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Graduate Program - Psychological Sciences Graduate Program

The Department of Psychology offers graduate study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degree in Psychological Sciences (including social, cognitive, and biological psychology). We believe that a quality graduate education involves close working relationships between faculty and individual students. A high faculty-to-student ratio and small class size characterize our graduate programs. In addition, each student works with at least one faculty member as a means of gaining valuable teaching, research and professional experience. There are many opportunities for individualized study and experience in research directed readings, and supervised teaching. A committee, representing the student’s interests, assists in planning an appropriate graduate program for each student.

All applications are due by December 31st.

Psychological Sciences

The goal of the Psychological Sciences and Developmental program is to prepare students for careers in research and university teaching. All students focus on one of the specialty programs listed below. Students also become familiar with areas of general psychology outside of their specialty, and with statistics and experimental design. Competence is assessed by performance in courses, research projects, and a comprehensive examination. The comprehensive exam is given at the end of the second year of graduate study or at the end of the first year for students entering with a Master’s degree from another university. The department offers the following programs within Psychological Sciences program:

Social Psychology

The concentration in Social Psychology aims to foster a solid understanding of theory and research in social psychology, including implications of how research may be applied to solve practical problems. Students are trained principally for academic/research careers.

The social concentration operates on an apprenticeship model where students work closely with faculty members on theory-driven research. Students are trained to think conceptually and to acquire proficiency in research methodology, statistics, scholarly writing, oral presentation, and teaching. Students are expected to be continually involved in research during their tenure in the department as they hone their own, independent interests.

Faculty research interests include stereotyping and prejudice, self, identity, social cognition, political psychology, ideology, and social psychophysiology. Students are encouraged to explore the intersection of social psychology with other areas (Faculty: LaBouff, McCoy)

Cognitive and Biological Psychology

This concentration offers training in several areas of cognitive and biological psychology, including perception, creativity, decision making, aging, and behavioral neuroscience. Students develop strong research skills while conducting research in at least one participating laboratory. Students work closely with a research advisor and applicants should contact potential faculty mentors early in the application process. (Faculty: Cobo-Lewis, Elias, Ell, Fremouw, Hayes, Robbins, Rosenwasser).

Research Facilities

The Department of Psychology occupies the third floor of Little Hall, with additional research space in North and South Stevens Halls. The Department also operates its own laboratory preschool, the Child Study Center, which offers the opportunity for applied experience and research with a population of three-to-five-year-old children. The Department’s Psychological Services Center serves as the community mental health facility for Orono and surrounding communities. Additional research and applied experiences are possible in several departments at the Eastern Maine Medical Center. Good relations exist with the local public schools for research opportunities.

Admissions Requirements

We are looking for well-qualified students who have a broad undergraduate background as well as psychology courses, laboratory courses in experimental psychology, a good science, math and computer background, and a course or more in statistics. All of the following documents and information must be received before an applicant can be considered for admission: 1) University application form, 2) Departmental application, 3) GRE scores – verbal, quantitative and analytical, 4) Three letters of reference, preferably from those who are familiar with your work in psychology, 5) Transcripts of all previous college education.

We look for a GPA above 3.5 and Verbal and Quantitative scores above 150. We are flexible about these scores, but the overall picture from GPA, GRE, letters of reference and personal statement needs to be convincing. The clinical program is more competitive, so your scores need to meet these requirements for consideration. Research experience and publications help.

Applicants need to submit two separate applications: (1) A Graduate School application, available on the Graduate School website (; and (2) a separate departmental application that should be returned directly to the Psychology Department.

Applications from students who have already earned a Master’s degree or who have completed some graduate work are welcome. In addition to the other admissions requirements, applicants who already have well-defined interests may also choose to write directly to a faculty member with whom they would particularly like to work. Such a letter might introduce the applicant, and it should include any pertinent information that is not included in the Department and University Application Form. This additional information may help in assessing a student’s possible research interests and in matching her or him to a faculty advisor who has similar interests. (See the listing of the faculty and their interests.)

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to students in the form of tuition scholarships and departmental assistantships. There are no assistantship application forms. Applicants who wish to be considered for assistantships should indicate this on the departmental application form. The Department makes every effort to secure funding for its graduate students in the form of graduate assistantships and stipends from certain off-campus practicum placements. Such funding, when available, typically applies to no more than four years of graduate training.

While we have been successful in supporting most of our students financially in recent years, no guarantees can be made because our resources are not always completely in place at the time that our student selection decisions are made. Applicants need to be prepared to underwrite some of their educational and living costs. When funding is available, it generally covers the academic year from September to May.

The American Psychological Association has a Minority Fellowship Program for which eligible individuals may compete; details are available from the Director of Clinical Training and from the APA.

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