Graduate Program in Psychology


The Graduate Field of Psychology includes faculty members from departments across the university including Psychology, Neurobiology and Behavior, Communication, and Philosophy.  M.A. and Ph.D. candidates are admitted. The goal of the Field is to educate students to become researchers, scholars, and teachers who will contribute to the future of psychology as a scientific discipline in academic or other research-oriented settings.

Psychology PhD Program Handbook: download PDF file

Currently: The dominant strengths of the Field lie in three broadly defined areas: Behavioral and Evolutionary NeurosciencePerception, Cognition and Development; and Social/Personality Psychology.

Future Plans: The dominant strengths of the Field lie in four broadly defined areas: Cognition, DevelopmentNeuroscience, and Social and Personality.
(The future areas will only strengthen our current program). 

Fall 2022 -2023 application cycle for the Fall 2023 - 2024 academic year, will be administered under the current program which will be grandfathered into future plans.

We do not offer training in clinical psychology, counseling, school psychology, community psychology, industrial psychology, or clinical neuropsychology. Applicants with primary interests in these subjects are not admitted.

How to Apply

You must apply directly to the Cornell University Graduate School. You may also want to investigate the Cornell Graduate School site for additional information about applying. 

Application requirements

  • Unofficial transcript of the undergraduate record
  • Three letters of recommendation, with a fourth letter optional, which your recommender will upload to the application.
  • Academic Statement of Purpose

    Describe (within 1000 words) the substantive research questions you are interested in pursuing during your graduate studies, and explain how our program would help you achieve your intellectual goals. Additionally, detail your academic background, intellectual interests and any training or research experience you have received that you believe has prepared you for our program. Within your statement, please also identify specific faculty members whose research interests align with you own interests.

  • Personal statement of interest

    Please describe (within 1000 words) how your personal background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Additionally, provide insight on your potential to contribute to a community of inclusion, belonging, and respect where scholars representing diverse backgrounds, perspectives, abilities, and experiences can learn and work productively and positively together. We also encourage you to include information on any of the following areas:

    • How your personal, academic, and/or professional experiences demonstrate your ability to be both persistent and resilient especially when navigating challenging circumstances.
    • How you engage with others and have facilitated and/or participated in productive teams.
    • How you have experienced or come to understand the barriers faced by others whose experiences and backgrounds may differ from your own.
    • If relevant, how your research interests focus on issues related to diversity, inclusion, access, inequality, and/or equity.
    • Your service and/or leadership in efforts to advance diversity, inclusion, access, and equity especially by those from backgrounds historically underrepresented and/or marginalized.
    • Additional context around any perceived gaps or weaknesses in your academic record (including, but not limited to, personal and family struggles with unemployment and health as a result of the pandemic,systemic discrimination and the fight for civil rights, and any other situational factors that may have impacted achievements throughout your life).

Applicants are not required to submit scores on the GRE; GRE subject test in psychology, or to have had an undergraduate major in psychology for the 2022 - 2023 application cycle. Prior research experience is highly desirable; applicants may submit research reports or work. Persons whose primary interests lie in clinical, counseling, industrial, or school psychology should not apply.

The closing date for applications was December 15, 2023. For any questions or concerns please email our Graduate Field Representative at

The Field Structure

At Cornell, graduate study is organized using a field structure.  Fields are composed of faculty members from a number of departments who come together around a shared intellectual interest, and may draw from different campuses or colleges.  Graduate students are admitted to fields of study.  Within each field, they select major and minor subjects, which are research interests or concentrations.

Fields span departments and even disciplines.  It’s possible for a student in the field of economics to include faculty on his or special committee from industrial labor and economics, civil and environmental engineering, and sociology along with the more traditional economics and management.

For example, the Graduate Field of Psychology includes faculty from

  • neurobiology and behavior (College of Agriculture & Life Sciences and College of Arts & Sciences)
  • industrial and labor relations (School of Industrial and Labor Relations)
  • nutritional science (College of Human Ecology)

Click here for the complete "Fields of Study, Subjects, and Concentrations" in PDF form.


David A. Pizarro, Director of Graduate Studies
Uris Hall, Room 234
Phone: 607-699-1327

Pamela A. Cunningham, Graduate Field Assistant - Psychology
Uris Hall, Room 211
Phone: 607-255-3834
Fax: 607-255-8433

Student Life

Please visit the following links for information about Living in IthacaGrad Student LifeGrad Student Communities and the Big Red Barn (an on-campus Grad Student Pub).