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Department of Psychology Graduate Assessment
January 22, 2003

Applicant Pool for 2002-2003

  N %
Grad Applicants 305  
Accepted 19 6.2%
Enrolled 19 6.2%

Of the 305 applications received in the Department for Fall 2002 admission to Psychology graduate programs, 56 (18%) were from minority students and 20 (6.6%) were from foreign students. In addition 213 (70%) of the applicants were female. The applicant pool is of high quality with average GREs of 571 Verbal, 654 Quantitative, and 682 Analytical. The average undergraduate GPA of the applicants was 3.48. The applicants come from all over the United States, as well as from several foreign countries. Many have attended top undergraduate institutions, such as Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, UCLA, Penn State, and Columbia. Because we receive such a large number of applications, we can be very selective in the students that are admitted to the Department. Given that the pool as a whole is very strong academically, admission to the Department is very competitive.

Current Grad Population for 2002-2003

Total # Grad Students: 92
   # Male: 30
   # Female: 62
   # International: 6
Average GRE Scores:
   Verbal: 591
   Quantitative: 647
   Analytical: 663

Our graduate student population is extremely strong, diverse, and well-situated to compete for top jobs upon completion of the program. As is clear from the above numbers, their academic records are very high. We have a larger percentage of females (67%), than males. There is also a substantial minority population (12%), not too far off from our minority applicant pool (18%). The foreign applicants we admit are very strong.

As a department, we work very hard to generate support for our graduate students through research grants, training grants, and private sector support. We use the Fellowship money to aid us in providing support to the students so that they can focus on their studies, receive the training available to them, and compete for the very best jobs upon completion of their studies.

In addition to entering CU with strong records, our current graduate population is proving themselves to be of exceedingly high quality through their work here. Just in the 2001-2002 academic year they have collectively published 15 chapter and/or empirical papers, given 29 poster presentations or talks on their work and they have been the recipients of numerous awards including two current NSF predoctoral fellowship recipients, one NIMH predoc minority supplemental fellowship, as well as Dean's small grants, the Sheryl Young Memorial Scholarship, and travel awards.

Graduation Rates & Placement for 1998-1999 to 2002-2003 (5 years)

Master's Degrees: 73
Doctorates 79

Our students have been successfully placed in strong positions, primarily in either academic or industry settings. Essentially all of our students are immediately placed in some professional capacity. Approximately one-third are placed in post-doctoral positions. Another one-third are placed in academic jobs. The remainder are placed in either industry, full-time research positions, or full-time clinical positions.

Academic positions include placements at Stanford University, University of Washington Medical Center, Duke University, Carnegie Mellon University, Vassar University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of South Dakota. Clinical positions include placements at Columbia University, Colorado Mental Health Inst., Jefferson County Mental Health Center, and Boulder County Mental Health Center to name a few.

Currently we have several Ph.D. graduates placed in research labs, such as a research position at NASA Ames, Center for Community Based Research Dana Farber Cancer Institute, USAF Armstrong Lab, Wright-Patterson AFB, the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and a former student in a research scientist position with NOAA. Also, a large number of our Ph.D. graduates have publications.


The Department of Psychology has historically been recognized as one of the top psychology programs in the nation, and as one of the top departments on campus at the University of Colorado. The Department ranks in the top 30 psychology departments nationally according to the US World and News Report's annual rankings of graduate programs (2002), though it has most consistently ranked in the top 20. Specialty area rankings (2002) were provided for two of our five programs, and these ranked 15th and 28th.

The Department is very strong in the number of grant dollars generated. According to the 2001/2002 Sponsored Programs Annual Report, the amount of grant dollars awarded to faculty whose affiliated campus unit was psychology (that is, including grant dollars generated through an institute by faculty members whose rostered tenure is in psychology) was exceeded within the College of Arts and Sciences only by Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (APS). Training graduate students is at the heart of our Department. Our research efforts happen almost entirely in collaboration with graduate students, and a substantial proportion of the grant dollars generated are used to fund graduate students in their studies.

Our students are fortunate in that they receive skills that enable them to take jobs not only in the academic sector, but in the private sector as well. For example, students trained in cognitive psychology can make very successful careers for themselves in the computer/technology industry. Clinical students can easily take research positions or clinical positions in hospitals or private practice. Social students are often placed in private or government-sponsored research settings. And the biotech industry affords attractive employment opportunities to students trained in either behavioral neuroscience or behavioral genetics.

I believe we have come to see our mission as broader than simply training future academics, though it must be noted that the number of academic positions in psychology at good research universities has been on the rise over the past years. Taken together, we are training students not only as future academics, but also broad scientific thinkers who are attractive and sought after by the private sector. It is becoming easier to accept a larger number of students knowing they will find jobs. The fellowship money plays an important, if not essential role in our ability to fund these students. For the past two years we have committed almost all of our fellowship funds to this endeavor, and we have been able to admit an additional three students each year because of this. A constant struggle is that our graduate student stipends are less than competitive with other program across the nation who typically offer 50%+ more than we do. This can be aided to some extent by fellowship monies, but not completely. Our students have also been successfully competing for NSF Fellowships and NIH minority supplement fellowships and predoctoral fellowships. As a result, our entering classes have been larger over the past few years. We plan to continue this practice in an effort to maintain and build our graduate student body. In sum, the Department of Psychology is firmly committed to the training of graduate students, and our ability to do so is supported by our strong national rankings, the strong reputation of our faculty members, the grant activity generated by psychology faculty and the strong placement of our Ph.D. graduates.

New Graduate Academic Initiatives

The department has developed a BAMA program in the area of cognitive psychology and cognitive science. To date, two students in psychology were enrolled, with one having to drop out due to a car accident. The remaining student is set to graduate in this academic year. The department also offers a joint Ph.D. in psychology and cognitive science. There are currently three students enrolled in this program with two who received the joint Ph.D. in psychology and cognitive sciences the last academic year. We have talked about developing a second BAMA degree in health psychology, as we believe this would be an attractive program.

Several members of our faculty successfully developed an interdepartmental neuroscience Ph.D. degree program that was approved by CCHE in February, 2002. Our first two Ph.D.s in neuroscience were awarded in Summer of 2002. An outgrowth of this interdepartmental neuroscience program is course work and colloquia series that expose our graduate students to the best and the brightest neuroscientists in other departments across campus and the country, increasing the possibility of collaboration. We also offer a certificate in cognitive science that students can apply for by taking relevant courses.

Because of the presence of three major campus institutes and their connection with the Department of Psychology, we offer a number of interdisciplinary courses, and certainly have the means for offering more. Most of the present courses are in cognitive psychology in conjunction with linguistics and computer science, with an ever increasing number in behavioral neuroscience/psychology in conjunction with Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology (EPOB). Ph.D. students from the Leeds School of Business frequently take our seminars in social psychology, and almost always take our graduate statistics sequence. Finally, students in speech, language, and hearing sciences (SLHS) frequently take our graduate courses.

Appendix: Graduate Student Outcomes Survey

Index of unit summaries


Last revision 02/18/03

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