2011 Graduate Study in Psychology

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Introduction and methodology

In January of each year the APA's Education Directorate notifies the chairs of graduate departments of psychology of the annual Graduate Study in Psychology effort.  The following month the chairs are sent a link to the survey.  This original e-mail is followed by three subsequent contacts requesting participation in the study.  APA receives a notification e-mail when a program has completed the survey and graduate departments are no longer listed until they respond again in a future year. The information is provided voluntarily by graduate departments and schools of psychology.


When using the information in this report, readers should be aware of possible sources of error.  Analyses are based on the subset of departments that participated in the survey, not the population at large. 

Further, some information was collected at the department level and some at the program level.  This is an important distinction because master's programs can reside either in doctoral-level departments or departments where the master's is the highest degree granted.  Therefore, information on some master's degree programs would be presented in tables reporting doctoral department data.  

The objective of Graduate Study in Psychology is to provide information about more than 450 departments, programs, and schools of psychology in the United States and Canada that award a graduate degree in psychology or related fields on the topics of student enrollment and support, departmental budget, faculty, enrollment and attrition rates, and requirements for admission. These data are available in a searchable online database. Individuals can locate information on specific departments using this tool.

Graduate Study in Psychology has been an ongoing effort for more than 20 years. Data are reported on demographic characteristics of faculty and first-year psychology graduate students, as well as applications, acceptances, and enrollments at U.S. and Canadian graduate departments of psychology. The report also includes admission and graduation requirements, tuition information, and information on financial support available to U.S. and Canadian graduate students in psychology. More data from previous Graduate Study in Psychology efforts can be found on the CWS homepage.

Specifically, this brief focuses on first- year students in doctoral-level and master's-level departments of psychology in the U.S. and Canada for the 2009-2010 academic year.

First-year full-time students

Data from Table 9 indicate that 484 U.S. graduate departments of psychology reported a total of 11,075 first-year full-time students in 2009-2010. Seventeen Canadian departments reported 318 first-year full-time students. Overall, in the U.S., Whites were 72% of 1st-year full-time students, Blacks or African/Americans comprised 8%, Hispanic students were at 10%, Asians were at 8%, and Native Americans were at 1%. First-year full-time students who claimed a multi-ethnic background were at 2%.

In doctoral departments in the U.S., White first-year full-time students were 62% of the total, Blacks were 16%, Hispanics were 11%, Asians were 8% and Native Americans were at 1%. Students claiming a multi-ethnic background were 2%. Students in master's departments were less diverse. Fully 81% were nonminority. Seven percent were Black, 9 % were Hispanic, 2 % were Asian, less than 1% were Native American and 1% were multi-ethnic.

The student body in doctoral departments in private institutions was somewhat more diverse than that in public settings (32% versus 25% minority). Blacks and Hispanics were more apt to be found in private settings than public, the reverse is true for Whites and Asians. Minority representation among students in master's departments in public and private settings was almost equal (25% versus 23% minority, respectively).

Canadian departments reported 88% nonminority 1st-year full-time students. Asian students represented 10% of the total 1st-year full-time students in Canadian departments. All other ethnic groups accounted for 1% or less of the total 1st-year-full-time students within Canadian departments.

First-year part-time students

One hundred and forty U.S. graduate departments of psychology reported a total of 1,645 1st-year part-time graduate students (Table 10). Sixty-eight percent of the U.S. students were White, 14% Black, 10% Hispanic, 6% Asian, 1% Native American and 2% multi-ethnic. Too few Canadian departments responded to report results on part-time students.

As was true with full-time students, students in doctoral departments were more diverse than students in master's departments (38% vs. 19% minority). Additionally, the part-time student body in doctoral departments in private institutions was more diverse than that in public settings (47% versus 21% minority). Minority representation among students in master's departments in public and private settings was almost equal (22% versus 25% minority, respectively).

First-year students in doctoral-level departments by setting of department – full time

Three hundred and seventy-one doctoral departments reported 6,586 first-year full-time students in 2009-10. Seventy-three percent of first-year full-time doctoral students in traditional academic settings were White compared to 68% in professional schools. Blacks were 8% in traditional settings and 10% in professional schools, while Hispanics were 7% in traditional settings and 11% in professional school settings. Native Americans and multi-ethnic students both contributed 1% each in traditional settings versus 1% and 3% in professional school settings. Conversely Asians were a smaller proportion of minority students in professional settings than in traditional at 8% and 10%, respectively. (Table 9a).

Looking at this another way, over half of all Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and multi-ethnic students were located in professional school settings, compared to 44% of Asians and 47% of Whites located in professional school settings for the 2009-2010 academic year.

First-year students in doctoral-level departments by setting of department – part time

Ninety-three doctorate-granting departments reported a total of 724 first-year part-time students. Overall, the patterns exhibited by part-time students resembled those of the full-time students addressed above. Minority representation in professional school settings was ten percentage points higher than in traditional academic settings (43% vs. 33%). (Table 10a).