Department of Psychology

Department of


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Deadline for Applications: DECEMBER 1st

Being Accepted at Queen's

Educational Requirements

Master’s applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree, preferably an honours in psychology, in order to be considered for admission to the Psychology MSc program. 

Doctoral applicants must have completed a master’s degree, preferably in psychology or a related field, in order to be considered for admission to the Psychology PhD program.

Application Process

  1. Students apply to one of four programs:
    Cognitive Neuroscience

    Indicate which faculty member they rank as their primary choice as potential supervisor.  Applicants may rank up to three faculty members.
  2. Faculty members available to supervise graduate students in the upcoming academic session are listed here.
  3. Faculty member profiles are available via this link.
  4. Applications are reviewed by faculty member graduate supervisors to determine if there are any applicants they are interested in admitting to the upcoming academic session.
  5. Deadline for submission of your application is:  01 December each year for admission to the upcoming academic session that starts 01 September.


  1. Following the application deadline, all graduate supervisors review all submitted applications and make recommendations to the Psychology Graduate Committee regarding the student(s) they would like to admit in the upcoming session.
  2. The PSYC Graduate Subcommittee ensures recommended applicants meet departmental entry requirements; consider program restrictions, i.e. the Clinical program has limited capacity to accept students due to the requirement for practicum and internship placements); and ensure applications are complete.
  3. Where a recommended applicant meets department requirements, and the PSYC Graduate Committee provides approval, that applicant will receive an offer of admission via email.  Concurrently, the onilne application system is updated to “offered”.
  4. The School of Graduate Studies forwards an “official” letter of admission.
  5. The applicant makes their decision to accept or reject an offer of admission via the online application website.


If no faculty member is interested in the applicant as a potential student, the application is marked online as “withdrawn, no supervisor available”.

Reasonable GRE's and Grades

Please note that the requirement for GRE scores for studies beginning September 2022 will posted on this website by July 2021 as the covid 19 worldwide situation evolves. The mean and median GREs of students recently accepted into the graduate program in psychology at Queen's are as follows (compiled over several years).

Recent Scores

  Mean Raw Mean Percentile Median Percentile
V 158 77 84
Q 155 68 70
A 5.3 78 78
P 749 92 96


Note: If one (or more) of your GRE scores is low, rewriting the GRE may be useful as a higher score the second time will often be interpreted as indicating that you just had an "off" day the first time. Of course, a similar or lower score would just confirm an apparent weakness.

Grades have almost always reflected an A average (at least in the last 2 years of study and in psychology courses).

Note the following:

  1. An A average does not guarantee acceptance.
  2. Meeting or exceeding the mean or median GREs does not guarantee acceptance.
  3. The GREs presented above are mean and median values. Many accepted students have had lower grades and GREs and most have at least one GRE below these values.

The relative weight given to grades, GREs, and letters of reference are a subjective factor that each faculty member assesses individually in determining whether an offer of admission will be made to a particular applicant.  Competition for admission to the clinical program is greater than the other programs such that mean and median values described above may therefore be low for clinical and high for other programs.

For further information on GRE testing please visit the ETS: Educational Testing Service


The reason for a failure to be accepted into the program (as indicated on departmental decision letters) almost always is either "program full" or "no supervisor available." Program full applies frequently to the Clinical program because of the absolute limit on the number of students the program can accept. No supervisor available means that no faculty member was willing to accept the student. Students often mistakenly believe that this means that they were not perceived as good enough. Other factors are more likely to be the problem, for example:

  1. The potential supervisors listed already had as many students as they were willing to supervise.
  2. The competition was very good such that the rejected student easily met the minimum standard but was considered less positively than other applicants.
  3. The research interests as expressed by the student did not fit with the research plans of the potential supervisor. Whatever the reason or reasons, if no faculty member wants to accept the student to work with them, then the student will not be accepted.
Graduate Funding Support
Clinical Program Prerequisites

Candidates applying for the Clinical program are expected to have completed course work in history and systems, the biological, cognitive-affective, social bases of behaviour, and in abnormal psychology or its equivalent. The Graduate Committee reserves the right to request successful applicants to demonstrate proficiency in these areas. Students may be accepted without one, but generally not more than one, of the prerequisites as these must be made up prior to completion of the Master's degree. As the course load is heavy at the Master's level, the additional course work could affect a student's progress and their eligibility for funding which could influence the student's acceptability to potential supervisors. If a student is accepted without all prerequisites, normally the student will be required to make up the prerequisite during their first two years in the program.

Grades from Around the World

Some students complete some of all of their undergraduate training outside of North America. These students may be concerned that grades from the system they were in do not translate easily or accurately into the Queen’s grading system wherein a 70% is mediocre at Queen’s but exceptional elsewhere; or an 80% is an A- at Queen’s but a 75% or 90% is considered an A- elsewhere. 

As part of the application process you will submit transcripts from all previous degrees, each of which will include that institution’s grading key. Your grade average will be calculated based on the key of that transcript so where a 70% is considered an A in that institution your grade will be considered an A in calculating your overall grade average i.e. all grades are considered in the context of that institution. 

Your referees may also assist in providing some background about your academic work by speaking to the specifics that institution may have in their grading processes. 

GREs form part of the evaluation process and also provide clarification in the context of your educational background. GREs are not required for application for studies beginning September 2021.

No or Little Background in Psychology?
Students often ask if they can apply to our programs even though they do (will) not have an honours degree in psychology. The relevant question is not whether you can apply but whether you would be accepted. The current departmental policy is that students admitted to graduate programs in psychology are expected to have an honours degree in psychology, preferably with a thesis or major research project as part of that undergraduate degree. If you apply despite not meeting this criterion, at the very least you will be at a competitive disadvantage. Unlike the procedure described above wherein the supervisor selects the student and the graduate committee simply assesses whether or not the student is a good student, in this situation the graduate committee may require that the supervisor justify taking the student no matter how good the grades, letters of reference, and GREs may be. It may be that the committee can not be convinced. This is particularly likely if the supervisor had other applicants with a psychology background or if an alternative program (e.g., neuroscience) was available that does not require the psychology background and would accept the background that the student has.
International Students

International students are welcome at Queen's and enrich our program. However, the number of international students that we accept is limited. Tuition for non-Canadians (i.e., neither citizens nor landed immigrants) is more than double that for domestic students. The university provides our Department with a limited number of tuition awards for international students (reducing tuition to approximately the same amount paid by Canadian students). Most students accepted into our graduate programs are guaranteed a minimum level of support regardless of their origins or citizenship but this generally is not sufficient to live on if they have to pay the full international tuition without a tuition award. As a result, our intake of International students normally is limited and varies from year to year. Note that these students will always have the guaranteed minimum plus a tuition award.

International students may apply for Ontario Graduate Scholarships if they meet the minimum academic requirement; however, it is our experience that international students are very rarely successful in that competition. 

If the first language is not English, students are required to submit scores on a test of English proficiency. Our department accepts the TOEFL or the IELTS as English Language tests. You may access the web addresses provided below for more details including minimum acceptable scores. Yes, having a score below the minimum stated value will at least impair your chances and could lead to rejection of your application. But also note:

The following can be found on the School of Graduate Studies website

"Any applicant who has recently studied for at least one complete year at a university where English is the official language of instruction may be exempt from the English Language Proficiency test. An applicant requesting a waiver of the test for this reason should do so in writing and submit it with the application. The Director, Admissions and Student Services of the School of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the department, will make determinations in these cases."

Comparability of courses and programs also can be an issue for international students. There is no set answer to whether the program you have taken is adequate other than you need an undergraduate honours degree in psychology. If the standards for obtaining such a degree differ where you are or come from, this certainly may influence the likelihood that a potential supervisor will be willing to work with you. On the other hand, if a faculty member wants to supervise you, such differences may only matter if you do not meet minimum university standards (check with the School of Graduate Studies).

Queen's-Trent Agreement

The Queen's-Trent Agreement permits students to apply to and be accepted into graduate programs in Psychology at Queen's even though they will be co-supervised by and work primarily with a faculty member at Trent University. Students should approach the prospective supervisor at Trent to ensure that this connection is secure before applying. It is extremely unlikely that a student (to date, zero) would be admitted to the clinical program under the Queen's-Trent agreement due to the heavy course and practicum commitments of the clinical program in Kingston.