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Frequently Asked Questions

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When is the deadline for applying to the graduate program?

December 1st.

Where do I apply?

Apply here.

What information is needed in my application?

See Criteria for Admission.

Do you offer a terminal master’s degree in cognitive psychology?

No. However, a graduate student  in our PhD program can choose to write a master's thesis after they have successfully completed two years in the program. 

Do you accept students who were not psychology/neuroscience majors?

Yes.  We strongly encourage students who have backgrounds in fields other than psychology/neuroscience to apply.  We are looking for curious, driven individuals - regardless of what they previously studied.

Do I need to have done independent research to apply?

No.  However, prior research experience is extremely helpful.

Do I need to have taken statistics?

No - though it is helpful.  We note that for many labs, strong quantitative abilities are necessary to succeed.

Do you accept students who have master’s degrees from other institutions?

Yes. Some courses from other institutions may be applied to degree requirements.  Please contact us if you have specific questions.

I am a foreign student.  Should I apply?

Most definitely!  Our current graduate students come from several different countries, and we encourage applications from foreign students.  Information for international students can be found here.

What does the admissions committee look for in an applicant?

We are looking for students with a deep curiosity for how the mind/brain works, a strong desire to engage in critical thinking, and the aptitude to do challenging work.  To assess these, we take into account your undergraduate grades (especially in relevant courses), GRE scores, letters of recommendation, fit between your interests and faculty research programs, and your statement of interest.  

What does the admissions committee look for in the statement of interest?

Please make sure that you communicate the following:

  • What are your primary goals?  
  • What do you want to study?
  • How will your abilities and background allow you to succeed in reaching your goals?
  • How will studying at the University of Delaware help you reach your goals?

Please note that your statement of interest is a very important part of your application.  We want to see clear evidence that you have thought about why you want to work with specific faculty here at UD.  Please note that an application with good "numbers" but a weak, unfocused statement will often lose out to an application with average "numbers" but an outstanding, thoughtful statement.

Do I need to contact a professor in your department before applying?

We strongly encourage students to contact faculty before applying.  A large piece in deciding where to go to graduate school is “fit” - how well your interests align with the faculty you want to work with.  One of the best ways to assess this is via communication with potential advisors.

Do I need to choose an advisor before applying?

No, however, you will be required to list (3) potential faculty advisors on you application.  You should make it clear who you want to work with in your statement of interest.  This can be multiple advisors.

My GRE scores are lower than I've seen in online advice about graduate school. Should I still apply?

Yes.  This is because we view your credentials as a whole. We consider all components of your application during the admissions process.

Do I need to take the Psychology GRE subtest?


If I am accepted, how will I be funded?

Students are funded through the department as a RA or TA, a University fellowship, or via extramural grants. For the cognitive group, this includes significant financial support (in the form of RA positions and summer funding) from our NSF EPSCoR grant.  

Students receive a tuition waiver as full-time students.  Students who received summer funding in addition to the regular 9 month stipend received a total of $26,666/year in financial support in 2018-2019.

What opportunities are there for development outside of courses and research?

We hold a weekly cognitive brown bag, a department colloquium, a cognitive science speaker series, and informal reading groups.  Recent speakers at these meetings include:

  • Matt Botvinick (Princeton)

  • Anjan Chatterjee (Penn)

  • Evelina Fedorenko (MIT)

  • Matt Goldrick (Northwestern)

  • Joe Kable (Penn)

  • Sabine Kastner (Princeton)

  • Michael McCloskey (Johns Hopkins)

  • Ken Norman (Princeton)

  • Brenda Rapp (Johns Hopkins)

  • Amy Shelton (Johns Hopkins)

  • Brad Wyble (Penn State)

Graduate students are encouraged to meet and dine with external speakers.  Graduate students are also expected to present their research and ideas at our weekly brown bag.  This includes talks on their research, practice talks for conference, and leading discussion on important topics in the field.

I may be interested in getting an academic position at a teaching-oriented institution.  What training is available for teaching?

We offer a graduate course in the teaching of psychology. Also, students gain training as teaching assistants. At times, opportunities are available for graduate students to teach courses. Finally, we will be hosting an NSF-funded summer “BRAIN camp” at UD, with the focus on providing a diverse group of undergraduates with hands-on training in neuroimaging and other methods in cognitive neuroscience. Graduate students will have the opportunity to be involved in undergraduate training in this summer camp.

Can I work with multiple advisors on a project?

Yes.  We encourage interdisciplinary research and training.  For example, your primary training could be in using neuroimaging methods, but you could do an additional project with assistance from a different advisor using eye tracking, TMS, neuropsychological research, etc.   In addition, you might be interested in working in cross-cutting areas such as emotion and cognition which might involve having additional research advisors from other areas in the department such as Social, Clinical, or Behavioral Neuroscience.

I am considering other departments with substantially more cognitive faculty.  Why should I consider UD?

What is most important in choosing a graduate program is that you find an advisor with whom you connect and can work with.  The small size of our program allows the faculty to devote more time to each student. Here you can be sure that you will have the support and personal attention you will need to succeed.

What equipment is available for research?

We have the following equipment available for research:

  • A 3T Siemens Prisma scanner, with equipment for delivering visual and tactile stimuli.

  • A TMS system with neuronavigation, allowing for precise targeting of cortical areas for brain stimulation.

  • Electrical Geodesics 129 channel ERP system.

  • Eyelink 1000 eye tracker.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Typically five years.

How do students fare after graduation?

Our most graduates have gone on to postdoctoral and/or research positions at Duke, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Holland), Temple, Johns Hopkins, and Ohio State or to positions at consulting firms (e.g., Exponent) in which they apply psychological science to real-world problems.

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Frequently Asked Questions