What is Educational Psychology?
Our field is devoted to the psychological study of education, educational systems, teaching, and learning. Educational psychology is a diverse field that spans areas such as human motivation, human development, cognitive processes, learning theories, teaching practices and pedagogy, educational systems, equity and justice in education, and sociocultural processes in education. Educational psychologists study students, teachers, classrooms, administration, colleges, universities, graduate schools, policies, and theories. Some educational psychologists focus on psychometric work, meaning that they design, assess, and improve educational and psychological tests, as well. Within the field of educational psychology, our faculty represent a cross-section of expertise and emphases. We encourage you to read more about our faculty and their work to get a sense of how our program is situated in the field, and how your interests align with our program.

Occasionally, students express interest in our program when their career and professional goals fall outside the field of educational psychology. If your professional goals include administration of educational tests in school settings, diagnostic testing for children, or direct interventional work with children, you may wish to look into School Psychology or School Counseling programs. If your professional goals include providing direct mental health services to clients/patients, you may wish to look into Mental Health Counseling, Counseling Psychology, or Clinical Psychology programs. If your professional goals include educating others interested in providing direct mental health services, you may wish to look into Counselor Education programs.

What careers do graduates pursue?
Our graduates pursue diverse careers and work in settings such as universities, school districts, departments of education, testing companies, research centers, and private firms. Those careers include tenure-track faculty, teaching faculty, research faculty, research associates, consultants, institutional research staff, evaluation staff, program evaluators, and many others. The career paths for our graduates usually involve research in the field of education.

There are some careers for which this program does not prepare students. These include clinical professions (such as counseling, mental health services, and patient care), jobs in school psychology (such as administering diagnostic tests, providing school counseling services), and other professionally licensed fields. Educational Psychology is not a licensing program, and our program does not prepare students to provide diagnostic, clinical, or counseling services.

How long is the degree program?
In most cases, a full-time student can finish in four years, though some have completed the program in as little as three years. Much of the timeline depends on how long a student takes to do their comprehensive exams and dissertation. A part-time student may take considerably longer to complete the program. Among graduates from the past ten years, the median time to complete coursework and comprehensive exams was about three and a half years, and average time to complete the dissertation was a little over a year.

What does the program involve?
Our degree program requires a minimum of 79 credit hours of coursework. Those include 21 credit hours of required courses in Educational Psychology (EPSY), 21 credit hours of required coursework in Educational Research, Methods, and Analysis (ERMA), 12 credit hours of elective courses (in EPSY, ERMA, or Foundations of Education (FOUN), 15 credit hours in a cognate area (area of specialization beyond required coursework, can be from any program/prefix), and 10 credit hours of dissertation work.

The required courses provide a foundation in the field of Educational Psychology and a solid foundation in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Through the elective and cognate courses, students can specialize in areas of focus and scholarship most relevant to their personal and career goals. Your advisor can help you select elective and cognate courses that will best serve your goals, but those courses provide the flexibility to create a degree that works best for you.

The Ph.D. program is more than only coursework, however. Our students are typically engaged in research work with program faculty, service activities through campus and professional organizations, and teaching. By the end of the program, our students have a range of in- and out- of-class experiences that prepare them to be knowledgeable practitioners and engaged scholars in the field of Educational Psychology.

Our program has four required student learning outcomes:

1)  Educational Psychology graduates will analyze and evaluate educational psychology — theories and research to generate and examine a set of research questions.

2)  Educational Psychology graduates will plan and apply appropriate research methods to — questions, issues, and problems in educational psychology, in accordance with — professional and ethical standards.

3)  Educational Psychology graduates will apply the principles of educational psychology — and pedagogy to teaching practice.

4)  Educational Psychology graduates will communicate educational psychology theory and — research to professional audiences of researchers and/or practitioners, in a manner consistent with professional and ethical standards.

In achieving these learning outcomes, our students engage in ongoing research work that results in presentations and/or publications, contribute to teaching and pedagogical practice, and engage with an integrate educational theory. By the end of the program, students have accumulated products that demonstrate their mastery of these learning outcomes both through their coursework and in the out-of-class program experiences.

What is the graduation rate for the program?
Over the past ten years, excluding currently enrolled students, the overall graduation rate for our program was 79%. Of students who did not graduate, 63% left the program prior to completing required coursework and comprehensive exams, and the remaining 37% left the program after completing comprehensive exams but without completing the dissertation.


What is the application deadline?
Our program has two application deadlines per year. Our earlier deadline is January 15th. If you plan to seek a graduate assistantship, scholarships, fellowships or wish to begin the program in the Summer, you should complete your application by January 15th in the online system. The January 15th date allows our faculty enough time to determine which funding opportunities you might be eligible for and help you to complete requirements for appropriate opportunities. Our final applications deadline is April 1st. If you do not plan to seek an assistantship, fellowship, or scholarship, you can complete your application in the online system before April 1st. Applications received by April 1st (that are complete in the online system) receive full consideration for admissions but are unlikely to be competitive for funding opportunities. If you apply before the April 1st date, you can also not begin the program until Fall. (Those applying for the January 15th date may also begin in Fall, but have the option of taking Summer courses their first year.)

Please note that applications must be complete in the online system before the application deadline. That means we must have all materials, including transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters, in the system before that deadline. You should work on your application well in advance of the deadline to allow time for transcripts to be sent, test scores transmitted, and letters submitted. It can take several weeks for test scores and transcripts to arrive and be processed, and recommenders often need time to complete their letters of recommendation.

What information do I need to apply?
Our application process requires official transcripts for all coursework you have completed, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement/application letter (more information about this statement in the next item). Applicants may also choose to submit GRE general exam scores but including GRE scores is optional. If you are an international student, you will also be required to submit official TOEFL scores. You can find more information on how to submit these materials in the online applications system.

What should I write in my application letter/personal statement?
Please address the following questions in crafting your letter of intent/application:
Why do you want to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Auburn University? How do your goals and interests align with the field of Educational Psychology? How do they align with our program at Auburn University?

A Ph.D. is a research-intensive degree program. What are your research interests? What questions do you hope to pursue in research?

Looking at the combined EPSY, ERMA, and FOUN faculty, all of whom are potential advisors and chairs for Educational Psychology doctoral students, with which faculty member(s) would you most want to work? How do your interests and goals align with the research and expertise of our program faculty?

How do I submit my application?
To submit your application, you will create an account and log into the online application system. You can find more information on the online application system by visiting graduate.auburn.edu and clicking “Apply Online.”

As soon as you start your online application, you should pay the application fee. Your application is not visible to the Admissions Coordinator or the Graduate School until the fee is paid, meaning we cannot help you check the status of your application or answer questions about the materials until the application fee is paid. The application fee can be waived in limited circumstances (including for Ronald McNair Scholars, Florida A&M Feeders Program, GEM applicants, and Active Duty Military). For information on fee waivers contact gradadm@auburn.edu.

You are encouraged to keep in contact with the Admissions Coordinator during the application process, especially once you have started your application and paid the application fee so that your application can be tracked.

What are the minimum scores for admission to the program?
Our program is test-optional for admissions, meaning you may choose to submit GRE scores or may choose not to include GRE scores in your application package. We encourage applicants to consider how to best present their strengths and their potential to succeed in a research-oriented doctoral program. It is up to applicants to determine if their application package would be strengthened by the inclusion of GRE scores. If you decide to send GRE scores, your official score report should be sent to Auburn University using institution code 1005, and should include the quantitative, verbal, and analytic writing scales.

To be eligible for admission, applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 or higher in prior coursework, and an earned Bachelor’s degree or higher, to be eligible for admissions. (If your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is not yet conferred at the time of application, you will be required to submit updated transcripts showing the degree conferred before beginning coursework for the doctoral program.) The average undergraduate GPA for admitted students is 3.45 and the average graduate GPA (for students with a prior graduate degree) is 3.73.

Whom should I ask for letters of recommendation?
Ideally, your letters of recommendation would be from college or university faculty familiar with your work who can speak to your ability to succeed in a doctoral program. In some cases, it might be appropriate for one of your recommenders to be a professional familiar with your work like a supervisor or colleague. Be sure to ask your recommenders for letters well in advance of application deadlines to allow time for them to complete the process. Your recommenders will receive an email notification from the online applications system (Apply Yourself) requesting that they complete a recommendation form and submit their letter of recommendation. You may wish to follow up with your recommenders to ensure they have submitted their letters in advance of the application deadline.

How do I submit my letters of recommendation?
You should use the online form that is connected to the online application for Graduate School. Each person you list will receive an electronic invitation to write a letter on your behalf. Please inform your recommenders that they must complete the electronic form that is provided to them, and then they will have an option to either complete a narrative statement or to upload a more formal letter of recommendation attached to the online form.

What address should I use to submit my transcripts?
Graduate School
Attn: Transcripts
106 Hargis Hall
Auburn, AL 36849-5122
You can also have your granting institution send electronic transcripts (if permitted by that institution). Please use graduatetranscripts@auburn.edu as the email address.

How do I check the status of my application?
You can check the status of your required items by reviewing it in the online application tool. For any item that is missing, feel free to send unofficial copies/screenshots to the department for review purposes. Remember: official copies of transcripts and GRE scores MUST be attached to your online application before you can be fully admitted.

What is the admissions process? When will I know if I have been admitted?
After each application deadline, the program faculty will meet to discuss applications. It is also typical that the faculty will schedule interviews with applicants. All interviews are scheduled by email and will be conducted via video conferencing software (about which you will receive emailed instructions). Following interviews, the faculty will vote on admissions, with a majority vote required for admissions decisions. For students with a majority admissions vote, a faculty member must also agree to serve as the student’s advisor before an admissions decision being made.

The admissions process can take several weeks after each deadline. Once your admissions status is finalized, you will receive an email notification from the graduate school informing you of the outcome of your application. This can take several weeks, but you should feel free to contact the Educational Psychology Admissions Coordinator for updates on the process.

Whom should I contact for questions about sending transcripts?
Please allow one to two weeks after your transcripts are sent for them to be processed by the Graduate School. If, after two weeks, you have questions about your transcripts’ status, you can contact the Graduate School at graduatetranscripts@auburn.edu. That email address can also be used for electronic delivery of transcripts.

Whom should I contact for questions about test scores?
Test scores should be sent directly by the testing company to Auburn University, using the institution code 1005 for both the GRE and TOEFL (if applicable). It can take three to six weeks for the test scores to be transmitted to Auburn and processed by the Graduate School. If your scores are not in the system after three to six weeks, please contact the Graduate School and the Educational Psychology Admissions Coordinator for assistance. If the application deadline is approaching, you can send a copy of your unofficial score report for use in admissions decisions. However, you will still have to supply official score reports for the TOEFL (if applicable) and GRE (if you choose to submit scores) from the testing company before beginning the program.


Does the program offer graduate assistantships?
Yes. Graduate research assistantships and graduate teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis. Program faculty may have graduate research assistantships available to work on projects related to their expertise, and there are some departmental assistantships as well. There are also a range of teaching assistantships offered, some of which involve providing instructional support for courses, and others of which involve being the instructor of record for undergraduate courses.

Most assistantships will require you to be a full-time student to be eligible, and that you be willing to be physically present on campus every week. Assistantships range anywhere from five to twenty hours per week and include a monthly stipend. The amount of the stipend varies based on the hours and the individual position.

Research assistantships are competitive and are dependent on funding. You should talk with your advisor after admissions for help seeking research assistantship positions. Teaching assistantships are also competitive and require 18 credit hours of graduate coursework in the field, and completion of the Teaching Apprenticeship course. For most students, that means waiting until the second year of the program to seek a teaching assistantship. There are also assistantships offered across campus in administrative units, like the writing center, student affairs, and other offices.

We are unable to guarantee an assistantship at the time of admission. However, if you apply before the January 15th deadline, our program and your faculty advisor will work to identify available opportunities and help you apply for them. While we cannot guarantee an assistantship will be available and that you will be selected for the position, our program is typically successful in placing full-time students in funded assistantship positions.

Are tuition waivers available?
Yes. Students placed in graduate assistantships may be eligible for a tuition waiver. There is some variation based on the individual position and home unit, but most graduate assistantships will also include a tuition waiver. The Graduate School has information on eligibility and terms for the tuition waiver program.

What scholarships and fellowships are available?
There are a range of scholarships and fellowships available to graduate students. The Graduate School has a listing of opportunities. Also, if you apply before the January 15th deadline and are admitted, your advisor can help identify fellowships and scholarships for which you may be eligible.

What other forms of aid are available?
There are other forms of financial aid available, including loans and federal aid. For more information on other forms of financial aid, contact Student Financial Aid.