Prospective Student Information

We are excited that you are considering FIU for your academic pursuits. Our department offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, research opportunities, and resources to help you achieve your academic and professional goals. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about our faculty, curriculums, and the many ways in which we can support your educational and personal growth within the field of psychology.

Graduate Programs Open House Video
Our department hosted an information session for all graduate programs to give prospective students more information about each of the different programs and curriculums available. Please view the recording of the event by clicking here.

Degrees & Program Information

Click to learn more information about each program and their curriculum. 

Prospective Graduate Student FAQs

Wondering if graduate school is the correct path for you? Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions that we believe will aid your decision process. 

  • Is a Master’s or Ph.D. Degree right for you?

    While both graduate degrees, a Master degree is vastly different from a Ph.D., and students should carefully consider which is better aligned with their future career goals.  

    A Master degree is usually focused more on application. It is common for those with a Master degree to pursue a career as an applied practitioner in their field. On the other hand, Ph.D. programs are focused more heavily on academia and research. While students will obtain expertise in their field through core coursework, there is a heavier focus on research skills and being a scholar. It is common for those with a Ph.D. to pursue a career in academia or research, though it is possible for graduates to also pursue a career as an applied practitioner. 

    Due to the different foci, Master degrees are quicker to complete (i.e., estimated 2 years), consisting of around 36-60 credits (dependent on program) and requiring one capstone project (e.g., thesis) before graduation. Ph.D. degrees take longer to complete (i.e., estimated 4-6 years) and have more requirements before graduation, consisting of around 75-90 credits (dependent on program) and requiring two capstone projects* (e.g., thesis and dissertation). It should be noted that a Ph.D. degree may also reward a Master degree en route to graduation, so graduates of a Ph.D. may obtain both.  

    Generally, due to the rigor of a Ph.D. program, graduates will have more professional opportunities available to them upon completion. However, obtaining a Ph.D. is an intensive process. If prospective students are interested in a practitioner career, they should carefully consider the risks and rewards of a Ph.D. degree (which has a greater focus on becoming a scholar and expert in the field) versus a Master degree (which has a greater focus on preparing students for an applied role).  

    *Note: Specific requirements may vary between programs.

  • What is the FIU application process like?

    Generally, graduate programs have a few base requirements, with some having additional, specific ones. Overall, when applying to graduate programs, prospective students will need to submit: 

    • GPA: 3.0 in the last two years of undergraduate study. 
    • GRE: Scores on the verbal, quantitative and writing sections of the GRE General Test, taken within the previous five years, are required of all applicants. *Check individual program page for GRE requirements.*  
    • Statement of Intent/Personal Statement: A brief essay stating reasons for interest in the program and career goals. 
    • Letters of Recommendation: Three (3) letters evaluating the applicant's potential for graduate work. Applicants are required to provide at least one letter of recommendation from a professor or academic source. 
    • Resume/CV: This includes pertinent information on previous experience, education, honors, awards, interests, community service and achievements. 

    Additional requirements may apply depending on the program. For example, it is common for Ph.D. programs to also request additional writing samples, previous research experience, contact with faculty professor of interest, etc. Additionally, international students may have to submit additional materials, such as Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Prospective students should explore their program of interest fully to ensure they meet all requirements and have gathered all application materials.  

  • What are the differences between programs?

    Please note that there are many graduate programs that exist within the Psychology Department, all of which can be quite different from one another. For example, Legal Psychology focuses on issues such as witness memory, interrogations, investigative interviewing, lineups, deception detection and juror decision-making. On the other hand, the Clinical Science Program in Child and Adolescent Psychology focuses on conducting clinical research and providing evidence-based clinical care to children, adolescents, and families. 

    There is a wide variety of programs offered at Florida International University, each of which has a specific focus on the skills and knowledge developed. Prospective students should explore each program fully before applying to one to ensure their desired program aligns with their professional interests and goals.  

  • What does it take to get a Ph.D.?

    In a Ph.D. program, it is typical to complete around 75-90 credits, which will be composed of coursework, supervised research, and dissertation research credits.  

    Aside from completing credit and coursework requirements, Ph.D. students are also often expected to complete a Master project (e.g., thesis), pass a Comprehensive Examination, and, of course, propose and defend their dissertation, depending on the program. Some programs will include additional requirements, such as clinical work, additional statements or publications, etc. These specific details can be found on program pages.  

Information on Judicial Holds
Although we are required to include questions in our application that ask about previous experiences with disciplinary charges and criminal offenses, we do not want these questions to discourage anyone with these experiences from applying to our programs.
Responding “yes” to these questions does not preclude applicants from being considered for admission to our programs. It does place a “judicial hold” on the application that can be resolved through the Student Conduct and Academic Integrity (SCAI) Admissions Clearance Process confidentially. Moreover, responses to these questions will not be shared with faculty reviewing applications—regardless of the applicant’s responses—so as to maintain confidentially and reduce bias throughout the review process.
Instructions for resolving judicial holds can be found here:
If you have any questions about this process, you can contact the SCAI team by phone at 305-348-3939 or email at, or the graduate secretary in the Department of Psychology by email at