Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applicants, we are unable to provide individualized advising services. Admission to graduate studies in Psychology at UBC is much the same as at any research-intensive program in Canada or the United States, so you do not need specialized advising about our program if you have been generally preparing for this type of graduate program. We recommend you consult with the professors, postdocs or graduate students who have been providing you with research supervision and mentoring during your undergraduate studies; they will be able to guide you through the process of applying for graduate studies. If you have not been working closely with anyone on Psychology research, this is an essential first step before you would be prepared to begin graduate studies.
As we do not conduct pre-assessments, you are encouraged to review the Graduate program website in detail and reach out to individual faculty members and/or our Graduate Program Assistant if you have any further inquiries. You may also refer to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for additional information.
Please do not send your transcripts or curriculum vitae (CV) as we do not conduct pre-assessments. You may refer to the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for information on Minimum Academic Requirements page.
Admission requirements for those applicants coming from undergraduate programs in Canada or the United States are a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC) in all upper level courses (300- or 400-level), or at least 12 credits of upper level (300- or 400-level) Psychology courses in the A range (80% or higher). For more information, please refer to the Minimum Academic Requirements: Canadian or U.S. Credentials page.
Students who did their undergraduate training in other countries should consult the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Minimum Academic Requirements: International Credentials page.
The strongest applications have all these elements:
- lab courses and others (e.g., directed studies) that provide direct research experience in Psychology
- strong letters of reference from professors and/or research supervisors familiar with your research experience and aptitudes
- excellent performance in courses on methods and statistics in Psychology
- a broad distribution of undergraduate courses across sub-disciplines within Psychology
- strong grades (at least 80% or ~3.5/4 GPA) in all upper-level courses
All prospective applicants are encouraged to review the Research Areas section of our website where you will find information about specific program requirements for different areas of the department as well as faculty members and their research programs. Narrow your focus to 3-4 faculty members whose work aligns with your interests. Formulate specific questions about their research and your background and communicate with them via email. Some faculty members are delighted to communicate with applicants via email; others prefer to read the applications first and then talk with a small subset of the applicants. Regardless of their approach, most faulty members are happy to answer basic specific questions that will help you determine whether to list them as a prospective research supervisor on your application.
Each potential supervisor gives different weight to parts of the application. Reference letters can provide insight into your potential as a graduate student beyond what is provided by your transcript. Get to know faculty members who may write you a letter by working in their labs or taking seminar courses with them. Approach them early about writing a reference. Outline the reason for the request (admissions, scholarships, etc.) and provide background material they can use (e.g., a personal statement, outline of research experience, transcripts), as specific letters are more persuasive. Try to learn if they feel they can write a strong recommendation and provide a way for them to decline rather than have them write a lukewarm letter. Remember, many faculty members write dozens of such letters each year. Find a way to stand out. The American Psychological Society published an interesting article in the Observer (18:5, May 2005) on effective letters of reference.
You must have at least the equivalent of a Major in Psychology, including research experience in Psychology. If your degree is in another field or if you had a minor in Psychology, either do a second undergrad degree in Psychology or take sufficient courses as an unclassified student to have the equivalent of a Psychology major. Program details can be found in our Undergraduate Program website. Information on becoming an unclassified student can be found here.
If your degree is a three-year Bologna-compliant degree from a research-intensive European university, it is likely to be acceptable as a basis for admission to graduate studies at UBC. If this does not describe your degree, then complete the equivalent of an additional 30 credits as an unclassified student with most of those being upper level courses. These courses should include some laboratory experience. See the Minimum Academic Requirements page for more details.
Both the BA and BSc degrees in Psychology are appropriate for admission to our graduate program.
An Honours Degree is not required provided that you have the equivalent research experience in the form of lab courses or directed studies. Students should realize, however, that some faculty may prefer an Honours student.
We do not admit students who intend to complete only a master’s degree. Our MA and PhD degrees are regarded as a unitized program, although students occasionally withdraw after the MA or are not recommended to continue to the PhD program.
If you already have a research-based master’s degree (MA or MSc) in Psychology from another university, then you should apply directly to our PhD program. Our MA and PhD programs are unitized, in that we only admit MA students who intend to immediately continue on to the PhD program. Thus, if you are interested in completing a PhD but have only completed undergraduate studies to this point, you should apply to our MA program.
Yes, the General GRE is required of all applicants, whereas the Psychology subject test GRE is recommended for strengthening your application but it is not required. Scores greater than 80th percentile are expected.
Your GRE results must be no more than 5 years old at the time you submit them to us.
In order to be eligible, you will need a master's degree in psychology that is similar to ours in terms of requiring a written thesis, statistics, and other coursework. Some students might be required to complete our MA program, with certain requirements waived as appropriate. Other would be admitted to the PhD program with the requirement that identified deficiencies be made up.
An applicant's chances of admission to the clinical program are higher if s/he works with a research supervisor from the clinical area. However, if there are further admissions slots available, a non-clinical faculty member may request to work with a student in the clinical program. Alternatively, applicants can request to have co-supervisors in which one of the faculty member is in the clinical area.
Full-time study is currently required. We do not at this time offer any graduate level distance education courses.
The MA takes two years, and the PhD takes about 4 additional years. Students in the clinical program take an additional year for their required clinical internship.
Licensing requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another. Check with the governing body in the area in which you want to practice. We do not admit students who intend to complete only a master’s degree in Psychology, and the MA in Clinical Psychology is not structured to prepare students for independent practice.
Please refer to the Tuition and Fees page for complete information.
Our department policy is to provide minimum annual funding of at least $17,500 for graduate students for 2 years of MA and $18,000 for 4 years of PhD study. The amount is paid through some combination of external and internal fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships. All entering students are considered for the Graduate Entrance Award ($17,500). Details and information on funding and awards opportunities, including those available to international students, can be found at the Awards & Funding page.
You have probably already read the Prospective Students section of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website (if not – that’s a good thing to do), but we encourage you to also read the Current Students section of the site, which has tips and information about how to make the most of your time at UBC as well as professional development opportunities for graduate students.
Although Vancouver is an expensive place to live, the actual costs vary depending on lifestyle choices. For an estimate of the cost of maintaining a basic lifestyle in Vancouver, please see the Cost of Living Calculator page on the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website.