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Study Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) in Psychology in Canada – Eligibility, Fees & Process

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The importance of mental health is increasingly recognised in today’s world, which is why psychology is a vital profession with rising demand. A PhD in psychology is a vocational programme that focuses on the comprehension of thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and actions. PhD in psychology is all you need to become a professional psychologist or psychiatrist in Canada if you’ve already earned a postgraduate psychology degree. In the subject of psychology, there are numerous specialities to select from, including a doctoral program in clinical psychology in Canada for international students, educational psychology, child psychology, social psychology, counselling psychology, experimental psychology, etc.

Eligibility Criteria for PhD in Psychology in Canada

To be considered for admission, you must have the following minimum requirements:

  • Master’s Degree: You must have a thesis-based MA or MSc in psychology to apply for a PhD in psychology in Canada. To be considered for admission, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or an overall average in the B+ range. Keep in mind that meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee acceptance.
  • Proof of Language Proficiency in English: To be admitted to psychology PhD programmes in Canada, all international students must meet this prerequisite. You must have an overall TOEFL score of 90 or an IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6.0.
  • Requirements for Visas: To study in Canada, international students will need to apply for a Canadian student visa. Only after receiving an acceptance letter will you be allowed to apply for a study permit. It is best to apply as soon as possible to provide enough time for the visa to be processed.
  • CV/Resume: A list of academic achievements and/or prizes, publications, related work experience, and/or volunteer work. Also read to learn more about putting together an excellent resume.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended should be sent in PDF format.
  • Referee Letter/Form: Referees must complete three reference forms and letters of reference or recommendation (teachers, guidance counsellors, or professors) and upload them to the university’s website.
  • Letters of References: The student’s references will be alerted, and they will be allowed to upload their letters using the online application system. Letters can include academic or professional references.
  • Statement of Purpose: Justifications for enrolling in this programme, as well as a description of previous experience, are included in the Statement of Purpose.

Admission Process for PhD in Psychology in Canada

The majority of Canadian universities only offer PhD in psychology programmes in the fall. For the Fall semester, the standard application date is December 1. As PhD programmes have a limited number of places, admissions are extremely competitive. To get a leg up on the competition in the admissions process, it is suggested to apply early. It is critical to understand the stages involved in applying for a PhD in psychology in Canada as an international student:

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Study Doctor of Philosophy (PHD) in Psychology in Canada - Eligibility, Fees & Process
  • Check out the various PhD programmes in Canada and the application deadlines.
  • Before completing the online application, make sure you understand the qualifying criteria and admission conditions.
  • Complete the online application and pay the application fee, which is non-refundable.
  • Gather all of the documentation you will need to finish the application.
  • Apply to a PhD programme with your research project in hand, and find a good supervisor with whom you can discuss your plans.
  • Track your application’s progress and wait for an admission decision after you have submitted it.
  • Pay the enrollment deposit and confirm your acceptance once you’ve received the admission decision.
  • Obtain a letter of acceptance and begin the application procedure for a study permit in Canada.

Top Colleges for PhD in Psychology in Canada

International students can apply for PhD in psychology at any of the top universities in Canada ranked globally by THE (Times Higher Education) World University Rank. Here’s a list along with their tuition fees:

University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is the leading teaching, learning, and research institution in the world. Since 1915, the institution has made a commitment to attracting and supporting those with the desire to make the world a better place. As a result, applicants, instructors, and staff at UBC continue to embrace innovation and challenge the status quo, propelling graduates to the forefront of education. (Students can seek financial assistance in the form of scholarships and other programmes).

Courses Offered: PhD in Psychology

Tuition Fee: CAD 9,131

THE World University Rank: 37

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby

The psychology graduate programmes at Simon Fraser University are all geared toward a PhD. The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) have both certified the PhD programme, which is based on the scientist-practitioner training paradigm (APA).

Courses Offered: PhD in Psychology, PhD in Clinical Psychology, PhD in Educational Psychology, PhD in Cognitive and Biological Psychology, PhD in Forensic and Law Psychology, PhD in Development Psychology, and PhD in Social Psychology.

Tuition Fee: CAD 10,500

THE World University Rank: 251

McGill University, Montreal

McGill University’s Graduate Department of Psychology is one of the oldest and most well-known in North America. The university itself has a good reputation as it is ranked among the top 30 universities in the world by QS Rankings 2022.

Courses Offered: Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Applied Child Psychology, Behavioural Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Educational Psychology, among other disciplines.

Tuition Fee: CAD 16,750

THE World University Rank: 27

University of Victoria, Victoria

A Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) certified programme based on the scientist-practitioner approach is also available at the University of Victoria. International students will automatically qualify for licenced practice in Canada and the United States after completing a PhD in psychology at the University of Victoria. The curriculum will equip you to work with families, communities, and organisations in both academic and clinical settings.

Courses Offered: PhD in Psychology, PhD in Clinical Psychology, PhD in Educational Psychology, and PhD in Social Psychology.

Tuition Fee: CAD 9,550

THE World University Rank: 334

University of Guelph, Guelph

The University of Guelph’s College of Social and Applied Human Sciences provides a PhD in psychology. Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Applied Social Psychology, Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Neuroscience, and Applied Cognitive Science are the four specialisations available, depending on your field of interest.

Courses Offered: PhD in Developmental Psychology, PhD in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, PhD in Industrial-Organisational Psychology, PhD in Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science, and PhD in Applied Social Psychology.

Tuition Fee: CAD 12,375

THE World University Rank: 581-590


International applicants who aspire to complete their higher education with a PhD in psychology in Canada will have access to world-class facilities and curricula to help them succeed in this field. All the universities listed above offer courses that help you gain a deeper knowledge of psychology’s fundamental concepts. In addition, the PhD-holders learn a variety of job-related skills that will aid them once they have completed their degree.

For more information on studying in Canada for a PhD in psychology, reach out to LeapScholar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the average salary package after getting a PhD degree in Psychology in Canada?

A career in psychology is one of the highest paying in Canada, with an average package of CAD 200,000 per annum.

2. What are the career options after the successful completion of a PhD in Psychology in Canada?

One can access careers in counselling, psychotherapy, organisational psychology, special education, etc.

3. What is the average duration of a PhD in Psychology in Canada?

In Canada, a PhD in psychology takes 3-5 years to complete, with a maximum duration of 6 years.

4. Is it necessary for me to register as a Psychologist in Canada?

Yes, to practise psychology in Canada, you must first register. You will not have to go through the registration process if your programme is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association. Otherwise, you’ll have to contact the appropriate regulating organisation.

5. Is a Canadian PhD in Psychology recognised in India?

Yes, degrees earned at Canadian universities are recognised around the world. Thus, your Canadian PhD in psychology will not only be recognised but also highly respected in India.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

Articles: 543

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