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If you are thinking of applying to a PhD program, you'll have lots of 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 modest TA duties
Students are fully funded (all tuition and fees covered plus $25,000 additional support per year) by the department, not just grants, which means they can work across labs, collaborate, dabble, and experiment. TA duties are modest, to maintain a focus on research over 5 years. Foreign students are also fully funded. A large departmental fund, created by UC San Diego's own Norman H. Anderson, supports annual travel to conferences for all PhDs.

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, Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience, and Sensation & Perception - get together weekly at "Brownbag" meetings to discuss their research with other students and faculty. Although we don't train clinical PhD 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. 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 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 PhD applicants for our newest labs. New faculty members accepting students include Dr. Judith Fan, Dr. Michael McCullough, and Dr. Lindsay Powell. These faculty study topics including visual communication, learning, computational neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, prosocial behavior, empathy, infant cognition and brain functions, and social development. 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.

If you apply, we'll connect you to current PhDs to talk about their experience, who can help you decide which lab is best for you and your interests. To apply to our program, please visit our admissions page for details. The application deadline for Fall 2020 admission is November 26th, 2019.  

Please contact any of us for details on our labs, the application process, or life in San Diego.

Program Emphases

The Department of Psychology at the UC San Diego, provides advanced training in research in most aspects of experimental psychology. Modern laboratories and an attractive physical setting combine with a distinguished faculty, both within the Department of Psychology and in supporting disciplines, to provide research opportunities and training at the frontiers of psychological science. The 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
  • Sensation & Perception
  • Social Psychology

Students in the psychology doctoral program may apply for the interdisciplinary PhD program in the Department of Cognitive Science. They can apply to this program during their first year of graduate study, or thereafter. The degree is awarded jointly for studies in psychology and cognitive science.