Application FAQ

What programs and degrees are offered at Duke?

Duke offers doctoral-level programs in Clinical, Cognition/Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, Systems and Integrative Neuroscience, and Social Psychology. Duke does not offer a terminal masters program, though each student can earn a masters degree en route to the Ph.D. if the degree requirements are met. Duke's clinical program is based on the Boulder (scientist-practitioner) model, and is intended for students with an interest in research.

How do I apply to a graduate program?

See More application details on our Graduate page for complete instructions and on-line application.

Applicants to the JD/MA Program should apply directly to the Law School. In your application indicate an interest in the JD/MA Program in Psychology. Consult the following web page for how to apply information:

Can I have a hard copy of departmental information?

No, we have no other materials to be forwarded. All of our information is on-line within our web site.

What are the average GRE scores of admitted students?

Applicants' GRE scores (Verbal + Quantitative) range from 1200 to 1600, and their grades are usually quite high (above 3.5 GPA). The Clinical Program web page lists average GRE scores of admitted students for the past seven years. More generally, Duke evaluates applicants on their potential for serious scholarship and their commitment to having an impact on the field of psychology. We also look for applicants with research experience who have shown an ability to think analytically. Finally, students are selected for the compatibility of their interests with one or more faculty research mentors.

The minimum score requirement for the TOEFL with the Graduate School is 90.  The minimum recommendation for the IELTS score still remains at 7.0.

Can I apply to more than one Program area?

No, it is better to apply for one or the other. Once admitted, you are encouraged to work in various areas and to explore other opportunities of study. Collaborative work is encouraged throughout the University.  To help guide your choice, please consider which faculty admit students across training areas.

Is an interview mandatory?

Yes, interviews are held in early spring semester and decisions are made shortly following the interview times.

Is there a separate application for psychology?

No, once your application is complete, the Graduate School will forward your application to the department.

Do I submit all of my application material to the Graduate School?

Yes, all materials and parts of the application must go through the Graduate School first.

What is the application fee?

The fee is set at $85.00.

Can the application fee be waived?

P&N cannot waive the fee, but in case of financial hardship you can contact the graduate school.

Can I submit more than three letters of recommendation?

Yes. You can have 4 letters and under specific situations 5 will be reviewed.

If my recommenders do not want to use the on-line application portion, can their letters be submitted by mail?

Yes, their letter must be in a sealed envelope and signed across the back.

Can I send in all of my letters at one time?


Is there a recommendation form to be attached to the actual letter?

No, the rating form is only used when recommendation letters are submitted on-line. There is not a downloadable form to be obtained from either the department or the Graduate School

What is the school's institutional code for having GRE scores sent to Duke?

The institution code for Duke University Graduate School is 5156 for both the GRE and TOEFL. No departmental code is necessary.

Can you attend part-time?

No, admissions requires full-time residency and there are no classes offered on-line.

Do I need to take the GRE subject test?

For clinical applicants only,  if you were not a psychology undergraduate major, it is recommended that you take the GRE subject test.  For psychology majors, it is not necessary to take the subject test.  No other area within Psychology and Neuroscience requires the subject test.

Is the deadline a post-mark deadline or must my application be received by that deadline?

Since all applications are completed on-line, the deadline for submission of an electronic application and supporting documents to the Graduate School is December 1 - the clinical deadline. December 8 is the priority deadline for submission of applications for admission and award to all other programs for the fall semester for the other four training areas.

Do I need research experience? Do I need more experience than my senior year thesis paper?

Duke University is a research based program and all applicants admitted to the 5 areas of study are well trained in research.

Which faculty members are taking students this year?

Unfortunately, until application and interview time the department is uncertain as to which faculty members will take students. We strongly encourage you to contact the faculty in whose work you are interested to make sure he or she plans to recruit new students.

I already have a master's degree. Can I transfer any of my credits?

Students with masters degrees may be exempt from some classes, but are still responsible for writing a major area paper (MAP). Faculty members will consult with these students and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Do graduate students receive funding from Duke?

Yes, all graduate students in the department are guaranteed at least five years of funding. The funding includes tuition scholarship and a monthly stipend for the academic year. Most students work up to 20 hours per week as a research assistant or in teaching assistant positions, though some students secure funding through fellowships.

What types of interactions can you expect to have with faculty?

The weekly meetings of the area groups (see Events) have been a good way to become familiar with what various faculty in the department are doing. The faculty also try to have a variety of departmental social events so that you can talk informally about science and life.

What is the level of support by the faculty in your research and programs?

You will receive support from both advisor and members of your committee. Many avenues for interaction, from formal talks and classes to informal meetings and e-mail conversations take place.

What kinds of laboratory equipment do you have access to for your research?

Graduate students do have access to all of the laboratory equipment they need, including state of the art fMRI machines, EEG equipment, and all sorts of animal research tools.

What are your teaching duties and how time-consuming are they?

Virtually all graduate students will hold TA positions during their time here. After you complete your preliminary exam, you can also teach classes during the summer if you have permission from your advisor. The amount of time is dependent on the class itself and the instructor, but officially, students are limited to no more than 19 hours per week. Some TA positions will run discussion sections for lecture classes.