Ph.D. in Psychology - Applicant Info

The application deadline for students who plan to begin graduate training in Fall 2023 is December 1, 2022. Applicants must submit all application materials through the Graduate School's online application system before the application deadline.  
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.
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 complete 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 for the waiver of the application fee.


Application Components


Upload unofficial copies of all transcripts. If you are accepted by our academic program, you will be asked to provide official transcripts to the University's Graduate School. Please do not send official transcripts until you have received an official letter of acceptance. 

Test Scores

GRE scores are not required for students applying to begin training in Fall 2023.  You may choose to include GRE scores in their application.  There is no minimum GRE score required for admission.

International applicants are required to show English proficiency to be admitted to the University of Missouri.  Information on English proficiency can be found on the International Students section of our website and from the Mizzou Graduate School's guidelines for international applicants.

Statement of Purpose

A personal statement of 500 words or less includes a description of your career objectives and your specific interests in psychology. You should indicate past research activities and the areas of research activity in which you are particularly interested, as well as indicating what faculty research interests are parallel to your own.

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.


This should list relevant research achievements (e.g., published papers, conference presentations and fellowships).

Writing Sample

Provide a research or academic paper you authored, preferably in your area of interest. These could include a manuscript (in preparation, submitted, or published), conference presentation or grant application.  You could also include a paper from a class that highlights your ability to explain psychological concepts, analyze data, or interpret research findings.

Faculty Interest

Fit with a faculty member's ongoing research program is important for admission to our program.  You can learn more about our faculty members and their research here

In your online application list at least one, but not more than three, faculty members with whom you are interested in working. List your most preferred mentor first. You can find the Faculty Interest Document that lists faculty members interested in recruiting new graduate students on this page. 

Letters of Recommendation

Request recommendations from three references through the online application system.

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.

Supplemental Information

Supplemental Information is the opportunity for you to enter information or upload a document that does not fit into any preset links in your application. If you need to explain something about your application or clarify information, you can. This is not a required component of your application and you are encouraged to only enter information you feel is necessary or would be helpful to faculty reviewing your application.


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 K. Miller.

Application Review

Your application will be reviewed by faculty members in the training area to which you apply.  Selected graduate students may also review portions of your application. Specifically, graduate students may review your personal statement, letters of recommendation, resume or vita and writing sample. GPA and GRE scores will not be made available to graduate students.

If your application is considered for a university fellowship, it will be reviewed by other faculty in the Psychological Sciences Department and Mizzou's fellowship committees.


Notice of Nondiscrimination The University of Missouri does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability or status as a qualified protected veteran. For more information, contact MU Human Resource Services , the Director of MU Office for Civil Rights and Title IX or the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights.

MU Psych Sci Christal Davis

“Choosing Mizzou for graduate school has been one of my best decisions! The faculty have been so helpful and knowledgeable, and there really is a great spirit of collaboration among both faculty and students. Plus, Columbia is a beautiful city to explore!”  - Clinical Graduate Sudent, Christal Davis

Angela Haeny and Ken Sher

Drs. Angela Haeny and Ken Sher at the Graduate Studies ceremony recognizing Dr. Haeny's recognition with the MU Distinguished Dissertation Award.  While a graduate student in our department, Dr. Haeny received numerous honors and awards related to her research scholarship, including Mizzou’s Rollins Society, our department’s Mark H. Thelen Outstanding Clinical Graduate Student Award, and several merit awards from the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Nanxi Xu

"Graduate school is tough. Classes are harder. Things happen faster, and people expect more. However, I'm blessed to have an amazing mentor and the whole developmental division who supports me through this process." - Developmental Graduate Student Nanxi Xu