Applying to graduate programs

Are you interested in applying for a PhD program in psychology? Below we provide some information that may be useful in preparing for the application cycle.

The information provided here is from Professor Grill-Spector’s website, found here:

Graduate school broadly

  • In most PhD programs students do not pay tuition and receive a stipend for living costs (number of years of guaranteed funding and access to summer funding varies by program and institution).
  • If you are interested in a program that does not provide sufficient funding, consider applying to fellowships and grants around the same time you apply to the PhD program. The NSF GRFP provides three years of funding for the awardee. US citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply. Students can apply two times at most: once before starting graduate school and once in graduate school (first and second year). Applying can be useful for putting together application materials.
  • It is important to have a sense of your research interests before applying to graduate programs, but expect those ideas to evolve while in a graduate program. It is also important that your research interests are similar to or shared with the people you apply to work with.
  • When applying to a lab, applicants should ask if the labs plan on accepting graduate students and if there is funding available for incoming students in the upcoming application cycle. Graduate programs can vary widely on stipends and TA commitments. Many programs are considered a full-time work commitment, and therefore compensation and cost of living should be carefully considered.

Graduate school @ Stanford

  • Students who apply to the Psychology department join a particular lab.
  • The Psychology department guarantees 5 years of funding via a departmental teaching grant (students have a teaching requirement of 5 quarters). For more information about the admissions process see: Psychology PhD Admissions.

Stanford Housing

International students

  • If you are not a US citizen or green-card holder, you will require a visa in order to join the Stanford Psychology department from abroad. Stanford will help you through the process of acquiring the visa (typically either an F1 or J1 visa). Hence the process of acquiring a visa should not deter you from joining the Stanford community. Further information for international students is provided by the Bechtel international center and can be found Link to Bechtel International. For a comparison of the F1 and J1 visa, see link to F1/J1 visas information and compare F1 and J1 visa table.

Application fee

  • Submitting an application to the Psychology Department requires a $125 application fee as of 2020. Fee waivers are available for those who need assistance with the application fee. ** For most fee waivers you must submit the request at least 2 weeks in advance of the graduate application deadline.
  • Taking the GRE and submitting scores can cost more than $230 as of 2020. The Psychology Department no longer considers or accepts GRE scores as part of the application process. 
  • Taking the TOEFL can cost about $200 as of 2020.
  • If you are invited to interview with the Psychology Department, expenses related to your visit are typically sponsored by the department. Note that this is generally the case for interviews in many schools, but there may be exceptions at other programs.