Information for Applicants

The Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania will be accepting applications for the PhD program for the 2024-2025 admissions cycle beginning October 1, 2024. The deadline for applicants who wish to matriculate in Fall 2025 is December 1, 2024 11:59 pm P.S.T. (Note that this deadline is earlier than the one indicated on the School of Arts and Sciences webpage.)

Please note, we only accept applications for a PhD in Psychology. We do not admit students to pursue a terminal Master’s degree.




1. Before submitting an application, we strongly encourage applicants to contact faculty with whom they are interested in working to discuss their research interests and confirm that working with the faculty member would be a good fit. 

A full listing of our graduate group members may be found here. All members of our graduate group are eligible to advise students in our program, and a list of those indicating they will look at applications for Fall 2025 will be added to this webpage before the application opens on October 1, 2024.

2. Once you have contacted a faculty member and determined that the lab and the program are a good fit, you should proceed with your application (APPLY HERE).

3. The GRE General test is optional for application to Penn Psychology’s graduate program. We believe that the results of the test can provide valuable information in a student’s dossier--information that is different from the other elements and might allow a student to reveal intellectual distinction that would set them apart. At the same time, we are aware that the GRE is expensive and can present a barrier to application to PhD programs. It is in the interest of removing this barrier that we have made the GRE optional. If you do choose to submit GRE scores, they must be sent before the Dec. 1, 2024 admissions deadline. Please be aware that ETS (who makes the GRE) has a fee reduction program that halves the cost of the GRE for students who may not have the means to pay for the test:

4. Applicants whose native language is not English must prove English proficiency through the following approved tests, unless they graduated from an English-speaking university (i.e., a university in an English-speaking country): TOEFL iBT Test (standard/in-person), TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, TOEFL ITP Plus for China solution, or IELTS. TOEFL must be submitted electronically through ETS using the institution code 2926. An official copy of the IELTS scores must be mailed directly from IELTS to the Graduate Division, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania, 3401 Walnut Street, Suite 322A, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6228.

5. Personal Statement: All applicants must include a personal statement that addresses the following question:
Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within  your chosen field. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions. If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.
For more information about the personal statement, please visit our Personal Statement Information page.

6. You must arrange to have 3 letters of recommendation sent to Penn and submit all components of the application before the December 1, 2024 deadline (APPLY HERE). These include a personal statement, a transcript, and a CV. See here, for additional information about the personal statement.

7. Pay your application fee. Penn offers application fee waivers for some applicants. All fee waiver requests for hardships, McNair Scholars, etc., should be sent to the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences for their review. Requests may be sent by email to Please note that application fee waivers are not provided for international applicants.

8. You will hear from us in mid-January if you will be invited to interview. Interviews will be held virtually.  Interviews are usually in late January/early February. Admissions offers are usually made in mid-February.


Is Penn’s program right for you? – See this handy decisions tree, reposted from the University of Houston Psychology website, to help you determine a route to your desired Psychology career.

Additional questions? A list of frequently asked questions about the application process can be found here.

For further questions, please contact Paul Newlon at