Program Category: PhD Programs
Chair: Nim Tottenham
Director of Graduate Studies: Niall Bolger
Email Address: [email protected]
Degree Programs: MA/MPhil/PhD

Designed to provide a broad base in psychology, this program offers an opportunity for intensive research. Advanced seminars are offered in three basic areas of psychology: cognition, psychobiology and neuroscience, and personality and social psychology. The department is relatively small; each year it admits fewer than ten full-time students. The obvious benefit to such a highly selective system is that it affords graduate students the opportunity to become acquainted with all research conducted in the department by faculty as well as fellow graduate students.

The program is a five-year consecutive series of classes and research culminating in the PhD degree. Nonsequential MAs and degrees in Clinical, Counseling, Organizational, Educational, and School Psychology are not awarded through this department. For information pertaining to application procedures for nonsequential MAs or degrees in the areas mentioned above, please contact Teachers College, 525 West 120th St., Room 146 Horace Mann, Box 302, New York, NY 10027; (212) 678-3710.

All students accepted to the five-year program receive a fellowship, which supports tuition, health and insurance fees, and an annual stipend through the fifth year, provided that they maintain good academic standing. All fellows receive equal awards. Fellowships are awarded in recognition of academic achievement and in expectation of scholarly success. Teaching and research experience are considered an important aspect of the training of graduate students. Thus, graduate fellowships include some teaching and research apprenticeship.

In addition to the regular PhD program in Psychology, there is also a joint PhD program with the Department of Sociomedical Sciences in the Mailman School of Public Health. This PhD is designed for individuals who wish to combine training in psychology with training in social influences on public health and medicine. 

Special Admissions Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed below, all students must submit one transcript showing courses and grades per school attended, a statement of academic purpose, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation from academic sources.

GRE's are not required and will not be reviewed if submitted.

All international students whose native language is not English or whose undergraduate degree is from an institution in a country whose official language is not English must submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS.

For more information, refer to the Admissions Information and Frequently Asked Questions pages.

*GSAS will accept up to four recommendations, regardless of the number required by your program of interest. However, to be eligible for admission at GSAS, at least TWO letters must be submitted by academic recommenders.


Admission to the graduate program is based on an overall evaluation of applicants' scores, grades, recommendation letters, as well as potential for scholarship. An undergraduate major in psychology is not required, but it is an advantage to have had undergraduate psychology courses as well as courses in statistics. There is no language requirement. International students must hold a degree equivalent to a US bachelor's degree and be fluent in both written and spoken English.

All applied psychology programs, such as Clinical, Counseling, Development, Experimental, Industrial/Organizational, and Educational are housed at Teachers College. See its website for more information about these programs.