There are no specific course requirements for admission to the doctoral program. Nevertheless, an applicant should have prior research experience, as well as the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. The Department of Psychology does not require the GRE for admission. The major focus of the doctoral program is on research training, and admission is highly selective.

In addition to fulfilling Stanford University requirements for the degree, the following departmental requirements are stipulated.

The Doctoral Training Program

A student typically concentrates in one of several areas within Psychology. Across all areas, the training program emphasizes the development of research competence, and students are encouraged to develop skills and attitudes that are appropriate to a career of continuing research productivity.

Two kinds of experience are necessary for this purpose. One is the learning of substantial amounts of theoretical, empirical, computational, and methods information. A number of courses and seminars are provided to assist in this learning, and students are expected to construct a program in consultation with their advisor(s) to obtain this knowledge in the most stimulating and economical fashion.

A second aspect of training is one that cannot be gained from the courses or seminars. This is first-hand knowledge of, and practical experience with, the methods of psychological investigation and study. Therefore, students are expected to spend half of their time on research and to take no more than 10 units of course work per quarter, beginning in the first quarter.

Students achieve competence in unique ways and at different rates. Students and advisors work together to plan a program leading to the objectives discussed above. For further information, contact the student services manager and refer to the Department Graduate Guide available on the Psychology Department web site.


The Stanford Psychology Department values a shared appreciation of the full range of approaches and research questions spanned by the five areas of the department. The department seeks to train scientists who are well prepared to pursue careers that build on their training in any one of these areas and who can interact with researchers in other fields of Psychology. Therefore, students within each area of the department are expected to construct a program of study in consultation with their primary advisor that includes exposure to other areas in the department while also achieving sufficient depth within their own area of specialization to prepare them for their next career stage after graduating.