2012: Graduate Study in Psychology

2010-11: Faculty in U.S. and Canadian Graduate Departments of Psychology

Brittany M. Hart, Marlene Wicherski, & Jessica L. Kohout
APA Center for Workforce Studies
June 2011

Report text

Introduction and Methodology

In January of each year, the American Psychological Association’s Education Directorate notifies chairs of graduate departments of psychology of the annual Graduate Study in Psychology effort. The following month, the chairs are sent a link to the survey. The initial email is followed by three subsequent contacts requesting participation in the study. APA receives a notification email when a program has completed the survey and graduate departments are dropped from the database when they have not updated their data for two consecutive years. The information is provided voluntarily by graduate departments and schools of psychology.

The objective of Graduate Study in Psychology is to provide information about more than 500 graduate departments, programs, and schools of psychology in the United States and Canada that award a degree in psychology or related fields on the topics of student costs and support, faculty, enrollment and attrition rates, and requirements for admission. These data are then made available in an online searchable database where users can location information on specific departments using this tool.

Graduate Study in Psychology has been an ongoing effort for more than 20 years. Previous reports included demographic characteristics of faculty and first-year psychology graduate students, as well as application, acceptance, and enrollment characteristics of U.S. and Canadian graduate departments of psychology. The report also includes admission and graduation requirements, tuition information, and information on financial support available to U.S. and Canadian graduate students in psychology. More data from previous Graduate Study in Psychology efforts can be found online at www.apa.org/workforce/publications.


When using the information in this report, readers should be aware of the possible sources of error. Analyses are based on the subset of departments that participated in the survey, not the population at large. Further, some data were collected at the department level, and others at the program level. This is an important distinction because master’s programs can reside either in doctoral-level departments or in departments where the master’s is the highest degree granted. Therefore, information on some master’s degree programs would be presented in tables reporting doctoral department data.

Characteristics of Faculty in Graduate Departments of Psychology

In 2010-2011, data were reported by 527 U.S. and 26 Canadian graduate departments of psychology. The U.S. departments reported 14,555 faculty members and the Canadians 1,165 (Table 1). Fifty-nine percent of U.S. faculty were in public settings, 41% were in private settings. Almost ¾ of faculty were full time while 28% were part time. The proportion of full-time faculty in 2010-2011 is up from 2009-2010 where 68% of faculty was full-time.

The distribution of full- and part-time faculty varied substantially between public and private graduate departments such that 68% of full-time faculty members were in public settings compared with 35% of part-time faculty. Conversely, a larger percentage of part-time faculty were located in private settings compared to full-time faculty (64% versus 32%, respectively). Just under half of faculty members in departments in private settings (44%) were part time compared with 17% of faculty in public departments. As seen in years past, departments in private setting rely on part-time faculty to a greater extent than do those in public settings.

In 2010-2011, women represented 48% of all faculty and 45% of full-time faculty in U.S. graduate departments of psychology. They were 57% of those working part time. In U.S. graduate departments of psychology almost equal proportions of male and female full-time faculty were in public versus private settings. Similar patterns were noted for male and female part-time faculty. By contrast, women were 44% of all faculty in Canadian departments of psychology, 41% of full-time faculty and 55% of part-time faculty (Table 1).

Minority faculty represented just under 14% of the total faculty in the 520 responding U.S. graduate departments of psychology in 2010-2011. Representation differed for full- and part-time minority faculty by type of institution, with nearly two thirds of full-time minority faculty employed in public settings and 35% in private settings. The reverse is true for part-time minority faculty, with 63% in private settings and 37% in public. The same patterns hold true for non-minority faculty (Table 5).

Faculty in Doctoral-level Departments

Three-hundred ninety-four U.S. doctoral departments of psychology reported 11,756 faculty members in 2010-2011. Fifty-five percent of these individuals were employed in public institutions. Eighty-seven percent were employed full time while 13% were employed part time (Table 3).

About two thirds (66%) of full-time faculty in doctoral departments of psychology were located in public setting while 34% were in private settings. In contrast, part-time faculty were more often found in departments in private institutions (74%), not public settings (26%). Stated another way, 87% of the faculty in public doctoral departments were full time, compared to 56% of the faculty in private doctoral departments.

Women represented about 48% of faculty in doctoral-level departments in the U.S. in 2010-2011. They were 45% of full-time faculty and 54% of part-time faculty. These patterns hold for doctoral departments in public and private institutions.

Patterns for distribution of faculty by race/ethnicity in doctoral departments of psychology in U.S. institutions resembled those noted above (Table 7). Fourteen percent of faculty in U.S. doctoral graduate departments of psychology were members of a minority group in 2010-2011. A little less than two thirds of full time minority faculty were located in doctoral departments in public settings, with 38% in private settings. For part-time minority faculty, most (71%) are found in private settings. In 2002-2003, minority faculty representation was just over 10%.

Eighty percent of faculty in Canadian doctoral departments were employed full time, while 20% were employed part time. Women represented 43% of Canadian faculty in doctoral departments. Women represented 41% of Canadian faculty employed full time and 55% of faculty employed part time in 2010-2011 (Table 3).

Faculty in Traditional Academic and Professional School Settings

Two thirds of graduate faculty were located in doctoral-level department in traditional academic settings while 33% were found in professional school settings. Eighty-four percent of faculty in traditional academic settings were full time compared to 44% of faculty in professional schools. Looked at another way, 80% of full-time faculty were in traditional settings while 20% were in professional schools. Among part-time faculty, 37% were in traditional settings and 63% were in professional school settings.

Thirty-six percent of women faculty were working in professional school settings compared to 64% in traditional academic settings. Men were slightly more likely to work in traditional academic settings than were women (71% traditional academic settings, 29% professional school settings). In comparison with men, women represented a larger proportion of part-time faculty in both traditional and professional school settings (Table 2).

Twenty percent of full-time faculty were located in professional schools compared to 19% of non-minority full-time faculty (Table 6). The largest proportions of full-time minority and non-minority faculty were found in traditional settings (75% and 81%, respectively). The reverse is the case for part-time faculty such that 60% of minority and 62% of non-minority part-time faculty were employed in professional school settings.

Faculty in Master’s-level Departments

One hundred thirty-three U.S. Master’s departments of psychology reported 3,077 faculty in 2010-2011. Seventy-four percent were located in public settings. Sixty-five percent were employed full time while 35% worked part time (Table 4).

Seventy-seven percent of full-time faculty in U.S. master’s departments were in public settings, with 23% in private settings. Unlike doctoral departments, most part-time faculty in master’s departments are found in public settings, not private (65% and 35%, respectively).

Women represented almost 55% of faculty in master’s departments. They were a slightly larger proportion of part-time faculty than full-time faculty (60% versus 52%). Women outnumbered male faculty in master’s departments in both public and private settings, and as full- and part-time faculty.

Minority faculty were 13% of faculty in U.S. master’s departments of psychology in 2010-2011. Part-time faculty were more apt than full-time faculty to be employed in private departments and this holds regardless of race/ethnicity (Table 8). In 2002-2003, full-time minority faculty were just over 10%, part-time minority faculty were 7.6%.