These are the Application Procedures for the MA and MS Program only.  Applicants to the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology have a separate application process located here.

NOTE: You must complete two applications, (1) Cal State Apply and (2) Department Application (see step 5)!

A link to the departmental application is provided in Step 5 below.  

The Psychology Department Online Application is available now.  Please read the following instructions carefully and remember you must apply (1) to the University and (2) to the department.

Before you apply:

  • Ensure you satisfy both the San Diego State University and the Psychology Department requirements as outlined on the Admission Requirements page.
  • The deadline for the online University application ( is December 1.
  • The CAL STATE APPLY Application will ask for your “Statement of Purpose.”   You are not required to enter this, but can can state,  “Statement sent directly to department/program.”  You WILL need to include your Statement of Purpose for the Department Application (Step 5 below).
  • IMPORTANT: Once you submit your SDSU application, Cal State Apply takes 7-10 days to generate an Empl ID/Red ID.  You will need this number to submit your DEPARTMENT application,  so please figure this into your timeline.
  • The deadline for the departmental application is December 15.  

Application to the Psychology Department Master’s Program is a 5-step process:

IMPORTANT NOTE: GRE scores are not required for the M.A. program, but are required for the M.S. program. Please note, carefully identify the appropriate Master’s program during the application process.

Step 1: All graduate and post-baccalaureate applicants (regardless of citizenship status) applying to SDSU from an international institution where the medium of instruction was not English, must submit one of the following as proof of English proficiency: 

  1. TOEFL minimum score of 80 iBT/ 550 PBT: Score can be sent electronically from Educational Testing Service (ETS) using the SDSU institution code: 4682. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  2. IELTS overall score of 6.5 or higher: Score report must be submitted directly to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  3. Duolingo English Test score of 105 or higher: Score can be sent electronically from Duolingo, to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  4. PTE minimum score of 58 or higher: Score report must be submitted directly to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office. Test score must be from within the past two years.
  5. Transcripts have been received indicating English as the principle language of instruction.

A copy of your official score report or unofficial transcript can be submitted through your my.SDSU account under Upload Admission Documents.


ETS: Educational Testing Services

GRE: Graduate Records Examinations

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Step 2:  Apply to the University by December 1.

You are required to submit the CSU application form and application fee to the SDSU office of Graduate Admissions.  The application and fee payment is on-line, at: CAL STATE APPLY (

A SDSU Empl ID/Red ID Number will then be assigned, which allows tracking of your application status online. IMPORTANT: Once you submit your SDSU application, Cal State Apply takes 7-10 days to generate an Empl ID/Red ID. You will need this number to submit your DEPARTMENT application, so please take this into account.

Students applying to both the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program (JDP) and the Master’s program are required to file only one CSU application and pay only one fee, which will cover both programs. However, you must file a (1) department application for the JDP and (2) a separate application for the Master’s program.

Step 3: Submit Official Transcripts

Graduate applicants are required to submit official transcripts in sealed envelopes (issued by the school) from all post-secondary schools attended. Do not send transcripts before submitting the Cal State Apply application as this may result in processing delays.


  1. U.S. Postsecondary Institutions
    • Official transcripts must have been issued within the last year. Transcript received with print dates older than one year will not be accepted.
    • If you previously attended SDSU, you need only submit transcripts for work completed since last attendance. If you are a current SDSU student you are not required to submit an SDSU transcript.
    • Electronic transcripts are acceptable. Please ensure that you indicate this preference when making your request. If you are required to provide an email address to send the secure online document to SDSU, please use
  2. International Institutions
    • If you have international coursework, you must have your school send one official original-language record of all academic coursework and proof of degree also in the original-language.
    • For each original-language document you must also send a certified literal English translation, which can come directly from the school itself or from a professional, certified translator. The translation must contain all information shown on the original-language documents.
    • For details on which documents are required, visit the Requirements by Country page. Failure to submit the exact country-specific documents listed may result in your application being canceled

Transcripts Deadline

The deadline to submit official transcripts will be indicated in your my.SDSU account under “Admission Status”. Official documents should be submitted to:

Graduate Admissions
San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-7416

APPLICANTS WITH INTERNATIONAL COURSEWORK (Disregard this section if all course work was completed in USA)

Step 4 (International Students Only):  

Follow all instructions outlined here:   For additional information, please email

Step 5: Departmental Application-All applicants domestic and international apply by December 15!

The Psychology Department is using an online application. Complete the program application using Interfolio. Click on one of the two links below to begin the program application for your desired program.


In preparation for the department application, please prepare the following documents.

  1. In addition to transcripts submitted to the university in Step 3, you will need to upload pdf versions of your Transcripts for EVERY College-Level Institution you have ever Attended (unofficial OK). Please note the university requires official transcripts but you may upload official or unofficial transcripts for the department application. If you only have a hard copy, please scan your transcripts to a PDF. When scanning your documents, keep the size of document as small as possible by selecting black and white (not color) and a medium resolution (not the highest or best resolution). Please ensure that your transcript is readable. If you choose to upload an unofficial transcript, keep in mind that copying and pasting your transcript information from a university website may yield an unformatted, illegible transcript. In that case you will need to upload an official transcript. If your transcript is not legible, your application will not be considered. If transcripts are missing, your application will not be considered.
  2. Statement of Purpose. This is a good opportunity to tell us why you would be a successful student in our graduate program. Please include information about your background relevant to your planned graduate study, areas of discipline that are of particular interest to you (and why based on your past preparation and long-term professional goals), why you are specifically interested in San Diego State University’s program (including faculty mentor preferences and how their research program fits with your interests), and any other information relevant to the selection criteria outlined below (3 double-spaced pages or less).
    1. Academic Preparation – Strong applicants need to have a foundational knowledge in basic psychological science, including quantitative methods, research design, and scientific writing.
    2. Scholarly and Research Potential – Strong applicants show research potential to complete a thesis project. Prior research experience and/or strong potential in forming testable research hypotheses is excellent preparation for this goal.
    3. Awards, Leadership, and Service – Strong applicants are leaders and good citizens in their respective fields. Applicants may demonstrate leadership and/or good citizenship within the research domain (e.g., awards for scholarship, obtaining independent research funding) or may demonstrate leadership in other non-research domains that conceptually tie to their research interest (e.g., advocacy for marginalized groups).
    4. Non-Cognitive Factors –  Strong applicants show evidence of factors that may indicate likelihood for success in an academic career (e.g., grit, persistence, passion, overcoming barriers, flexibility, collaboration, openness to feedback, commitment to mentorship, adaptability, integrity, taking ownership, conscientiousness, time management, focus)
    5. Alignment with Program – Strong applicants demonstrate research interests that are consistent with faculty with the program. Although applicants may not be perfect matches for an individual faculty, we adopt a mentorship model for lab-based research training and a reasonable match with faculty interests is critical to provide an adequate training environment. 

3. Your Resume or CV Guidelines Here.
When you are on the online application (Interfolio), you will need to provide the following:

4. Prerequisites. This is in “Other Document” section. Complete and upload Prerequisite form. See Document Checklist (under Forms) for details.  The forms may also be found here:

5. Three Letters of Recommendation
We have completely eliminated the use of the paper letters of recommendation. As part of the electronic application, you will be asked to indicate the names, titles, institution, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of three recommenders. Interfolio will contact your recommenders with instructions for uploading their letter.

We admit students for fall semester only. The departmental application deadline is December 15.

For information on the application for the Joint Doctoral Program, click here.