Applying to the Graduate Program
What we are looking for:
Acceptance into our program will be based on prior coursework, research experience, and a good fit with the research programs of our faculty. Although students with a wide range of experiences may be accepted, students with a research background tend to be the strongest candidates. Successful applicants to the Behavioral Neuroscience subplan often have taken courses such as cell biology, organic chemistry, neuroscience, biopsychology, biochemistry, research methods, and statistics. All other subplans require a strong background in statistics and research methods.
In addition, in connection with the Colorado Diversity Initiative, CU Boulder has a program intended to introduce college seniors interested in graduate school (PhD only) to the outstanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) doctoral programs at CU Boulder. For more information (eligibility, etc.), see the Colorado Diversity Initiative webpage.
Program Subplan Information
If you apply to work with someone who is not actively recruiting students, your application won't be considered:
Steps to Applying for the PhD Program
In applying for the PhD program, you will be required to:
- Have a bachelor’s or equivalent degree from an accredited institution. Complete the Graduate Application (see the Graduate School Admissions page).
- Include a Statement of Purpose in which you describe:
- Your specific research interests and career goals
- Past research or work experiences that have prepared you to pursue your interests.
- Reasons for applying to CU, including your fit with potential faculty mentors.
- For applicants to the clinical subplan only, also describe volunteer or paid work experience in a mental health or human services agency.
These can usually be addressed in ~3 pages, single-spaced.
- The GRE General score requirements are specific to each of the 5 subplans. Please carefully read the instructions below:
- Applicants whose education was not in English must earn a score of 90 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), 7.0 on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or 120 on the Duolingo English Test.
- Pay an application fee of $60 for US citizens, $80 for international applicants upon submitting your application.
- Fee Waivers
The Graduate School offers application fee waivers for participants in several organizations. Please see the Graduate Application FAQs (scroll way down on this page to "Submit Application & Fee Payment") for a current list of these organizations.
If you are in the U.S. military you will receive an automatic fee waiver as a thank you for your service (active duty, veteran, previously served, and active reserve are all eligible for this automatic fee waiver).
If you are undocumented and/or a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiary, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about possible fee waivers.
International Students: Qualified international students may be eligible for a fee waiver through the Office of Admissions. Please contact CUgrad@colorado.edu to determine your eligibility.
The Department of Psychology and Neuroscience also offers a limited number of fee waivers for US citizens and domestic residents to reduce financial barriers to attending graduate school. To apply for a fee waiver, please visit our fee waiver form page to determine your eligibility and submit an application.
- Provide 3 letters of recommendation. Upon submitting your application, an email will be sent to each recommender cited on your application.
- Provide ONE unofficial copy of each transcript from any institution at which you have previously studied. Transcripts may be sent prior to submitting the application; just be sure the name on the transcript matches the name on the application. Follow the instructions for uploading unofficial transcripts to your application.
Interview and Admissions Process
Graduate applications will be reviewed through January. After all applications have been reviewed, individual faculty members will contact prospective candidates and generally invite them to the campus for a departmental interview. Behavioral, Psychiatric, and Statistical Genetics, Clinical, Cognitive, and Social subplans conduct interview weekends whereas Behavioral Neuroscience invites candidates for individual interview dates.
Final decisions of acceptance are generally made in March after the admissions committee has met and all candidates have been evaluated. All candidates will be informed of their status via email.
For questions, contact Tim Greeson.