Admission Requirements

Applications for both MA and PhD programs are required to meet admission and application requirements for both the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS) and the Department of Psychology. In addition to the department requirements listed below, refer to the G+PS Admissions requirements page and our department’s Admissions FAQ page for additional information.

  • Only applicants having the intention and potential to complete the PhD program will be considered; we do not admit applicants who intend to complete only the MA degree.
  • Research experience in psychology is required for admission to our graduate program.
  • A four-year BA/BSc degree in psychology is required. In some cases, a three-year degree from certain countries can be accepted; refer to the G+PS website for more details:
    Minimum Academic Requirements: Canadian or U.S. Credentials
    Minimum Academic Requirements: International Credentials
  • While some faculty may prefer applicants with an Honours degree, this is not a requirement for admission.
  • Applicants who did not major in psychology should either do a 2nd undergraduate degree in psychology or take sufficient psychology courses as an unclassified student to have the equivalent knowledge background of a psychology major (normally between 42-60 credits). There are no specific pre-requisite courses, but successful applicants will demonstrate broad knowledge in psychology. Refer to the undergraduate program area on our website to review program details for psychology majors. Information on becoming an unclassified student can be found here.
  • Applicants coming from undergraduate programs in Canada or the United States must have 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). Applicants with international credentials should refer to Minimum Academic Requirements pages (see above) on the G+PS website.
  • The GRE general test is required for all applicants; the GRE subject (psychology) test is optional. Successful applicants typically score better than the 80th percentile.
  • Proof of English language proficiency is required if English is not the applicant’s native language unless the applicant has earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree at an English-language institution. Refer to the English Proficiency Requirements page on the G+PS website for minimum score requirements.
  • Successful applicants have strong letters of reference from faculty members or research supervisors that provide insight to probable success as a graduate student in a research-intensive program.

A thesis-based MA/MSc degree in psychology is pre-requisite for direct admission to the PhD program. Applicants who have a master’s degree in psychology from a recognized university are normally admitted fully to the PhD program, although on occasion, a student may be admitted provisionally. In this case, students would be fully admitted to the PhD program after successfully completing the first year of graduate study in our department.  Students with a non-psychology MA/MSc degree may be eligible for provisional status at the department’s discretion.

Further information on Minimum Academic Requirements can be found on the G+PS website:

Minimum Academic Requirements: Canadian or U.S. Credentials
Minimum Academic Requirements: International Credentials