The Grad School

At this time of year, graduate school applications are on my mind, because I'm up to my ears writing letters of reference. Yikes, deadlines!

Students often ask me for inside advice on what graduate committees are looking for--how high their GPS needs to be, who to get letters of reference from, that kind of thing. My answer is: I don't know. I've never been on an admissions committee, and things are different (old man voice) from when I applied to grad school back in the day. Ahem.

So, I asked the Department of Psychology's Graduate Program Assistant, Anita Mueller, for some insight into the process--at least, in this department. Here's what she wrote me [I've added the information in brackets]:

It's not GPA alone that determines admissibility. It's true, we do look for the best and the brightest (the closer to a 4.0 the better) and those are the students who typically are offered recruitment scholarships. The minimum to be accepted into FGSR [Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research] is 3.0. In order to be eligible for recruitment scholarships, you need to have a GPA of greater than 3.7 in the last 2 years (~60 credits) of your undergraduate education. The other things we look at is your GRE [Graduate Records Exam], STATS courses and research experience. Research experience is included in our Honours program under [PSYCO] 498 Individual Study. If you are in the regular stream, you can also get research experience, and it would be listed under the PSYCO 496 individual research. You would however have to find your own supervisor to complete the PSYCO 496. Students who are in their final year of their Bachelor’s degree can apply for scholarships (NSERC [Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada], etc). It looks good on the application of you are coming in with a scholarship.

The Graduate program is very competitive, last year we had 65 applications and admitted 8 students. This year, we have 72 applications and our admissions would be about the same percentage. We also look to ensure that there is a supervisor who is willing to supervise the student. There would have to be fit with supervisor/research and physical space available to accommodate new students. With all that being said, we encourage those students who want to continue into Grad School to get their applications in early as our deadline is January 15 for fall admission.

I hope that somewhat answers your question.

Anita Mueller
Graduate Program Assistant
Thanks, Anita, for that information. (Yes, I know that the application deadline has passed. You should be looking ahead to next year.) Here are some other things you should know. The Department of Psychology does not offer a graduate program in professional psychology. That is, you can't train to become a clinical or counseling psychologist. (At the UofA, the Department of Educational Psychology has a program in counseling psychology and school psychology, for example. But I've been told that it's now more competitive to get into professional psychology programs than it is to get into medical school. Eep! Psychiatry anyone?)

Why aren't you studying?


Anastasia said...

I only got one true on the wee test. I'm taking this as scientific proof that I should not go to grad school.

Karsten A. Loepelmann said...

@Anastasia: Only one? Hmm, and here I thought I was really getting to know you. And now I'm wondering which one is true...

Anastasia said...

The fun one.

layciegrace said...

Graduate school is a challenging mission. Yes, I daresay it is a mission. There are a few lucky ones who don't get to work while studying for their masters or doctoral degree. - Layce of

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