Applicants for both the MA and PhD programs are required to meet admission and application requirements for both Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at UBC and the Department of Psychology.

Our department is committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion, and these are considered in all admission and funding decision.

Admission to the graduate program is similar to other research-intensive psychology departments in North America. We do not conduct pre-assessments of applicants’ credentials. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to review all information posted on this website. In addition, they are advised to review individual research area websites for area-specific requirements, and to identify potential supervisors, and to review their websites.

Application Deadline

The online application is open from September 1 to December 1 of the year prior to a program’s start date (e.g., online applications will be accepted from September 1 to December 1, 2023 for programs beginning in September 2024). Note there is only one intake (in September) per year and applications will not be accepted after the December 1 deadline.

Prospective applicants must refer to the faculty supervisors’ websites to confirm if the faculty supervisor is admitting graduate students in the coming admission cycle. Applications without an intended supervisor and/or research interest will not be considered; applicants will not be admitted without identifying a faculty member as their intended supervisor.

When seeking a research supervisor, ensure the research supervisors you plan to list in your application are (a) intending to admit student(s) that year and (b) a good fit for you in terms of research interests.

Admission decisions are made by prospective research supervisors. Some faculty supervisors have detailed admission-related information and requirements posted on their personal and/or lab websites. We encourage all prospective applicants to review the information and reach out to prospective research supervisors for further information.

All applications are first evaluated by the prospective research supervisor(s). If a research supervisor is interested in supervising the applicant, then the program area (e.g., health, clinical) must approve the application, as must the Admissions Committee and the Associate Head for Graduate Affairs.

Applications will be reviewed starting in early December with early decisions made by mid-January. In the first weekend of February, we typically hold a recruitment event. We invite a select number of applicants to this event, which includes meetings with faculty members, extensive conversations with members of research labs, and social events with current graduate students. Invitations to this event are extended directly by the prospective research supervisors.

Evaluations continue throughout December – March; all offers of admission will be made by April 1. As we receive a high volume of applications each year, applicants will be notified via email only if there are updates in the status of their application. All applicants have until April 15 to decide whether to accept or decline the offer of admission.

Program Requirements

You should apply for the MA program if you will have completed a BA/BSc program by September of the year you wish to start the MA program (i.e., you must complete your undergraduate degree by September 2024 if you are applying for the September 2024 intake). Applicants who apply for the PhD program with only a BA/BSc degree will automatically be considered for the MA program instead.

You should apply to the PhD program directly only if you will have completed a thesis-based MA/MSc degree in Psychology or related disciplines (such as Neuroscience and Cognitive Science) before starting our program. If you are uncertain whether your MA/MSc degree meets our requirement, please consult directly with the intended research supervisor.

The MA program is a 24-month program, which is typically followed by an average of four-five years to complete the PhD program. There is one intake per year (September) and our department accepts 10-15 graduate students out of over 600 applicants each year.  Sometimes strong applicants are not successful; this is often due to (but not limited to) match in research interests with intended supervisors or funding availability. 

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.

Typically, a four-year BA/BSc degree in psychology and research experience in psychology is required for admission to our graduate program. In some cases, a three-year degree from certain countries can be accepted. Click on the links below to review minimum requirements for both domestic and country-specific credentials.

Although 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 second 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 prerequisite courses, but successful applicants will demonstrate broad knowledge in psychology and research experience.

As we do not conduct pre-assessments, please do not send us your transcripts and CVs.

Note: GPA calculations are conducted based on grades from the degree used as a basis of admission.  While non-degree course grades will be put into consideration during departmental admission review, they will not be used for calculating minimum GPA requirements set forth by UBC's Graduate & Post-doctoral Studies.

A thesis-based MA/MSc degree in psychology is a prerequisite 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. Upon being admitted to the PhD program, review of the student’s previous MA/MSc degree will be conducted to determine if it is comparable to the MA program in terms of requiring a written thesis, statistics, and other coursework.

Students with a non-psychology MA/MSc degree may be eligible for provisional status at the department’s discretion. Please reach out to intended supervisors for further inquiries after reviewing the information online.

Application Procedures

December 1 - deadline for all required documents, excluding letters of reference
December 15 - deadline for letters of reference only

Uploaded documents cannot be removed, changed, or updated; we do not follow up on missing documents or upload documents on behalf of the applicants. It is therefore important for applicants to ensure that all documents are properly uploaded only once and are submitted by the application deadline. Once the deadline has passed, updated or additional documents, including updated transcripts or CVs, will not be accepted. Please note we do not confirm receipts of documents (including test score reports). It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure all required documents are submitted properly prior to the application deadline.

Scans of unofficial transcripts, print-outs of student advising/grade records or transcripts without grading keys will not be accepted. Please do not upload unofficial documents as a placeholder as you will not be able to remove uploaded documents. 

Scans of official transcripts with their grading keys (usually located on the back side of the transcript) of all post-secondary institutions attended (including exchange and non-degree programs) must be uploaded as part of the online application.

Please review the Graduate & Postdoctoral (G+PS) transcripts requirements page for more details. Incomplete or incorrect transcript submissions will result in delay in review of your application. Note that evaluation of admission applications will be conducted using official transcripts submitted at the time of application. Updated transcripts after December 1 will not be accepted or reviewed.

Applicants must provide an up-to-date CV or resume detailing their academic and work history, noting any additional relevant experiences such as courses, presentations, publications or volunteer work.

Letters of reference from three previous instructors or research supervisors are required. Applicants should choose referees who are most familiar with their abilities and research experience and who are able to comment on their ability to undertake graduate studies. Referees with non-institutional email addresses (such as Gmail or Hotmail) will not be able to complete the reference online and will instead received a paper reference form that must be submitted via mail in time to meet the December 15 deadline. For more tips on reference letter, visit the letter of reference page.

Please note we do not confirm receipts of documents.

GRE requirements will vary depending on the area of research and/or intended research supervisor. Please visit the respective Research Stream and individual faculty supervisor page for area-specific GRE requirements.

For those applicants submitting GRE scores, please note that GRE tests must have been taken within the last five years. Official GRE score reports may be submitted after the application deadline, but the review of admissions applications begins in early December.  Applicants should take the GRE test at an early date to ensure score reports are received by the December 1 deadline. Our institution code is 0965 and department code is 2016.  Test scores are matched automatically via the online system and the department does not have direct access to retrieve score reports; we are therefore unable to confirm receipt of test scores. To avoid delays, applicants must provide the correct institution and department codes when requesting test scores.

Applicants for whom a) the native language is not English and b) the language of instruction in their bachelor’s or master’s degree program was not English, must complete an English proficiency test such as TOEFL or IELTS. English proficiency test scores may be submitted after the application deadline, but as review of applications beings in early December, test scores should be submitted no later than late December. Test scores are matched automatically via the online system and the department does not have direct access to retrieve score reports; we are therefore unable to confirm receipt of test scores. Refer to the English Proficiency Requirements page for more details.

All applicants must provide a detailed statement (1-2 pages) of their past research experiences as well as their current interests and objectives for graduate studies in Psychology at UBC. This statement will be read by prospective supervisors that you specify in your application and is an important factor in determining admissibility. Please be specific about your past experiences, including the research questions you pursued, the methods utilized and skills developed, and your takeaways from the project(s). Please also note the research questions you wish to pursue during your degree, and how these fit with the research being done in the prospective supervisor’s lab.

Applicants are strongly encouraged, if applicable, to include an additional brief section (max 0.5 pages), describing challenges or barriers they experienced in their professional and/or personal life that may have affected their academic record (e.g., family responsibilities, working full-time, adverse childhood experiences, disability). This information will be used to provide valuable context when evaluating applications for admission.

There is no specific format required for the statement; for more tips, visit the Statement of Interest page.

Applicants may choose one example of their scholarly writing, such as a term paper or a substantial scholarship paper, to include with the application. Please note this is optional and not a required component of the application.

Uploaded copies of documents cannot be removed or deleted; all versions of submitted documents will be included in the application package. Applicants are advised to carefully proofread their documents before uploading. To present the most attractive application package, we recommend uploading each document only once.

A complete application package contains the following:

  • Application form (online)
  • All post-secondary official transcripts (with English translation if necessary) including institution’s grading keys
  • 3 letters of reference
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or resume
  • Statement of Interest
  • GRE test scores for some research areas
  • English proficiency test scores, if necessary
  • Writing sample (optional)

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all documents relevant to the application are uploaded in the proper format and received by the application deadline. We are unable to notify individuals when documents are missing, incomplete, or inaccurate. Once the deadline has passed, updated or additional documents will not be accepted.

For graduate program information on admissions, registration, grades and scholarships, contact us online.

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