For Recent Information, please see the Postbac section of the Psychology Dept. Home Page
The Postbaccalaureate Program in Psychology is a program designed to help college graduates who did not major in psychology but who wish to pursue graduate training in this field to gain the course and research experience necessary to make them competitive psychology PhD applicants.
Although this program does not guarantee acceptance into the program of your choice, it has been successful in providing motivated students the opportunities that they need to succeed. In Spring 2002, the majority of students who completed the program gained acceptance into their first-choice program, including clinical PhD programs at the University of Georgia, University of California at San Diego (joint program with San Diego State University), the City College of New York, and the State University of New York at Albany. Since its instantiation in Fall 1999, other graduates of our program have entered clinical PhD programs at Fordham University and Teacher's College, as well as Master's Programs in Social Work and Public Health at Columbia University.
The Postbaccalaureate Program in Psychology is an intensive, 1-2 year program of coursework and research experience, with carefully structured support and advisement at all stages - from selection of coursework and research labs to application to graduate school. The program is appropriate for students interested in graduate study in all areas of Psychology, including clinical, cognitive, personality, social, physiological, and industrial/organizational, as well as cognitive neuroscience. It is geared toward preparing students for admission to Ph.D. or Psy.D. programs , rather than Master's Level programs.
For information on admission requirements or to download an application, visit Continuing Education's website on the Postbaccalaureate Program in Psychology . If you have questions about the application process, registration, financial aid or housing, please contact Continuing Education and Special Programs at (212) 854-2820.
At this site, students already enrolled in the PostBac Psychology program will find helpful information about program requirements, internships, applying to graduate school, as well as practicalities that can help students have a more positive experience at Columbia.
Junior and senior undergraduate psychology majors who are considering graduate school may also find some of this information useful.
For further questions regarding academic advising, research and clinical
opportunities, please contact Professor David Krantz, (212) 854-4534,
2003 Course Requirements
The courses required for this program are essentially identical to those required for all Psychology majors. They are designed to provide you with a relatively broad undergraduate-level education in psychology. Because most students try to complete all coursework within 1-2 years, it is advisable to start thinking about how you will complete all the requirements at the start of the program. Many courses have pre-requisites and not all courses are offered every year. Careful planning can ensure that you are able to take all the courses that you need and want before applying to graduate school.
Requirements and Advisement
Each semester, prior to registration, you should arrange to meet with the departmental advisor to discuss your schedule. The PostBac Psychology Requirement Checklist can help you and your advisor plan and keep track of your progress. Please bring your up-to-date checklist with you to your meetings.
Post Bac students can now pre-register for courses at the same time as Columbia College undergraduates. For questions about registration by phone or your PIN number for registration, contact the Continuing Education office directly or look at the website (see below).
It is possible to transfer up to 9 approved credits from your undergraduate institution. The course must meet the following criteria for approval:
2003 Research Experience ;
Gaining research experience is
a crucial part of preparing for graduate study in Psychology, particularly
In addition to taking the required 2 semesters of supervised independent
research (W3950), one can also gain experience by volunteering or working
as a paid research assistant.
Choosing a Lab
The first thing you need to do is to find out about the research going on in in the department.
Some labs have websites, particularly those in the cognitive and biopsychology areas. These may be somewhat old and not present the most current research.
The schedule for Cognitive Lunch is posted on the department website. Social and Biopsychology area seminars are sent by email each week.
Here are schedules of the seminars during the Fall and Spring semesters:
Getting Accepted into a Lab
Some labs tend to be oversubscribed, but some very good ones are undersubscribed. You may have more luck getting into the undersubscribed ones. Also, you often have the opportunity to work more closely with a professor when there are fewer students competing for his/her attention.
In terms of getting in touch with the professor,
personal contact is always the best, but start with email. If you aren't
having much luck getting a response, try dropping by the lab. If the professor
is not around, ask to talk with one of the graduate students. Indeed,
for some of the larger labs, you may have more luck contacting the senior
graduate student than the professor. Try to be somewhat prepared when
you contact the professor. Have some idea of what type of research the
he/she does and be able to talk about why are your interested in working
2003 Internship Experience ;
Internships are paid or volunteer positions that can give you hands-on experience in a clinical or clinical-related field. They are particularly useful for students intending to pursue a Psy.D. , but also supplement the clinical Ph.D. graduate application. Although the PostBac program cannot guarantee that you will get an internship, it can help you with the application process.
If you are just starting out, a volunteer position is your best bet. The Department of Volunteer Services at the New York State Psychiatric Institute has a great service whereby they try to match you with a volunteer opportunity that best suits your strengths and interests.
2003 Getting into Grad School
It is never too early to start thinking about when and where you intend to apply to graduate school. Applications for a given year are usually due in the Winter of the previous academic year (i.e., applications for Fall 2004 have deadlines of late December 2003 - early March 2004). Design your program of coursework and research so that you have completed your statistics, laboratory, advanced seminar, and at least one semester of research experience by the time you apply (Fall). You should also have taken your GREs before applying.
You should have taken your General and Psychology GREs by Fall of the academic year during which you apply and achieved satisfactory scores.
The Psychology Subject GRE is required by most, though not all, graduate schools. It is a good idea to take it on a different day than the General GRE or else you will be exhausted. The Subject GRE is paper-based and is only offered on certain dates.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are a very important part of your application
package. Most schools require a minimum of 3 letters. Optimally, these
letters will be from research faculty in Psychology. You can supplement
these 3 letters with additional letters from professors in areas outside
of Psychology or work supervisors (if you have been out of school and
working for a long time), but your primary 3 letter should be from faculty
or researchers in a Psychology or Psychology-related discipline.
The library, designed to help students in their application process, consists of a binder with tips on the graduate school application process, including Choosing to Apply, Getting Letters of Recommendation, and Selecting Schools, as well as over 50 graduate catalogs from top Psychology programs with a concentration on schools with good clinical programs. This non-lending library is located in a black file cabinet in Schermerhorn 200B. In addition, books such as the APA's "Getting In" and several GRE prep books are there to peruse at your leisure.
Most universities and psychology departments have websites detailing their program curriculum and the research interests of the faculty. The computers in 200B can be used to access these websites, as well as general websites on the "ins and outs" of getting into graduate programs in psychology.
When you are done with your graduate school search and have applied to your program of choice, please consider donating your used catalogues (in reasonably good condition) to the library.
If you are interested in Clinical Psychology, you will have to decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree. Other areas of psychology only have Ph.D. programs. Sometimes you will find that Ph.D. programs are often referred to as "scientifically-oriented" whereas Psy.D. programs are "professionally-oriented." Generally speaking, the Ph.D. program provides training in both clinical research and practice, but may be more heavily weighted toward research. The Psy.D. programs are more oriented toward training students for practice in clinical and other applied professional settings and research is often less emphasized.
These different orientations are reflected in what these programs are looking for in applicants. Ph.D. programs want to see research experience. Psy.D. programs want to see internship experience.
In some ways, the Ph.D. degree provides you with maximal flexibility because you can pursue a career either in research or practice, whereas the Psy.D. limits you more to practice. On the other hand, Psy.D. programs are often shorter and provide a broader internship/externship experience. You should choose the program that suits your interests the best.
For more detailed advice on clinical programs, contact Professors Geraldine Downey (email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) in the Columbia University Psychology Department or George Bonanno (email: email@example.com ) at Teacher's College Clinical and Counseling Psychology Program.
Many of you are moving to the Columbia College area and will be in need of housing. Unfortunately, Postbaccalaureate students do not qualify for On-Campus Housing. A link for the Off-Campus Housing Registry is listed below. Good apartments are also often acquired through 'word-of-mouth' or through postings around campus (Broadway @ 116th also seems to have a lot of signs). If you are in need of housing, the departmental advisor can forward your request to the other PostBac students to see if they might know of an opening or are interested in a roommate.
Tuition and Fees
All you need to know and tuition and fees can be found at the Continuing Education website. Note the fees for medical insurance and coverage of dependents.
PostBac students are eligible for various private and federal (Stafford) loans. The university can also create payment plans to help ease the burden. Paid research assistant and internship positions can provide income while helping you learn. These types of paid positions might pay slightly less than some non-psychology jobs, but can significantly enhance your graduate school application in many ways and usually offer the type of flexible schedules necessary for managing with coursework.
All PostBac students are assigned a university email address (consisting of your initials and a random number). You will need this email address to access certain library resources, like the Science Direct database of journal articles. Some courses also use "bulletin boards" where the professor and students exchange questions. Your CU email is necessary to access these bulletin boards.
If you prefer to use a non-CU email address for the majority of your email (i.e., hotmail or AOL account), talk to the system administrator at ACIS about getting email from your CU account automatically forwarded to your non-CU account. This way you will not miss out on any important announcements.
NOTE: Please make sure to give your email address of choice to the dearptmental advisor. She is constantly forwarding messages of interest to the Post-Bac students, including seminar announcements, job opportunities, social opportunities and (slightly) used furniture sales!
Getting to know other Post-Bac students
At least once a semester, toward the beginning, we will organize a get-together for the PostBac Psychology students so that they can get to know each other. There are about 20-24 students in the program (10-12 per year) with a diverse range of interests, backgrounds and ages. Students with some experience in the program can act as student mentors to those just beginning - giving advice about which are the best courses and other tidbits of wisdom. Getting to know the other PostBac students in your courses can also be great for forming study groups.
These get-togethers are also an opportunity for a Q&A session with alumni, clinicians, or faculty concerning careers in Psychology. If you have suggestions about people to invite, please contact the departmental advisor.
2003 Psychology-Related Books and Websites ;
Some books on "Getting In" that many students rave about...we have 1 or 2 copies available of some of these in the black filing cabinet in 200B. They are also available at a reasonable price from Amazon.com.
Most universities have websites that detail their programs, faculty and admissions policies. However, the web can be a goldmine of information, or an avalanche. Here are some places to start...
First and foremost, check out:
Page created by Jennifer Mangels, Ph.D
Last updated by lep1 on September 4, 2008 .
Links to Current Psychology Pages added by pjj2103 on September 4, 2008