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PhD in Psychology

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


Programme Structure and Curriculum

What is the duration of the programme?
It is a four-year full-time programme.

Can I take the programme on a part-time basis?
No, the programme can only be taken on a full-time basis.

Is there more than one admission intake in a year?
No, there is only one admission intake in August each year.

How many credit units are required in the programme?
Students are required to complete 52 course units to meet the graduation requirement.

What is the curriculum structure like?
Students will complete most of the foundation and elective courses in Years One and Two of the programme. They are also expected to complete and defend their Master's Thesis by the end of Year Two. The programme will then focus more on research projects, and contributions to academic publications and presentations as students advance progressively in their training.

For more details, please refer to Programme Structure and Curriculum.

Can the programme be taken by distance learning?
The programme is not offered by distance learning. The courses are conducted at SMU campus and students are expected to attend all the courses personally.


Admissions and Eligibility

What are the application requirements?
Please click here for more information on the admission requirements.

Am I required to have work experience?
Work experience is not required.

Can I be exempt from taking GRE? 
The GRE General is required for all applicants except those graduating with a bachelor degree (in any discipline) from SMU, NUS, NTU, and SUTD (i.e., Singapore autonomous universities). Applicants from these universities will be considered without GRE scores (however, they are encouraged to submit their scores if available).

GRE Psychology Subject test is not required. However, applicants without a bachelor degree in psychology are strongly encouraged to take it and submit their result so that their knowledge in basic psychology can be taken into consideration when we review their application. 

GRE General and Psychology Subject tests must be taken within five years prior to applying to the programme.

Am I required to take TOEFL / IETLS test?
Applicants must show proficiency in the English language. Applicants, whose Undergraduate medium of instruction was not in English, are to sit for either TOEFL or IELTS. More information can be obtained from the TOEFL website and IELTS website. SMU's TOEFL institution code is 9014.

What is the minimum GRE or TOEFL score? 

There is no minimum GRE or TOEFL score requirement.

What is the validity period of the GRE or TOEFL / IELTS score?

The GRE test score is valid for 5 years from the date of the examination. TOEFL / IELTS results are valid for 2 years.

How can I find out more about GRE tests?

More information can be obtained from the GRE website which provides information on preparing and registering for the GRE tests. SMU’s GRE institution code is 2861.




What is the application procedure?
Applications must be submitted online. Click here to start. Please read the General Instructions carefully before submitting your application.

Is there an application fee?
Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee of S$15. Applications received without the application fee will not be processed.

Are there any scholarships or financial assistance available?
Full scholarships are available on a competitive basis. For more information on scholarships, please click here.

Can I apply before I have taken GRE?
Applicants may send application without the GRE test scores. However, applications cannot be processed until the GRE scores are received before the closing date for application. Applicants should fax or email us the unofficial scores as soon as possible and arrange with the test centre for the official score report to be sent to SMU.

Can I apply before I have taken TOEFL / IELTS?
Applicants may send application without the TOEFL/IELTS scores. However, applications cannot be processed until the TOEFL/IELTS scores are received before the closing date for application. Applicants should fax or email us the unofficial scores as soon as possible and arrange with the test centre for the official score report to be sent to SMU.

Can I apply if I have not graduated from my Undergraduate programme?
An official copy of the full transcript is acceptable in lieu of a Bachelor's degree certificate if the latter is not available during the application period. However, applicants must ensure that they will be able to commence lessons in the intake that they are applying for.



Do you offer Master's degree in Psychology?
The Psychology PhD programme does not offer a terminal master degree. That is, the MSc degree in Psychology is awarded as part of the progression towards the PhD degree. A student who did not complete all the PhD degree requirements is not automatically awarded the MSc degree, although in exceptional circumstances he/she may be awarded the MSc degree if the student successfully completes all the MSc degree requirements and is deemed by the School to be in good standing and of satisfactory performance.

Can I get any course requirement exemptions if I have already earned a Master's degree from another institution prior to being admitted to the programme?
In most cases, students with a Master's degree will still need to take the required courses and complete the Master's thesis for meeting the Ph.D. graduation requirement of 52 course units. However, applicants with a Master's degree can also submit information regarding their previously earned Master's degree (e.g., official transcript, Master's thesis) along with their application. If the applicant is admitted to the programme, we will review on a case-by-case basis on possible exemptions from certain courses and/or Master's thesis.

What are the career prospects for graduates of this programme?
As the programme is designed to equip our students with the necessary skills to evaluate, conduct and publish research, we expect our graduates will be qualified to work in academic settings. There should also be good opportunities for Psychology PhD holders trained in research psychology in the public and private sectors.

How many information sessions do you have a year?
Generally, one information session is conducted each year between September and November. You may wish to refer to here for the latest updates.

Last updated on 15 Sep 2017 .