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Psychology College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies

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Admission Requirements & Application Instructions

Admission Requirements (All Applicants)

  1. Preferred Cumulative Undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Applicants with GPAs between 2.5 and 2.99 will be given lower priority.
  2. Undergraduate degree in Psychology preferred. ABA program applicants generally have a BA or BS in Psychology or a related field, such as Child Development, Speech Pathology, or Education.
  3. Program-specific Coursework Requirements.
    • General and I-O Programs.
      • Statistics and Method. All applicants must have completed two (2) upper division statistics/methods courses at a 4-year college with grades of C or better. This requirement is met with PSYC 121 and PSYC 102 at Sacramento State, or their equivalents at other universities. Course equivalents must have included research methods in which students have analyzed a dataset and written an APA-style paper. They must also have included descriptive and complex inferential statistics, such as factorial ANOVAs, mixed model ANOVAs, ANCOVAs, MANOVAS, planned and unplanned comparisons, factorial analysis, and multiple regression. Courses without these elements will not be approved. *PSYC 121 must be completed by the application deadline. PSYC 102 can be in progress to be admitted to the program or completed in the first semester of the program.
      • Lower Division Preparation. The following courses may be taken at a community college or 4 -year university: Introductory Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 2); Methods of Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 8); and Statistics for Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 9).
      • Upper Division Preparation. Applicants must take five Psychology courses at a 4-year university such as: Perception (Sac State: PSYC 103); Cognitive Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 110); Social Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 145); Abnormal Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 168); Developmental Psychology (Sac State: PSYC 148, PSYC 149, or PSYC 150); etc.
    • ABA Program.
      • All applicants must have completed a lower division undergraduate psychology course in research methods and an upper division undergraduate course in ABA with at least “C” grades in those courses. The lower division research requirement is met by PSYC 8 at Sacramento State, and the upper division ABA requirement is met by PSYC 171 at Sacramento State. Student may also take equivalents at other colleges or universities.

Admission Requirements for specific applicants.

ABA Applicants Only

All ABA Applicants are recommended to have prior course work in Applied Behavior Analysis prior to applying to the program. This could be achieved by taking PSYC 171 at Sacramento State, or an equivalent at another university. Applicants without Applied Behavior Analysis coursework will still be considered but may be asked to take PSYC 171 during their first year of graduate school.

Dates & Deadlines

The Sacramento State Psychology Graduate Program only accepts applicants for fall admission. There is no spring admission.

The following are our application and letter of recommendation deadlines. Late applications will not be accepted.

  • University Application – October 1, 2024
  • University Application – January 15, 2025
  • Letters of Recommendation – January 15, 2025

International Applicants and Domestic Applicants with Foreign Documents

International Applicants and Domestic Applicants with foreign documents must submit their application to the University no later than December 15, 2024 to ensure verification of their transcripts. International Applicants please contact the International Programs and Global Education office for assistance. Domestic Applicants with foreign documents should consult the Office of Graduate Studies prior to submitting their documents.

Application Instructions

University Application

  1. Complete a CSU System Application via CalState Apply.
  2. Send one set of official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, except Sacramento State. Transcripts should be addressed to: (preferred). Physical copies can be addressed to:
    Office of Graduate Studies
    California State University, Sacramento
    Riverfront Center, Room 215, MS 6112
    6000 J St.
    Sacramento, CA 95819
  3. In Quadrant IV, you will be required to upload the following information:
    • Personal Statement
    • Specific program option requirements (see below)
    • One (1) PDF copy of unofficial transcripts from ALL colleges and universities attended, INCLUDING Sacramento State.
    • 3 Letters of Recommendation
    • Catalog descriptions and syllabi for courses used to meet program prerequisites.

To check the status of a Cal State Apply application, contact Graduate Studies at (916) 278-6470.

Additional Program-Specific Application Requirements

Submitted in Quadrant IV in CalState Apply Application. Please carefully review the following information as it relates to the additional items required by each program. Failure to submit these additional materials may result in a denied application.

ABA Option Requirements

  • A personal statement of professional goals and experiences (max 2 double spaced pages). Include information on previous research and practicum experiences, academic training in ABA (if any), and post-graduation professional goals. Applicants should demonstrate that they are committed to studying Behavioral Analysis as a science to understand human behavior.
  • Provide a list of faculty within the behavior analysis program with whom you would like to work and why. Research some of the ABA faculty’s academic publications to become familiar with their research interests.
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV). List any behavior analysis classes with grades.
  • A minimum of three letters of recommendation (two must be from former professors).
  • Indicate whether you will be able to attend a personal interview/program tour on campus, to be held on TBA. Applicants are asked to RSVP on the Department application. A remote interview option is available.

General Psychology Option Requirements

A personal statement (max 2 double spaced pages) addressing the area of psychology you wish to study (e.g., Social, Developmental, Clinical, Biological, Cognitive, Quantitative, etc.) long-range career goals, research experience, as well a ranked list of three Psychology faculty members with whom you would like to work. Applicants are encouraged to research the interests of the department faculty to determine if their interests overlap. An applicant’s ranked list of faculty helps to determine if there is space available in the program and to assign an advisor upon admission.

I-O Psychology Option Requirements

Students who apply to the I-O program will be asked to write a personal statement that is a maximum of three double-spaced pages, in which they address the following questions:

  • Why are you interested in the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology? Briefly describe the topics that you would like to study while in graduate school.
  • What academic background (e.g., I-O related coursework and/or research experience) has prepared you for a graduate program in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
  • What work experiences (e.g., internships, volunteer work, full or part-time jobs) have prepared you to study Industrial-Organizational psychology?
  • Why are you interested in studying industrial-organizational psychology at Sacramento State University?

The GRE requirement for the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program has been waived for the 2024/2025 admissions cycle.

Letters of Recommendation

All applicants are required to submit 3 letters of recommendation (preferably Psychology faculty members) with their application.

We suggest that applicants waive their rights to see the letters of recommendation from their letter writers. In this way, letter writers are likely to speak freely, and faculty reviewers are likely to trust the contents of the letters. Waivers must be completed before invitations are sent to letter writers.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Sacramento State Psychology Graduate Program is not intended for those seeking to perform clinical counseling or mental health therapy. Those seeking such programs should visit the Sacramento State Counselor Education Program or the Masters of Social Work.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program: No.

General program: No.

Industrial-Organizational (I-O) program: The I-O program has waived the GRE requirement for the upcoming admissions cycle (Fall 2025).

You must submit a course description and the syllabi for the courses that you are using to satisfy the Psychology Stats/Methods requirement. You will be asked to upload these materials to the CalState Apply application in Quadrant IV.

No - The Department of Psychology will only consider applications from students who have submitted their completed applications by the stated deadline. Letters of Recommendation must be received by the Department no later than January 15th.

Because of the high volume of applications received by the Department, we are not able to provide status updates to applicants. However, applicants may check the status of their applications on My Sac State in the Student Center. You may contact the Psychology Department to ensure your materials have been received.

International applicants should apply through the International Programs and Global Education department. This will ensure that the Department can review your supplemental documents while IPGE processes your University application. International applicants should submit their applications to IPGE at least 30 days prior to our application deadline. Also, be sure to send transcripts that have been evaluated by World Education Services (WES). Visit International Programs and Global Education for additional information.

Additional Information