Graduate Program

If you need assistance or accommodations throughout the application and admissions process, please reach out to us by emailing the Director of Graduate Studies, Jodie Plumert (, or calling the department office at 319-335-2406.


Overview of the Graduate Program

The graduate program in Psychological and Brain Sciences is designed for students seeking a doctorate in psychology. The program prepares students for careers in research, teaching, and related scholarly endeavors in academic, industrial, governmental, or medical settings. Our intent is to produce graduates who are deeply committed to the study of psychology, firmly grounded in psychological theory and research, and well trained in the advanced methods and techniques that are used in the field today. We believe that the best way to accomplish these goals is to adopt a student-centered approach to graduate training, which allows students to create individualized programs of study best suited to their research interests and career goals. We also use an apprentice-based model of graduate training in which students work under the guidance of a faculty mentor and a Research Advisory Committee. This combination of flexibility and guidance provides the support necessary for students to quickly engage in the research process as they work toward independent careers. 

We currently have three broad graduate training areas in the department: Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience, Clinical Science, and Cognition. We also offer specialized training in Developmental Psychopathology, Developmental Science, Health PsychologySocial Psychology, and Visual Perception. Students interested in these research areas should visit the web pages for more information about opportunities for graduate study.

Applying to the Graduate Program: A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Identify potential mentors by reviewing individual faculty and the different research groups with which they are affiliated to better understand the breadth and complementary nature of faculty research interests and how they fit with your own. You can aso click within the word cloud of research tags to identify faculty associated with each research topic. You should feel free to contact individuals via email to explore fit with faculty research programs and ask about opportunities for the upcoming year.  

Step 2: Fill out the University of Iowa online application through the admissions office . After this process is complete, an email will be sent to you about establishing your HawkID and password (if you do not currently have one).   Warning: It could take some time to receive your ID (e.g., up to 24 hours). Please be patient and feel free to check in with us if you have questions or do not not receive your ID. 

Step 3: When you have created your HawkID, you will be able to log into MyUI and submit your program-specific materials. These materials will include:

A) your statement of purpose
B) your transcript (unofficial is fine at this stage)
C) a current curriculum vita
D) the names and contact information for three letters of recommendation (letter writers will submit their letters electronically through the Office of Admissions application, a process that you will be able to monitor)
E) your GRE scores, which will be received through University of Iowa Admissions office (please use institution code 6681)
F) a set of questions about specific program interests, including the identification of one or more potential faculty mentors, and a choice of  training area.*

APPLICATION DEADLINE: All materials must be received by December 1st for the fall term. 

*Graduate training in the department is organized through three broad training areas: Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience, Clinical Science, and Cognition. If you are uncertain about which training area fits best with your interests, please consult with potential faculty mentors for advice.

More detailed help about this process, including screenshots, can be found on our application instructions page.  

Coordinator of Graduate Studies: Jodie Plumert