Overview

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.

 

Program Enquiries

Still have questions after reviewing this page thoroughly?
Contact the program

Meet a Representative

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Time: 17:00 to 18:00

Join Kelli Kadokawa and Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and some of our Student Ambassadors. In this open session the team will be answering any questions that you have on grad school at UBC, life in Vancouver and the application process.

Q&A with UBC Graduate Student Ambassadors

Date: Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Time: 08:30 to 09:30

Join Kelli Kadokawa and Shane Moore from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and some of our Student Ambassadors. In this open session the team will be answering any questions that you have on grad school at UBC, life in Vancouver and the application process.

Admission Information & Requirements

Program Instructions

Please refer to the 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

Reading

22

Writing

21

Speaking

21

Listening

22

IELTS: International English Language Testing System

Overall score requirement: 6.5

Reading

6.0

Writing

6.0

Speaking

6.0

Listening

6.0

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 all applicants.

Prior degree, course and other requirements

Prior Degree Requirements

A thesis-based MA or MSc in Psychology is required for applicants applying for the PhD program.

Other Requirements

We are aware that challenges due to COVID-19 have created difficulties for some students in taking the GREs. As such, we are not requiring GREs as part of the admissions application. However, if you are able to or have already taken the tests, you may submit the test scores.  For further questions about our policy, please feel free to contact your potential supervisors Associate Head of Graduate Affairs (gradadvisor@psych.ubc.ca).

2) Meet Deadlines

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2021
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 01 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 01 December 2021
Transcript Deadline: 01 December 2021
Referee Deadline: 15 December 2021

3) Prepare Application

Transcripts

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.

Supervision

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 Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
Applicants should browse faculty profiles and indicate in their application who they are interested in working with. No commitment from a supervisor prior to applying is necessary, but contacting faculty members is encouraged.

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

Students going into Clinical Psychology will require a criminal record check.

Citizenship Verification

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.

Research Information

Research Focus

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

Tuition

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$108.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,698.56$2,984.09
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,095.68$8,952.27
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$969.17 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $17,242.00 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
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.

Financial Support

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

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2019 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $23,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please refer to the department's Funding page for additional information on funding opportunities.

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.

International students enrolled as full-time students with a valid study permit can work on campus for unlimited hours and work off-campus for no more than 20 hours a week.

A good starting point to explore student jobs is the UBC Work Learn program or a Co-Op placement.

Tax credits and RRSP withdrawals

Students with taxable income in Canada may be able to claim federal or provincial tax credits.

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.

Cost Calculator

Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.

Career Outcomes

112 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 5 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 106 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (9)
Simon Fraser University (5)
Concordia University (2)
Washington State University (2)
Memorial University of Newfoundland (2)
Sheridan College (2)
McGill University (2)
University of Sydney
University of Saskatchewan
Saint Louis University
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
BC Children's Hospital (3)
Vancouver Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Centre (2)
Leap Clinic (2)
Cognitive and Interpersonal Therapy Centre
Colorado Department of Education
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Central & Northwest London NHS Foundation Trust
Youth Forensic Psychiatric Services
Vancouver Coastal Health
Fraser Health
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Psychologist (17)
Registered Psychologist (3)
Clinical Psychologist (2)
Research Associate (2)
Senior Research Manager
Therapist
Psychometrician
Psychologist, Clinician Scientist, Assistant Professor
Neuropsychologist
Psychologist/Clinic Director
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

The PhD in Psychology is designed to prepare students for employment in academic or private sector settings. Recent graduates have taken positions as tenure track faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, research scientists, practicing clinical psychologists, biostatisticians, and public policy quantitative analysts.

Enrolment, Duration & Other Stats

These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.

Enrolment Data

 20192018201720162015
Applications125891207292
Offers1716201027
New registrations1615191027
Total enrolment8885817984

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 92.59% based on 54 students admitted between 2007 - 2010. Based on 53 graduations between 2016 - 2019 the minimum time to completion is 1.99 years and the maximum time is 8.00 years with an average of 4.94 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 10 March 2020]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 October 2020].

Research Supervisors

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 (Sexual function and dysfunction in individuals and couples; Interventions for sexual dysfunction)
  • De Longis, 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)
  • Eich, Eric (Mood congruence and mood dependence in learning and remembering, memory impairments associated with bipolar affective illness, the cognitive correlates of dissociative identity disorder, and subjective, behavioral, and neural differences between field (first-person perspective) and observer (third-person perspective) memories)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Kingstone, Alan (Human cognition and social attention in complex settings behavioral, neuropsychological, and functional neuroimaging research)
  • Klonsky, Elisha (Clinical psychology; Suicide (theory, motivations, transition from suicidal thoughts to attempts); emotion; personality.)

Pages

Doctoral Citations

A doctoral citation summarizes the nature of the independent research, provides a high-level overview of the study, states the significance of the work and says who will benefit from the findings in clear, non-specialized language, so that members of a lay audience will understand it.
Year Citation
2020 Dr. Murch investigated the psychology of slot machine gambling. He found behavioural and physiological markers of a highly-focused attentional state called immersion in play. These findings clarify the role of slot machine design in the development of gambling problems, providing new guidance for treatment professionals and gambling regulators.
2020 Close individuals tend to show synchronized ups and downs of stress hormones such as cortisol. Dr. Pauly examined interconnections in cortisol levels in older couples' daily lives. Her findings help us understand the everyday dynamics that contribute to health being linked in older couples.
2020 Dr. Choi investigated speech perception in preverbal infants. Her behavioural and neuroimaging research demonstrated that infants integrate information from their articulatory movements during speech perception. These studies advance understandings of how infants may acquire speech, the complex perceptual and motoric skill essential for language.
2020 Dr. Park found that parents' flexible thinking and problem solving skills are important in reducing the association between the experience of chronic stress and harsh parenting. Given that stress is such a common experience for parents, her study provides important implications for parenting interventions to support healthy child development.
2020 Dr. Ho studied the link between physical activity and cognitive function. His research showed that physical activity is associated with improved performance on tasks such as university exams. He also developed a novel way to measure physical activity outdoors. These results have implications for the promotion and measurement of physical activity.
2020 Dr. Zhang studied how individuals high in perfectionism form relationships in group psychotherapy. Her research elaborates on the mechanisms of how perfectionism may negatively impact the process of psychotherapy and informs intervention strategies.
2020 Dr. Hofer found that a romantic partner may improve health even when not physically present. Olfactory cues from a romantic partner improved people's ability to cope with stress and the likelihood of a good night's sleep. Her work suggests simple strategies that promote health and can be readily applied to a range of people and situations.
2020 Dr. Blundon showed that hearing may be one of the last senses to remain active before death. Some hospice patients may still be able to hear sounds, especially music, when they become unresponsive just before they pass away. These results broaden our understanding of what happens to us as we die and how best to care for our dying loved ones.
2020 Dr. Varao-Sousa examined whether studies of mind wandering in the lab reflect mind wandering in real life. Her research provides evidence that rates of inattention are affected by both the task and the naturalness of the setting, a conclusion which has profound implications for theories of human attention.
2020 Dr. Van de Vondervoort examined the contexts in which children positively evaluate helpful versus unhelpful individuals. Her work contributes to our understanding of children's social and moral cognition.

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Sample Thesis Submissions

Further Information

Specialization

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.

Faculty Overview

Academic Unit

Program Identifier

VGDPHD-UY
 
 

September 2022 Intake

Application Open Date
01 September 2021
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 December 2021
International Applicant Deadline
01 December 2021
 
Supervisor Search
 

Departments/Programs may update graduate degree program details through the Faculty & Staff portal. To update the application inquiries contact details please use this form.

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