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Department of Psychology
University of Mississippi

Preparation for Graduate School in Psychology

In addition to completing the 30 hours of Psychology courses required for the major in Psychology (see Requirements), preparation for graduate school requires:
Breadth within Psychology. Students should insure that they have studied in the different sub-areas of psychology. There are many combinations of courses the student may take which would fulfill this breadth preparation. Work with your advisor on this point.
Research and/or Internship Experiences. There are three courses that are not typically listed in the course schedule each semester which are important preparation for graduate school:

    • Psy 401 (Internship)
    • Psy 405 (Minor Research Problems)
    • Psy 420 (Special Topics)

All three of these courses are arranged between individual students and faculty supervisors. In order to enroll in these courses, the student must first approach a faculty member and discuss whether placement in their laboratory/field position is appropriate. For example, you may have found one of your pschology courses to be particularly interesting. Talk to the instructor of this class and see if they would sponsor you for either Psy 401, 405, or 420. Your advisor may also have some recommendations for you. You can take each of these courses up to 2 times for credit.

Freshman year:
General Psychology
Sophomore year:
Psychology Statistics, Psychology Laboratory, Psychology Electives
Junior year:

      • Psy 401, 405 or 420, and additional Psych electives. If you take 401, 405, or 420, faculty members often ask you to sign up for 2 semesters. You may choose to sign up for these courses for both semesters of your Junior year, or you may decide to take 405 in the second semester of your Junior year, and 420 in the first semester of you senior year. It is important that you obtain research/internship experience before you begin to apply to graduate schools in your senior year.
      • After thinking about the area of Psychology you are most interested in, search the web for graduate school programs (see below). Write away for catalogs and application forms. Some schools may have all their information on-line. If they do not, this is the time to obtain materials.
      • Prepare for your GREs (see below).
      • Write your autobiographical statement. Graduate schools require that you write a statement about yourself as part of the application process. This often includes your career goals, and the reasons for chosing a particular career path. It also includes a description of experiences that led you to this choice. Begin thinking about this statement before your senior year begins.

Senior Year:

      • Additional Psych electives; Psy 401, 405, 420.
      • Early fall semester take your GREs and contact faculty members about writing letters of recommendation for graduate school.

How do you find out about graduate school programs?

Visit the Graduate Programs website for listings of graduate schools in all disciplines.

Graduate Record Exams (GREs). Students applying to graduate school programs are required to take the Graduate Record Exams.

    • Where can you take the GREs? For locations, see GRE website.
    • What tests should you take?
      • Every one should take the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections.
      • Some graduate programs may also require that you take other exams such as the Psychology GRE. Check with the individual Graduate Programs you apply to.
    • How should you prepare for the GREs?
      • Study guides can be purchased at book stores.
      • Courses (independent of the university) can be enrolled in to help you prepare.
    • See also the GRE website.