Psychology is a diverse discipline that attempts to understand the basis of behaviour, thoughts and emotions. Psychology at UBC was introduced as a single course in 1915 and was initially offered by the Department of Philosophy. Over the years, the number of courses and instructors grew until we officially became the Department of Psychology in 1958.
Information on research areas offered in the department, as well as admissions-related information, can be found on the department website. Read the department program website carefully before contacting the department with specific questions that are not addressed on the website.
What makes the program unique?
UBC’s Department of Psychology is a top ranked research department in Canada and in the world. Our 58 faculty members and 122 full-time graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conduct research across the spectrum of psychology, representing seven sub-disciplinary specializations: Behavioural Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive Science, Developmental, Health, Quantitative Methods, and Social/Personality.
The strength of our graduate programs lies in the highly productive research faculty, well-organized programs of study, extensive opportunities for student-faculty interaction, and rich offering of research specializations. Our faculty are well known for their research expertise in health, happiness, language acquisition, gambling, child development, gender roles, environmental behaviour, neuroscience, and many other areas of psychology. Our research programs are well funded by major national granting agencies, and our faculty are committed to research excellence and interdisciplinary collaborations within UBC’s Faculties of Medicine, Science and Arts, the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability and many other institutions around the world.
Contact the program
Admission Information & Requirements
Please refer to department website for all admissions-related information.
1) Check Eligibility
Minimum Academic Requirements
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
English Language Test
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language - internet-based
Overall score requirement: 90
IELTS: International English Language Testing System
Overall score requirement: 6.5
Other Test Scores
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is required by some applicants. Please check the program website.
Prior degree, course and other requirements
Prior Degree Requirements
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with strong research experience and at least a Psychology major equivalent to be eligible for the MA program.
For the 2021-2022 Admissions cycle, GRE requirements will vary depending on the area of research and/or intended research supervisor. Please visit the respective Research Stream page on the department website for area-specific GRE requirements.
2) Meet Deadlines
September 2023 Intake
Application Open Date01 September 2022
3) Prepare Application
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
Letters of Reference
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Statement of Interest
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Instructions regarding supervisor contact for Master of Arts in Psychology (MA)
Applicants will not be admitted without identifying a faculty member as their intended supervisor. Admissions decisions are made by prospective research supervisors; applicants are encouraged to reach out to them directly for further inquiries after reviewing the information on the department's website.
Criminal Record Check
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
4) Apply Online
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
We offer research-intensive graduate studies in seven sub-disciplinary specializations: Behavioural Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognitive Science, Developmental, Health, Quantitative Methods, and Social/Personality. Please refer to the department's Research Streams page for more information.
Tuition & Financial Support
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,732.53||$3,043.77|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,052.34 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,126.20 (check cost calculator)|
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. Tuition fees are reviewed annually by the UBC Board of Governors. In recent years, tuition increases have been 2% for continuing domestic students and between 2% and 5% for continuing international students. New students may see higher increases in tuition. Admitted students who defer their admission are subject to the potentially higher tuition fees for incoming students effective at the later program start date. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Program Funding Packages
Most students in the MA program are funded by a package comprised of Scholarship & Awards, Teaching Assistantship (TA) and Research Assistantship (RA). MA students receive a minimum guaranteed level of support of $23,000 for each of the two years of the MA. For detailed information on funding, please refer to the department's Funding page.
Scholarships & awards (merit-based funding)
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Teaching Assistantships (GTA)
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Research Assistantships (GRA)
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Financial aid (need-based funding)
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Foreign government scholarships
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
Working while studying
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats
These statistics show data for the Master of Arts in Psychology (MA). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
Completion Rates & Times
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
Alden, Lynn (Cognitive processes in the anxiety disorders, Social Anxiety Disorder, adult-onset Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, cognitive-behavior therapy)
Baron, Andrew (cognitive development, infancy, childhood, adolescence, racism, race, stereotypes, cooperation, bias, innateness, science education, multiculturalism, gender, ethnicity, neuromarketing, attitudes, preferences, psychology )
Biesanz, Jeremy (personality, Personality, interpersonal perception, accuracy, personality coherence, quantitative methods)
Birch, Susan (Social perspective taking, social learning, social cognition, imitation, nonverbal behavior, confidence, communication, decision-making, impression formation, child development My primary area of expertise is the study of children and adults’ social perspective taking abilities (i.e., their abilities to reason about other peoples’ mental states–their intentions, knowledge, and beliefs) and how their abilities to take another person’s perspective impacts how they form impressions of others, learn from others, communicate with others, and informs a range of socials. Of particular interest is a) how children make inferences about what is credible information to learn (e.g., how they decide whether someone is a credible source of information based on how confident that person seems) and b) how a widespread bias in perspective taking referred to as ‘the curse of knowledge bias’ (a difficulty reasoning about a more naive perspective as the result of being biased by one’s current knowledge) can impair communication (both written and in person) and decision-making across a range of fields (politics, law, education, economics, medicine, etc.)., Development of language, learning, and social understanding in infants and children)
Chen, Frances (social behaviour, relationships, social support, stress, coping, conflict and negotiation, social neuroscience, neurobiology, neuroendocrinology. )
Christoff, Kalina (brain, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, prefronal cortex, fMRI, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, executive functions, problem solving, reasoning, thinking, mind-wandering, attention, consciousness, real-time fMRI, trauma and PTSD, Cognitive and neural basis of human thought, reasoning and problem solving)
Clark, Luke (Gambling, Problem Gambling, Addiction, Decision-Making, Reward, Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms involved in gambling behaviour and disordered gambling)
Dawson, Samantha (Psychology and cognitive sciences; Interventions for sexual dysfunction; Sexual function and dysfunction in individuals and couples)
DeLongis, Anita (Psychology and cognitive sciences; social determinants of health; chronic illness; coping; couples; families; health; Health Psychology; marriage; social support; stress)
Dunn, Elizabeth (Happiness, money and spending decisions, self-knowledge)
Emberson, Lauren (Learning, Perception (audition, vision, crossmodal or multisensory), Language development, Face/object perception, Attention)
Enns, James (Behavioural neuroscience of reward and motivation; attention; action kinematics; social perception; perceptual development)
Floresco, Stanley Bogdan (Neural circuits subserving learning and executive functions, behavioural and electrophysiological analyses of limbic-cortical-striatal interactions involved in decision making and behavioural flexibility, animal models of schizophrenia and drug addiction)
Galea, Liisa Ann Margaret (Neurosciences, biological and chemical aspects; Neurosciences, medical and physiological and health aspects; Psychology and cognitive sciences; Aging Process; Alzheimer's disease; cognition; depression; Drugs and Pregnancy / Breast Feeding; estrogens; hippocampus; Hormones and Growth Factors; Learning and Memory; Neurogenesis and Gliogenesis; neuroplasticity; Postpartum Depression; Sex differences; women's health)
Goetz, Friedrich (Psychology, social and behavorial aspects; Geographical psychology; Causes and consequences of regional personality differences; Mobility and migration; Wanderlust; Courage; Entrepreneurship; Personality development; open science)
Graf, Peter (Memory (including episodic and semantic memory, and working memory); Human memory; Prospective memory; Affect and cognition)
Hall, David Geoffrey (Lexical and conceptual development, semantic development, language acquisition)
Hamlin, Kiley (Psychology and cognitive sciences; Cognitive development; Moral Judgement and Duty or Obligation Morals; Infant / Child Development; Foundations of Religious, Mystical, Mythical and Moral Thoughts; Infant moral cognition; infant social cognition)
Handy, Todd (aging and cognition, aging and exercise, cognitive neuroscience, attention, migraine, fMRI, Cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, attention and its impairment in clinical populations, mind wandering, and real-world human behaviour)
Heine, Steven (Culture and human nature in psychology, culture, how people strive to maintain a sense of meaning in their lives when they encounter anomalies which they are unable to make any sense of, how people understand essences and genetic foundations for human behavior )
Hewitt, Paul (perfectionism, Therapy Perfectionism, personality vulnerability, depression, suicide in adults and children)
Hoppmann, Christiane (Psychology and cognitive sciences; Aging Process; Social Aspects of Aging; stress; Health Promotion; social determinants of health; Health and well-being across the adult lifespan and into old age; individual differences in goals)
Kerns, Connor (assessment and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD); childhood anxiety and stress-related disorders; trauma-related disorders; Autism; Anxiety; Comorbidity)
Kim, Eric (Health psychology; Psychosocial, sociocultural and behavioral determinants of health; Epidemiology (except nutritional and veterinary epidemiology); psychological well-being; Purpose in life / Meaning in life; resilience; Optimism / Hope; Health Psychology; Social Epidemiology; Aging)
Kingstone, Alan (Human cognition and social attention in complex settings behavioral, neuropsychological, and functional neuroimaging research)
Sample Thesis Submissions
Psychology covers most major areas of the discipline, including: behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognitive science, developmental psychology, health psychology, personality and social psychology, and quantitative methods.