Department of Psychology

Dr. Ian Handley - Graduate Coordinator

PO Box 173440, Bozeman, MT 59717-3440



The Graduate School application process can be completed online.  We encourage applicants to reach out to any faculty member they are interested in working with before beginning the application process. Applicants should also review the Psychology Department's Application Page which contains information about what materials applicants should prepare before applying online. 

Overall, the Psychology department requires the following application materials during the online application process:

  1. All previous college/university transcripts (official transcripts only); MSU graduates do not need to supply official transcripts
  2. Three letters of recommendation (be prepared to supply your recommenders' contact information)
  3. A statement
  4. Optional Writing samples


The closing date for receipt of completed applications is January 1. For detailed admission requirements, review the Admission Policies and Application Requirements sections on The Graduate School website. Successful applicants must have their applications accepted by The Graduate School (with departmental endorsement) before an individual is considered a graduate student at MSU. 

Financial Assistance

Teaching Assistantships or Research Assistantships, which are awarded on a competitive basis, are usually available to formally admitted graduate students during their four years of study. See the Financial Support for Graduate Students section on the departmental home page for more information (assistantships are requested by the student's home department).

Graduate Program

The Department of Psychology at Montana State University offers a research-oriented Ph.D. degree in Psychological Science. Psychological Science is a broad term for scientific research in the core academic areas of psychology.  These areas include cognitive, developmental, health, learning, physiological, and social psychology.  Psychologists conducting psychological research work in a wide range of settings such as colleges and universities, health care facilities, federal & state government, small & large businesses, and many other places.

The goal of our graduate program is to train students to think critically about theory and evidence, to understand and use statistical procedures, and to design, conduct, and publish psychological research. The psychology department at MSU does not have graduate faculty who specialize in clinical, counseling, community, or school psychology.  Moreover, we are not a practitioner-oriented program.  We are a program for students who want to conduct research and pursue research-oriented careers, academic or otherwise. 

To satisfy the degree requirements, students must work intensively with their advisor to complete a research project culminating in a written master's thesis by their second year, complete qualifying exams by the beginning of the fourth year, and complete an advanced research project culminating in a written dissertation within or after the fourth year. Students must complete at least 3 graduate-level psychology courses on statistics/research methods, 1 credit of a teaching course, and 8 content courses. General areas of faculty research interest include: cognitive psychology, physiological psychology, social psychology, health psychology, statistics, and research methods.

The psychology faculty at MSU uses an individualized mentorship approach to graduate training. Students and their advisors work together to devise a program of coursework and research best suited for the students' career goals. The opportunity to conduct research with a faculty member is a unique component of our graduate program as it provides training useful for the ultimate pursuit of a research-related career in academic or non-academic settings.