Admission to the Developmental Science Program is extremely competitive. We always receive more applications than we are able to accept. Although there is no one document, test, or experience that will determine whether or not a student is accepted into our program, potential applicants should be aware that there are some key factors that influence our admission decisions. The information below should be used as a guideline to help ensure you provide the kinds of information we view as most important and valuable when evaluating applications.
Prior to Submitting your Materials
Identify Applicability of Research Interests
It is very important that students identify a potential faculty mentor(s) and communicate with them before submitting their application materials. The most successful applicants are able to clearly articulate their research interests, and broadly identify the research topics/ areas they plan to explore as doctoral students. For these reasons, we strongly consider both applicants' "research interests fit" with our program and our faculty member(s)' willingness to work each potential applicant. All incoming graduate students should identify a potential faculty mentor prior to applying to our graduate program. The "fit" of the potential mentor(s) with a student's research goals should be discussed in the statement of intent (see below).
GPA & GRE
GRE and GPA scores typically indicate an individuals' potential to complete doctoral-level work; higher scores on both will enhance an application. Students accepted into our program usually have undergraduate GPAs of 3.5 or higher. The Graduate Record Examination's (GRE) verbal and quantitative sections are required. Typically, only applicants with a GRE verbal score of at least 155 and quantitative score of at least 150, and GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4 point scale) are considered. However, letters of recommendation and research experience can significantly influence our assessment of these two criteria.
Students offered admission to our Fall 2017 cohort had an average 3.813 GPA and a combined GRE score of 308 (verbal = 152; quantitative = 156).
Letters of Recommendation
All students are required to submit three letters of recommendation; at least two must come from faculty members that are very familiar with the applicant's research and academic progress. The content of these letters are important as they provide the us with information about applicants that isn't found elsewhere in the application. The most useful provide insights that cannot be gleaned by simply reviewing an applicant's transcript or standardized test scores. Ideally, the applicants' maturity as it relates to functioning at the graduate level, academic and scholastic skills, research abilities and experiences, and applied experiences are addressed in these letters.
Statement of Intent
Some areas in application process refer to this as the Personal Statement (e.g. FIU Graduate School online application). We seek statements of intent that provide information about the applicant's motivation for studying developmental psychology, general research plans (e.g. what populations, organizational settings, broad research areas would like to gain expertise), future career goals, and the faculty mentor(s) you are hoping to work with if accepted(e.g. matching interests, relevance of their work to your goals, specific skills/ expertise/ content area knowledge you would like to develop with them).
Previous Research Experience
Successful applicants typically have gained some research experience prior to applying to graduate school. Admitted applicants usually have worked/ volunteered in undergraduate research labs, and/ or have completed a major research project (e.g. Honors or Senior Theses). These kinds of research experiences should be highlighted in the statement of intent.
Although applicants admitted to the Developmental Science Program usually have majored in psychology, other majors are acceptable. In those cases, students have usually completed a significant number of foundational psychology courses (e.g. in statistics, personality theory, abnormal behavior, developmental, and social psychology). Other courses applicable to their area of interest are also strongly recommended (e.g. biological psychology, cognitive psychology, psychology of women/ gender). Applicants that have already earned their Master’s degrees are also encouraged to apply. When appropriate, these students may receive exemptions from a few of the departmental course requirements for graduate courses they may have already completed.
Following initial review of applicants' materials
Top applicants will be interviewed via Skype (or in some cases by phone) by two to three faculty members. One of the faculty members will be the applicants' potential advisor. The purpose of the Skype interview is to give applicants an opportunity to further gauge their “fit” with our program by talking directly to varied faculty members, and learn more about our various mentorship models. Applicants are encouraged to ask questions and evaluate the general mentoring environment of our program during these Skype interviews. The content of these interviews are considered during the evaluation process. Skype interviews usually takes place during the last two weeks of December or the first two weeks of January. Invitations for Skype interviews are typically extended as each file is completed by all faculty members, and no later than December 30. For this reason, we strongly encourage applicants to submit all their materials prior to the December 1st deadline.