A private, nonprofit, accredited educational institution, founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology (PGSP).

M.S. Psychology Admissions

Global Online + One-Week Residency

Palo Alto University's online programs meet weekly online and use formats the enable students to interact with professors and other students.

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Quick Application Checklist

  1. Online Application in PSYCAS
  2. Application Fee
  3. Official Transcripts
  4. Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  5. Letters of Recommendation
  6. Statement of Purpose

See Application Details, below for complete instructions on submitting materials.

Please note: Beginning September 15, 2016, PAU will begin using PSYCAS for all graduate applications.


Application Deadlines

The M.S. Psychology Ph.D. Prep program begins in fall quarter only. Classes typically begin after Labor Day weekend in early September.

Fall Quarter Admission Deadlines

  • June 30: Priority Deadline for admissions and early acceptance eligibility. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by July 15 and receive priority enrollment for available slots.
  • July 31: Regular Deadline
  • August 31: Rolling Admissions on a space-available basis.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit applications well in advance of deadlines. Be sure to allow plenty of time for transcripts and letters of recommendation to arrive at Palo Alto University. Applications submitted closer to the deadline frequently cannot be reviewed because supporting documents are not received in a timely manner.


Where to Send Documents

Please note: Beginning September 15, 2016, PAU will begin using PSYCAS for all graduate applications, and materials should be submitted through PSYCAS, not directly to the PAU Admissions Office. Instructions on how to submit materials through the PSYCAS system can be found here


Admission Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited institution or the international equivalent.


Admissions Recommendations

A GPA of 3.3 or higher is recommended. If the undergraduate major was not psychology, four prerequisite courses are strongly recommended for the M.S. in Psychology Ph.D. Prep program: 

  • Developmental psychology
  • Physiological or biological psychology
  • Personality or abnormal psychology
  • Statistics

GRE scores are not required for admission to the Master's degree program. However, students who wish to be considered for transfer to the Palo Alto University Ph.D. program, must submit GRE scores at the time of application to the Ph.D. program.

For overseas international applicants remaining in their home country to apply for the program, the TOEFL exam is required (ets.org/toefl).  For international students who earned their bachelor's degree in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries, the TOEFL is not required. 


Application Details

1. Online Application

Applicants must complete the online application for the M.S. Psychology Program in PSYCAS.

2. Application Fee

A nonrefundable application fee must be paid to complete the application. In PSYCAS, the first application fee is $50, and subsequent application fees for additional programs are $35 each. The APA offers a fee waiver opportunity for students who qualify.  

3. Official Transcripts

College transcripts verifying a Bachelor's degree are required. Only official, sealed transcripts from the Registrar's office of each institution are acceptable.

International transcripts must be translated through the World Education Service website, www.wes.org. It is the student's responsibility to have transcripts translated before applying. Applicants may contact the PAU Admissions Office, admissions@paloaltou.edu, with any questions before incurring the expense of translating documents.

Official transcripts should be mailed by the issuing institution directly to the PSYCAS Transcript Processing Center. Instructions for submitting transcripts can be found here

4. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

The resume or CV should list professional and academic experience, education, awards, publications, etc.

5. Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation from academic or professional references should be submitted through the PSYCAS system. 

6. Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose serves as a sample of the applicant's ability to write in an academic and professional manner. It should be two to three 1.5- line-spaced pages and should represent the highest quality of expression and scholarship.

Points to cover in Statement of Purpose:

  • A brief autobiographical sketch/background, including what led to an interest in a psychology pre-doctoral program.
  • Details of goals and purpose in applying to Palo Alto University and how this applies to future career goals.
  • Strengths and accomplishments thus far that have prepared the applicant for graduate psychology education.
  • Personal qualities that will be important assets as a practicing psychologist.



After applications are received or in progress, applicants will be scheduled for a 30-minute Skype interview with Program Director Dr. Olga Rosito.


Acceptance and Enrollment

Students accepted into the M.S. in Psychology Ph.D. Prep program receive an official acceptance letter by e-mail and mail. To enroll in the program, students who have been accepted must submit a $250 tuition deposit within two weeks after receiving their acceptance letter to secure their place. The tuition deposit can be submitted online in the PAU portal, or mailed to the address above.


Transferring Units In

Students can transfer up to five units of prior graduate work. Coursework cannot be more than five years old. Transfer coursework is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The student must submit a course description and supporting documentation (e.g. a comprehensive syllabus) for each transfer course. A Palo Alto University faculty member then reviews the documentation, and either accepts or rejects the course for transfer credit.


Financial Aid

Students who wish to secure financial aid after being accepted into the program, should begin that process as soon as possible after being accepted into the program by completing the FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is complete, the PAU Financial Aid office will send the student a PAU financial aid application. The financial aid office is available for questions at 650-433-3824 or financialaid@paloaltou.edu. 


Admissions Contacts

Application Questions

Contact the PAU Office of Admissions toll-free at (800) 818-6136.

Financial Aid Questions

Contact the Financial Aid Officer, financialaid@paloaltou.edu.

Questions About M.S. Psychology Program Academics, Locations and Formats

Email or call one of the Master's Program Contacts.


Contact Us

1791 Arastradero Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Phone: (800) 818-6136 Fax: (650) 433-3888