How to Apply

The PhD program in Psychological and Brain Sciences is not a clinical training or a counseling program. It is a five-year, full-time PhD program, during which you will fulfill the requirements for and earn an MA. We do not have or admit students into a terminal Master’s program, and our program is not available for online study.

To identify the graduate student advisors and laboratories most compatible with your research interests, review the “Primary Faculty” listings on the department’s “People” directory. The affiliated and teaching faculty listed on the directory page do not admit students to the PhD program in Psychological & Brain Sciences.

Admitted students will matriculate in the fall semester, and the application deadline is December 15 of the year prior to your matriculation, though some funding programs may have earlier deadlines.

Successful applicants who accept the offer of admission must supply an official transcript to the graduate admissions office before they can begin the PhD program at JHU.  In the case of students in the final year of their bachelor’s program, the official transcript must show completion of all coursework required for the degree.

The electronic application process is managed by the Johns Hopkins University Graduate Admissions and Enrollment Office.

View additional information on applying to our graduate program as an international student. Note that the Psychological & Brain Sciences department strongly recommends (but does not require) international students to submit a professional credential evaluation.

Our department requires the following application materials, with detailed information on each component available at the above links:

  • Transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Writing Sample
  • Personal Statement
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation
  • TOEFL/IELTS (international applicants only)
  • Professional Credential Evaluation (recommended for international applicants only)
  • GRE General Test For Fall 2023 admissions, the GRE test will be optional & not required for the application.

How Applications Are Considered

The evaluation of applications to our graduate program is based on many factors. They include both “objective” indicators, such as required GRE scores and undergraduate GPA, and more subjective information, such as a statement of purpose, a description of your background and experience, and letters of recommendation. To select among the top candidates, we rely on letters of recommendation to provide a personal assessment of your potential for graduate work by faculty mentors and advisors who know you well. Candidates for admission may be invited to visit the department so we can meet one another and discuss our mutual interests and goals.

We seek students who have demonstrated a commitment to psychological science as a career. Many applicants have completed undergraduate concentrations in psychology, cognitive science, biology, or neuroscience, but other related majors could also provide the needed background. Successful applicants often have research experience as undergraduates.

We strongly encourage candidates from traditionally marginalized or underrepresented groups to apply.

Various abilities and skills contribute to success in graduate school, including the ability to express ideas clearly, a curious and creative intellect, and mathematical and computational ability. Evidence of these skills in your application is especially helpful in the graduate admissions process.

It is this wide scope of admissions considerations that enables us to cultivate a diverse range of students and studies within Psychological and Brain Sciences at JHU. As a result of this comprehensive approach to the admissions process, guidelines like required GRE scores or GPA are not available.

Additional Information

Students admitted to the PhD program receive full tuition, health insurance coverage and a 12 month stipend.  Students in good academic standing and making satisfactory progress can expect to be supported for five years.  As part of the program of study, all graduate students will receive pedagogical training as a teaching assistant for four semesters in support of the department’s academic program.

Students from underrepresented groups may be eligible for other university-wide supplemental fellowships.

Vivien Thomas PhD Scholars

Viven Thomas in a suit

The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative (VTSI) is an endowed fellowship program at Johns Hopkins for STEM PhD students. It provides full tuition, stipend, benefits, targeted mentoring, and professional development. Students who have attended a historically black college and university or other minority serving institution for undergraduate study are eligible.

There is no additional application. To be considered for the VTSI, all components of the PhD application, including supplemental components, special VSTI questions, and letters of recommendation must be completed by December 1, 2021, even if the program deadline is later.


If you still have questions, please contact the academic program coordinator at