Top Psychology Graduate Schools – University of California, Los Angeles

If you have ever hoped to one day get into grad school (or more specifically, gain admission to the doctoral program in psychology) at UCLA in Los Angeles, California, then you’ve come to the right place! Currently ranked at number 3 by U.S. News and World Reports for best overall graduate program in psychology, University of California at Los Angeles has applications pouring in from students all over the country. These students represent the academic elite, contending for a spot on the next class of graduate students in their particular area of interest in psychology. Ph.D. programs are offered at UCLA in the following areas:

* Behavioral Neuroscience
* Clinical Psychology
* Cognitive Psychology
* Developmental Psychology
* Health Psychology
* Learning & Behavior
* Quantitative
* Social Psychology

Lastly for those interested in studying Education and Psychology, there is a related program for Psychological Studies in Education.

As is the case for all Ph.D. programs (and certainly for prestigious Research One institutions of higher learning), UCLA boasts its reputation for preparing psychologists to work as researchers, college and university instructors, and professional research psychologists. After graduation, typical careers around found in both academic and applied settings, research and government agencies, business and industry, and clinics and hospitals.

At UCLA you will also find several research institutes on campus. Graduate students are especially encouraged to get involved in research projects at the Brain Research Institute, the interdisciplinary Neuroscience and Cognitive programs, the Institute for Social Science Research, the Neuropsychiatric Institute, and the Fernald Child Study Center. For clinical psychology students, there is a Psychology Clinic on campus where you will spend hours in practicums learning how to treat patients under supervision.

How competitive is it to get into Ph.D. program in psychology at UCLA?
The UCLA Psychology Department website states that for the Fall admissions cycle of 2009, approximately 690 applications were received. Although precise numbers vary each year, only 30 students were admitted into the Ph.D. program. A quick look at the numbers might suggest that it is extremely difficult to get into UCLA. The matter of fact is that lots of applicants likely failed to do their research before applying. There are several keys to admissions to Ph.D. programs – and the first rule of thumb is to apply to programs with good faculty-student fit. This means that if you are only interested in becoming a psychotherapist, the research-oriented nature of the program is not a good fit. Secondly, if you’re interested in studying the development of autism, but there is no faculty member whose research interests mirror yours, you are better of saving your application fee to apply to another university where you can find appropriate mentorship.

Do I have to take the GRE to get into UCLA?
The short answer is yes. GRE General Exam scores are a requirement for admission. You’re in good luck though that there are no minimum GRE cutoff scores to be considered for admission. If you still feel like your GRE scores might not be competitive, be aware that UCLA’s policy is only to take into consideration your last reported GRE score. No averaging, no taking your best score. However, please be aware that certain programs at UCLA require the GRE Psychology Subject Test: These include Clinical Psychology. For the Health, Developmental, and Cognitive Psychology areas, the GRE Psychology is highly recommended but not a strict requirement. For other areas, you are in the free and clear.

Although getting into a great school can seem really tough, getting into UCLA is not all that difficult, as long as you take the time to prepare yourself and pull together a completed application package (yes, I’m sure many of those 609 applications got trashed for being incomplete). Get your academic resume together to submit for letters of recommendation, work diligently on your graduate personal statement, and get to applying!

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