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Frequently Asked Questions

Admission Questions

What can I do to improve my chances of being selected for your program?

Nearly all entering students have worked as research assistants. Many clinical applicants have also had experience in applied settings, usually as a volunteer. However, for all areas (Clinical, I-O and CNS) research experience is most important. Many entering students have presented their research at a conference and some have published their research. Only a small percentage of applicants are selected for our programs. Therefore it is recommended that applicants apply to several universities (e.g.,10 or more would not be unreasonable for Clinical applicants). Following this strategy will increase your chances of acceptance into at least one graduate program. The APA website Students section ( contains resources for applying to graduate schools.

Can I apply if I just want a Master's degree?

No. You may not enter the program with the intention of obtaining only a master's degree. If you cannot commit to the Ph.D. program, you should investigate the large number of schools that offer a terminal master's program in Psychology.

Can I apply if I'm not scheduled to take the GRE before the deadline?

No. Your application cannot be processed without GRE scores and a copy of the unofficial GRE Score Report, which should be uploaded with the online application, preferably in Adobe PDF format. The GRE computer adaptive exam should be taken no later than the beginning of November or December. Scores from the written GRE exam take approximately six weeks to reach USF. If you take the written GRE exam, please plan your examination date for September or earlier. GREs taken after October will not reach the office by our Priority Deadline of December 1st for the Fall 2018 application cycle.

Can I apply if I won't receive my bachelor's degree until after the deadline?

Yes. If you have one or two semesters before obtaining your bachelor's degree, you may apply as long as your upper-level GPA remains at least a 3.0. You will need to request an additional official transcript showing that your bachelor's degree was awarded before being officially accepted by the university.

Can I apply if my bachelor's degree is not in Psychology?

Yes. Although most applicants have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, applicants who are particularly strong in related areas (e.g., research experiences, natural sciences, business for I-O applicants) are eligible for admission. Regardless, it is highly desirable for applicants to have at least a minimal background in Psychology and in research methods (e.g., Introductory Psychology, Experimental Design, Statistics).

Do I need to take the GRE Psychology Test?

No. Only the GRE General test is required.

A person writing one of my recommendation letters will be away from the office and may not be able to send me the letter in time to meet the deadline. Can she/he send the letter directly to you?

We first suggest asking another person to provide a letter of recommendation. However, as long as all other application documents are received before the deadline, we will accept one letter sent via email to

Is the Immunization form required with my application?

No. The Immunization form is to alert you of the policy. The completed form is required only if you are admitted.

Is there a form, other than the graduate application form, that I need to submit for USF fellowships or for assistantships from the program?

Some Fellowships are by department nomination only. Accepted applicants meeting eligibility requirements may submit online forms for the other various applicable USF fellowships and scholarships offered at the university for incoming students. See the Graduate Studies fellowships/scholarships website at However, you do not need to submit a form to request consideration for a departmental assistantship (e.g., research assistantship, teaching assistantship).

Program Questions

In what areas of research are your faculty currently involved?

You can find summaries of faculty members' work at our website: There you will find links to their pages. If you want to learn even more about particular faculty members, you may email them at the address listed on their web pages.

What is the average number of years to complete the program?

The entire Ph.D. program usually takes five to six years to complete. Clinical students must also complete a one-year internship. I-O students must complete the program in six years.

Would I be able to continue working full-time at my current job if I enter your program?


I have already received a Master's degree from another institution. Would I be able to have it transferred towards the Ph.D. degree in your program?

Many students already have a master's degree and, understandably, would like to obtain full credit for their degree. It is sometimes possible to transfer credit for courses that are virtually identical to those offered by our department. However, no final decision about such courses can be made prior to your acceptance into the program. Each individual case must be evaluated by the program area after admission. Likewise, it is sometimes possible to obtain credit for a completed master's thesis if it is judged equivalent in quality to theses conducted by students in our program. After acceptance into the program, a faculty committee will review your thesis to determine whether it can be transferred.

What kind of housing is available for your graduate students?

The cost of living in Tampa is affordable compared with many large cities. Most one-bedroom apartments rent for approximately $800-$900/month, and most two-bedroom apartments rent for $1000-$1200/month. There are many nice apartment complexes close to campus and there is a campus shuttle (the Bull Runner) that services this area.

Do you offer your program courses on-line?

No. Our graduate program courses are conducted in on-campus classrooms and labs. USF does offer other online course options outside of the Psychology Department. Please visit the website at, click on the ‘Programs’ section, and click into the ‘Online Programs’ website at this link

Do you allow part-time students?

No. Students admitted to the graduate program are required to pursue their studies full time.

Do you offer a program in Forensic Psychology?

No. Although courses may include forensic psychology content, we do not have a specific concentration in forensic psychology.

Are there other programs at USF that offer a Master's degree in disciplines related to Psychology?

At USF, there are master's programs in:

Course Questions

Is it possible to take just a course or two at the graduate level, and how could I do that?

Perhaps. You may do so if the instructor permits you to enroll as a Non-Degree Seeking student. Our graduate-level courses are specifically designed for students already in our doctoral program. If you are a non-degree seeking student or in another graduate program, you must contact the instructor of the course and receive his/her permission. Then you must submit the online departmental Graduate course Permission to Register form An appropriate department staff member will enter a permit into the USF system and then contact you. You also need to apply as a Non-Degree Seeking student ( and then register for the course.

What courses are you offering this semester?

On the USF>Academics>Courses and Calendar web page click on Class Schedule Search where you will find the Registration Process and Schedule Planner Instructions. Search for course offerings, class schedules, and register for classes through >MyUSF>OASIS. The Academic Calendar is where you will find dates for registration, drop/add, exam schedules, holidays, and graduation commencement.

Degree Questions

What career options may be available to me after receiving a B.A./B.S., M.A. or Ph.D. degree?

See resources are available in the Research and Learn section of the USF Career Center Current Job Opportunities website The American Psychological Association (APA) Careers website also contains information at and

What are the potential career opportunities and expected career salary ranges of graduates from the USF Psychology Doctoral Programs who have earned their Ph.D. degree?

Clinical Psychology: Professor, department of psychology (research focus); Professor, teaching hospital (research and clinical focus); Researcher; Administrator; Clinician. High $180,000, Low $60,000.
Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology: Postdoctoral researcher; Professor in Psychology Department; Applied research in industry. High $150,000, Low $40,000.
Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Professor in Psychology; Professor in Management; Consultant; Director of Assessment; Research Scientist; Research & Development Manager. For comprehensive salary information go to

What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a Psy.D.?

In Clinical Psychology, the two most common doctoral degrees are the Ph.D. degree and the Psy.D. degree. The Ph.D. is the oldest doctorate and is generally regarded as a research degree. Though many professional psychology programs award it, they typically emphasize research training and the integration of research with applied or practical training. The Psy.D. degree, first awarded in the late 1960s and increasingly popular among professional schools, is a professional degree in psychology (similar to the M.D. in medicine). Programs awarding the Psy.D. degree place major emphasis on preparing their graduates for professional practice as practitioner-scholars and less emphasis on research training. Presently about 75% of the doctoral degree programs in Clinical Psychology award the Ph.D. degree.

Do I need a license to practice psychology?

Requirements for license to practice in the mental health field are not standardized across states. In most states, however, you need some type of license or certificate to practice psychology. The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) has a website that provides information at The Florida Board of Psychology website provides licensure information at, and licensure exam information at and To search the Florida Statutes and Constitution for job licensure requirements, go to

After graduating with a Ph.D. from a clinical psychology program, can I prescribe medication?

No. The Ph.D. in clinical psychology is a research and practice-oriented degree (with more focus on clinical research here at USF)--it is not a medical degree. If you wish to prescribe medication for mental health problems, you may want to consider going to medical school and then seeking a residency in psychiatry. Psychiatrists and some general practitioners ("family doctors") are the most likely professionals to prescribe medication for mental health problems. Note that in a couple of states (Louisiana and New Mexico as of 2012), clinical psychologists can seek additional specialized training in prescribing medications, but very few have done so as of yet.