IO Psychology PhD Program FAQ

Browse Frequently Asked Questions about the IO Psychology PhD program.

When is the application due?

The application deadline to be considered for the Fall term is December 15th. We do not admit students to start in the Spring or Summer Semesters.

How many people apply to the program and how many are admitted?

We typically admit 2-4 students each year. Pre-pandemic, we received approximately 60-80 applications each year.

What information do I need to submit with the application form?

You will need to submit the following information with your application form:

  1. An official transcript from each college and university attended.
  2. A statement of purpose.
  3. Three letters of recommendations.
  4. GRE-General Test scores. The GRE-subject test for Psychology is not considered.

Visit the CCAS graduate application page for all the necessary forms and more specific information about the application process.

What are the typical GRE scores for applicants admitted to the program?

Average GRE scores for students admitted over the past few years are typically in the 50th to 80th percentile range.

What is the typical undergraduate GPA of applicants admitted to the program?

Average undergraduate GPA for students admitted over the past few years is 3.5-4.0.

NOTE: The Admissions Committee evaluates applicants wholistically, taking into consideration grades, GREs, experience, personal statements, and letters of recommendation. The numbers above are for advisory purposes only. Having test scores and grades in those ranges does not guarantee admission and not having them does not eliminate candidates from consideration.

How is work experience evaluated by the admissions committee?

Work experience is generally not a major consideration in the admission process. It may be considered if the experience directly supports the applicant’s capability for graduate study.

Which undergraduate degrees are preferred?

Most students in the program were undergraduate psychology majors. Students who did not major in psychology typically took significant course work in psychology as an undergraduate (e.g., psychology major or organizational sciences minor) or received a master's degree in I/O psychology or a related field.

Does the admission committee recognize international degrees in evaluating applicants?

Yes, degrees from colleges and universities located outside the United States are recognized by the admission committee.

Do students in the program get financial support?

In recent years, the program has guaranteed students full funding the first two years. Several students have received funding beyond two years, although this is not guaranteed when an offer of admission is made. After the first two years, students are typically funded through internships or research grants.

What type of financial support do students receive from the university?

Most financial support is through either a teaching or research assistantship that typically includes a full tuition award (18 hours), as well as a combination of salary and stipend of approximately $27,500-$30,000 for the academic year. All assistantships require students to work up to 20 hours a week.

Does the university offer fellowships?

Yes, the university does offer fellowships. However, fellowships are extremely competitive. Visit The Office of Graduate Student Assistantships and Fellowships website for specific information.

Are there internship opportunities for students who do not receive funding from the university?

Yes, there are several internship opportunities in the DC area for students enrolled in the program. Examples of the internships held by students include the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Army Research Institute (ARI), Personnel Decision Research Institutes (PDRI), Federal Management Partners (FMI), and the World Bank.

How is the department's financial support (i.e. fellowships, TA's and/or RA's)?

All incoming students receive two years of University support through GTAs, Fellowships, or grant funding. Third-year students and beyond receive funding through grants, paid internships, or teaching opportunities depending on availability and interests.

Will I have an advisor assigned to me when I start the program?

Yes, all students have an assigned faculty advisor with similar research interests for the first year. After that, you may continue with that advisor or switch to another if your interests change.

Do credits from a related MA or MS degree transfer?

Yes, students can transfer up to 18 graduate credits provided the course work meets the requirements set out in the University Bulletin and CCAS Graduate Student Handbook. The number of eligible hours is determined on a case-by-case basis.

How long does it typically take students to graduate?

Students typically finish the program in 5 years. The university requires that a student completely finish the program within eight years.

Are students enrolled full-time in the program or are they working professionals enrolled part-time?

Students are enrolled in the program full-time. Students are expected to be regularly on campus taking courses and working with faculty on research. The program does not offer on-line courses (except when advised by the University due to extraordinary circumstances) or accept students for part-time study.

Does the program offer courses on Saturday or in the evenings?

No, courses are offered Monday through Thursday during the day. A few courses may be scheduled for weekday evenings, but the majority are during the day.

How many courses (credits) do I take in a semester?

Students take three courses (nine credits) a semester during the first three years in the program.

Do students have the opportunity to conduct research with more than 1 faculty member?

Absolutely. Many students choose to work with more than one faculty member during their course of study.

What are some recent publications, grants or projects of current faculty and students?

Research activities of faculty and students are listed under each person's name on this site.

What is the general research?

We strive to create a collaborative research environment. Since we are selective in admission, we expect every student to excel and finish and work with students to make that happen. Graduate school at GW is not a competition.

Is there support for attendance at professional conferences?

Yes! Each student currently can receive $600 a year from the university/department for attendance at a conference at which they are presenting a paper or poster. Additional funds beyond $600 are available from a travel fund established by Marilyn Gowing, one of our distinguished alumni, up to the costs of attending the conference.

Is there interaction or collaboration with the business school for research and or class work?

We have good relations with our business school colleagues, and some students choose to take elective courses there and work with some of their faculty.

How are the University/Department resources (i.e. library, computer hardware and software etc.)?

IO students have a study complex composed of a two work rooms of multiple PCs/printers/file cabinets, a library/conference area with table, chairs, white board and copier, and a bathroom, microwave/fridge/storage area. PCs are outfitted with needed hardware/software. GW provides excellent library support as well as computer labs and tech support.

How long does it typically take students to complete their degree?

Although it can and has been done in four, most students take five years to complete the degree.

What year do comprehensive exams occur? How are these exams structured?

Comps are given at the end of formal class work, typically at the end of a student's third year of doctoral study. Part of the exam is given in a single day on campus, plus there is a take-home question that needs to be completed in the following week thereafter. If there are questions about a student's responses, the student may be called in for a later written revision or an oral response session.

Are internships or practical experience encouraged and/or required? In what year does this occur? Does the department have any ties to local businesses and/or professional organizations?

Although it is not required, most students want internship experience during summers and after comprehensive exams. We have many, many ties to local and national organizations - more than we have students to place - and internships are easy to come by.

What types of organizations do students/graduates enter?

Students generally join the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Society for I/O Psychology (SIOP). Students interested in the "I" side of IO psychology also join the Personnel Testing Counsel of Metro Washington (PTC-MW).

Where do graduates of the program work?

Graduates of the program primarily go on to work in applied positions in consulting firms (e.g., Personnel Decision Research Institutes), government agencies (e.g., U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Department of Homeland Security), or private sector organizations (e.g., Marriott International). Some graduates go on to hold academic positions (e.g., New Mexico State, Hofstra, Adelphi, Western Oregon).