How to Apply


Procedures for Cognitive Admissions

Apply to the Graduate School of the University of Massachusetts. Specify “Cognition” as your area of concentration.

Be sure to look at the general guidelines for applying to graduate programs in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

We strongly encourage diversity among our students.

Criteria for Admissions

All of the following will be taken into consideration.

Self Statement
This is the single most important item in your portfolio. We look for a match in research interests, an ability to communicate effectively, and long-term goals that will be well served by the training you would receive.

Grades and Courses
Generally our students have around a 3.5 or better grade point average based on a 4-point scale. We carefully consider the difficulty of the courses taken and the general reputation of the undergraduate institution from which the degree was received. In addition to courses in cognition and cognitive neuroscience, we particularly look at subjects such as statistics, mathematics, and the hard sciences.

Research Experience
Because our program emphasizes research, evidence of prior research involvement is essential. Research experience is a good predictor of success in the program.

Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required; three are very much preferred. A least one of the letters should come from someone who has worked with you closely and can speak to your research ability.

Test Scores
GRE scores are required. Quantitative and analytic scores are particularly important.

All of these factors are taken into consideration in the application and no one factor (except mismatched interests) is usually fatal to chances for admission. If a student has lower-than-average GRE scores, but excellent grades and letters of recommendation, for example, the GRE scores will tend to be discounted. We encourage applications not only from students who majored in psychology or neuroscience, but also those who have majored in biology, linguistics, computer science, engineering, or mathematics.

Further Information and Applications

Additional information about the University of Massachusetts can be obtained from:

Graduate Admissions Office
530 Goodell Building
University of Massachusetts Amherst
140 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003-9333

Additional information about the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences can be obtained from:

Sabrina Flagg, Graduate Administrative Assistant (email)
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Tobin Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-7710

(413) 545-2503 (Office)
(413) 545-0996 (Fax)