About Our Graduate Program

About Our Graduate Program

A graduate degree in psychology from Iowa State University will help you become your best.  You excelled in undergraduate studies and have decided to pursue graduate studies in psychology.  Now, you face a number of questions as you select the university that is best for you:  Does the institution have a strong reputation?  Are its programs consistent with your interests, values, and career goals? Are faculty members respected in their fields, and are they accessible to students?  Is the environment conducive to study?  Are facilities well equipped?  And of course, what are the economic rewards of your degree?

To address these questions and more, we have prepared this section of our website as an overview of the many strengths, advantages, and exciting opportunities that exist for graduate studies in psychology at Iowa State University.  We believe you will see that the Department of Psychology at Iowa State has the programs, coursework, reputation, faculty, and the supportive environment you need for success, both during your graduate studies and beyond.

A Dynamic and Growing Department 

You will join a department that is dynamic and growing in both size and reputation.  We have a relatively young faculty that is energetic, productive, nationally visible, and committed to both teaching and research.  As a result, the Department of Psychology moved up in the recent National Research Council ratings further than any other department on campus. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has targeted the Department of Psychology for further expansion and development as a result of its established excellence.  For you, this means that you will have the opportunity to become involved in major research projects, both basic and applied, and the flexibility to create a unique program of study to match your professional strengths and goals.

A Faculty Committed to Your Growth and Involvement in Psychology

You will be the focus of our faculty members, who have the time, interest, and expertise to actively mentor you and nurture your professional growth in psychology.  With approximately 25 faculty and 60 to 70 graduate students in residence, you will derive all the benefits of a very low student to faculty ratio, including small classes and an uncommonly high level of individual attention.

You will work side-by-side with some of the most talented professors in the nation, many of whom are highly involved in research and conduct externally funded research projects of national scope.  Working in a tutorial manner, Iowa State faculty members will help you master important research skills, while taking an active interest in your development.  In addition, students in our counseling psychology program will receive individually supervised clinical training from experienced and licensed faculty.

Additional opportunities for professional development are provided through our colloquium series, which attracts prominent psychologists from around the country, including Elizabeth Loftus (University of Washington), Thomas Bouchard (University of Minnesota), Robyn Dawes (Carnegie-Mellon University), Daniel Kahneman (Princeton University), Frank Schmidt (University of Iowa), Nancy Betz (Ohio State University), and Constantine Sedikides (University of Southampton).  This series provides an excellent opportunity for you to broaden your knowledge and interests through interactions with the nation’s leading psychologists.

Facilities that Enhance Learning

The excellent facilities in the Department of Psychology include the space and equipment needed for advanced psychological research and training.  There are 25 specialized rooms for human experimental research.  In addition, individual observation rooms with direct and electronic observation facilities are available for counseling, consultation, and testing practica.  Furthermore, a well-equipped computer lab was recently remodeled just for graduate students and the department is in the process of building a fully equipped EEG lab..

The Psychology Department occupies two wings of Lagomarcino Hall, part of Science I, the basement of Office and Labs, and rooms in Gilman Hall.  These facilities offer full accessibility for individuals with physical disabilities.  Graduate students are provided with ample office and research space.

The university offers outstanding general facilities, including a two-million-volume library, a state-of-the-art computer center, and a world-renowned Department of Statistics.  The Psychology Department’s computer facilities include a network of 25 PC and 4 Apple computers, with extensive supporting software and peripheral components.  All computers are connected to the university’s computing systems and to the library, providing easy document processing, data analysis, and literature retrieval.  All university and departmental resources are readily available and accessible to both graduate students and faculty.

Perfect Environment for Work and Play

Graduate school is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in the discipline, but it is also a time when you will make lasting friendships.  In addition to studying and working collaboratively with fellow students, you will want to take some breaks for recreation and entertainment.  Ames is a great place for all of these activities.

Ames combines the advantages of a small city and Midwestern hospitality with the exciting activities of a major university.  Not surprisingly, Ames was recently rated as one of the top two small cities in the nation (The New Rating Guide to Life in America’s Small Cities).

Ames offers a lot of choices for recreation and entertainment.  The Iowa State Center – a cultural and sports activity complex that includes a 50,000-capacity stadium, an 18,000-capacity arena, a 2,700-capacity concert hall, a 400-capacity experimental theater, and a registered art museum — hosts an outstanding program of performers every year.  These events include appearances by major European and American orchestras and individual artists, rock and popular singers, dance companies, and Broadway shows. Performers at the Iowa State Center have included the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, The Nutcracker Ballet Company, Winnipeg Ballet Company, Paul McCartney, Metalica, James Taylor, The Dave Mathews Band, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Kenny Chesney.  The Iowa State Center also hosts theater companies, chamber and orchestra programs, and blues and jazz programs.

Of course, the excitement of Big-12 sports is available, and Iowa State’s new recreational center houses extensive exercise and recreational facilities and a full range of indoor and outdoor activities for all seasons.  Numerous local restaurants, theaters, and pubs provide even more entertainment options.  The resources of a larger metropolitan area are easily accessible in Des Moines, which is only 30 minutes away.  Minneapolis and Kansas City are also within easy driving distance (3 to 4 hours).

Student Characteristics

Approximately fifteen new graduate students are admitted into our doctoral programs each year.  Recent experience indicates that a successful applicant will have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.50 (where A=4.00) and individual GRE (Verbal, Quantitative, Analytic, and Psychology) scores averaging 600 or higher.

The deadline to apply to our doctoral programs is December 1 for the Counseling area and December 15 for both the Cognitive and Social areas.