The Graduate Program in Psychology at Georgetown University offers a five-year, full-time program of study in developmental science leading to a Ph.D. in Psychology. Located in close proximity to the White House, Congress, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies, and many of the world’s most prestigious research and nonprofit organizations, the  Department of Psychology provides a unique graduate education that bridges academic study and practice in both public policy and health/medicine.

Our two graduate student concentrations take full advantage of these resources. Students concentrate in either Human Development and Public Policy or Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience. A dual degree in Psychology (Ph.D.) and Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) is also offered in collaboration with the McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP).

Both concentrations offer strengths that include an interdisciplinary education in the processes and contexts of development across the lifespan. Program requirements are explicitly designed to offer students rigorous training in the range of theories and methods that characterize the developmental sciences and enable them to place the study of development into the broader contexts – biological, familial, social, cultural, economic, historical, political – from which the field draws its societal applications. A complete statement of the program’s learning goals can be found in the Department’s Graduate Handbook

University resources afforded graduate students include the McCourt School of Public Policy, Georgetown Law Center (new window)  and Georgetown School of Foreign Service (new window), each of which is among the leading programs in the nation. The Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience (new window) at the Georgetown School of Medicine offers resources for cognitive neuroscience studies, including neuroimaging facilities and colloquia.

Up to four students are admitted each year, and 100% of them are guaranteed four years of funding through Graduate School-funded teaching fellowships. Part-time study is not available. The Department does not offer a graduate degree in clinical or counseling psychology.

Concentration in Cognitive Science
Furthermore, Ph.D. applicants to the Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience concentration can choose to apply for a secondary concentration in Cognitive Science. Cognitive Science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind and deals with the nature of perception, motor organization, memory, language, thinking, consciousness, and learning and development.  It investigates these topics from a number of methodological perspectives, including behavioral evidence for how these systems operate and formal, symbolic, and biological evidence on the computational and neural machinery that underlies them. Research on these topics comes centrally from several traditionally distinct fields: psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and neuroscience. Other relevant disciplines – biology, anthropology, economics, and decision sciences – are also part of this burgeoning field. Psychology students in the Cognitive Science concentration at Georgetown will obtain their Ph.D. in Psychology and will also develop an individualized interdisciplinary program of study, with a supervisory committee of faculty who come from their fields of interest.

For more information, please see the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Concentration in Cognitive Science (ICCS) page at:

Degrees Offered

  • Ph.D.
  • Ph.D./Master’s in Public Policy (M.P.P.)

Application Deadlines

Summer 2021 (Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience)

December 1, 2020

Fall 2021 (Human Development and Public Policy)

December 1, 2020

Application Requirements

Please be sure to review the Graduate School Admissions How to Apply page.


Please be sure to review the program’s website for additional information on program application requirements.

Application Materials required:

  • Application Form
  • Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts – Applicants are required to upload to the application system copies of official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions attended. Visit our How to Apply (new window) page for additional details and FAQs.
  • Official Recommendations (3)
  • GRE Score
  • TOEFL/IELTS  (please see below)
  • Writing Sample
Application Procedure

Applications may be made to either the doctoral program (Ph.D. in Psychology) or the joint program (Ph.D. in Psychology and Masters in Public Policy) program. Those applying to the joint program must apply to and be accepted by both the Graduate Psychology program and the McCourt School of Public Policy (MSPP).

Applicants must specify one of the two concentrations within the Psychology program and identify faculty with whom the applicant would like to work. Applicants to either Ph.D. or the Ph.D./M.P.P. program are expected to have had prior preparation in research methods and statistics.

Applicants must apply online.  The 500-word statement of purpose should include your academic, professional, and personal goals, and a discussion of how graduate work in Psychology will help you to achieve these goals. The statement should also specify your interest in one of the two areas of concentration.

A writing sample, typically chosen from your undergraduate work, which best reflects your abilities and interests as they relate to your chosen concentration in the Ph.D. program must also be uploaded to your online application.


Results of the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required for all applicants. Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical scores are required. The Psychology subject test is not required. Georgetown University’s reporting code is 5244. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE scores.  Information on registering to take the GRE can be found at:


All applicants are required to demonstrate a level of proficiency in the English language sufficient to meet the admission requirement of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Proficiency can be demonstrated by the receipt of a bachelor’s or advanced degree from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States or from a university where English is the primary language of instruction (please note that applicants receiving degrees at universities in U.S. territories, such as Puerto Rico, are required to submit the TOEFL or IELTS unless the primary language of instruction at the institution is English). All other applicants must achieve at least a minimum score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test. Test scores must be received by the application deadline date. Applicants should allow six to eight weeks from the test date for the reporting of scores to the institution. Applications will not be considered without GRE or TOEFL/IELTS scores.

TOEFL: A minimum score of 80 (iBT test) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).  Georgetown University’s reporting code is 5244. TOEFL information:

IELTS: A minimum score of 7.0 from the International English Language Testing System. IELTS Information:

Degree Requirements

The core graduate curriculum includes coursework in statistics/methodology; advanced theory and evidence; applications of developmental science; and scientific ethics, as well as experience and instruction in teaching, grant writing and other practical skills.

The requirements of the graduate program are designed to:

  • Ensure that students receive solid grounding in the interdisciplinary roots and methods of developmental science.
  • Involve students in research immediately upon starting their graduate education and, over the course of their education, encourage them to develop an original line of inquiry.
  • Instruct students in the critical analysis, teaching and communication skills that are critical to success in an array of post-Ph.D. positions.

Credits Required

  • Ph.D. with a concentration in Human Development and Public Policy: 42 credits
  • Ph.D. with a concentration in Lifespan Cognitive Neuroscience: 48/49 credits
  • Ph.D./M.P.P. (Master’s in Public Policy): 51 credits

There is no option of part-time study in this graduate degree program.