2012-13: Faculty Salaries in Graduate Departments of Psychology

Marlene Wicherski, Peggy Christidis and Karen Stamm
APA Center for Workforce Studies
March 2013
Report Text


Surveys of faculty salaries in graduate departments of psychology have been conducted since the mid-1960s, first by the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP), and after 1978 by APA in conjunction with COGDOP. Subsequent years saw the survey broaden in scope to cover more diverse issues concerning graduate education, and in 1990 it was divided into two separate components, with the initial phase of the survey addressing faculty salaries and the second covering other topics. More recently that second portion was folded in with the ongoing Graduate Study in Psychology effort. This was accomplished by modifying the Graduate Study instrument.  


In November 2012, chairs of U.S. and Canadian graduate departments of psychology were sent an email invitation with instructions for completing the on-line survey. Three email reminders were sent to non-respondents.

Eligible departments were drawn from the current edition of Graduate Study in Psychology (APA, 2012) and prior editions, and from the membership of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP). The questionnaire requested information on demographics, employment status, rank, years in rank, highest degree and year awarded and salary for all faculty members.  

Of the 668 departments and professional schools surveyed, 269 provided at least some usable information, for an overall response rate of 40%. Data presented in this report are based on 4,067 faculty who hold doctorates, who are employed full time and for whom the relevant data were available. Included in this total are 3,521 faculty in 202 U.S. doctoral departments, 367 faculty in 55 U.S. master's departments and 179 faculty in 12 Canadian departments. Three departments provided information on the salaries of individual faculty but did not respond to other portions of the survey.

Consistent with previous efforts, response rates varied considerably, depending on the geographic location of the institution, the highest degree offered by the department (doctoral or master's), whether the institution is public or private and the department type. Substantially higher levels of response were obtained in the U.S. for doctoral departments (46%) than for master's departments (27%). Departments in the U.S. overall were about equally likely to have completed the survey as compared to Canadian departments (40% versus 41%). Psychology departments were more likely than other types of academic units (e.g., professional schools or educational psychology departments) to provide data. More information on specific response rates can be found in Appendix Table A.  

Structure of the Report 

Results are presented separately for (1) U.S. doctoral departments; (2) U.S. master's departments; and (3) Canadian departments. For U.S. doctoral departments, salaries are broken out along the following dimensions: geographic region, public or private institution status and type of department (e.g., psychology, professional school of psychology or human development). Among master's departments, the majority of participants were psychology departments; thus, detailed analyses have been limited to this category. 

Most salaries are reported according to academic rank and years in rank, or by years since earning the doctorate. Additional tables report salaries paid to chairs, other administrative positions, newly hired faculty, a comparison of salaries paid to men and women of equivalent years in rank, and average amounts paid to adjunct or other part-time faculty who are compensated on a per-course basis. Newer tables present data on steps taken by departments over the past two years as a result of budget constraints, and on procedures when faculty lines are vacated. 


Readers of this report should consider possible error introduced by nonresponse. Comparisons of respondents with non-respondents indicated few marked differences in terms of the geographic distribution for U.S. doctoral departments overall and doctoral psychology departments, in particular. However, the response rate was lower for U.S. master's departments and for departments in Canada. Thus, in reading the results, it is important to consult Appendix A for the appropriate rate of response.

Readers should also note that the term "Graduate Departments of Psychology" is meant broadly to encompass departments, schools, interdisciplinary programs or other academic units listed in recent editions of Graduate Study in Psychology as offering a graduate degree in one or more areas of psychology. Departments may be called any of the following: (a) psychology; (b) educational psychology; (c) counseling psychology; (d) human development; (e) professional school; (f) counseling, guidance and counselor education; (g) school psychology; (h) education; or (I) other, but these department names are not synonymous with program areas. For example, a program in counseling or school psychology may be found in any of several categories. Almost two thirds of the departments award degrees in multiple areas of psychology. The remaining third tend to be departments that are specialized, offering degrees in a few closely related subfields. Thus, "graduate departments of psychology" refers to any academic unit that offers one or more graduate degrees in psychology.