Graduate Program Overview

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Graduate students have the opportunity to pursue original research with our faculty as part of an exciting educational program. Members of the faculty have superlative records of productivity and extramural research support. Research is conducted in laboratories featuring state-of-the-art equipment for experimental studies. The Rutgers Psychology Ph.D. Program prepares students for careers as researchers in both academic and nonacademic settings. Students work closely with faculty members on research projects of mutual interest. Students in the clinical program also receive excellent clinical training to prepare for careers as clinical scientists.

Students become involved in research during their first semester and continue their research while they complete required and elective courses. Candidacy for the doctorate is granted following successful completion of course requirements, a master's thesis, and the qualifying examination. The graduate program is designed as a 5-year program. Only those individuals willing to work full-time toward the doctorate are encouraged to apply.

The Psychology Department includes over 40 full-time faculty members. The four programs in the Department are Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, and Social Psychology. In addition, there is an Intradisciplinary Health Psychology concentration.


The Doctoral Program in Psychology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick offers four main areas of study:

  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience
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  • Clinical Psychology
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  • Cognitive Psychology
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  • Social Psychology
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    In addition, an Intradisciplinary Health Psychology concentration is offered.
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Award-Winning Faculty

The Rutgers Psychology Program boasts nationally and internationally recognized scholars, many of whom have received prestigious awards and honors.

Rutgers University

Rutgers University is the State University of New Jersey and serves more than 50,000 students. The Rutgers University Library system contains over 2,000,000 bound volumes and over 1,000,000 government documents, pamphlets and other material. The University also has a modern and extensive computer facility. The University is centrally located in New Jersey, within easy access to the educational, cultural, and recreational resources of New York and Philadelphia. In addition, this region offers a wide range of collaborative and career opportunities in the private sector.

How to Apply

Applications are submitted on-line to the School of Graduate Studies

Applicants to the Psychology PhD program must apply to one of the four program areas within the department: Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive, or Social psychology. Required components of the applications include:

  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Graduate transcripts, for applicants with prior graduate work
  • GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and writing. The psychology subject test is not required.)
  • TOEFL scores for applicants with a native language other than English
  • Personal statement describing research interests. It is essential to include the names of faculty members with whom the applicant would like to work.
  • Three letters of recommendation


  • Applications for admission in September are due December 15 of the previous year. In some cases, late applications can be considered.  Interviews are by invitation only
  • Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Interview Day February 7, 2020
  • Social Psychology Interview Day - February 21, 2020
  • Clinical Psychology Interview Day - February 7, 2020
  • Cognitive Psychology Open House - February 7, 2020

Diversity of Applicants

The Rutgers University PhD Psychology program seeks a diverse applicant pool. We welcome applications from under-represented ethnic minorities, women, applicants with disabilities, first-generation college graduates, and non-traditional students. We regularly admit students who were not psychology majors as undergraduates, who are not applying to graduate school straight out of college, and/or are pursuing psychology as a second career. Fellowships are available to under-represented minorities and students with economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Financial Aid

All students admitted to the PhD program in psychology are guaranteed 5 years of funding, provided that they maintain good status in the program. Students who enter the program with a Masters degree are guaranteed 3 years of funding. This financial aid covers tuition and includes a 10-month stipend or salary. Additional summer funding is available through teaching or grant funding. Financial support can come from a variety of sources, including the following:

  • Internal graduate fellowship: Fellow has student status, is eligible for student health care, and is responsible for student fees. (2019 stipend: $25,000)

  • Teaching assistantship: TA spends 15 hours/week assisting with courses (see teaching), has employee status and is eligible for employee health benefits. (2019 salary: $28,569)

  • Graduate assistantship: GA spends 15 hours/week assisting with faculty research, has employee status and is eligible for employee health benefits. (2019 salary: $28,569)

In addition to these sources, some students are funded by external fellowships (such as NSF graduate fellowships), training grants, TA or GA positions outside the psychology department, and other sources. Many students receive supplemental funding by teaching summer school courses.

Teaching Opportunities

Universities are placing increasing emphasis on teaching and teaching experience in making decisions to hire new faculty. To prepare our students for academic careers that include teaching, the program is committed to providing students with teaching opportunities.  As a Teaching Assistant, students may be assigned to teach laboratory courses, statistics recitations, or Introduction to Psychology recitations. Opportunities are available for graduate students to teach summer school classes, which provide not only experience in teaching an independent class, but also supplemental income. Summer school is also an excellent way for students who are supported on Graduate Fellowships or Graduate Assistantships to obtain teaching experience.  Advanced graduate students with outstanding teaching records are occasionally appointed to teach lecture classes during the regular academic year.

Research Opportunities

All psychology PhD students have a faculty mentor within the graduate program. Faculty members have a strong and consistent record of federal grant support. In a typical year, half the psychology faculty hold external grants, and the average annual departmental grant funding is nearly $6 million. Psychology faculty members participate in numerous collaborations with other units in Rutgers University and nearby universities. Consequently, research opportunities for graduate students are available in many venues, including the Center for Cognitive Science, the Program for Interdisciplinary Perceptual Science, the Institute for Health, Healthcare Policy, and Aging Research, the Center of Alcohol Studies, the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, the Food Policy Institute.