Admission & Program FAQs
When is the application deadline?
The application deadline is December 1st. If positions are still available, we will consider applicants who apply after this deadline. To find out if any positions are still available, you should contact the professor(s) with whom you want to work.
How to Apply
Applicants will submit an application online through the SLATE system. Begin by visiting graduate admissions and select "Apply." Applicants should select the start term and create an account (if a first-time user) or log in (if returning to continue an application).
- On the application's "Program Information page," select "Social and Behavioral Sciences" from the Academic Area of Interest.
- Under "Academic Program," search for "Behavioral Psychology (PhD)” if applying to the doctoral program or “Applied Behavioral Science (MA)” if applying to the MA program.
Fill out the online application and attach the required documents. Required documents to attach with the online application minimally include the following:
- Personal statement
- 3 letters of Recommendation
- GRE (optional, but recommended)
- Copies of official transcripts. Student advising reports or documents titled “unofficial document/transcript” cannot be accepted for admission review. (Official transcripts with degree conferral will need to be obtained if accepted into the program). Note, former/current KU students are not required to provide copies of KU transcripts for application. If a degree was earned outside of KU, a copy of the official transcript must be provided.
- List of faculty members with whom the prospective student is interested in working
Is the GRE required?
- While students are not required to take the GRE, students who have done well on it may be at an advantage compared with others who have not taken the exam
- The Department considers students who may have less than perfect verbal or quantitative scores and they may still be strong candidates for graduate study.
Is there a minimum undergraduate GPA, below which my application will not be considered?
- No, but you must keep in mind that admission to graduate school is a competition.
- The most qualified applicant will be the one accepted. Having said that, we recognize that many students do poorly in their first year or two of undergraduate study.
- We also recognize that students with extensive math and/or physical science coursework on their transcripts may have lower GPAs than more traditionally trained undergraduate psychology majors.
- With respect to your academic record, we tend to look for students who posted a high GPA in their last two years and have taken (and done well in) coursework relevant to behavioral science.
Who reviews my application?
On the departmental application, you will indicate the faculty members with whom you would like to work. These faculty members will conduct the initial review of your application. From there, if a faculty member is interested in your application, he/she must obtain the consent of three other faculty members and the department's director of graduate training before your name can be forwarded to the KU Graduate School with our recommendation to accept.
What happens after I submit my application?
- Shortly after the application deadline, the ABS faculty will review all completed applications. This process may take several weeks to complete as it must be coordinated with the KU Graduate School.
- If one of the professors puts you on their shortlist of candidates, then that professor will contact you.
- The professor will usually invite you to visit KU and discuss how your career goals may be compatible with the activities of that professor. Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit KU if invited to do so.
- The professor with whom you interviewed will notify you of his/her decision in a timely fashion.
- Ultimately, students must be accepted by the professor in the ABS department and the KU Graduate School (a separate entity). Students are not admitted into the program without both acceptances.
When do you typically know if you will be accepted to the program?
- First, applicants should know that each applicant must be accepted by a faculty member of the ABS department and the KU Graduate School (a separate entity). If both of these requirements are met, only then will the student be admitted into the ABS program. For example, it is possible to be accepted by the KU Graduate School and not accepted by a faculty member. In this situation (and similar situations), the student would not be accepted into the ABS program.
- Shortly after the application deadline, the ABS faculty will review all completed applications. This process may take several weeks to complete as it must be coordinated with the KU Graduate School. If one of the faculty members puts you on their shortlist of candidates, then that faculty member will contact you and invite you to an interview. The faculty member will usually invite you to visit KU and discuss how your career goals may be compatible with the activities of that professor. Applicants are strongly encouraged to visit KU if invited to do so. Following the interview, the faculty member will either invite you to join their lab or, most likely, place you on their waiting list. If you are placed on the waiting list, the faculty member will usually contact you with a final decision within a few weeks. The professor with whom you interviewed will notify you of their decision in a timely fashion.
Does the graduate program offer funding and/or tuition waivers or reimbursement?
- Funding for graduate students depends on the faculty advisor and his or her sources of funding (e.g., grants, clinical work, etc.). Currently, the majority of the students in the doctoral program have funding.
- While some faculty can offer graduate teaching or research assistantships, the department does not guarantee funding. Contact the faculty with whom you would like to work to learn more about funding opportunities they may provide for you
How long does it typically take to complete the program?
- Ph.D. - If a student enters with a master's degree, it is expected that the student will complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree within four years.
- Both M.A. and Ph.D. - Students who enter the department with a bachelor's degree are required to complete the requirements for the master's degree before pursuing the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. Typically, students will complete the requirements for the master's degree within 3 years and the requirements for the Ph.D. degree within 4 to 7 years.
Does the ABS department offer courses and supervision that fulfill the requirements of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)?
- The ABS Department currently offers a course sequence that fulfills the BACB education requirements. The ABS department does not programmatically offer supervision. However, many faculty will provide the supervision necessary to fulfill the BACB supervision requirements. If you are interested, you should discuss this with faculty with whom you are interested in studying.
- You may visit the BACB for eligibility and exam information.
Is the ABS program accredited through the Association of Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)?
Yes, the master’s and doctoral programs are currently accredited by the ABAI through 2025.
Can people work/do research with faculty other than their advisor?
Students are typically admitted to work with one faculty member. In addition, students are often very busy conducting either their own research under supervision of their faculty advisor or conducting research that is part of their advisor's line of research. Further, the faculty member with whom the student wishes to work may not have sufficient time or resources to supervise an additional graduate student. However, there is nothing that prohibits the practice of working/doing research with multiple faculty members. Applicants are encouraged to discuss this with the faculty members with whom they may be interested in working.
Are you expected to stay in Lawrence for the summer?
This depends on the needs and requirements of your faculty supervisor. Some faculty supervise clinical and research programs that are in operation whenever KU is in session and some faculty supervise clinical and research programs that are open year-round. If your faculty supervisor does not work during the summer, it is still expected that you work on projects that contribute to your progress as a student, such as continued exposure to the literature and writing manuscripts.
My question didn't appear in this list.
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