Program & Admission Details

The doctoral program in clinical psychology at the University of British Columbia is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association.

If you are interested in learning more about our accreditation status, please contact the Director of Clinical Training, Dr. Sheila Woody, or the Accreditation Office at the Canadian Psychological Association.

Accreditation Office
Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Ave. West, Suite 702
Ottawa, ON K1P 5J3
(613) 237-2144 x320 or 1-888-472-0657 x328
Initial accreditation: 1986-87
Next site visit due: 2027-28

As of 2012, CPA signed the First Street Accord which is a mutual recognition agreement on accreditation.

The program is designed to assist students acquire the knowledge base and skills set outlined in the objectives below:

Goal 1: Identify as a psychologist in the clinical science tradition.

  • Identification with and appreciation for the discipline of psychology as a foundation for scientific inquiry and practice
  • Knowledge of a broad domain of psychological theories and research
  • Commitment to integration of science and practice as a means of furthering human welfare, including the full range of human diversity
  • Knowledge of the history of psychological science, including both beneficial and harmful impacts of the research and underrepresented contributors to the discipline

Goal 2: Contribute to the knowledge base in domains that enhance clinical psychological science, including potential interdisciplinary collaboration.

  • Knowledge of research methods and statistics
  • Knowledge of theories and scientific bases of psychological tests and measurement
  • Approach to research that acknowledges and incorporates human diversity and inclusion to the research process
  • Ability to objectively evaluate research
  • Competence in preparing research proposals
  • Competence in independent research relevant to clinical psychological science
  • Dissemination and communication of research findings to a broad audience

Goal 3: Develop competence in knowledge and skills required for functioning in academic and/or clinical settings including a lifelong commitment to clinical science.

  • Knowledge in conceptual and empirical foundations of psychopathology, assessment and interventions
  • Knowledge and skills in ethical and professional standards in academic and clinical settings
  • Knowledge of historical and contemporary social issues related to diverse and marginalized populations
  • Ability to use the evidence base in assessment, program evaluation, and development of treatment or action plans with diverse client groups
  • Professional communication skills, including teaching and supervision
  • Stance of cultural humility reflecting awareness of the influence of personal background on one's assumptions, values, and working relationships

Students in the program have a range of backgrounds:

  • Of the students currently enrolled in the program, 25% are male
  • Current students range in age from 23 to 36 years, with an average of 29 years
  • Although most were accepted shortly following undergraduate degrees in psychology, other students have entered the program with backgrounds and professional degrees in areas such as political science, economics, and biology
  • Most students in the program describe themselves as Canadians of European descent, but about 50% report other ethnic backgrounds, most commonly Asian
  • Students represent diversity in sexual orientation, nationality, family status, and disabilities
  • 50% of the students in the program speak a language in addition to English, including French, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Spanish
  • We encourage those traditionally underrepresented in academia and psychology to apply

Academic Year20192020202120222023
Positions/Training Capacity47834
Applications - at BA level113162287280242
Applications - at MA level3826564338
Offered Admission510844
Offers as % Applications (Automatically Calculated)3%5%2%1%1%
Accepted Offer/Enrolled47834
Self-Identify as Diverse (i.e., minority, disability, LGBTQ)22614
From Outside of Province23502
From Outside of Canada03102
External Scholarship/Fellowship12533
Internal Scholarship/Fellowship35101
First Year Tuition & Fees$4,996$5,096$5,096$5,198$5,408

Academic Year2017-182018-192019-202020-212021-222022-23
Received PhD563452
Self-identify as Indigenous 000000
Average completion time in years - post BA-entry7.
Average completion time in years - post MA-entry (or N/A)56.356.256.4N/A
Total number of graduates in preceeding 7 years303225252925
Males 344466
Licensed 262824212121
Licensed as % of Graduates 87%88%96%84%72%84%

Among the 20 clinical students who received their PhD from our department from September 2018 to April 2023, the mean time to completion including the internship year, was 7.9 years (SD = 1.5). These figures do not include the time students were on leave from the program for medical or parental reasons.

Over the past five years, one doctoral student left the program before obtaining the Ph.D., and one master’s student left the program before obtaining the MA. Both these students decided to enroll in a different type of graduate program that better suited their needs. In addition, one student completed the MA but, on the recommendation of the clinical faculty, did not apply to our PhD program.

The Psychology Department commits to providing a base of $23,000 per year of financial support for MA students for two years ($23,000 for Ph.D. students for four years) through a combination of fellowships (internal or external), teaching assistantships, and research assistantships.

This support, plus attendance at a funded residency program, covers the typical student’s graduate education. On average during 2022-2023, clinical graduate students received $37,790 (SD = $15,514) in support.

Recruitment fellowships, the most common type of support offered to incoming graduate students, are $17,500 for one year. Teaching assistantships pay $11,578 for MA students and $12,032 for Ph.D. students for 12 hours/week over the course of two semesters; partial TA positions are available. First-year tuition costs are $5,787.

Estimated costs of graduate studies at the MA level include tuition and student fees (including a transit pass) and basic medical/dental insurance. Graduate students will also require a personal laptop, which must be purchased at their own expense. In addition, students incur personal living expenses, which vary by lifestyle choices.

Detailed information about the costs of attending UBC as a graduate student can be found on the Faculty of Graduate and Post Doctoral Studies website.

The clinical program receives approximately 315 applications each year and typically makes offers of admission to five to eight students each year. The program encourages applications from qualified students from a diverse range of backgrounds and refrains from systematically excluding students on the basis of personal factors not relevant to the probability of success in graduate school, including race, ethnic origin, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, religion, or physical disability.

Admission to the Clinical program is highly competitive; preference is given to applicants who have demonstrated interest in the scientific basis of clinical psychology as well as practice.

All students must complete an empirically-based master’s thesis prior to being accepted into the Ph.D. program. Students who plan to terminate their studies at the master’s level are not accepted into the clinical training program, and the master’s program is not designed to prepare graduates for independent practice. Applicants with master’s degrees in non-clinical specialty areas and/or from other universities are not automatically admitted to the clinical Ph.D. program. Equivalence of degrees is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Being the recipient of a fellowship substantially increases an applicant’s chances of being admitted. Application deadlines for fellowships are between September and December of the preceding year. Agencies that should be considered by clinical applicants are SSHRC, CIHR, and NSERC as well as various provincial and specialty agencies (like the Cancer Society or Heart Foundation). Foreign students are eligible for university-based fellowships, and in some cases Commonwealth Fellowships or Government of Canada Awards; applications for the latter two must be made through the applicant’s native country.

In compliance with British Columbia’s Criminal Records Review Act, students in the Clinical program must pass a criminal records check before admission and every 5 years thereafter. The Criminal Records Review Act is designed to help protect children and vulnerable adults from abuse or exploitation. Offers of admission to the Clinical program are contingent upon applicants consenting to and passing the criminal records check, which covers offenses deemed relevant for those working with children and vulnerable adults. For information about which sections of the Criminal Code are designated as relevant offenses, consult the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Applicants will receive detailed information about the criminal records check at the time of conditional admission.

Indigenous students who are thinking of applying to the Clinical Psychology program and have questions can contact Dr. Sheila Woody, the Director of Clinical Training.

Although the clinical program prefers that applicants include their general and psychology GRE scores with their application, we are not requiring them. We recognize there are pros and cons to the GRE. On the one hand, GRE scores can be a useful metric when considered alongside other information included with the application (e.g., personal statement, research accomplishments, recommendation letters, GPA, writing samples) For some applicants who did not have the opportunity or support to obtain high GPAs or attend 'prestigious' universities, the GRE can demonstrate that their application still deserves serious consideration. On the other hand, some applicants may have GRE scores that underestimate their abilities, and their records of accomplishment make their best case. We also recognize that there may be reasons why, for some students, taking the GRE is impossible or nearly so. For these reasons, while we recommend including GRE scores in your application, it is not officially required and you can apply without them.

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