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Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Students in psychology explore theory, develop research skills, and learn how to approach issues concerning individuals and their communities and societies. The program offers courses that reflect the wide-ranging field of psychology as the study of normal and abnormal behavior and of the psychological, social and biological processes related to that behavior.

The clinical program is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. It focuses on research and preventive interventions addressing health, diversity, and community issues. The cognitive neuroscience program provides focused training and research experience in the areas of cognition, learning and memory, with emphasis on the psychobiological determinants of these functions. Students in the applied social psychology program take a core of classes on topics including social cognition and attitudes, and apply their knowledge of social psychology and their research skills primarily in the area of health promotion. The Industrial/Organizational (I/O) program offers training and research experience in areas such as personnel selection, training and development, work motivation, leadership, work teams, and organizational culture.


Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:
  • Clinical Psychology, Applied Social Psychology, and Cognitive Neuroscience: December 1
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology : January 5
Standardized test scores:
GRE general test (institutional code 5246).  Except for Industial/Organizational Psychology program, the GRE general test is waived for applications who hold a J.D., M.D., or Ph.D.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the academic International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the PTE Academic is required of all applicants except those who hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university in the United States or from an institution located in a country in which English is the official language, provided English was the language of instruction. 
Minimum scores for the Ph.D. program are:
  • Academic IELTS: an overall band score of 7.0 with no individual score below 6.0; or
  • TOEFL: 600 on paper-based or 100 on Internet-based;  or
  • PTE Academic: 68; 
Prerequisite requirements:
A bachelor's degree with a major in psychology. Students whose academic preparation is in other disciplines will be expected to have completed prerequisite undergraduate courses to prepare for graduate study in psychology before admission.
Recommendations required:
Three (3) recommendations
Prior academic records:
Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.
If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.
Statement of purpose:
In an essay of 250 – 500 words, state your purpose in undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objectives, research interests, research experience and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional, and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application. If you are applying for an assistantship or fellowship, you should also describe any teaching experience you have had.
An interview is required.
Additional requirements:
Clinical Psychology: The Clinical Psychology program rarely admits students with scores below the following:
  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.10
  • Verbal GRE: 56th percentile
  • Quantitative GRE: 32nd percentile
International applicants only:
Please review International Applicant Information carefully for details on required documents and English language requirements.

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 107
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions: ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday