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Admissions Requirements

Our application Priority Deadline (for funding and consideration) is December 1 for the Fall 2018 application cycle for both domestic and international applicants to the Clinical (CL) program, the Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social (CNS) program, and the Industrial-Organizational (I-O) program. We only process applications for the fall term of entry beginning in August.

  • Applications received by the December 1 Priority Deadline will receive maximum consideration.
  • Applications received after the December 1 Priority Deadline, but by the February 15 Final University Deadline, are considered on a space-available basis.
  • Applications must be complete with all required information by the stated deadline. Any application materials received after the deadline may be reviewed on a space-available basis.

McKnight Fellowship applicants should abide by the deadlines set forth by the scholarship and are required to also apply directly to the department program and it is strongly suggested they abide by our program Priority Deadline.

You will receive via the email address listed on your application notification of receipt of your application packet and decision. Due to the heavy volume of applications, please remain patient and DO NOT CALL THE DEPARTMENT.

Application Check List

All application documents must be uploaded directly to the online graduate application (upload instructions http://www.usf.edu/admissions/documents/how-to-upload-grad-adm-docs.pdf), preferably in Adobe PDF format. Please include your full name at the top of all documents. Do not mail documents to the Psychology Department.

  1. USF Graduate Admissions Application: Complete the online application at http://usfweb2.usf.edu/admissions/apply.html. You may apply to only one Psychology area: CL, CNS, or I-O. If you meet any of the eligibility criteria listed on the Application Fee Waiver form (available on the Graduate Admissions forms website http://www.usf.edu/admissions/contact-us/forms.aspx), you must submit it to Graduate Admissions BEFORE submitting the online application. International (Foreign) Applicants are also required to upload or submit to Graduate Admissions: the TOEFL scores, Financial Statement form, Confirmation of Financial Support form, Visa Transfer form (if applicable), and a copy of your passport. International applicants should refer to the following Graduate Admissions International website for procedures and forms: http://www.usf.edu/admissions/international/index.aspx.

    Application and Concentrations Codes:
    • College Code: College of Arts & Sciences - AS
    • Degree Code: PhD program - PhD
    • Major Code: Psychology - PSY
    Note that you can apply to only ONE area of concentration:
    • Clinical Psychology - PSC
    • Cognition, Neuroscience, and Social Psychology - PCN
    • Industrial/Organizational Psychology - PSI
    GRE Scores
    • USF Institution Code for ETS GRE Scores - 5828
    • Department Code ETS GRE Scores:
      • 2001 (Clinical), 2002 (CNS),
      • or 2008 (I-O)

  2. Application Fee: The application fee is $30 for all applicants, and is good for the academic year towards multiple USF programs. However, you may apply to only one Psychology area: CL, CNS, or I-O. The fee is required with your online application, even if you previously attended USF. When you apply online you can either pay with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover) or by E-Check. If you encounter any problems with the online submission, please contact Graduate Admissions by email admissions@usf.edu or call (813) 974-3350. If you meet any of the eligibility criteria listed on the Application Fee Waiver form (available on the Graduate Admissions forms website http://www.usf.edu/admissions/contact-us/forms.aspx), you must submit it to Graduate Admissions BEFORE submitting the online application.


  3. Residency Classification Form: All non-resident graduate students must have established residency in Florida for 12 consecutive months prior to initial enrollment in an institution of higher learning to be eligible for in-state tuition rates. Applicants desiring classification as a Florida resident for tuition paying purposes must complete the Florida Residency Classification page of the online Graduate Application. Applicants with incomplete forms will be classified as non-Florida residents. Please see the policies and procedures on the Graduate Admissions and Registrar websites at http://www.registrar.usf.edu/Residency/General_Procedures.php.


  4. GPA Worksheet: Please complete and upload the GPA worksheet (http://www.grad.usf.edu/inc/linked-files/gpa.pdf) to your online application, and enter your calculated upper-level undergraduate GPA on the online application. International applicants are exempt from this if their institution uses an incalculable grading system.

    Although we have no formal cutoffs for GPA, we have a strong preference for an upper division undergraduate GPA of 3.4 or better. For the 2017 entering class, the average undergraduate GPA was 3.70 for the Department, 3.98 for Clinical, 3.61 for CNS, and 3.68 for I-O. These are not the sole criteria for admission.

  5. Transcripts: (a.) One (1) official transcript from each post-secondary institution attended is required and must be mailed to the USF Office of Admissions in a sealed envelope from the institution’s Office of the Registrar. The mailing address to the Office of Admissions is: University of South Florida, Office of Admissions, 4202 East Fowler Avenue, SVC 1036, Tampa, FL 33620. E-transcripts only from Florida state institutions will be accepted (not pdf but translated data).
    (b.) Unofficial transcripts should also be uploaded to the online application, preferably in Adobe PDF format, to expedite the processing of the application.

    Certificates, diplomas and transcripts in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified, complete and literal English translation. You do not need to request an official transcript from USF if your bachelor degree was completed at USF (an uploaded unofficial transcript will suffice). If you have one or two semesters before you obtain your bachelor's degree, you may apply as long as your upper-level GPA remains at least 3.0. However, you will need to submit to Graduate Admissions an additional official transcript showing that your bachelor's degree was awarded before being officially accepted by the university.

    Bologna Process - Applications from the European Higher Education Area
    USF accepts applications from prospective graduate students with undergraduate degrees from countries that subscribe to the Bologna Process. Applicants with three-year degrees from universities in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) may be considered for admission to graduate programs, at the discretion of the Department (or equivalent) and College that offer the Program and with the approval of the Office of Graduate Studies, under the following condition:

    Official documentation is presented to demonstrate that a three-year degree (at least 180 ECTS) has been awarded prior to USF matriculation by an institution within the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), defined by the Bologna Declaration of 1999. Where applicable, diploma supplements should be included with transcripts and other documents required to demonstrate degree completion. An up-to-date, official listing of Bologna signatory countries may be found at www.ehea.info.


  6. GRE Scores: Only the General GRE test (Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical writing) is required. The subject exam is optional. GRE test scores must be earned within five (5) years of the desired term of entry. Allow no less than 6 weeks before the program deadlines to complete the electronic exams. Allow 10-12 weeks before the program deadlines for the written exams. Enter your GRE scores on the online application. The Psychology Department does not waive the GRE for applicants.

    1. Electronic ETS Scores: Request that Educational Testing Services http://www.ets.org/gre (or P. O. Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000) send your scores electronically to USF. The institution code for USF is 5828. The department codes are 2001 (CL), 2002 (CNS), or 2008 (I-O).

    2. GRE Score Report: An unofficial Student GRE Score Report is available on the ETS website https://www.ets.org/mygre. Upload it, preferably in Adobe PDF format, to the online application. This is needed in case of delay from ETS, and to know exams' percentiles and the optional subject scores, which are not downloaded into the USF system.

    Although we have no formal cutoffs for GRE scores, we have a strong preference for both GRE Verbal (V) and Quantitative (Q) scores to be above the respective 50th percentiles. For the 2017 entering class, the average GRE scores were: Department V=162 (88th pctile) and Q=157 (66th pctile), Clinical V=162 (89th pctile) and Q=156 (61st pctile), CNS V=160 (85th pctile) and Q=158 (70th pctile), and I-O V=163 (91st pctile) and Q=157 (66th pctile). These are not the sole criteria for admission.

  7. English Proficiency: Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the United States must demonstrate proficiency in English by submitting acceptable scores on one of the English proficiency tests listed below. The scores must have been earned within two (2) years of the desired term of entry. Applications submitted with English proficiency scores that do not meet the minimum requirements will be denied.

    • Has scored a 79 or higher on the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or 550 on the paper-based TOEFL
    • Has scored a 6.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) http://www.ielts.org/
      (Note: Although the IELTS score may be used to demonstrate English Proficiency for the purpose of admissions, the IELTS score is not acceptable to demonstrate English Proficiency for Teaching Assistant [TA] positions. See Policy on Spoken English Proficiency for Graduate Teaching Assistants/Associates/Graduate Instructional Assistants (http://www.grad.usf.edu/International_Teaching_Assistants_Handbook.php).
    • Has scored a 53 or higher on the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE-A)

    The English proficiency requirement may be waived for admission if the applicant meets one of the following conditions:

    • The applicant's native language is English, or
    • has scored the equivalent of 153 or higher on the GRE Verbal Test, or
    • has earned a college bachelor's or graduate degree at a regionally accredited U.S. institution of higher learning, or
    • has earned a college bachelor's or graduate degree from an institution whose language of instruction is English (must be noted on the transcript or on an official certificate stating that English is the of Medium of Instruction for the institution).  However, other related factors (including test scores) will also be considered; or

  8. (a.) Personal Statement: Please upload to the online application, preferably in Adobe PDF format, a brief statement (2-3 pages) indicating your past and current interests and activities relevant to a doctoral program in Psychology. List the faculty in our department whose research interests you believe match your own. Also, comment on your career goals. Remember to include your full name at the top of the document.
    (b.) Research Interests and Faculty Matches Form: Please also fill out and submit the Research Interests web form at this link http://psychology.usf.edu/forms/ResearchInterest.aspx. You may select only one of the three programs, and then the respective area faculty will populate in the Prospective Mentors drop down menu. In the Specific Research Interests text box, please insert a few brief phrases that list your specific research interests.

    (CNS applicants: Please describe your research experiences, explaining the purpose of the studies in which you were involved, your contributions to this research, and the skills you gained. Connect these and other experiences to your current research interests and to your future career goals. In your statement, explicitly state the concentration to which you are applying (Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience, Social Psychology, or Interdisciplinary Program in Speech/Language/Hearing) and the CNS faculty member(s) with whom you wish to work.)


  9. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation: At least three (3) letters of recommendation are required with your online application (maximum of 5). When the application is submitted and paid, an email will be automatically sent to the recommenders with instructions on completing and returning the reference letters. If the application has not yet been submitted and paid, the email will NOT be sent to the recommenders. The email message provides a link through which the recommenders can upload electronic letters to the online application. Therefore, we suggest that you pay and submit your application well before the December 1 deadline for receipt. On occasion, recommenders may have trouble receiving the initial email because of firewall restrictions or because the applicant typed the wrong email address; it is the applicant's responsibility to see that the letter writers receive their emails.


  10. Other documents: You may also upload an updated curriculum vita and writing samples. Essays are optional.

    You will receive via the email address listed on your application notification of receipt of your application and decision. Due to the heavy volume of applications, please remain patient and do not call the department.

Late Receipt: Applications submitted with fee that are received after the February 15 Final University Deadline will NOT be considered for the current year's term of entry. You may choose to notify the Graduate Admissions Office at grad-admissionsmail@usf.edu to request they change your application's term of entry to the following year.

Previous Applicants: : If you applied but were not admitted into the program and want to be considered for the next year's admissions process, you must submit another online application and fee before the next year's application deadline. Note, however, that your GRE scores must be sufficiently recent.

On behalf of the University of South Florida and the Department of Psychology, we welcome you to apply to one of our doctoral programs, and encourage your endeavors in the pursuit of an excellent education and future career.