas page by clicking this link.