How to Apply

Apply for Admission to the Psychology Ph.D. program.

Ph.D. Admissions Requirements - Fall 2020  

Application Deadline: December 1, 2019

Note: We DO NOT offer a stand-alone MA program or a Clinical/Counseling Psychology program. Applications are only accepted for the Ph.D., but it is possible to earn an MA along the way.

All transcripts, letters of recommendation and test scores must be RECEIVED by December 5th!

The Fall 2020 application and additional information on applying to graduate school at UC Davis is available at:


The Psychology graduate office will be closed December 21, 2019 through January 5, 2020. 
During this time you may not be able to reach the Psychology Graduate Program or the Office of Graduate Studies for information regarding your application status. Please be patient, we will do our best to promptly respond to your inquiries once the office has reopened on January 6th.


December 1, 2019 Application Deadline

December 5, 2019 All materials due (test scores, transcripts, recommendation letters)

December 18, 2019 Interview invitations will be emailed to interview candidates (interviews are required for admission)

January 26-27, 2020 Interview Days at UC Davis (Skype interviews are allowed if candidate is unable to travel to Davis)

February 28, 2020 Admit letters sent via email

March 15, 2020 Final admissions decisions sent to unsuccessful applicants.

Application Requirements

We do not have any course pre-requisites. An MA is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Students may apply directly from a bachelor’s degree program.


Area of research and preferred faculty mentor(s)

You will be asked to indicate your area of research and up to six faculty members with whom you wish to work. The Psychology Ph.D. is a mentorship program. Please read about the faculty in your area and identify those whose research closely matches your own interests.

To see a list of our faculty, please click the "People" link on the top blue banner. Then go to "Faculty" and click the box for your area of interest. "Affiliated Faculty" are also members of the Psychology Graduate Group and can accept Psychology Ph.D. students as well.

We do not maintain a list of faculty who are accepting students. We recommend that applicants contact faculty directly to inquire about research opportunities.

GRE Scores

General exam only, Psychology subject exam not required. Please submit test scores electronically through ETS. The UC Davis school code is 4834. It is not necessary to list the department code.


We do not require official paper transcripts, however we will need to see unofficial transcripts from all academic institutions you have attended and listed on your application. You can upload the unofficial transcripts directly into your application. Please follow the instructions in the application or in the confirmation email that will be sent to you after you submit your application. More information can be found on the Office of Graduate Studies here:

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. It is not possible to have more than three recommenders. Recommenders will be contacted directly by the University to upload their letters. Unfortunately, we do not currently support document agencies such as Interfolio. The recommender must upload the letter directly via the link provided to them.

Statement of Purpose

Please highlight your academic preparation and motivation; interests, specializations and career goals; and fit for pursuing graduate study at UC Davis. (Maximum 4000 characters, including spaces)

  • preparation and motivation may include your academic and research experiences that prepare you for this graduate program (for example: coursework, employment, exhibitions, fieldwork, foreign language proficiency, independent study, internships, laboratory activities, presentations, publications, studio projects, teaching, and travel or study abroad) and motivation or passion for graduate study.
  • interests, specializations, and career goals may include your research interests, disciplinary subfields, area/s of specialization, and professional objectives.
  • fit may include how your preparation, experiences, and interests match the specific resources and characteristics of your graduate program at UC Davis. Please identify specific faculty within your desired graduate program with whom you would like to work and how their interests match your own.

Personal History and Diversity Statement

The purpose of this essay is to get know you as an individual and potential graduate student. Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. You may include any educational, familial, cultural, economic, or social experiences, challenges, community service, outreach activities, residency and citizenship, first-generation college status, or opportunities relevant to your academic journey; how your life experiences contribute to the social, intellectual, or cultural diversity within a campus community and your chosen field; or how you might serve educationally underrepresented and underserved segments of society with your graduate education. This essay should complement but not duplicate the content in the Statement of Purpose.  (Maximum 4000 characters, including spaces)

Application Fee

$120 for U.S. applicants or $140 for international applicants.

International Applicants

English language testing is required, not just for international students, but for all applicants whose native language or primary language of instruction is not English.  UC Davis accepts both the TOEFL and IELTS examinations.  For more information about these tests, please go to the TOEFL/IELTS Requirement section.