Department of Psychology

UNCW Masters Program in Psychology FAQs

Please note that this page applies only to our master's program. FAQs relevant to our pending doctoral program will be posted as soon as possible.

A. General Questions
  1. When is the application deadline?
  2. Do you accept late applications?
  3. Do you accept students for the Spring semester as well as the Fall semester?
  4. Is your program online?
  5. Do students have to complete a thesis?
  6. Is your program full-time or part-time?
  7. Some of the courses sound really interesting, but I don't want or already have a Master's degree. Can I take the courses?
  8. I already have my Master's degree, but I need just one more course for licensure or certification in North Carolina. Can I take just that course?
  9. I want to become a BCBA. Can I take just the BACB courses to get certified?
  10. I live in Jacksonville, NC or Raleigh, NC. Can I commute and complete graduate school?
  11. What are the different concentrations/areas within the program?
  12. Can I apply to more than one concentration?
  13. To which concentration should I apply?
  14. What kinds of jobs are your graduates doing?
B. Application Requirements
  1. What are the application requirements?
  2. Are there any specific course requirements?
  3. I didn't have separate statistics and research-methods courses; I had a full-year course or two courses in "Research methods and statistics" or something like that. Do those count?
  4. My major wasn't psychology, can I still apply?
  5. Are there any GPA requirements?
  6. Do I have to take the GRE?
  7. Is there a minimum score that is required on the GRE?
  8. How many letters of recommendation do I need?
  9. Does the Graduate School really require all my transcripts, even from a school at which I took only one course?
  10. What additional materials does the psychology department require?
  11. Do I need research experience?
  12. Do I need practical/clinical experience?
C. Admission timeline and faculty matching process
  1. When will I hear about my application once I submit it?
  2. When will I hear about an interview?
  3. When will the interview take place?
  4. Can I complete a phone interview instead of coming to UNCW?
  5. How is it determined who my faculty research mentor will be?
  6. When will I hear about an offer?
  7. If I am accepted into the program, how long do I have to make a decision?
  8. If I am accepted, can I defer my acceptance?
D. APPLICATION AND ACCEPTANCE STATISTICS
  1. How many applicants do you accept annually into each concentration?
  2. What are the acceptance rates?
  3. What are the typical GPAs and GRE scores of students in the ABA concentration?
  4. What are the typical GPAs and GRE scores of students in the PSYS concentration?
  5. What are the typical GPAs and GRE scores of students in the COSUD concentration?
  6. What if my GPA and/or GRE scores aren't great - is it still worth applying?
E. TUITION, FINANCIAL AID, AND ASSISTANtSHIPS
  1. What are the tuition rates for resident/non-resident students and other associated costs?
  2. Do you offer tuition remissions?
  3. How much are the assistantship stipends?
  4. What does it mean that the remissions and assistantships are competitive?
  5. Are assistantships for both years?
  6. Can I have multiple assistantships?
  7. Do you offer summer assistantships?

A. General Questions

A1. When is the application deadline?

The application deadline for Fall 2018 is January 15, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST. <back to top>

A2. Do you accept late applications?

Your complete application must be submitted by the deadline. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete (see below under Admission Requirements and Admission Timeline). If your application is missing something at the time of the first review, the Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee may vote to not accept your application. <back to top>

A3. Do you accept students for the Spring semester as well as the Fall semester?

We accept students only once a year, starting in the fall. Several courses must be taken in a specific order, which requires starting in the fall. <back to top>

A4. Is your program online?

Our program is an all on-campus program. <back to top>

A5. Do students have to complete a thesis?

Yes, students in all concentrations must complete and defend an empirical thesis. Students are matched with a faculty research mentor with whom they work conducting research during their time in graduate school. <back to top>

A6. Is your program full-time or part-time?

Our program is a full-time program. Graduate students are expected to be working "full time" on their degree, which includes course work, research, clinical training (if required), teaching and research assistantships, etc. <back to top>

A7. Some of the courses sound really interesting, but I don't want or already have a Master's degree. Can I take the courses?

You must be enrolled in a graduate program at UNCW in order to register for courses. In addition, some courses are only open to Psychology graduate students. <back to top>

A8. I already have my Master's degree, but I need just one more course for licensure or certification in North Carolina. Can I take just that course?

Please contact the Graduate Coordinator about the possibility of taking a course. This still requires you to apply and be accepted through the Graduate School. <back to top>

A9. I want to become a BCBA. Can I take just the BACB courses to get certified?

Currently we don't have a stand-alone BACB course sequence. That is, you must be enrolled in our Master's program in the ABA concentration to take the courses and obtain the requisite supervised practicum hours that allow you to sit for the certification exam. <back to top>

A10. I live in Jacksonville, NC or Raleigh, NC…..can I commute and complete graduate school?

It is highly recommended that you live in the general area. On some days, your classes will start at 8 a.m. and go until 8 p.m. In addition to classes, you are expected to be available in the lab and/or for your assistantship duties on campus. Thus, it would be difficult to add in a 1-2 hr commute each way each day. <back to top>

A11. What are the different concentrations/areas within the program?

We have three concentrations within our Master's program: Psychological Science (PSYS), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and Co-occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders (COSUD). However, we are not currently accepting applications for the COSUD program. The PSYS concentration is designed to prepare students for doctoral programs and research careers. The ABA concentration is designed to prepare students to work in the field as ABA practitioners. More information about our PSYS, ABA, and COSUD concentrations can be found here. <back to top>

A12. Can I apply to more than one concentration?

You can apply to only one concentration. Sometimes, the Psychology Graduate-Admissions Committee might recommend a switch to a different concentration, and sometimes, students decide to switch at interview weekend. <back to top>

A13. To which concentration should I apply?

If your goal is to practice psychology at the Master's level as a licensed psychological associate, then you would apply to our clinical concentrations (ABA) or (COSUD). However, we are not currently accepting applications to the COSUD terminal Master's program. The ABA concentration involves coursework and training in a specialized field, so you must be interested in that specialized area. If you are interested in pursuing doctoral-level work, the Psychological Science concentration (PSYS) is most appropriate as you will have more time to pursue research experience. Having said that, we usually have a few students who go on to doctoral programs from the ABA concentration. <back to top>

A14. What kinds of jobs are your graduates doing?

Click here for a list of jobs or post-M.A. education for our 2014, 2015, and 2016 Alumni. <back to top>

B. Application Requirements

B1. What are the application requirements?

The requirements for application to the UNCW Graduate School can be found here. You should have a major in psychology with at least a 3.0 psychology GPA. And all applicants must have completed a course in statistics and a course in research methods. A psychology course in statistics is preferred, but a course from a Math/Statistics department is accepted. The research methods course must be in Psychology. <back to top>

B2. What are the course requirements?

 Please follow this link for the M.A. in Psychology course requirements. <back to top>

B3. I didn't have separate statistics and research-methods courses; I had a full-year course or two courses in "Research methods and statistics" or something like that. Do those count?

Yes. You should have the equivalent of two courses (3-4 hr each). We understand that at some schools these courses are combined and might be called "Research methods and statistics" or "Psychological research." What is important is that you have had a semester's worth of statistics and a semester's worth of research methods, but those can be combined, taken in the same semester, etc. In your uploaded vita/resume (see Question 10 below), make sure to include the course names as they appear on your transcript, of the courses you took to satisfy that requirement. <back to top>

B4. My major wasn't psychology, can I still apply?

Yes. If your major wasn't in psychology, then you need to have completed 21 hr of any psychology coursework with at least a B average including a research methods course in psychology, a statistics course. You also must complete the GRE Psychology subject test. <back to top>

B5. Are there any GPA requirements?

The UNCW Graduate School requires an overall GPA of at least 3.0 (B). Applicants with an overall GPA below 3.0 may be accepted provisionally if other aspects of their application warrant acceptance. Our department requires at least a 3.0 (B) GPA in your psychology courses and at least a B in both a statistics course and a research-methods course. <back to top>

B6. Do I have to take the GRE?

All applicants must take the general exam and submit official scores as part of the application. Scores older than 5 years are not accepted. Nonpsychology majors also have to take the Psychology subject test. <back to top>

B7. Is there a minimum score that is required on the GRE?

We don't have a minimum requirement, but see below for the current year's statistics. <back to top>

B8. How many letters of recommendation do I need?

You need to submit 3 letters from people that can evaluate your potential for graduate school in psychology. At least 1 of those letters must be from a university professor/lecturer; it is highly recommended that 2 of your letters come from university professors/lecturers. One, if not both, should be from faculty in psychology as they can tell us the most about your potential in a psychology program. You also could ask someone who has supervised work related to psychology; for example, someone who has supervised you in a clinical setting or working with students. Your letters should not be from family members, friends, or friends of your family. <back to top>

B9. Does the Graduate School really require all my transcripts, even from a school at which I took only one course?

Yes they do. You must arrange to have a transcript sent from every post-secondary institution that you attended, even if for just one course or on study abroad or during high school. Please make sure to request all transcripts sent well before the deadline of Jan. 15. <back to top>

B10. What additional materials does the psychology department require?

The departmental forms can be found here. You need to submit your vita/resume with the required information, the research-area interest form, and the essay that answers the questions listed. Your career center on campus can help you construct a vita if you haven't already done so. It is strongly recommended that you have a faculty member and/or graduate student read over your essay. It is not a personal essay, but rather a statement of your academic/career history, interests, and goals. <back to top>

B11. Do I need research experience?

It is not required, but highly recommended. Most applicants have worked with a faculty member on research for at least a semester. Conducting research helps you determine what areas in which you are interested and also gives you skills for which our faculty members are looking. You also can get a better letter of recommendation from someone with whom you have worked. If you haven't participated in research, you should check out your department for opportunities, talk to faculty members, talk to Psi Chi members, etc. <back to top>

B12. Do I need practical/clinical experience?

It is not required, but highly recommended for applicants to the ABA concentration.  Most applications to those concentrations have worked in the field either in a class, on an internship, or in a job. These experiences can help you determine with which population you would like to work and gives you skills that faculty members look for. Clinical experience can also be obtained in some labs; that is, some faculty conduct clinical research, where you would obtain a lot of clinical skills. <back to top>

C. Admission Timeline and Faculty Matching Process

C1. When will I hear about my application once I submit it?

It takes a couple of weeks for the Graduate School to process all of the applications after the Jan. 15 deadline. Once they have finished, the department Graduate-Admissions Committee composed of faculty members reviews all applications and meets to determine whom to invite for an interview. Once we receive all the applications from the Graduate School, you will receive an email with a specific timeline for that year. <back to top>

C2. When will I hear about an interview?

The first interview invitations usually get sent via email mid February. Invitations continue to be sent as others decline. <back to top>

C3. When will the interview take place?

Interviews take place on campus at UNCW, starting on a Friday afternoon through Saturday. Interview weekend is usually held mid-March. <back to top>

C4. Can I complete a phone interview instead of coming to UNCW?

Yes, we conduct phone interviews for those applicants who can't make it. But, you are strongly encouraged to attend the interview weekend. <back to top>

C5. How is it determined who my faculty research mentor will be?

Faculty review the applications and request interviews of certain applicants. You also will be asked with whom you want to interview. After the interviews are completed, each faculty member rank-orders students with whom they would like to match as their research mentor. The Graduate Coordinator and Chair determine the matches. <back to top>

C6. When will I hear about an offer?

Offers start to be extended the week following the interview weekend. The offer will include your faculty research-mentor match and financial aid (assistantship, remission) if given. <back to top>

C7. If I am accepted into the program, how long do I have to make a decision?

You will have until April 15 to make a decision, but of course, we would like to hear from you as soon as you have made your decision. Waiting to say "yes" doesn't change how much assistantship you will be offered. <back to top>

C8. If I am accepted, can I defer my acceptance?

You can apply for a deferral for 1 year, but your request will have to be approved by your faculty match (i.e., they would have to be willing to hold a spot for you), the department's Graduate-Steering Committee, and the Graduate School. Deferring your acceptance does not defer any assistantship or tuition remission that was offered. You would be reconsidered for financial aid the following year with the incoming group of students. <back to top>

D. Application and Acceptance Statistics

D1. How many applicants do you accept annually into each concentration?

We currently accept no more than 8 ABA students due to practicum/internship site limitations. We usually accept 14-17 Psychological Science students. We are not currently accepting applications to the COSUD terminal Master’s program. The number of students accepted also depends on the number of faculty accepting students that year.  Please see the admission data for the Applied Behavior Analysis concentration and Psychological Science concentration. <back to top>

D2. What are the acceptance rates?

In 2017, we received a total of 87 applications; our incoming class has 18 students. The acceptance rates for each concentration were: ABA - 6/44 (14%); Psychological Science - 12/36 (33%). <back to top>

D3. What are the typical GPAs and GRE scores of students in the ABA concentration?

The 2017 incoming class had a mean GPA of 3.88. Their mean GRE scores (and percentile scores) were: Verbal - 157 (76); Quantitative - 150 (38); and Analytical - 4 (60). Please see the admission data for the Applied Behavior Analysis concentration. <back to top>

D4. What are the typical GPAs and GREs of students in the PSYS concentration?

The 2017 incoming class had a mean GPA of 3.63. Their mean GRE scores (and percentile scores) were: Verbal - 155 (69); Quantitative - 151 (43); and Analytical - 4 (60). Please see the admission data for the Psychological Science concentration. <back to top>

D5. What are the typical GPAs of students in the COSUD concentration?

We did not have a 2017 class for the COSUD concentration. <back to top>

D6. What if my GPA and/or GRE scores aren't great - is it still worth applying?

When we review applications we look at the entire package including specific courses taken, research and practicum experience, recommendations, etc. So, for example, a lower GPA could be augmented by a higher GRE score or research experience. But if your GRE scores are below the 50 percentile, you may want to give yourself enough time to retake the GRE. <back to top>

E. Tuition, Financial Aid, and Assistantships

E1. What are the tuition rates for resident/non-resident students and other associated costs?

You can find tuition and fee rates here. Students in the PSYS concentration take 7-8 hours in their first year, so their tuition is at a lower rate than the ABA students who take 11-14 hours . <back to top>

E2. Do you offer tuition remissions?

There are competitive out-of-state remissions for students who are classified by the Graduate School as nonresidents. Most nonresidents receive a remission that pays for all of their out-of-state tuition. They are still responsible for the in-state portion and fees. There also are some competitive tuition scholarships. <back to top>

E3. How much are the assistantship stipends?

IN 2017-18, a full-time (20 hr/week) assistantship will be $12,000/yr. Assistantships can be for 5-20 hr/week. Students can be a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) and help a faculty member in a class or have a role in the department. All students who are made an offer are considered for a GTA, but the GTAs are competitive. If your faculty research mentor, with whom you have been matched, has a grant, you could be paid as a research assistants (RA) and help conduct the research on the grant. There also are other RAs available in other departments to which you could apply when they become available. There also are Graduate Assistantships (GA) available in other departments (e.g., Nursing, Education) and offices (e.g., Office of International Programs, Office of Institutional Research) on campus. You apply for these as you would a job when the GA is announced. <back to top>

E4. What does it mean that the remissions and assistantships are competitive?

Assistantships are offered based on the applicant's academic qualifications, which include GPA and GRE scores. <back to top>

E5. Are assistantships for both years?

An initial TA offer will be for 2 years. The number of hours can increase depending on the availability of funds and the department's needs in a given semester. The number of hours can decrease if you aren't making sufficient progress. <back to top>

E6. Can I have multiple assistantships?

Yes, you can work in different departments/offices, but the maximum you should work is 20 hr/week. For example, you could have a 10 hr/week TA in Psychology and a 10 hr/week GA in another office on campus. <back to top>

E7. Do you offer summer assistantships?

There are a limited number of TAs within the department to assist with summer classes. Some GAs and RAs pay over the summer as well. <back to top>

What if I have additional questions?

If you have further questions, please contact the Department of Psychology psygradprogram@uncw.edu. <back to top>