Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to improve my chances of being selected for your program?

Applicants can improve their chances of being selected by identifying faculty members who (1) are conducting research related to your interest area or (2) are utilizing research approaches that will be compatible with your future areas of research. Applicants may contact faculty members prior to applying to the Ph.D. program to discuss their research interests and to confirm that appropriate faculty expertise is available to mentor the applicant if accepted to the program.

Can I apply if I'm not scheduled to take the GRE before the deadline?

No. Your application cannot be processed without GRE scores and a copy of the unofficial GRE Score Report, which should be uploaded with the online application, preferably in Adobe PDF format. The GRE computer adaptive exam should be taken no later than the beginning of November or December. Scores from the written GRE exam take approximately six weeks to reach USF.

Can I apply if I won't receive my bachelor's degree until after the deadline?

Yes. If you have one or two semesters before obtaining your bachelor's degree, you may apply as long as your upper-level GPA remains at least a 3.5. You will need to request an additional official transcript showing that your bachelor's degree was awarded before being officially accepted by the university.

Can I apply if I have a master's degree? Will any of my master's coursework count toward the Ph.D. degree?

Yes, students with a master's degree are encouraged to apply. It may be possible to transfer credit for courses that are equivalent to those required in the Ph.D. program. Each individual case must be evaluated by the Admissions Committee. After acceptance into the program, a faculty committee will review your prior graduate coursework to determine whether it can be transferred. No final decision about such courses can be made prior to your acceptance into the program. However, you may consult with the Ph.D. Director to identify courses that may have the possibility of being applied to the Ph.D. degree.

Is there a form, other than the graduate application form, that I need to submit for USF fellowships or for assistantships from the program?

Yes. Applicants meeting eligibility requirements need to submit forms for the various applicable USF fellowships and scholarships offered at the university for incoming students. See the Graduate School website at However, you do not need to submit a form to request consideration for a departmental assistantship (e.g., research assistantship, teaching assistantship).

How long will it take to complete the Ph.D. program?

The Ph.D. program is designed to be completed in four years by students who enter with a baccalaureate degree. However, the length of time to complete the degree may be longer or shorter depending on the student's progress on the dissertation. The length of time for program completion for students entering with a master's degree will vary depending on how much of their prior coursework is equivalent to courses in the doctoral program.

Do you allow part-time students?

No. Students admitted to the graduate program are expected to pursue their studies full time. You may contact the Ph.D. Program Director if you believe you may have a circumstance that needs special consideration during part of your program of study.

Would I be able to continue working full-time at my current job if I enter your program?

No. It is expected that students will participate in the program on a full-time basis.

What kind of housing is available at USF for graduate students?

Graduate students are eligible to live in any residence hall available to upper level students at USF. You may review these options at: The cost of living in Tampa is affordable compared with many large cities. There are many nice apartment complexes close to campus and there is a campus shuttle (the Bull Runner) that services this area.

Do you offer program courses on-line?

Yes, some courses are available on-line and students may enroll in these courses. However, the program is designed to provide face-to-face courses and direct research experience in the community and research labs.