Application Information - M.S. Psychology Program
The M.S. Psychology Program admits new students once a year for the subsequent fall quarter. To apply for Fall 2019 go to Cal State Apply. The application cycle begins in October 2018 and applications for Fall 2019 must be submitted on-line by 5pm, January 4, 2019.*
See the Cal Poly Graduate Education for additional help with the application process.
Items 1-2 below must be received in the Admissions Office (Cal Poly Admissions Office, 1 Grand Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407; 805-756-2311) before January 4, 2019.* See Admissions for details about the Cal Poly Admissions process.
Mail to: Cal Poly Admissions Office, 1 Grand Ave San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
- Official copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Transcripts should be sent to the Cal Poly Admissions Office from the issuing institution.
- Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Tests scores (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing); the GRE Advanced Test in Psychology is not required. GRE scores must be from tests taken within five years of admission.
- A "Personal Statement" limited to two typewritten, double-spaced pages. The Personal Statement is a very important part of your application. It gives you the opportunity to show how various personal, sociocultural, educational, and occupational factors informed your decision to enter the helping profession. It also gives faculty an opportunity to gauge your level of insight, maturity, thoughtfulness and other qualities conducive to success in the field. Please address the following in your statement:
- Educational experience: Please describe coursework (e.g., Introduction to Clinical/Counseling Psychology), fieldwork (e.g., Internships), and/or research (e.g., Assistantships) that helped clarify your career goal.
- Professional activity: Please describe paid or volunteer work in counseling, education, social services, or health-care that has informed your career goals. If you have little related work-experience, we strongly suggest you consider applying after such experience has been obtained.
- Sociocultural experience: Please describe your development in cultural competency, including your experiences with and knowledge of diverse cultures, bilingual skills, travel, and experience living abroad, and how these experiences have contributed to your interest in becoming a mental health professional.
- Personal experience: Please describe family, social, and/or other personal factors influencing your interest in the profession. Feel free to note whether you have benefited from counseling. This section should be more specific than simply saying you grew up in a dysfunctional family, that people have always found it easy to talk to you, or that you've always wanted to be a therapist.
***Please note: you will upload this Personal Statement in Quadrant 4 of your Cal State Apply application under "Additional Unofficial Transcripts." This is DIFFERENT and SEPARATE than the 500-word statement of purpose in Quadrant 3.
- Three letters of recommendation are REQUIRED. Carefully choose your recommenders and obtain letters from individuals who know you well and can attest to your academic, social, occupational, and/or personal attributes that would support your career choice as a therapist. Letters from friends and relatives are unacceptable.
- Copies of unofficial transcripts for the most recently completed 90 units.
- Self reported Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores (Verbal, Quantitative,and Analytical Writing); the GRE Advanced Test in Psychology is not required. GRE scores must be from tests taken within five years of admission.
The MS in Psychology accepts applicants from all disciplines (e.g., English, Biology, Philosophy). Accepted applicants must complete five (5) program prerequisites (3 semester/4 quarter units each) by July 31 prior to entering the program:
- Research Methods in Psychology
- Introductory Statistics
- Personality Theory
- Abnormal Psychology
- Developmental Psychology
These courses may be taken at Cal Poly as a matriculated undergraduate, through Cal Poly’s Open University or at another fully accredited institution, including on-line. In order to determine if a course you have taken satisfies one of our prerequisites, but has a different title than Cal Poly's, compare the content with the Expanded Prerequisite Course Outlines. Applicants who fail to complete these courses before their first quarter of enrollment will be dropped from the program.
The M.S. Psychology Program accepts applicants with a wide variety of undergraduate degrees. All applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by a regional association and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted. There are additional requirements for international students. Questions concerning applications from foreign students should be directed to the Cal Poly Office of Admissions.
In addition to GPA and GRE scores, applicants are evaluated on the quality of their letters of recommendation, academic background, relevant work/life experiences, personal statement, on campus interview, and any other information that might shed light on their likelihood of success as a student and marriage and family therapist.
Any other questions can be directed to the Program Coordinator, Dr. Lisa Sweatt (firstname.lastname@example.org; 805-756-6123).