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BCAN | Applying

Admission to the Program

University requirements for admission include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university; 3.0 GPA in last 60 hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate work; scores from the GRE General Aptitude test; and for international students whose first language is not English, a TOEFL score of 600 (or 100 on the internet based test), a minimum score of 68 on the Pearson Test of English, or a minimum IELTS score of 7.

Students must have maintained a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 (on a 4.00 scale) in all relevant graduate work for which a grade has been awarded. An applicant may be admitted without the 3.0 undergraduate GPA if he or she (a) has maintained either a 3.3 cumulative GPA in a master's degree program at an accredited institution; or (b) has maintained a 3.5 cumulative GPA in the last 12 credit hours which are part of a master's or doctoral program still in progress at such an institution at the time of evaluation of the application or in graduate work taken in nondegree status at American University and applicable to the degree program for which he or she is applying. This GPA is a minimum requirement. Typically admission to the program requires a higher GPA.

In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants must submit a completed graduate application form, three letters of recommendation, and copies of all college transcripts.

Admission is based on applicants' grades and academic record, test scores, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and programmatic fit. Those applicants to the program judged to be among the top are invited for an interview, and the final selection is based on all information, including the interview. Interviews are typically conducted on two separate dates, one in mid-February and the other in late February. Students are admitted for full-time study only. 

There is a December 1st application deadline—fall admission only. 

Apply online or visit the College of Arts and Sciences graduate admissions Web page for more information.

The American Psychological Association has advice on their Web site for individuals applying to graduate school.  

See also: Behavior, Cognition, & Neuroscience PhD Degree Requirements.



The department tries to fund all the PhD students in the BCAN program. These funds are based on merit and come from American University or personal grants. They cover full tuition as well as a stipend, which includes a Teaching Assistantship. If needed, students can apply for extended funding or find their own funding.

The criteria for being eligible for funding are as follows: A GPA of 3.5 from an undergraduate institution (or 3.75 from a graduate program) or a combined (verbal and quantitative) GRE score of 1330 and analytic GRE score of 5.5.


Prospective Applicants

If you are interested in applying to the BCaN Program, please be advised of the following information.

The Program admits students to work with specific faculty members. BCaN student do not rotate through multiple labs prior to selecting their mentor. Prospective students should contact faculty pursuing research topics of interest and inquire if they are accepting students in the coming year and possibly arrange to discuss research options directly with the prospective mentor.

The BCaN Program does not normally participate in graduate school fairs at American University.

Application Deadline

All application information must be received by December 1.

Apply Online Now

Graduate Admissions Website