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Admissions: School Psychology PhD and MA/Specialist Certificate

Admissions requirements

Test scores

  • Average undergraduate G.P.A. (PhD): 3.78
  • Average undergraduate G.P.A (MA/SC): 3.74
  • Average GRE (PhD after 2011): Verbal: 162; Quantitative: 158
  • Average GRE (MA/SC after 2011): Verbal: 159; Quantitative: 156
  • Minimum English Language Exam Scores (non-native English speakers only):

    • Minimum overall score: 79
    • Writing: 21
    • Reading: 19
    • Paper-based TOEFL: 550

    IELTS: 6.5

    MELAB: 80

Number of students accepted

About one half of the students admitted each year are for the PhD degree and the other half for the MA/Specialist degree. Approximately 30% of PhD applicants were admitted for fall 2016.

Additional student admissions, outcomes and other data

Get more information to help you make an informed decision about entering the program on the Student Admissions, Outcomes and Other Data page


Before you apply

For any questions you may have, look to our frequently asked questions or our program handbook.

We love meeting future students! If you have a question that was not answered in the resources above, make an appointment with us.

MA program: Contact Annie Hansen-Burke (

PhD program: Contact Amanda Sullivan (

November 15: application deadline

All application materials must be received November 15 for admission in September of the following year. Files not complete by November 15 will not be reviewed. We urge you to apply early and complete the GRE as soon as possible. Year-long course sequences make mid-year entrance into the program impossible.

December: review process

The admissions committee considers a variety of factors including your prior academic achievement, GRE scores, relevant employment and life experiences, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and compatibility of your clinical and research interests with those of the program and faculty.

January: admissions decisions

Interviews typically occur at the beginning of January. The date on which you will hear back from the program will vary based on the volume of applications received.

Applicants who are recommended for admission by the program will receive a letter from School Psychology indicating our decision. The Graduate Admissions Office will then make a final review of your documents and will inform you of the final decision via the email address you provided on your graduate application

Alumni profile

"One of the great things about the University of Minnesota is that it tends to attract highly motivated students. I was passionate about becoming a school psychologist and was surrounded by people in my cohort as well as the cohorts above and below me that felt similarly."

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Ethan Van Norman, PhD '15 Assistant professor, Lehigh Unviersity

Read more about Ethan's experience.

How to apply

Start your graduate application

Upload and submit all application materials, including transcripts, directly to the graduate application. For additional information on how to apply, visit the Graduate School website.

Graduate school application

Required fields: Program Selection, Term Selection, Biographical Information, Personal Background, Academic History (including transcripts), Test Scores, Employment, Materials (including: Personal Statement, Resume/CV, Graduate Program Supplemental Application (Critical Issue Essay), and three letters of Recommendations

Optional fields: Diversity Statement, Extenuating Circumstances Statement; are optional, but will be taken into consideration if submitted. A Writing Sample and Description of Research are not needed.

Application fee

Visit the Graduate School website for more information

Transcripts (Academic History)

Unofficial transcripts or academic records should be uploaded directly to the graduate application under the "Academic History" section. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. Please do not mail in paper copies of your transcripts, there is no need for official transcripts or academic records for initial review.

If you are admitted, the University will then request official copies of this material.

More information about transcripts and credentials

Test Scores

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores

GRE General Test scores should be entered in the "Test Scores" section. You do not need to take any GRE subject tests. Please have official scores sent to Institution Code 6874. We do not have minimum required GRE scores. See above for average scores of admitted students.

More information about the GRE

English language test scores (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.)

Report your TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB scores (non-native English speakers only) in the "Test Scores" section.

Letters of recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. Acceptable recommendations will come from current or former professors who can assess your potential for graduate work. Other recommenders, such as employers, are also acceptable. You will enter your recommenders naema nd email into the application. They will be sent direction on how to upload tehir letter directly into your application.

Get more information and troubleshooting tips


Required Materials

Personal Statement

Describe, as specifically as possible, the following with subheadings for each (not to exceed 1 page, single spaced):

  • Your reasons for applying to this program.
  • Your career objectives.
  • (PhD applicants only) Your research interests and specialized expertise to be developed during graduate study.
  • (PhD applicants only) How your research interests relate to the work of one of more of the program faculty who advise doctoral students.

Upload the essay under "Personal Statement" in the Materials section.


Upload it in the "Program Supplementary Information", under "Resume/CV" section.

Graduate Program Additional Material
Program application

Complete the program application form and upload it in the Program Supplementary Information section of the graduate application under "Graduate Program Additional Application".

Critical Issue Essay

Upload a typed essay addressing each of the following questions (not to exceed 1 page, single spaced):

  • What is the role of a school psychologist?
  • What are the most critical educational issues school psychologists can help address?
  • How would you like to contribute to addressing these issues in your future career?

Upload the essay under "Graduate Program Additional Upload" in the Materials section.

Optional Materials

Diversity Statement

Submitting the diversity statement is optional, but is encouraged. This statement may be used to nominate exceptional applicants for graduate fellowships.

Describe how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the program and university's goals of promoting excellence through diversity. If applicable, you may mention hardships or obstacles you overcame to complete your previous undergraduate or graduate education (e.g. coming from a low-income background or being a first-generation college student).

Upload the essay under "Diversity Statement", in the Materials section.

DOVE Fellowship Statement

The University's DOVE Fellowship provides a stipend, tuition, and health insurance for doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds. Students from diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to submit a statement describing (1) her or his background, experiences, and achievements that will contribute to the university’s goal of promoting excellence through diversity. If applicable, nominees should mention hardships or obstacles that they have overcome to complete their undergraduate education (e.g., coming from a low-income background or being a first-generation college student), and (2) experience with, or commitment to, serving or working with historically underserved or underprivileged populations.

Upload the essay instead of the standard "Diversity Statement" section under "Diversity Statement" in the Materials section.

Extenuating Circumstances

You may upload a brief statement explaining any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your grades or your test scores under "Extenuating Circumstances Statement" in the Materials section.

Common Ground Consortium Statement

If you wish to be considered for a Common Ground Consortium fellowship for African–American students, please be sure to indicate this on your program application, and then upload a statement briefly addressing the following question: Given that the University of Minnesota is a public grant institution, it is imperative that CGC scholars can both benefits personally from their membership in the program as well as further the university’s founding mission to contribute to scholarship that benefits the local and greater communities.

Please describe how your participation as a CGC scholar would do the following:

  • Enhance your graduate student experience
  • Prepare you for your chosen career
  • Benefit the public

Upload the essay under "Graduate Program Additional Upload" in the Materials section.

Writing Sample and Description of Research

Writing Sample and Description of Research are not needed.



Applicants interested in respecializing in school psychology, either by completion of (a) the specialist certificate in order to qualify for a state or national school psychologist credential, or (b) a doctorate in school psychology following completion of a previous doctorate in a separate field of psychology, should apply through the standard program admissions process. In general, individuals will be required to complete all school psychology courses, as well as any required educational psychology coursework not satisfied by their previous coursework. In all cases, practica and internship will be required. Individuals seeking the specialist certificate may be required to complete a research project if their previous degree did not require research or previous theses/dissertations were not applicable to school psychology. Individuals seeking the doctorate may be required to complete both a pre-dissertation research project and dissertation if their previous research was not applicable to school psychology. Interested individuals may contact the program coordinator with questions regarding the applicability of previous degrees or coursework.

Graduate School diversity statement