Graduate Program FAQ

Wake Forest University

Graduate (Masters) Program in Psychology

 

Frequently-asked Questions (FAQs)

 

We can’t give in-depth personalized advice and feedback about the fit of our program or about individual admissions possibilities, but we hope that the information below can help guide your thinking about the MA program at Wake Forest.

Please note that answers to many important and common questions are available on the web pages of Wake Forest University’s Graduate School – http://graduate.wfu.edu/admissions/.  

We’ve organized these FAQs into the following general categories:

 


About the Program’s Goals and Outcomes

 

Very generally speaking, our graduate program is primarily intended to prepare students to enter PhD programs.  That is, our focus is strongly oriented toward the scientific study of psychology and toward training students in a way that makes them well-qualified for doctoral programs in a variety of areas of psychological science.  With this goal in mind, our program emphasizes research design, statistical analysis, scientific writing, analysis of theoretical issues, etc.   

Do you offer a degree in clinical or counseling psychology?

  • The Psychology Department does not offer a clinical degree or a counseling degree
  • However, many of our graduates are accepted into Clinical PhD programs
  • Note that the Counseling Department at Wake Forest offers a graduate degree in Counseling, but we (the Psychology Department) do not.

Do you offer a PhD?

  • The Psychology Department offers a Master degree only, not a PhD

Are there specialized areas of interest? I am interested in psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience are you able to specialize in that or do you just focus your research in that area?

  • We have a general Masters degree, but your personal training would reflect a blend of your interests and the interests of the advisor that you’re paired with.  Please see the faculty web page for details on their research interests.

How many students are admitted to a PhD program after completing the MA program at Wake?  What types of PhD programs do your students go to?  (e.g., clinical?)

  • All or nearly all of our students who apply to PhD programs are admitted to PhD programs.  Our students go to all types of PhD programs, including Clinical.

Your thoughts regarding real world opportunities in my situation for gainful employment after 2 years of completing a Master in Psychology? 

  • Our graduate program can be a good fit for some people/purposes but less so for others.  Our grad program is primarily intended to prepare students to enter research-oriented PhD programs.  That is, our focus is strongly oriented toward the scientific study of psychology and toward training students in a way that makes them well-qualified for research-oriented doctoral programs.  Thus, our program emphasizes research design, statistical analysis, scientific writing, analysis of theoretical issues, etc.  Indeed, we tend to admit students who express interests that are consistent with this orientation, and we don’t provide training in counseling or clinical practice (note however, that the Counseling Department at Wake Forest does offer a degree in Counseling).  
  • Certainly, not all of our graduates pursue PhD-level training, or at least not immediately. Of those who go in other directions, many do pursue research-oriented careers.  Given the orientation of the program and of the relevant experiences/expertise of our faculty, I think it’s fair to say that our faculty is much more effective at helping students identify and get into PhD programs than at helping students navigate a job market.  For example, one of my former grad students is currently working with a market research firm – he’s well-prepared for that position, but I wasn’t able to provide much insight or practical guidance in his job search process.

What Goes On In the Program

 

Broadly speaking, our students focus their time on three things: 1) Classes, 2) Research, 3) Assistantships (or other positions that provide stipends).

When do semesters begin/end?

  • The fall semester begins late August and ends in early- to mid-December, while the spring semester begins in mid-January and ends in early- to mid-May.

Regarding the educational approach of your programs, are they more course-based or research-based oriented?

  • We require coursework and a significant amount of research.

Are there any online classes available (graduate level) this semester?

  • Our program does not offer online coursework

I was very glad to see that the program includes the thesis and first-year research projects. Are these typically independent, directed, or either?

  • Student research is conducted in collaboration with a faculty mentor.

 

Admissions requirements and expectations

 

In terms of what we are looking for in a candidate, our decisions are based on a combination of a number of factors, so everything you described is important.  But with that said, the most important elements are:  GPA, GRE scores, and research experience.  Since we are a research-oriented MA (rather than a clinical one), elements like volunteer experience, although important, are not quite as beneficial to an application as is research experience.  Of course, none of these factors alone guarantee admission, those are the factors that play the most important role in our decisions.

How many students are admitted and enrolled each year?

  • We accept 11 to 14 students each academic year.

What is the final application deadline for Fall admission?

  • This date is set by the Wake Forest Graduate School, not by the Psychology Department itself.  So, for the most up-to-date information please check with the Graduate School.  
  • That said, the due date is typically around January 15th

Does the Psychology program take applications for Spring semester admission?

  • No.  Applications are for fall admission only.

What is the average GREs score for admitted students?

  • Based on the old scoring system:  above 1200
  • Based on the new scoring system:  above 320

What is the average undergraduate GPA of students in your program?

  • The average GPA is 3.80.

Do you have minimum GRE scores or GPA (below which students aren’t considered)?

  • We don’t have a strict “cut-off” GRE or GPA.

Do you accept non-psych majors?

  • We do accept students without a psychology major, particularly when they have basic psychology courses that would be necessary for our program.  A few such courses would include Introductory Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, and Statistics.

Is the GRE required, if so which tests (Psych GRE?)

  • Yes, the general GRE test is required by the WFU Graduate School.  However, the Psychology GRE subject test is optional.

What is the school/department code for GRE and TOEFL scores?

  • 5885

Is it possible to waive the GRE requirement given the other graduate entrance exam I have taken (MCAT)?

  • The GRE is required by the Wake Forest Graduate School. You would have to contact the Grad School office itself (not the Psychology Department) to waive that requirement.  In our experience, though, the Graduate School is unlikely to waive the requirement.

Are official transcripts required?

  • Unofficial transcripts will be accepted for the review process and should be attached to the on-line application. Applicants are required to submit transcripts from each college or university attended or attending.  ONLY if an offer of admission is made and accepted will official transcripts will be required prior to orientation. Official transcripts must arrive in a sealed institutional envelope and initialed on the back flap by the certifying officer and should be sent directly to the Graduate School Office.

Does the master’s program accept electronic copies of my official transcript if they come directly from my school’s registrar?

  • Yes.  Everything may be uploaded into Apply Yourself.

I’m applying to more than one grad program at WFU, can GRE scores and transcripts be used by multiple programs at Wake Forest or do I have to submit separate copies to each?

  • Applicants may apply to multiple programs by submitting a complete and separate online application for each program of study.  Your online recommendation providers must also submit an online recommendation for each program of study they have been listed as a recommender.

How important is research experience?

  • Research experience is a component that we do place weight upon in our selection process, given that research is a major part of our curriculum.

Are there specific class requirements to have taken?

  • There are no specific classes that are absolutely required, however there are a few that are highly recommended.  These would include Research Methods and Statistics.

I saw on the website’s brochure for the program that a course in psychology research and statistics is/are required.  Would a similar course from another department be sufficient?

  • No classes are “required”, but good classes in Research Methods and Statistics will prepare you well for our program.  The closer a class is to a good “Research Methods for Psychology” course, the better.

Do you require individual contact with your professor(s) prior to the submission of application?

  • Individual contact is not required.

Would it be beneficial to set up a meeting with the Director of the program to discuss potentially being accepted into the program?

  • Typically, we do not arrange visits prior to acceptance.  However, you are welcome to email an individual faculty member you are interested in working with to find out more information about their work. 

In addition, would it be helpful to set up a meeting with a faculty in, say Developmental, if I am interested in pursuing a degree in that field?

  • You are welcome to email an individual faculty member you are interested in working with to find out more information about their work.  They might not be able to meet with you, but they should be able to provide good information via email or telephone.

Is there is a need to highlight the particular professors I am most interested in working with in my personal statement?

  • Although we do not accept students to work with a particular faculty member (i.e., there is no guarantee you would work with a particular person), we do our best to match students up with their preferred advisor whenever possible. So, we would encourage you to highlight at least one or two professors who might be good matches to your interests.  If your interests are still very broad, that’s fine.

Do I apply to work with one specific faculty member?

  • Although we do not accept students to work with a particular faculty member (i.e., there is no guarantee you would work with a particular person), we do our best to match students up with their preferred advisor whenever possible.

Do incoming students typically have to have a specific faculty member in mind when applying?

  • Although we do not accept students to work with a particular faculty member (i.e., there is no guarantee you would work with a particular person), we do our best to match students up with their preferred advisor whenever possible. So, we would encourage you to highlight at least one or two professors who might be good matches to your interests.  If your interests are still very broad, that’s fine.

I applied last year, do I need to resubmit all my materials to reapply again this year?

  • In the past, students have been able to “Reactivate” a previous application without additional material or additional fees.  However, you will need to contact the Graduate School’s admissions office directly to do this (the Psychology Department does not handle this facet of the application process)

Do you look at cumulative GPA or major GPA more intensely?

  • Both are considered, we also can consider trends in GPA (e.g., improvement after one’s first year).

Do you take into account school difficulty as well as private school status when receiving an application?

  • We see applications from an enormous range of colleges and universities, and we’re not well-acquainted with each and every one of those schools. Thus, we primarily emphasize the individual application package, include strength/relevance of recommendations, GRE scores, quality/kind of research experience, course background, etc.

How valuable are “extra-curricular” activities?

  • Since we are a research-oriented MA (rather than a clinical one), elements like volunteer experience, although broadly important, are not quite as beneficial to an application as is research experience.

Will all professors take new students into their lab?

  • Although most faculty begin working with one new student each year, the faculty available to take new students in their lab varies from year to year for various reasons (i.e., sabbaticals, number of openings in a lab, etc.). You are welcome to contact a faculty member to see if she or he anticipates taking a student – please see the department’s faculty web page for research interests and contact information.

How many students receive assistantships or scholarships?

  • Most of our students receive both assistantships (employment positions with stipends) and scholarships (that pay for tuition).  For the remaining students, we try to help you find jobs on campus or at the Med School campus.  In addition, some students receive partial scholarships so that they pay only a part of their tuition.

Costs and funding

 

How much is tuition?

  • Tuition is set by Wake Forest University Graduate School, not the Psychology Department.  Please see the Graduate School’s web page for the latest information http://graduate.wfu.edu/admissions/costofstudy.html.
  • Note that most of our students receive full scholarships (with a handful receiving partial scholarships that would reduce tuition dramatically).

How can I be considered for tuition waivers and/or stipends?

  • You do not need to submit anything additional in order to be considered for tuition waivers (i.e., scholarships) and assistantships (i.e., stipends).

Are full-tuition scholarships or full assistantships based on merit or need?

  • Wake Forest’s Graduate School awards scholarships based on merit

For International Students:

 

How many international students are offered admission in Psychology each fall?

  • Although we aren’t able to take international students each fall, we do give international students serious consideration.

What the basic score level such as GRE, TOEFL, GPA do these admitted students possessed?

  • (From the Wake Forest University Gradaute School’s web site): International students who did not graduate from colleges or universities within the U.S. and whose native language is not English must submit EITHER the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) OR the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The minimum total score on the TOEFL is 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79-80 (internet-based). The minimum score on the IELTS is 6.5.

I will have a four-year bachelor degree from a US university. I also studied in a US High School. Can I waive the TOEFL score requirement for International students?

  • The TOEFL is required by the Wake Forest Graduate School. Any request to waive those scores should be directed to the Graduate School itself.

Contact and more information….

 

Would it be possible to get additional information?

  • We are happy to address specific questions not addressed above – please email us at PsyGrad@wfu.edu 
  • Although we can’t offer assessments of specific students’ prospects for admissions or success, we hope that the information above (e.g., what we’re looking for, average GRE/GPA, importance of research experience, etc) helps you evaluate your own fit for the program).
  • Answers to many important and common questions are also available on the web pages of Wake Forest University’s Graduate School.  http://graduate.wfu.edu/admissions/

I’m interested in learning more about the graduate school of psychology and wondered if I might schedule a visit with one of the professors there to discuss the program and my interests.

  • We don’t arrange ‘interview days’, but you are welcome to contact a faculty member with whom you might be interested in working. Please see the department’s faculty web page for descriptions of faculty research and for their contact information

How can I find out about research going on at WFU?

  • Please see the department’s faculty web page for this information