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Admissions Qualifications

Formal prerequisites are the equivalent of four quarter or three semester courses in psychology and an introductory course in statistics. Also, most students admitted have a substantial background in psychology, courses in mathematics and the natural sciences, and undergraduate research experience.

Admission to the Ph.D. program is competitive. In recent years, the Institute has admitted from 6 to 10 students.

The median grade point averages and GRE percentiles for students offered admission for Fall Semester 2014, were as follows:

Undergraduate GPA 3.77
GRE Verbal Percentile 92%
GRE Quantitative Percentile 78%
GRE Analytical Writing Percentile 93%

These ranges are intended only as guidelines but we anticipate that most students admitted to the Institute will have GPAs and test scores comparable to these. We do not use GRE scores as cutoffs, nor do high grades and scores guarantee admission. Admission to the child psychology graduate program is based on the applicant's academic record, letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Exams scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) or TOEFL where applicable, a statement of goals and interests, and perceived program “fit.”

We embrace the University of Minnesota’s position that promoting and supporting diversity among the student body is central to the academic mission of the University. We define diversity to encompass many characteristics including economic disadvantage, special talents, evidence of leadership qualities, race or ethnicity, a strong work record, and disability. A diverse student body enriches graduate education by providing a multiplicity of views and perspectives that enhance research, teaching, and the development of new knowledge. A diverse mix of students promotes respect for, and opportunities to learn from, others with the broad range of backgrounds and experiences that constitute modern society. Higher education trains the next generation of leaders of academia and society in general, and such opportunities for leadership should be accessible to all members of society. The Graduate School and its constituent graduate programs are therefore committed to providing equal access to educational opportunities through recruitment, admission, and support programs that promote diversity, foster successful academic experiences, and cultivate the leaders of the next generation


Graduate Record Exams

Test of English as a Foreign Language


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Hear From Students

Featured Doctoral Students

Michelle Brown works to improve outcomes for victimized children and families

Amanda Hodel researches the neurobiology of child development

Camelia Hostinar studies how parents can help when things get scary.

Theresa Lafavor researches how children succeed in chaotic situations.

Lee Raby investigates how genes and environment interact in parent-child relationships.

Featured Alumni

Assistant Professor Janette Herbers conducts research to understand developmental processes of resilience in children who experience risks such as trauma, poverty, and homelessness.

Professor Brett Laurson explores adolescent relationships with parents and peers.

Michael Leimbach designs effective training for clients around the world.

Assistant Professor Rebecca Shlafer partnered with Sesame Street Workshop to lead the dissemination of new resources for children and families impacted by incarceration in Minnesota.

Assistant Professor Nim Tottenham examines the development of brain systems involved in human emotional development to understand how these systems are influenced by early adverse environments.

Professor Carolyn Zahn-Waxler explores why some children seek to relieve others’ suffering.