Application Instructions

The application for Fall 2018 admission will open September 2017.  The application deadline is December 1st.  Check our website during the summer for admissions information updates.


Applicants should take the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and, if applicable, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) no later than the end of October 2017 so that we receive the scores by our November appliation deadline (exact date TBD).  Check with Educational Testing Service (ETS) to make sure your official scores will be submitted on time.


These instructions will clarify several important steps of the application process for admission to our Ph.D. program. We do not have an application for a terminal Master’s degree program. Education Abroad Program students, see the EAP website for instructions.


Questions should be sent to


Your application, letters of recommendation, official exam scores, scanned transcripts, all other application documents, and fee payment must be submitted through the online UC Berkeley Graduate Division Application by the deadline.  Late applications will not be accepted.


Do not mail, courier, or deliver any application documents to Graduate Division Admissions or the Department of Psychology unless specifically requested.


We will contact you if you are being invited for an interview and to participate in our January Visitors' Day.  Due to the high number of applications we receive each year, we are not able to respond to inquiries about not receiving an invitation to Visitors’ Day, not being offered admission, or how to improve your application.


It may be useful to review Graduate Division’s tips for strengthening your application prior to beginning the application process: Graduate Admissions.


Complete the Graduate Application for Admission and Fellowships: The instructions for creating an online account and a link to the online application are available at: UC Berkeley Graduate Admissions.


SEMESTER AND YEAR: Select Fall 2018. We do not accept applications for any Spring term.


DEPARTMENT AND DEGREE PROGRAM: Select PSYCHOLOGY (PH.D.).  Note: PSYCHOLOGY (CWO) is for applicants who want to apply for Course Work Only (CWO), which is for students who choose to study for one semester or one year and do not want to pursue the Ph.D. CWO applicants must meet the same requirements as applicants to the Ph.D. program and may be in competition with these applicants for quota spaces. If CWO interests you, please review Graduate Division's Frequently Asked Questions (the last question under “The Admissions Process”) for more information.


AREAS OF CONCENTRATION: Enter the area to which you are applying. You may apply to one or two areas. The six areas in the department are:

ACADEMIC INTERESTS—FACULTY INTEREST: Please review the research interests of the faculty in the area of emphasis to which you are applying. List at least two (and at most four) Psychology faculty members whose research is of particular interest to you. List the faculty members in order of preference. For each faculty member you list, please provide a short explanation about why you selected that faculty member. This is a crucial part of the application process; applications that do not provide at least two faculty interests will not be considered. You do not need to complete the Faculty Contact section.


Faculty admitting students for 2018 will be posted here this summer.

TEST OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE (TOEFL): If you completed your undergraduate degree in a non-English speaking country (e.g., People’s Republic of China) or region (e.g., Quebec, except students with degrees from Concordia and McGill), you are required to take the TOEFL in order to satisfy the English Language Proficiency requirement for admission to our graduate program. If you took the TOEFL before November 2015, you are required to take it again even if your scores were reported to UC Berkeley. For purposes of admission, your most recent score must be at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT).  We will accept scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in place of the TOEFL.  Your most recent overall band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.  Request to have a hard copy of your official score report mailed to:


Graduate Admissions, Department of Psychology
3210 Tolman Hall, MC 1650
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720


If you completed one year of full-time study at a U.S. university or college and earned an average grade of B- or higher AND were not studying a language, you are exempt from the TOEFL requirement. If you are required to take the TOEFL, the department recommends that you take the TOEFL no later than September 1, 2016. To have your official TOEFL scores sent to us, use the institution code 4833 (a department/major code is not necessary).


International Applicants: Please review the Graduate Division website for more information: Admission Requirements. If you took the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam instead of the TOEFL, please inform us by email well in advance of the application deadline and have the official score report mailed to the address above. All other application documents must be uploaded using the online application.


GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE): We require all applicants to take the GRE General Test but do not have a minimum score requirement. We do not accept scores from tests taken before November 2012. Official scores must be sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). To have your scores sent to us, use the institution code 4833 (a department/major code is not necessary).  The GRE requirement applies to all applicants, even if you have completed a master’s degree program or are in a master’s degree program that did not require the GRE General Test for admission.  We do not require or consider the GRE Subject Test in Psychology.  You must submit your application by the November 19th deadline.  Official GRE scores can arrive up until November 22nd and still be attached to your application. Faculty reviewers can ask our admissions team to look for scores that may have arrived even later.



Applicants who did not receive a degree from an American school – Do not enter any GPA information.


Applicants who did receive a degree from an American school – Calculate the requested GPAs described below only for courses taken under the A-F, four-point grading system. If you completed courses through a different grading system, do not include these courses in your GPA calculations.


Undergraduate GPA

  • Cumulative (overall) – All undergraduate courses inclusive of undergraduate courses taken at institutions other than the one in which you completed or will complete your undergraduate degree.
  • In Your Major – Courses taken to satisfy a degree requirement after being admitted to your major; this excludes courses taken to satisfy prerequisites for admission to the major.

Graduate GPA

  • Cumulative (overall) – All graduate courses inclusive of graduate courses taken at institutions other than the one in which you completed or will complete your graduate degree.

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Complete the Statement of Purpose. Graduate Division guidelines: Writing the Statement of Purpose. The Statement of Purpose is required and is a very important part of your application. It is usually about 1.5 to 2 pages in length, single-spaced, and typed. Please describe the following in your statement of purpose:

  • Your interest area in psychology; past research work and research interests for the future. You can include relevant coursework or reading, as they helped to generate your interests.
  • Applied work experience: volunteer or paid work experience in a mental health or human services agency. (Required for Clinical Science applicants).
  • Reasons for applying to UCB, including faculty member(s) with whom you wish to work.
  • Plans for your future profession.

PERSONAL HISTORY STATEMENT: Complete the Personal History Statement: Graduate Division guidelines: Personal Statement Guide. The Personal History Statement is required, usually about 1.5 to 2 pages in length, single-spaced, typed, and an essential part of your application.  It should stand alone and not repeat your Statement of Purpose. In your Personal History Statement, please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information about:

  • How you have overcome barriers to access in higher education;
  • Evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others;
  • Evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education;
  • Evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality;
  • Evidence of your leadership among underserved populations.

LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Three letters of recommendation are required.

  • Enter the name and email address of each of your recommenders in the Recommenders section of the application. Be sure you have entered valid email addresses.
  • Indicate whether you do or do not waive your right to read each letter.  Click save.
  • Click Send Invitation for each recommender. They will receive an email with instructions for submitting their letter.

At least two of your recommenders should be psychology faculty members or advanced psychology graduate students. Each recommender should be familiar with your academic talent and abilities. 

Your recommenders likely have busy schedules. Contact each of them well in advance of our application deadline about your desire to have a letter from them. Follow up with each of them well in advance of our deadline to confirm that their letters have been submitted.

Recommenders may upload their letters onto the application themselves or via a letter service.



  • Domestic applicants – The Domestic Student Fellowship section is to be completed if you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and want to be considered for any fellowship or award offered by the Graduate Division or Department of Psychology.
  • International applicants – The International Student Fellowships section should be completed if you are an international applicant and want to be considered for financial assistance from UC Berkeley.
  • Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – If you advance to the second round of the review of applications and are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you should submit the FAFSA by April 30, 2017:  FAFSA Homepage.

TRANSCRIPTS: Do not send official transcripts to Graduate Division Admissions or the Department of Psychology. For the first round of application review, upload onto the online application scanned copies of official transcripts (preferred) or unofficial grade reports (accepted) from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you have attended.  Official transcripts from all college and graduate level institutions attended after high school are only required from applicants who are offered admission and enroll in the program.


CURRICULUM VITAE (C.V.): Upload a copy of your C.V. Please do not include a picture of yourself.


APPLICATION FEE: Submit your application and pay the fee by the deadline. You will receive an email to confirm that your application was submitted. If you do not receive an email confirmation after you submit your application, log back into your application account and check that all required information is provided, then submit again.


APPLICATION FEE WAIVER: The fee waiver program is administered by Graduate Division Admissions: Requesting an Application Fee Waiver  All questions go to:


APPLICATION CHECKLIST: The checklist is for you to use to ensure that you have completed each section, if applicable, of the graduate application for admission to our Ph.D. program. Do not upload the checklist as part of your application.  Checklist PDF.