Frequently Asked Questions

Preparing for Application

  1. When is the application deadline?
    The application deadline for Fall 2018 entry into the program is December 1, 2017.
  2. Are applications processed for any semester other than fall?
    No. We only run admissions once a year.
  3. Is it okay for me to contact a professor directly?
    Yes. It is encouraged that the applicant contact the professor in which they will be applying to the program to study under. The applicant should also be in contact with the professor to ensure that they will be reviewing applications. A list providing this information can be found at the bottom of this page, but should not be assumed to be comprehensive.
  4. What can be done to supplement mediocre grades or GRE scores?
    Faculty members consider all aspects of an application, not just GRE and GPA. Having outstanding letters of recommendation, a clearly defined research interest that fits well with the professor's interests, and prior research experience can bolster your application. Published work and presentations at conferences also help strengthen an application.
  5. My GRE or GPA is lower than the department's minimum requirements. Can I still apply?
    Yes. You will still be able to submit a complete application and your application will be available for faculty review. Although it is rare, applicants have been admitted into the program with deficiencies in departmental minimum requirements because all other components of their application were outstanding.
  6. What funding opportunities are available if I am accepted into the program?
    The Psychology Department makes the effort to fund every applicant who is offered admission with a five year support guarantee. Support may come in the form of a traineeship, fellowship, TA, RA, or PA position. When a five year guarantee is offered to an applicant, the funding support is offered at a level high enough for tuition remission each semester of the five years. Tuition remission means that the Graduate School, department, or grant you are payrolled off of is paying for your tuition.
  7. Who should I select to provide my letters of recommendation?
    Letters in favor of the applicant are essential and should be provided by faculty who know you fairly well. These letters should provide information that will help us evaluate your potential for graduate work beyond that revaled by GPA and GRE scores. For example, a letter from a professor who writes about your unique skills, research abilities, and motivation is more influential than a letter from a professor who says that you received an "A" in his/her class and were very pleasant. Thus, letters of recommendation from faculty you have worked with on a research project or senior thesis carry more weight in making a decision to admit a student.
  8. How important is prior research experience?
    Undergraduate research experience is highly valued in an applicant to our program and greatly enhances your chances of admission. Such research experience provides an opportunity to discover whether research is of interest to you and provides evidence of your motivation and ability to do research.
  9. Are there any prerequisite courses I must take before apply to the program?
    No. We do not have any course prerequisites prior to application or admission into the program.
  10. Must I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology to apply to the proram?
    No, but a working knowledge of the discipline is expected.
  11. I have a MS degree in Psychology currently.
    • Will my previous coursework transfer into the program?
      The credits from your prior courses will not transfer into the program or the Graduate School. Upon acceptance into the program, you may petition the Graduate Committee for the ability to transfer similiar courses in for program requirements.
    • Will I be exempt from certain requirements of the program?
      No. Each applicant who matriculates into the program is expected to complete the same number of required course credits as well as complete a First Year Project, along with the other first year students.

Application to the Program

  1. When is the application deadline?
    The application deadline for Fall 2018 entry into the program is December 1, 2017.
  2. Must all materials for the application be received by the deadline, or is it necessary only for the Graduate School application to be submitted by the deadline?
    ALL required materials for a completed application MUST be received no later than the deadline. This includes a completed Graduate School Application, three letters of recommendation, a personal statement, the department's supplemental application (found within the Graduate School Application), transcripts from EACH university or college attended must be uploaded, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores if you are an international applicant. The Graduate School must have also received the $75 application fee by this date as well. For more information on the application process, go to https://grad.wisc.edu/admissions/faq/ 
  3. Do I have to submit letters of recommendation electronically?
    Yes, unless there is a justifiable reason for submitting the letter through mail, such as disability or inability to use a computer or inability to access internet due to a remote location. In all circumstances where a letter of recommendation will be sent, you must notify gradinfo@psych.wisc.edu and a cover letter for your recommendation will be provided.
  4. I am applying to more than one program. I have specific letter writers for each program. Will each program be able to view ALL of my letters of recommendation?
    No. Each program only has access to the letters you specify are for that program. You can establish this when you are entering in your recommender's information.
  5. One of my letter writers has not submitted a letter yet. What should I do?
    Log back into your graduate school application, go to the section for letters of recommendation, and send a reminder email. Then get in touch with the letter writer yourself and notify him/her that they should be receiving an email prompt about a letter of recommendation. Have the letter writer make sure that the email didn't get automatically routed to their trash bin if they still have not received the email. Also, remember to check that the email address is correct.
  6. My recommender has not received a prompt to write my letter of recommendation through email.
    See above answer to #6.
  7. My recommender has not submitted a letter and I cannot get in touch with them. What should I do?
    Follow the instructions in #6 to log back into your Graduate School application and send a reminder to the recommender via email. Then, if you do not have three completed letters of recommendation already, add another person to write a letter of recommendation for you to ensure that you will have three letters of recommendation by the application deadline.
  8. Can I change or add letter writers once my application has been submitted?
    Yes. Log back into the Graduate School Application and go to the letters of recommendation section.
  9. How will I know that the department has received my letters of recommendation?
    Once you have submitted the Graduate School Application, you will receive an email about an online status system in which you can not only check to see if your letters of recommendation have been received, but also when your GRE scores and transcripts were received as well. The log in information will also be provided in the email you receive after submitting your application.
  10. How will I know that the department has received my GRE scores and transcripts?
    See above answer to #9.
  11. I took the GRE a few years ago. How old can GRE scores be?
    GRE scores may not be more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment.
  12. Must I take the GRE Subject in Psychology?
    No. It is not required. It does not hurt your chances of admission if you do not take the subject test, however, outstanding GRE Subject scores can supplement your application nicely.
  13. Where do I send my transcripts to?
    Unofficial transcripts will be uploaded as part of the application on the Grad School website.
  14. Can I send supplemental materials for my application to the program?
    Your statement of purpose and a CV/Résumé should be uploaded as part of the application on the Grad School website. Contact gradinfo@psych.wisc.edu if you would like to submit additional materials.

Admission Decisions

  1. How are admission decisions made?
    Admission decisions are typically made by individual faculty members, with the support of their affiliated area group. There is no admissions committee. The person most likely to review your applicant file is the faculty member(s) you indicated an interest in working with on your supplemental application.
  2. When will admission decisions be made?
    Admission decisions begin to finalize in early March. Most applicants can expect an admissions decision by March 15, however, some may be made as late as the end of March or early April.
  3. When should I expect to be notified by the department?
    You will be notified by the department mid March to early April.
  4. How will I be notified of the department's decision?
    The department sends out a rejection e-mail to those candidates not being considered around March 15. If you are being recommended for admission to the Graduate School, the department's Graduate Coordinator will also contact you by email immediately with your admission offer attached to the email. You can also check your admission status in the online status system. Please see the answer to #9 under "Application to the Program" for further information about the online status system.

International Applicant

  1. Will my foreign degree meet the Graduate School's minimum admission requirements?
    Please refer to the Graduate School's page about minimum application requirements. Please use the drop down menu to select your country. 
  2. What forms of financial support are available? Is support guaranteed?
    Our department tries to offer five year support guarantees to all students offered admission into the program. If offered a five year guarantee, the support takes form in multiple forms, which can vary semester to semester as well. The forms of support students in the department may hold are traineeships, fellowships, RA, TA, or PA-ships.
  3. Where can I get further information about showing sufficient finances for study in the U.S.?
    Please click here. Also note that the Graduate School does not require that this step is complete until you have been recommended for admission by the department.
  4. What is the minimum TOEFL score requirement?
    550 for paper test, 213 for computer test, and 92 for internet (iBT) test
  5. What if my TOEFL score is less than the minimum requirement?
    The Graduate School requires that all international student meet the minimum requirement for admission into the University.
  6. I believe I may be exempt from the TOEFL test requirement. Are there exemptions?
    Yes. You are exempt from the TOEFL test if one of the following applies:
    • English is the exclusive language of instruction at the undergraduate level
    • You have earned a degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university not more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment
    • You have completed at least two full-time semester of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside of the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction, not more than five years prior to the anticipated semester of enrollment