We report a detailed deep level transient spectroscopic study in p-type Mg- and Zn-doped GaAs epitaxial layers grown by metal-organic vapor phase epitaxy. Dependence of deep level structures on doping concentrations and growth temperatures has been investigated. Over a wide range of growth conditions, four hole traps and an electron trap ranging in activation energy from 0.18-0.79 eV were measured in GaAs:Mg while only a single hole trap has been observed in GaAs:Zn.The presence of a certain trap and its concentration in GaAs:Mg depends mainly on the doping concentration in the layers. The total trap concentration in the GaAs:Mg decreases rapidly with doping concentration for p>4×1017 cm-3. The physical and chemical origins of several of these traps have been identified. The Mg-doped GaAs always exhibited a greater concentration of midgap trap levels than the Zn-doped material, regardless of dopant concentration or growth temperature. The overall defect structure and dopant incorporation characteristics indicate that Zn is the preferred dopant species.