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If you are considering applying to a PhD program, you'll have many options. We humbly believe that your best option is UC San Diego Psychology. In fact, there are 17 reasons that support this belief. But in the interest of space, we'll focus on the Top 5 here. If you want to know the other 12, you'll have to come to UC San Diego.

1. Five years fully funded, with TA duties

All of our graduate students, including international students, are fully funded. This means that all tuition and fees are covered and graduate students receive $30,000 in additional support per year. This base level of support is provided by the Department, not individual faculty or student grants, which means that our graduate students can work across labs to collaborate, dabble, and experiment. 

As part of this support package graduate students serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses during the academic year. Teaching Assistantships provide students with opportunities to work across research areas, grow their teaching expertise, and build relationships with department faculty and lecturers.

There are other sources of funding from the Department as well, such as a large departmental fund, created by UC San Diego’s own Norman H. Anderson, that supports annual travel to conferences for all graduate students, the McGill Research account, which provides $2,000 in your first year for research-related expenses, and the McGill Post-Advancement Research account which provides $1,000 for additional research-related expenses. 

2. A large campus-wide community

Psychologists at UC San Diego interact with researchers in Human Development, Philosophy, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, and Neuroscience. In Psychology, students in each research area - Cognitive, Social, Developmental, and Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience (see below) - get together weekly at Brown Bag meetings to discuss their research with other students and faculty. Although we don't train Clinical Psychology graduate students, researchers with an interest in interacting with clinicians can find colleagues and friends in the UC San Diego Medical School. Upshot: We interact with each other a lot. 

3. Holistic review

We care about your research interests and experience - not just your grades and GRE scores. If you have an undergraduate degree and a strong track record of research experience, we want to hear from you (no previous master’s training is required). Sure, we'll look at the numbers, but we're much more interested in your research training and your match to our program. Reach out to us individually and we'll help you figure out whether UC San Diego is the right place for you. 

4. New faces

This year all of our labs are accepting students, but we're especially excited to consider graduate student applicants for our newest labs. New faculty members accepting students include Chujun LinDhananjay Bambah-Mukku, and Nadia Brashier. These faculty study topics including social cognition, person perception, computational modeling, neurobiology of social behavior, molecular analysis of neural circuits, and memory and misinformation across the adult lifespan. These, and other faculty, can be checked out here.

5. We're happier

UC San Diego isn't just a productive place to do a PhD. It's a happy place, too. Year-round outdoor meetings. A 5 minute walk to the beach. Cycling, hiking, surfing, and just feeling the warm sun on your face all year round.

To apply to our program, please visit our admissions page for details. The application deadline for Fall 2024 admission is December 6th, 2023.  

Please contact any of us for details on our labs, the application process, or life in San Diego; contact information can be found on our Department website as well as individual lab websites. If you apply, we'll connect you to current PhD students to talk about their experience, who can help you decide which lab is best for you and your interests.

Program Emphases

The Department of Psychology at the UC San Diego, provides advanced training in research in core subfields of Experimental Psychology. Having modern laboratories, an attractive physical setting, and distinguished faculty, both within the Department of Psychology and in supporting disciplines, provides research opportunities and training at the frontiers of psychological science. Our graduate training program emphasizes and supports individual research, starting with the first year of study.

The Department offers the following emphases:

  • Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Graduate students in the psychology doctoral program may also expand their degree and apply to enroll in interdisciplinary PhD programs after being accepted into our program.