Graduate Admissions


Admissions Standards and Procedures

The department and all of its programs welcome applications for graduate study from individuals with diverse educational, academic, cultural, and religious backgrounds and values, as well as diverse personal qualities and experiences.  Flexible evaluations based upon multiple criteria (such as undergraduate grades, breadth and rigor of undergraduate courses, GRE scores, professional or work experiences, and letters of recommendation) are made by our admissions committee.

Other indices of potential for graduate study in psychology include a diversified liberal arts or sciences undergraduate degree from a fully accredited college or university; evidence of well above average competence in written and oral communication; diverse coursework in science, mathematics, and/or statistics; and sufficient breadth and depth of preparation in psychology to begin graduate study in the discipline.  In general, the successful applicant will have completed an undergraduate psychology degree or its equivalent.

Applicants who succeed in gaining admission to graduate study at Iowa State have indicated a mature interest in the field of psychology as demonstrated by well-organized, realistic goal statements consistent with the resources and faculty interests of the program to which they are applying. Successful applicants are often persons who have sought out and completed research, psychology-related work, and/or volunteer experience in addition to their normal undergraduate studies.

For full consideration, applications for admission, including ALL of the materials below, should be received by December 1.  The same deadline is used for all three training areas (cognitive, counseling, and social psychology). Applicants will receive email confirmation once their application is complete.  Late applications may be considered by the admissions committee, but may not be given full consideration.

Questions? Contact Sarah Kallsen at or 515-294-1742.

Students applying for admission to graduate studies in psychology at Iowa State University must submit a Department of Psychology Supplemental Application Form and a Graduate College application.  A complete application consists of these materials:

1. ISU Graduate College Application
Complete and submit the ISU Graduate Application Form.  Prospective students are not required to pay an application fee when applying to the program.  Only following an offer of admission to the program will students be asked to pay the application fee.  Students with demonstrated financial need may be eligible for an application fee waiver from the Psychology Department.  A limited number of such waivers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible.  If you are admitted to the program and you believe that you are eligible for a fee waiver, you may send a request along with evidence of financial need (e.g., FAFSA) to

2. Departmental Supplemental Application and Required Materials
Download and complete the Supplemental Application Form (MSWord Template).  Upload your completed Supplemental Application and all required materials to your online ISU Graduate Application account.  You may upload required materials all at this time, or at a later date; but no later than the December deadlines.

3.  Official or unofficial Transcripts for Department review
For departmental review purposes, you may upload a copy of your unofficial academic transcripts.  Once you are admitted and have accepted an offer from our department, ISU Graduate Admissions requires your official transcripts from every school attended.  We must have a transcript showing credit and grades you received for undergraduate courses. Transcripts are required for any course(s) taken, (whether or not for a degree). If transfer courses are on current transcripts showing credit and grade received, this is sufficient.  Also, any study abroad course(s) receiving grades and credit also need to be shown on a transcript.

4. Three Letters of Recommendation
While completing the online ISU Graduate Admissions Application, provide three letter writers’ email addresses, where prompted.  Your letter writers will receive an email from the ISU Graduate Admissions Office with instructions for submitting their Letter of Recommendation once your application has been finalized and the application fee has been paid.  The Department of Psychology will have access to these letters for departmental review.

5. GRE Scores
The GRE revised General Test is optional. The GRE subject exam in Psychology is also optional. If you wish to submit your GRE scores, please have them sent electronically by ETS and provide a copy of your GRE scores with percentiles (screen shot or copy) by uploading it to your ISU Graduate Application account.  Please note that GRE scores are valid for five years.

6. TOEFL Scores
TOEFL scores are required for all international students when first language is not English.  TOEFL is waived only if you have received a degree from a U.S. school.  Make a copy of your TOEFL scores and upload to your ISU International Graduate Application.  Domestic students do NOT complete this exam.