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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.

Important message regarding the GRE: Beginning with applications in Fall 2020, the GRE is not required and should not be submitted. 

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, in conjunction with the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Training Program, is pleased to announce our Diversity Virtual Visit on Saturday, October 10, 2020 for prospective graduate students from under-represented groups including racial and ethnic minority students and first-generation college students.  The virtual visit is particularly intended for students from such under-represented groups who are research-oriented, and junior or senior undergraduates or recent graduates. The goal is to provide a forum for prospective students to learn more about graduate studies in Psychological and Brain Sciences and Neuroscience at Iowa, and to (virtually) meet and discuss research interests with faculty members. 

Apply Now: Diversity Virtual Visit 2020

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. The department prioritizes creation of a diverse and inclusive faculty and student body that enhances representation across race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, and first-generation status. We believe that diversity is essential to our mission of advancing innovative research in psychological science and cultivating an inclusive departmental culture.

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. 

Faculty in the program are strongly committed to diversifying psychology by recruiting and training graduate students from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in psychological science, including Black and Indigenous students, Latinx students, sexual and gender minority students, and first-generation college students. The Department supports a number of committees and programs that are specifically intended to support minority and first-generation students, including: the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committee composed of faculty, staff, and students; the Bridging the Gap in Psyience (BGP) program, designed to provide a safe, inclusive, and collaborative space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) graduate and postdoctoral students; and the Our Collective Brains (OCB) program, designed specifically to support first-generation and underrepresented undergraduate students.

The graduate program also has close ties with the Behavioral-Biomedical Interface Training Program (BBIP), an NIH-funded interdisciplinary research training program that provides behaviorally oriented scientists with opportunities to incorporate biomedical methodologies into their research. The BBIP program also provides opportunites for graduate students from diverse backgrounds to apply for funding.

We currently have three broad graduate training areas in the department:

We also offer an Individualized Graduate Training Track designed to meet the needs of students whose interests cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. This option may be especially appropriate for students interested in 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.

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