Top Psychology Graduate Schools – University of Michigan

Lisa R. Parker

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor boasts one of the largest psychology research departments in the country. Currently this university holds the number 3 slot for top Ph.D. programs in psychology according to the U.S. News and World Reports rankings, measuring quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. At Michigan, students receive training for careers in both academic and applied settings-for positions in colleges and universities, governmental agencies, research organizations, and clinics. There are 6 different areas of psychology in which you can receive a Ph.D. including:

* Biopsychology
* Clinical Psychology
* Cognition & Cognitive Neuroscience
* Developmental Psychology
* Personality & Social Contexts
* Social Psychology

In addition, there are a number of joint programs of study, offering dual emphasis in different areas:

* Social Work and Psychology
* Education and Psychology
* Women’s Studies and Psychology

As posted on the University of Michigan website, there are several objectives that indicate quality in graduate study. The general objectives of psychology doctoral programs at Michigan include: 1) a general knowledge of the broad subject matter of psychology; 2) mastery of a specialized field; 3) competence in organizing, interpreting, and communicating effectively; 4) competence in research skills and creative work; and 5) professional skills relevant to their field of specialization. This broad array of skills will enable graduates to seek out careers in many different areas and develop their own program of research by working cooperatively with faculty members across the department, and in some cases, the university itself.
What can you do to prepare yourself for grad school at Michigan?

To get into grad school at Michigan, of course, you need to have an excellent academic resume, official copies of your transcript, submit GRE exam scores, and effective letters of recommendation. There are also several helpful tips found on the Department of Psychology website. Specifically, these tips suggest beginning to prepare yourself for grad school during at least your junior year of undergraduate education (although these are not hard and fast rules, as many students also work for a few years before being admitted to grad school):

* Broad undergraduate background in natural, physical, and social sciences
* Courses in Experimental Psychology (or research methods)
* Courses in Statistics
* Experience in the field, laboratory and/or research assistantships
* Undergraduate research project as a plus

The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor is a competitive for graduate admissions. The typical overall GPA of an admitted student is approximately 3.82. Although the number of students admitted changes from year to year, generally, less than 5% of applicants receive an acceptance letter. For the Clinical Psychology area alone, over 300 applications were received for the Fall 2009 admissions cycle. Only 6 students were admitted.

Those students who are admitted typically have a great understanding of how important faculty-student fit is to admissions committees. The payoff is great, not only in receiving one of the best graduate educations in psychology, but also in terms of financial assistance. Currently, Michigan offers admitted programs a 5-year, fully funded package. This includes research assistantships, teaching appointment, and a monthly stipend for living expenses. Therefore, it literally pays to do your homework on what it takes to get into top ranked psychology Ph.D. programs.

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