Applicants for both the MA and PhD programs are required to meet admission and application requirements for both the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies at UBC and the Department of Psychology.
Admission to the graduate program is similar to any research-intensive psychology department in North America. We do not conduct pre-assessments of applicants’ credentials.
When seeking a research supervisor, ensure the research supervisors you plan to list in your application are (a) taking a student that year and (b) a good fit for you in terms of research interests. Applicants will not be admitted without identifying a faculty member as their intended supervisor.
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 supervisor.
Evaluations continue throughout December – March; all offers of admission will be made by April 1. Applicants will be notified via email about updates in the status of their application. All applicants have until April 15 to decide whether to accept or decline the offer of admission.
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 2020 if you are applying for the September 2020 intake). You should only apply to the PhD program directly if you will have completed a thesis-based MA/MSc degree in Psychology before starting our program.
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 15-20 graduate students each year.
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.
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.
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 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).
Note: GPA calculations are conducted based on grades from the degree used as 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 G+PS.
There are no specific prerequisite courses, but successful applicants will demonstrate broad knowledge in psychology.
A thesis-based MA/MSc degree in psychology is 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, 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.
December 1 - deadline for all required documents, excluding letters of reference
December 15 - deadline for letters of reference only
Once the deadline has passed, updated or additional documents will not be accepted. It is therefore important for applicants to ensure that all documents are properly uploaded and submitted by the application deadline.
Scans of official transcripts with their grading keys (usually located on the back side of the transcript) of all university-level work must be uploaded as part of the online application. Scans of unofficial transcripts or transcript without grading keys will not be accepted. 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.
Applicants must provide an up-to-date CV or resume detailing their academic and work history and 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.
All applicants are required to take the General GRE test. The Psychology subject GRE test is optional. Successful applicants typically score better than the 80th percentile. 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. Successful applicants typically score better than the 80th percentile. Our institution code is 0965 and department code is 2016. Note: Test scores are matched automatically via the online system. Applicants must provide the correct institution and department codes when requesting test scores as we are unable to retrieve them otherwise.
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 dearly December, test scores should be submitted no later than late December. Note: Test scores are matched automatically via the online system; 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 interests and objectives in graduate studies in Psychology at UBC. This statement is an important factor in determining admissibility. Another important factor in judging admissibility is the extent to which an applicant’s research and professional interests are congruent with those of members of the Department. 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.
A complete application package contains the following:
- Application form (online)
- All post-secondary 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
- English proficiency test scores, if necessary
- Writing sample (optional)
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.
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.
Associate Head, Graduate Affairs
Chair, Graduate Admissions
Co-chairs, Graduate Fellowships
Graduate Program Assistant
For graduate program information on admissions, registration, grades and scholarships, contact us online.