Experimental Graduate Program: Application and Admission

Applicants to the Experimental Psychology Graduate Program must have a baccalaureate degree (in any field) prior to starting the program; completed courses in Introductory Psychology, Statistics, Research Methods; and completed courses in three of the following areas: Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Physiological/Behavioral Neuroscience.

The following are preferred but not required: depth of coursework in at least one of the above concentration areas (e.g., multiple courses within a domain, upper-level courses); experience planning, conducting, analyzing, presenting, and/or writing research.

Required Application Materials

  • Unofficial undergraduate transcripts  
  • 3 letters of reference. At least two of these should be academic references. Applicants are especially encouraged to request letters from faculty members who can speak to their aptitude for research.
  • Statement of Purpose describing the applicant's motivation for pursuing training in this program, relevant prior experiences and goals, and interests in an area related to Experimental Psychology. Please address the following questions in 2-5 double-spaced pages:
    • Explain why you are interested in pursuing training in Experimental Psychology. How have your professional (e.g., research, education, work) and/or lived experiences contributed to your interest in applying to this program?
    • Describe your current and prior research experiences (including the research topic and your level of involvement, responsibilities, and accomplishments). Include any conference presentations or publications that are completed or in progress.
    • Provide the name(s) of faculty members with whom you wish to work. Explain how your research interests fit with each specific faculty member's research area. Why are these topics especially interesting and important? How can your work on these topics advance your career goals?  Note: We strongly encourage applicants to contact potential faculty members prior to writing their statement. This will help you understand their current research priorities and can facilitate proper mentorship. Faculty interest in supervising incoming students is indicated on Psychology Faculty Research Areas and Interests web page.
    • Describe how your experiences and goals match the mission and learning goals of the MS Experimental Psychology program. Applicants should discuss their interest in psychological research and theory, as well as the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion in research and coursework.
    • Writing sample (optional). If possible, please submit a writing sample that you feel reflects your independent work and thought. This may be an assignment you completed as part of a class, a poster or paper summarizing your research, etc. You should be the primary author of the work.

Admission Deadlines and Decisions

The Psychology Department priority application deadline is January 15. We will review late applications submitted after the priority deadline on a space-available basis. Completed applications must be submitted by March 15; however, because maximum student enrollment in the program is limited, all applicants are strongly encouraged to submit application materials by January 15. 

Admission decisions are based on a holistic assessment of the application, including grade point average (GPA), coursework, research experience, statement of purpose, and potential fit with faculty research interests. Applicant files are reviewed by a committee of faculty across areas. Applicants who meet our threshold are then reviewed by potential mentors who determine fit of research interests.

Application Materials and Additional Information

Applicants are required to submit ALL materials (see required application materials above) to the Graduate School. If you have any questions or difficulties with the application materials on the website, please contact the Western Graduate School directly via e-mail or 360-650-3170.

Students considering the program at Western are invited to visit the attractive campus, which is located between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia.

For additional information, contact Dr. Christie Scollon.


Dr. Christie Scollon, Director, Experimental Psychology Graduate Program
Department of Psychology, Western Washington University
516 High Street, Bellingham, WA, 98225-9172

Phone: 360-650-7620

Email: Christie.Scollon@wwu.edu