Applying for Acceptance into the
Degree Programs in Psychology
An applicant for the MA in Psychology, Option in Psychological Research (MAPR), the MS in Psychology, Option in Human Factors (MSHF) or the MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (MSIO), must be accepted for admission by both the Department of Psychology and the Enrollment Services Office of the University.
If your bachelor’s degree is not in Psychology, please refer to the Non-Psychology Bachelor’s information page.
The deadlines for submitting your university application (via www.csumentor.edu), transcripts and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores to the University (Enrollment Services Office) for the Master’s programs are listed below, based upon the particular program. The University deadlines must be met, otherwise the department application would be considered void. Psychology department application material deadlines are listed below by program as well, and also must be met.
Psychology Department Master’s Program Application Deadlines (subject to change)
(to be sent to Enrollment Services)
(to be submitted
to Psych dept – postmark date)
Dec. 1, 2015
|Dec. 23, 2015||
Dec. 1, 2015
Jan. 15, 2016
|Feb. 5, 2016||
Jan. 15, 2016
Jan. 15, 2016
|Feb. 5, 2016||
Jan. 15, 2016
Steps for Acceptance to the Psychology Department
1. The GRE
Take the Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Writing (“General” test) sections of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and have the scores sent directly to CSULB, using the appropriate GRE codes. (The Subject test is not required; however, the score will be reported if taken.) Sign up for the GRE early; reservations must be made for the test at least three to four weeks before the test date and your scores are not sent to you or CSULB for approximately two to five weeks after you have taken the test – to insure your results are received by CSULB in time for processing, you should take the exam by the department application due date listed above. For dates of GRE tests given in your geographical area visit the GRE web site at: http://www.gre.org. The CSULB GRE codes are: institution 4389, department 2016 (GRE scores are reported to the CSULB Enrollment Services Office, regardless of dept code used). (Please note: you must designate the institution recipient as a graduate program for the codes.) See discussion regarding Selection Criteria below.
2. Department and University Applications
Apply to the Psychology Department Graduate Advisor for admission by the program date listed in the table above. Application forms are available through the links below in a print-only format – please print and complete the appropriate forms, then submit to the department. Department application forms may be hand-delivered or mailed (the mailing address is located on the department application Check Sheet linked below and several of the forms themselves). Please Note: you must also apply to the University itself – see deadlines above (www.csumentor.edu).
Master of Arts in Psychology, Option in Psychological Research: You are eligible to apply if you have completed an undergraduate major in Psychology that includes four specific prerequisite courses, or a major in another field with 24 units of upper division psychology that includes four specific prerequisite courses (listed on the Master of Arts, Option in Psychological Research Program information web page, and as one of the on-line application forms linked below). Three CSULB Psychology MAPR faculty members who have agreed to considering mentoring incoming MAPR students as lab space allows must be listed on the department application, section D.
Master of Science in Psychology, Option in Human Factors: You are eligible to apply if you have completed an undergraduate major in Psychology that includes three specific prerequisite coureses (additional suggested prerequisite courses are listed as well), or a major in another field with 24 units of upper division psychology that includes three specific prerequisite courses (listed on the Master of Science, Option in Human Factors Program information web pages, and as one of the on-line application forms linked below).
Master of Science in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology: You are eligible to apply if you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or equivalent and have completed at least four of the five prerequisite courses (listed on the Master of Science, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program information web pages, and as one of the on-line application forms linked below). If your degree is in another area and you do not have 24 units of upper division psychology, you must complete 15 of the 24 units before becoming eligible to apply to the department. If accepted, you would be required to complete the remaining 9 units the first year in the program.
University Application: Must be filed online via the www.csumentor.edu web site per deadlines listed above (please note: the application fee deadline is one week later – contact Enrollment Services if you have questions regarding the university application: 562-985-5471). Official transcripts must also be sent to CSULB’s Enrollment Services Office by the deadlines listed above. International Students: Please contact the Center for International Education (CIE) for university application instructions.
Application to the CSULB Psychology department’s graduate programs is through a two-application process – please be sure to file both the department application and the university application, the latter through csumentor.edu.
3. Official Transcripts
You must send a set of official transcripts to the Office of Enrollment Services in order to be admitted to the University (see MA/MS Department Application Check Sheet for full addresses). These should be received by the Enrollment Services’ deadlines above (by program).
Please note: you must apply for admission to the University as well as to the department. Separate applications are required. There is an application fee for the University. There is no fee for application to the department. You should file your University application according to the deadlines listed above (by program). You must apply to the University via the following web site: www.csumentor.edu (please be sure to use the CSU Graduate application for the correct academic year).
International Students: please be sure to contact the Center for International Education for university application procedures (web site www.csulb.edu/centers/cie/; email via the site).
4. Letters of Recommendation
Submit three letters of recommendation/MSIO recommendation forms from faculty members who are familiar with your academic work to the Psychology Department (materials submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services will not be released to the department). Please note that the Masters of Science, Option in Industrial/Organizational Psychology program has its own, separate recommendation form.
Graduate application tips: Letters
5. Statement of Purpose
Submit a statement of academic and professional goals to the Psychology Department (materials submitted to the Office of Enrollment Services will not be released to the department).
Graduate application tips: Statement 1; Statement 2.
Satisfactory performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for all portions of the General test (verbal, quantitative and analytical writing) is expected. In recent years the average combined total (V&Q) for the entering class has been about 306, with individual scores ranging from 297 to 317. (The Subject test is not required.) It is highly suggested that preparation for the GRE tests is undertaken. Applicants are advised to take the GRE by the program deadline listed above, to insure the scores will arrive in time for processing.
A GPA of approximately 3.4 for the last 60 semester units (90 quarter units) as well as for all psychology units completed is considered minimum to be competitive.
(List of GPA calculators)
An application is judged upon its overall strength, and that strength against the applicant pool for that program. The stronger each individual part of the applicant is (GPAs, GRE scores, Recommendations, Statement of Purpose, etc.), the stronger the application is as a whole. High GRE scores can offset lower GPAs, or vice versa. GPAs can be raised through additional coursework, but it is challenging to do so.
Admissions are on a competitive basis and students who are not selected may on rare occasion be invited to take courses in the department as a conditionally admitted graduate student in order to make up deficiencies in key areas or to demonstrate competency in work at the graduate level (this is at the program’s discretion, and will be offered to the applicant – it is not the applicant’s option), or they more likely will be instructed to do so through Open University (CSULB extension).
The department encourages minority students, out-of-state students and foreign students to apply. The selection committee carefully weighs qualitative as well as quantitative factors in making its admission decisions. Particular attention is directed at selecting students with the motivation, as well as the intellectual skills, to pursue a career in academic psychology. Research experience, generally assisting psychology professors in their research labs, is prized for the MAPR and MSHF programs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do all of my Letters of Recommendation have to be from Psychology professors?
Letters of Recommendation are used by graduate program selection committees as predictors of academic success at the graduate level. Generally they are obtained from professors for this reason. It is best if they are from professors in the area of study to which you are applying. However, if a psychology professor feels he/she cannot provide a strong letter, and a professor in another area can, it would be best for the recommendations to be as strong as possible. One of the CSULB faculty, who offers advise on applying to graduate school to his undergraduate students, suggests asking faculty if they have the time to write a powerful letter (asking if they have “the time” gives a faculty member a chance to decline without the pressure of having to say they don’t feel they know you well enough to do so).
Recommendations from supervisors are advised only if relevant. Because Industrial/Organizational Psychology focuses on the workplace, it is acceptable to have a recommendation from a supervisor, providing that individual can address IO-related work experiences (did the applicant supervise or train others). Ideally that would be a fourth evaluation; if an IO applicant cannot get three strong recommendations from professors, the third could be from an appropriate supervisor.
I’m a current CSULB student/recent graduate of CSULB – do I need to reapply to CSULB?
Do I have to submit transcripts again?
Yes, CSULB students need to graduate and reapply, via the www.csulb.edu web site – they cannot enter a graduate program without having a bachelor’s degree by the entrance semester, or complete their current master’s or certificate program.
You need to have updated transcripts sent to CSULB only if you have attended the other school(s) since they were originally sent. You do not have to order transcripts from CSULB.
Do all my department application materials have to be sent together?
When will I receive acknowledgement of receipt of my department application?
Individual application materials received by our Graduate Office will be filed until the applicant’s department application form is received, at which point all materials will be gathered together. (Very often recommendation letters are sent directly by those providing them.)
Beginning early January the Graduate Advisor will begin to send out emails confirming receipt of the department application, and state whether it is complete, or may be missing any documents at that time (no additional notice of missing items will be sent). Once all missing items are received and the dept. application is complete, notice of such will be emailed. (Please be sure to notify the Graduate Advisor of any change in contact information.)
Should my recommendation forms be sent directly to the department, or with the other parts of my department application?
What address should recommendations be sent to?
They may submitted either way; however, if you submit them yourself, they must be sealed by the individual providing the recommendation. The department address is on the recommendation forms (see application form links below), as well as the Check Sheet.
When will I hear regarding the results of my department application?
Generally, notices will be mailed out for the MSIO and MSHF programs two – two and a half months after those programs’ submission deadlines. MAPR decisions should be mailed within two – three months after that program’s deadline. Depending upon the selection committees’ teaching schedules, the number of applicants, and the semester calendar, it is possible notices could be mailed sooner. Please notify the Graduate Advisor via email if your mailing address changes.
I’m filling out the university application via the www.csumentor.edu web site. Do I have to fill in the Statement of Purpose box?
No, just type something similar to “See department application.” Submit your Statement of Purpose directly to the Psychology department.
Also, ignore the request for three letters of recommendation to accompany the university application. Your recommendations should also be submitted to the Psychology department only.
What else should I do to prepare for application to one of the Master’s programs?
You will be expected to have psychology research experience for both the MAPR and MSHF programs; this is obtained by assisting one or more professors with their research. To work in a professor’s lab, a suggested strategy would be to ask a professor with whom you’ve taken a course (and done well in) if he/she would be able to take you into his/her lab. Having research experience lets master’s program selection committees know you have a first hand knowledge of what is involved with psychological research. Also, it allows you to request letters of recommendation from these professors.
It it highly recommended that you prepare for the GRE General tests in advance.
Getting involved with department student organizations, particularly those in the area you wish to apply to, may further your exposure to these professional areas. We have students organizations specifically in the areas of Human Factors and Industrial/Organizational Psychology; those interested in our MA-Psychological Research program would best be served by our PsiChi and PSA student groups. Other institutions may have such organizations for their students – check with your department for information.
How can I make sure I have the required prerequisite courses met, if taken at a school other than CSULB?
The Psychology department’s policy is that prerequisite course evaluations will be made for successful applicants at the time of offers. Course syllabi must be provided for equivalency determination. Incoming students may make up one prerequisite course their first semester – very often this is our PSY 310 – Intermediate Statistics course. Our catalog course descriptions are provided on the program prerequisite forms – if you are looking to take equivalent courses, it is suggested that you show the descriptions to instructors of those courses.
What are the CSULB tuition costs?
How do I establish California State Residency?
To see current graduate student fees and tuition, see the following web page: CSULB Registration Fees Registration fees are subject to change by the State of California.
Please visit the following CSULB Enrollment Services Office’s web page on Residency:
A print-only version of the Psychology Master’s Programs’ department application is made available here (the department application cannot be completed on-line). Click on each appropriate form listed below, print it out, complete and submit.
- Informational (for applicant’s use – do not submit form)
Department Application Cover Sheet (includes mailing addresses)
Check Sheet for MA/MS Department Application
MSIO Course Information Sheet
Graduate School Application Tips Sheet
Financial Aid (apply between January 1st and March 2nd for priority – extremely important consideration deadline)
- Required (to be submitted to Psychology Graduate Office)
Department Application Form (required)
MAPR Faculty Mentor List (required for MAPR applicants – section D of department application)
- Recommendation Form for MAPR and MSHF programs (three required)
- Recommendation Form for MSIO program (three required)
- GPA Computation Form (required)
- MA in Psychology, Option in Psychological Research Prerequisite Form (required for MAPR applicants)
- MS in Psychology, Option in Industrial/Organizational Prerequisite Form (required for MSIO applicants)
- MS in Psychology, Option in Human Factors Prerequisite Form (required for MSHF applicants)
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Psychology Graduate Advisor
Contact information, office hours
Other Related CSULB Master’s Programs
Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling (formerly Educational Psychology)
Counseling Programs (including MFT, School Counseling)
Master of Social Work
Recommendations and Advice