Thinking of coming to Queen's Psychology?

Application Deadline

The admissions application deadline is December 1st of each year for entry at the start of the upcoming academic session beginning in September.

How to Apply:

Selecting Your Area of Study

Review the 4 graduate programs above to determine which area best suits your interest and background.

 

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants to our MSc program are expected to have completed a bachelor’s honours degree in psychology, or in an appropriate adjacent area, such as cognitive science or social behaviour in order to be competitive. The appropriateness of degrees from adjacent areas varies widely by program; for instance, a cognitive science degree may be viewed more favourably in our Cognitive Neuroscience program than in our Clinical program.

In addition to these basic requirements, most successful applicants to our MSc program will have accumulated significant undergraduate research experience. This experience might include, among other things, having completed a senior honors thesis or some other major research project, or having worked as a research assistant or lab coordinator prior to applying. It is also desirable for students backgrounds and application materials to show evidence of excellent skills in writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning (e.g., statistical analysis of data).

The MSc program is designed as a 2-year MSc thesis-based degree, and many students transition from this program directly into our 4-year thesis-based PhD program, resulting in a 6-year commitment to the program. The background and eligibility of each applicant is judged by a department-wide admissions committee. For students judged to have an excellent background, it is also necessary that one of our faculty must be willing to supervise the student for the duration of their degree. To learn which faculty members are available to supervise please see Faculty Member Availability page.

Students who have completed a thesis-based MSc in Psychology (or appropriate adjacent area) at another institution, direct application to our PhD program is possible, with the same general guidelines as above.

International applicants can find more information regarding funding and requirements on the International Students page.

 

Connecting With A Potential Graduate Supervisor

After you have identified your area of interest, research faculty member profiles associated with the chosen area of interest. Determine which of these faculty are accepting students for the upcoming academic session by visiting the Faculty Member Availability page.

Preparing for Your Application

You will fill out an online application form for your application for the Psychology Graduate Program. The only documents that need to be uploaded are your transcript (provided by the applicant) and reference letters (provided by the referees). All the other application materials are completed and submitted using our online fillable application form. The character limit of each material mentioned below is the character limit of application form and cannot be exceeded.

You will provide a Statement of Interest as part of the online application process. Be sure to write a great Statement of Interest which best summarizes your individual educational goals. Your Statement will assist us in determining which area of study suits your educational goals and which potential supervisor would best guide your studies towards that goal. The Statement of Interest should not exceed 4000 characters including space.

How Do I Write a Great Statement of Interest?

  • write in lay terms, NOT disciplinary jargon -- it is important that all are able to understand your goals and objectives clearly

  • be concrete, practical and feasible - sound like you know what you are doing and that you have a reasonable time to do it in - the PSYC master's program is 2 years long and the doctoral program is 4 years long – demonstrate how you plan to complete your proposed study in the relevant time period

  • avoid being vague, speculative or uncertain

  • do not use up space with excessive lists of courses

  • use inclusive language

  • be clear and concise, focus on organization and flow, use subheadings

  • proofread your work carefully

  • include your reasons for pursuing a graduate program in your field and explain where you hope to end up

  • be specific (especially for PhD applications) - begin with your general research objective/what you are interested in studying; detail your background; finish by identifying your motivations and future goals - what will be your contribution to the knowledge base in your area of study?

You are required to provide a Resume that lists any skills and abilities that they feel are relevant to their area of study. The Resume should not exceed 2000 characters including space.

You will need two academic references to complete your graduate application package.

Note: The deadline for reference letters to be received by the Department is the same as the application deadline (December 1). As referees will only be able to submit reference letters after the application is submitted, please make sure to submit your application at least a few days prior to the application deadline.

 Our How to ask for a Reference Letter guidelines below provides you with instructions on how to identify a potential referee and what information you can provide them with to assist them in preparing a strong reference letter.

How to Ask for a Reference Letter

Straightforward advice for job candidates in search of a professorial recommendation
by Adam Chapnick

It is one of the most critical steps in a graduate student’s path to permanent academic employment, yet ironically it’s also one of the most mysterious. Asking a professor for a letter, or more likely many letters, of reference can be stressful, and rarely are students instructed on proper etiquette. Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be intimidating.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the vast majority of professors understand that writing letters of reference is part of their job. Even better, most take pride in being able to help their students succeed in their academic careers and understand that students might not know how to best approach them. Some even go so far as to post instructions for students seeking letters on their websites. But if yours doesn’t, here are some helpful tips on how to get the references you need.

Who to choose and when to approach them

Not every professor will make the best referee, and some are better for certain applications than others. Although there is little specific research on this issue, anecdotal evidence from academics who have experience on selection committees suggests that you should choose referees based on three criteria (in order of importance):

  • How well did I do in the professor’s course(s) / how well did I perform as a TA or RA?

  • How well does the professor know me and/or my work and how up-to-date is that knowledge?

  • Will the professor’s reputation carry weight with the selection committee?

Since professors are asked to rank their students’ past and future abilities in any letter of reference, it makes little sense to solicit a recommendation from someone who cannot say that your work stands out. Convincing letters also give the reader a sense that the professor knows the student well. More recent knowledge is therefore more credible. Finally, a professor who is well known to a committee is particularly credible. Aim to create a list of potential referees five to six weeks before the letter is due and make sure that your list includes at least one or two more names than you need (in case professors are less impressed than you are with your record or simply are not available to write).

The moment you’ve decided who to approach, find out whether any of those professors have reference letter policies. If they do, follow their directions. If not, approach your professors in the way that you are accustomed to dealing with them. If a potential referee has always been slow to respond to e-mail, then make an appointment to speak in person. If you know that a professor prefers to work from home, a well-written e-mail is appropriate.

What to say and what to give them

In your initial approach, make sure that each professor:

  • knows who you are;

  • understands that you are seeking a strong reference;

  • knows why you would like a letter from them specifically;

  • understands that you face a deadline.

Full disclosure up front should prevent a reluctant yes. And when it comes to letters of reference, an unenthusiastic recommendation can be worse than no letter at all.

Be prepared to provide any referee with a package of information about you immediately.

It should include:

  • an unofficial copy of your academic history (transcripts) along with an explanation of any aberrations (low grades, missing years, etc.);

  • an updated resumé or CV;

  • a draft of any statement of interest or research proposal that will be included in your application;

  • any forms that the referee will be asked to fill out.

  • Fill in all of your personal information, along with as much of the professor’s as possible, in advance;

  • an additional sheet with your personal contact details;

  • a covering letter that reiterates who you are, the program or position that interests you and why, when the letter is due, what the professor should do with it once it’s finished (will you pick it up? Should it be mailed to you in a supplied, stamped, self-addressed envelope? Should it be mailed directly to the institution at the address you have included on an address label?), and any additional instructions.

Ask your referees if they would also like:

  • a writing sample and/or copy of the professor’s comments on your work;

  • you to mail the letters and therefore cover the postage (don’t stamp your own envelopes because most professors will want to put the letters in a departmental one);

  • a reminder note or phone call a week before the letter is due.

Thank you etiquette

Always let your professor know whether the application has been successful. If you anticipate asking for additional letters, send yearly updates about your progress. No further signs of appreciation are necessary but, if you insist, a kind, detailed e-mail that your referee can include in his or her teaching dossier, is a good idea.

Adam Chapnick is the deputy director of education at the Canadian Forces College and an assistant professor of defense studies at the Royal Military College of Canada.

You need to upload most updated official transcripts to your online application. You can find more requirements regarding transcripts on Queens’s School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs Application page.

Applicants whose first language is not English or who have not recently studied for at least one complete year at a post-secondary institution where English is the official language of instruction, will be required to obtain satisfactory results in an English language proficiency test (e.g., TOEFL, IELTS), as part of the application process, and before their application will be considered complete. Please see the Queens’s School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs Application page for relevant details.

The GRE is no longer required for students applying for a Psychology Graduate Program.

Frequently Asked Questions

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:

    Clinical
    Cognitive Neuroscience
    Developmental
    Social-Personality


    Indicate which faculty member they rank as their primary choice as potential supervisor.  Applicants may rank up to three faculty members.

  2. Faculty members are available to supervise graduate students in the upcoming academic session.

  3. Faculty member profiles are available.

  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.

Decision

  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 online 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.

Rejection

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

Grades have almost always reflected an A average (at least in the last 2 years of study and in psychology courses). However, an A average does not guarantee acceptance.

  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.

Tuition Fees for domestic and international students are available via the Office of the Registrar Graduate Tuition Fees. Click on the Graduate and Professional Programs Fee Schedule. Tuition is listed by year, by term.

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.

NOTE: We do not offer a terminal MSc/MA in the Clinical Psychology Program

To apply directly to the Clinical PhD program, you would need to have completed a two-year, thesis-based master's degree, and have only one or two courses missing from the Msc level (800-series) required courses (weblink below). In our experience, students applying with non-clinical psychology MSc degrees do not have the courses to apply directly to the PhD and need to apply to the Msc to complete those core courses (e.g., in assessment, treatment, and theory). Depending on what your coursework was for your master's degree, you will likely be able to count some of your MA coursework towards the MSc in clinical psychology (e.g., statistics courses). Click here to review the program requirements

NOTE: We do not offer a terminal MSc/MA in the Clinical Psychology Program

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.

NOTE: We do not offer a terminal MSc/MA in the Clinical Psychology Program

Students often ask if they can apply to our programs even though they do or 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.

NOTE: We do not offer a terminal MSc/MA in the Clinical Psychology Program

The Queen's Clinical Psychology Program is a PhD program, not a PsyD program. To understand the difference between a PhD and PsyD in Psychology, please see this Psychology Today article.

For information about registration as a Psychologist in Ontario, please visit The College of Psychologists of Ontario website.

*Please note that our Clinical Psychology Program is not available online.

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.

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.

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.

Psychology is a particularly diverse profession encompassing research, teaching and applied work. While the two former activities are relevant mainly, but by no means exclusively to universities, applied psychologists work in a wide variety of settings including: industry, management, the school systems, private practice, penitentiaries, and hospitals. Like members of all professions, the conduct of psychologists whether they are engaged in practice, teaching or research, is regulated by principles, standards and by statute.

To learn more about the Profession of Psychology visit: