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What is the BBH Program Looking for?

We conduct a fully holistic review and are looking for:

  • Academic Potential

    • Grades, comments in letters

    • GRES if provided (GRES are now optional -- see below for more information)

  • Research Potential

    • Experiences, accomplishments; Research interests, comments in letters and personal statement about aptitude, etc.

  • Alignment

    • Training goals and interests that are aligned with what we offer

    • A BA or BS degree in a relevant field; some coursework with statistics/research methods

  • Other

    • Motivation, grit, perseverance, etc.

    • We welcome and encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds

What is required? What kinds of applicants are competitive?

We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications, looking carefully at grades, coursework, letters of recommendation, the personal statement, GRE scores (if provided, per below) and other factors (such as past experience). For grades, we require a minimum GPA of 3.0; competitive applicants typically have overall GPAs of 3.5 or above. There is no specific coursework we look for, except for some basic training in statistics and research methods (e.g., Introduction to Statistics); rather, we are looking for a fit to our department, which is interdisciplinary. Although some of our applicants also have Master's level work, this is certainly not necessary. Given our interdisciplinary nature, A BA or BS degree in many different domains would be relevant (e.g., Psychology, Neuroscience, Health Promotion, Biology, Microbiology, Epidemiology, Biobehavioral Health, or others).

**Additional information about the GRE: The GRE is now optional. Those who do not submit GRE scores will not be at a disadvantage for admissions. If GRE scores are provided, our admissions committee  will take GRE scores into account as part of a full, holistic review process (recognizing that any one given indicator of success -- including grades -- can be of limited value). 

Additional Penn State Requirements icon-olus-circle

In addition to BBH departmental requirements, the Penn State Graduate School reviews all applications for academic eligibility (details here). In addition, the language of instruction at Penn State is English, and all international applicants must evidence proficiency in English via the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System): details here.