General information

How long is the Ph.D. program?

The Ph.D. program requires two years of didactic course work and two to three years of dissertation research.

Applying to the program

Should I send in my application before I have all supporting documentation, such as letters of recommendation and GRE scores?

Submitting the application online starts the admissions process, but your application cannot be reviewed until we receive your application fee and all the required supporting documents. We recommend students complete the online application early and submit all documents before the deadline.

Is there a deadline for admitted students to inform the program of their decision to enroll?

Admitted students must inform the program of their intent to matriculate on or before the date that is outlined in their acceptance letter. 

What should I include in the statement of professional intent?

The statement must identify the faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work and research areas that you would like to pursue. The professional statement should demonstrate a clear understanding of how the program of study will benefit you in achieving your career goals. The Admissions Committee places a great deal of weight on the clarity of purpose and quality of the written statement of professional intent.

Application deadlines

What is the deadline for applications?

Applications may be submitted as soon as the online application is available each year. Applications received in January will receive priority consideration but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until slots are filled. Only complete applications will be reviewed for admission.

Will my application be reviewed if I miss the deadlines?

Applicants who submit their materials after the deadline greatly reduce their chances for review and/or funding. Applicants are advised that since a number of application materials must go through the VCU Graduate School and then to our program, some additional delay may be introduced by Graduate School processing of application materials. Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed only if vacancies remain. Students whose late or incomplete applications are not considered but still wish to be considered for the program must re-apply in the next academic year.

Transfer credit

Can I transfer courses that I took at another school?

Up to 30 percent of the didactic hours required for a Ph.D. in Social and Behavioral Sciences may be considered for transfer if they were not part of the requirements for a previously awarded degree. The transfer course(s) must be of graduate level from an accredited four-year institution, relevant to the degree, and be approved by the Ph.D. program. Students who have been accepted into the program and who wish to transfer in courses must send a written request to the Graduate Program Director.

Can I transfer courses that I took at VCU?

The same rule applies for transfer of courses taken at VCU as for courses taken at other institutions.


Can other tests replace the GREs?

GREs are the preferred test of aptitude and are required for all applicants. The program will also accept the MCAT with the permission of the Graduate Program Director. 

I took the GREs 10 years ago. Do I have to retake them to apply?

GRE test scores are accepted within five years of the test date only.

What is the VCU code for GRE scores?

VCU’s code is 5570.

Can the GRE be waived if I have a graduate degree from a U.S. institution?

All applicants must present GRE test scores.

Can TOEFL scores be waived if I have a graduate degree from a U.S. institution?

Yes. Applicants who graduate with a master’s degree following two years of study at a U.S. institution are not required to submit TOEFL scores. International applicants may also provide evidence of English language proficiency with English Language Proficiency Certification through appropriate English training programs at other U.S. institutions. All other international applicants must present an official TOEFL score. A copy of the score report is acceptable if an official current score cannot be obtained.

Distance learning

Do you offer online courses?

Currently the program is on-campus only, although some electives may be available online. Classroom attendance is necessary for almost all courses.