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

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 not required.

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$1,732.53$3,043.77
Tuition per year
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
$5,197.59$9,131.31
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.

Average Funding
Based on the criteria outlined below, 55 students within this program were included in this study because they received funding through UBC in the form of teaching, research/academic assistantships or internal or external awards averaging $39,120.
  • 33 students received Teaching Assistantships. Average TA funding based on 33 students was $12,624.
  • 31 students received Research/Academic Assistantships. Average RA/AA funding based on 31 students was $7,063.
  • 54 students received internal awards. Average internal award funding based on 54 students was $14,445.
  • 24 students received external awards. Average external award funding based on 24 students was $30,667.

Study Period: Sep 2019 to Aug 2020 - average funding for full-time PhD students enrolled in three terms per academic year in this program across years 1-4, the period covered by UBC's Minimum Funding Guarantee. Averages might mask variability in sources and amounts of funding received by individual students. Beyond year 4, funding packages become even more individualized.
Review methodology
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

 20202019201820172016
Applications1171258912072
Offers1517162010
New registrations1416151910
Total enrolment9088858179

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: 22 April 2021]. 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].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Friday, 28 May 2021 - 9:00am

Cindel Jennifer Melina White
The Cognitive Foundations and Prosocial Consequences of Belief in Karma and Gods

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
2019 Dr. Lanthier studied how people use a speaker's eye gaze, hand gestures, and vocal signals to infer, tune out or be attentive to what a speaker says. This knowledge will aid in the design of more effective learning environments, and will help us to develop a better understanding of human communication and social interaction.
2019 Dr. Barrus examined gambling behaviour. His work demonstrated that gambling cues such as flashing lights cause rats to make risky choices, and that gambling and normal decision-making rely on different networks of brain regions and brain chemicals. This research helps us to understand why gambling becomes addictive for some people.
2019 Dr. Gonzalez examined the development of race attitudes and gender stereotypes. She found that biases can affect children's behaviour as early as preschool but negative bias can be reduced through counter-stereotypical examples. Her research presents a strong case for developing bias interventions as early as possible.
2018 Dr. Wiens examined how psychologists can assess management-level job candidates for problematic personality traits and help organizations predict job performance. He also showed how such problematic traits can hinder manager's workplace relationships and disrupt their leadership effectiveness.
2018 Dr. Buckels' research explored the psychology of subclinical, everyday sadism. She developed a self-report questionnaire that predicts cruel behaviours such as online trolling, deficits in interpersonal accuracy, and callous judgments about harm and suffering. This research challenges assumptions that sadism is always sexual or criminal in nature.
2018 Dr. Chang examined the role of culture in human sexuality. Her research highlighted sexual diversity of minority groups previously assumed to be homogeneous. Findings revealed that mechanisms protecting relationships from infidelity differ between individualistic and collectivist cultures, and demonstrated that unconscious attitudes predict sexual behavior.
2018 Dr. Bedo studied cognitive neuroscience, with a focus on how children's brains develop the ability to read. His research examined how brain networks coordinate to make reading happen and how this differs in kids who struggle with reading. His research offers insights into how reading programs affect brain development and how this training can be improved.
2018 Dr. Lay studied individuals' thoughts and emotions when in solitude (without social interaction) across cultures. Far from being an inherently lonely experience, she found motivation, older age, and social resources can help us thrive in solitude. Solitude is a multifaceted part of daily life, and her research reveals ways we may reap its benefits.
2018 Dr. Kellman-McFarlane's research focused on cognitive processes associated with Hoarding Disorder. Her doctoral thesis explored the decision-making process that often causes people who hoard to see parting with possessions as distressing and unreasonable. Her work aims to inform the development of improved psychological treatments for hoarding disorder.
2018 A longstanding question in the study of language development is how infants understand their first object words. Dr. Campbell found evidence that infants as young as six months have a capacity to learn words with individual scope and words with categorical scope. Her findings reveal a previously undocumented richness in early word comprehension.

Pages

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
 

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