MA and PhD

Conceive and conduct original research. Develop skills and expertise leading to future professional research and/or clinical careers.

Graduate Program Overview

Program Components Expected Duration
MA/PhD Track* Coursework and thesis 24 months
PhD – Clinical Psychology
(CPA Accredited Program)
Coursework, dissertation and internship 60 months
PhD – Psychological Science Dissertation 48 months

* Admission to the MA clinical psychology graduate program and the MA psychological science graduate program is restricted to those who intend to continue on to the PhD.

The psychology graduate program at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus offers tier-one research-based degrees to students in a collegial, close-knit setting. Our high-calibre graduate students dedicate their lives to bettering the lives of others through research and clinical work.

The Department of Psychology offers graduate education leading to PhD specializations in clinical psychology and psychological science. The MA (PhD Track) is a prerequisite for students with an undergraduate degree who do not have an MA clinical psychology or MA psychological science degree.

Our psychology degrees provide students with theoretical, practical and analytical expertise, as well as experience in the application of scientific results to real-world problems. Our dynamic faculty and graduate students are engaged in a variety of research projects, many in collaboration with partners in government, non-profit agencies or industry.

Our developmental learning model promotes research and clinical competence through close mentoring relationships with faculty, who instill in students a passion for lifelong learning that applies to their chosen career paths.

Explore more about our clinical psychology program, which is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). The CPA requires disclosure of information on the applicant pool, acceptance rates, diversity, graduates, and other details about our program. This information can be found here.

Students enrolled in the MA (PhD Track) program will learn to apply skills and methods in the science and practice of psychology, as well as undertake practical and/or clinical research in the field.

Formal milestones for the MA program include:

  • preparing, presenting, and defending a research proposal
  • collecting and analyzing data
  • writing and defending the thesis
  • ideally, publishing the research results

MA students also become paid Teaching Assistants during their studies in order to gain valuable teaching experience and to learn effective communication strategies.

Clinical Psychology

Our clinical psychology graduate program is based on the scientist-practitioner model of clinical psychology, with an emphasis on evidence-based assessment and therapeutic techniques. Our developmental learning model promotes clinical and research competence through close mentoring relationships with faculty.

The program is designed for students with a background in psychology or related behavioural/health sciences. Upon completion of the program, students will have obtained broad training in the science of psychology, incorporating the biopsychosocial model, as well as knowledge and skills in clinical psychology and the ability to integrate science and practice. It prepares graduates for careers in research, teaching, and clinical practice.

This MA specialization requires minimum completion of 45 credits, which includes:

  • 12 credits of thesis work
  • 33 credits of coursework, including clinical practica

Additional coursework may be required at the discretion of the supervisory committee. Find out more about clinical psychology’s practicum placements.

For more information, please see our Clinical Psychology Handbook.

Psychological Science

Our psychological science graduate program allows students to conduct research alongside world-renowned experts in areas such as abnormal, cognitive, health, social, and personality psychology. Topics range from neurocognitive functioning and social relationships to happiness and well-being. Students will conduct scientific research through close mentoring relationships with faculty.

The program is designed for students with a background in psychology or a closely related field who wish to conduct original psychological research under the mentorship of one of our faculty. Upon completion of the program, students will have received training in advanced statistics and research methods and will be proficient in evaluating and carrying out psychological research. The program prepares students for careers in academia, teaching, and research.

This MA specialization requires minimum completion of 30 credits, which includes:

  • 12 credits of thesis work
  • 18 credits of coursework

Additional coursework may be required at the discretion of the supervisory committee. Exceptional MA students may be able to transfer to the PhD program after one year if they meet program requirements and are approved by the Psychology Graduate Studies Committee.

For more information, please see our Psychological Science Handbook.

The PhD is an advanced research degree program that requires original and substantive contributions to the advancement of the field of psychology.

Graduates of the psychological science PhD program will be prepared for careers that involve conducting independent research, consulting, and/or teaching in academia, government or industry. Clinical psychology PhD graduates will be similarly prepared, and will be eligible to apply for registration as psychologists.

Formal milestones for the program include:

  • passing comprehensives
  • preparing, presenting and defending a research proposal
  • undertaking advanced data collection and applying sophisticated analytical methods
  • completing and defending a dissertation
  • communicating research results via conference presentations and publications in scientific journals
  • completing advanced clinical practica (for Clinical PhD students)

PhD students also become paid teaching assistants during their studies in order to gain valuable teaching experience and to enhance their communication skills.

Clinical Psychology

Minimum PhD program requirements include:

  • six credits of graduate-level statistics and methodology
  • three credits from each of the cognate areas in psychology (biological, cognitive-affective, and social)
  • six credits from each of: Individual Differences, Assessment, and Intervention
  • three credits in the historical and scientific foundations of general psychology
  • three credits in each of: Ethics and Professional Standards, Psychometrics, Program Evaluation
  • one credit in each of: Supervision, Internship Preparation
  • successful completion of the comprehensive requirements
  • up to 900 hours of clinical psychology practica as needed to reach competency and progress to the next level of training
  • successful defence of the doctoral dissertation (PSYO 699)
  • development of an acceptable level of clinical skill
  • successful completion of a one-year (2,000-hour) internship in a CPA or APA accredited program.*

(Note: Coursework that was completed for a master’s degree may be applied towards the PhD coursework requirements.)

Find out more about clinical psychology’s practicum placements.

* It should also be noted that while the above criteria satisfy the minimum requirements, additional courses will routinely be offered that are aimed at further enhancing the breadth of knowledge in one of the above required areas, or that provide instruction in an area that is not reflected in one of the above categories. Additional coursework may be required by a student’s supervisory committee.

Psychological Science

Minimum PhD program requirements include:

    • completion of up to 18 credits of coursework, selected with the approval of the student’s PhD committee
    • successful completion of comprehensives
    • successful defence of the doctoral dissertation (PSYO 699)

Additional coursework may be required by a student’s supervisory committee.


Research & Supervisors

The professional and research interests of the psychology faculty span a broad range, and their research expertise includes both quantitative and qualitative strategies of analyses.

Research Areas

Graduate students can pursue these and other faculty research and teaching interests:

  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Cannabis & Psychedelic Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Computer-Mediated Communication
  • Creativity
  • Deception
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Laterality / Brain Hemisphere Interactions
  • Neuropsychology
  • Positive Psychology / Happiness and Well-being
  • Social & Personality Psychology
  • Statistics and Research Methods
  • Rural Mental Health
Supervisors

The success of our graduate program depends in large part on a good mentor match between students and research supervisors.

Please connect with one to three potential faculty supervisors before you start the application process. No applicant will be considered for admission to the program until a faculty member of the psychology department has agreed to supervise the student’s proposed research.

We look forward to hearing about your research interests and career goals.


Lesley Lutes | Associate Professor | Psychology | llutes@mail.ubc.ca | 250.807.8128
Research interests: Obesity intervention and prevention; developing alternatives to standard clinical treatments for obesity and associated health conditions; examining theoretically-based alternative treatment approaches in different populations; utilizing different treatment modalities and technologies; examining alternative interventionist models for treatment delivery.
Brian O'Connor | Professor | Psychology | brian.oconnor@ubc.ca | 250.807.9636
Research interests: Statistics; normal and abnormal personality; interpersonal behaviour; psychopathology; software for statistical procedures.
Carolyn Szostak | Associate Professor | Psychology | carolyn.szostak@ubc.ca | 250.807.8736
Research interests: Rural mental health; barriers to accessing mental health services by adults 50 years and older in rural communities; media and mental health-related stigma; role of media in combating stigmatizing attitudes about mental health disorders and suicide.
Zach Walsh | Associate Professor | Psychology | zachary.walsh@ubc.ca | 250.807.9373
Research interests: Cannabis use - medical and non-medical; substance use; hallucinogens; harm reduction; personality disorder; partner violence; aggression; third-stream/mindfulness behavior therapies; drug policy.
Derrick Wirtz | Senior Instructor | Psychology | derrick.wirtz@ubc.ca | 250.807.8276
Research interests: Subjective well-being; happiness; the “good life”; cross-cultural differences in emotion; flourishing & thriving; positive emotions; interventions to increase well-being.
Michael Woodworth | Professor | Psychology | michael.woodworth@ubc.ca | 250.807.8731
Research interests: Psychopathy; violent offending; deception detection; computer-mediated communication; assessment and treatment of forensic populations; memory and psychiatric issues primarily within a legal context.
Labs and Centres

Psychology Clinic

Our in-house Psychology Clinic offers a free-of-charge public service for those in need within the Okanagan community. It provides assessment, treatment, case management and support for those with moderate to severe mental, behavioural and emotional concerns. Clinic staff come from the department of psychology, in cooperation with the School of Social Work.

Our other research centres and facilities include the following, and associated psychology faculty can be found in the Supervisors section above:


Students & Theses

Meet Our Students

See what our students are up to—find them in our Contact page for their research interests, supervisors, alma maters, and info.

Theses and Dissertations

Search all UBC Okanagan psychology student publications at cIRcle, the University’s digital repository for research and teaching materials.


Admission Requirements

Admission to UBC graduate programs is competitive. Applicants must meet the following criteria.

MASTER OF ARTS (MA) APPLICANTS 

Clinical Psychology

Applicants to the MA clinical psychology program are expected to have an Honours degree in psychology or a related field, with a minimum average of A- (80%) in the last 60 credits. This must include coursework in statistics and research methodology.

Admission is restricted to those who intend to continue on to the PhD. Applicants must also have the ability to clear a criminal record check for working with vulnerable adults and/or children in order to be eligible for the program and the practica.

Psychological Science

Applicants to the MA psychological science program are expected to have:

  • an Honours degree in psychology or a related field, with a minimum average of B+ (76%) or better in their third- or fourth-year classes, or
  • at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study with an A- (80%) grade or better average, or
  • significant formal training and relevant professional experience

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

Admission is restricted to those who intend to continue on to the PhD.


DOCTORAL APPLICANTS (PhD)

Clinical Psychology

Applicants to the clinical psychology PhD program will normally have a BA or BSc and MA (or equivalent) in clinical psychology or a related field, with clear evidence of research ability or potential. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

Applicants must also have the ability to clear a criminal record check for working with vulnerable adults/or children, in order to be eligible for the program and the practica.

Psychological Science

Applicants to the psychological science PhD program will normally have a BA or BSc and MA in psychology or a related field, with clear evidence of research ability or potential. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.


EXCEPTIONAL CASES

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the Psychology Graduate Studies Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar for full admission and program requirements information; the calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Note: In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

The College of Graduate Studies defines additional requirements and degree equivalencies.

MASTER OF ARTS (MA) APPLICANTS 

Clinical Psychology

Applicants to the MA clinical psychology program are expected to have an Honours degree in psychology or a related field, with a minimum average of A- (80%). This must include coursework in statistics and research methodology.

Admission is restricted to those who intend to continue on to the PhD. Applicants must also have the ability to clear a criminal record check for working with vulnerable adults and/or children in order to be eligible for the program and the practica.

Psychological Science

Applicants to the psychological science MA program are expected to have:

  • a BA or BSc in psychology or a related field, with a B+ (76%) average or better in their third- or fourth-year classes, or
  • at least 12 credits in third- and fourth-year classes in their intended field of study with an A- (80%) or better average

Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

English-language competence

For non-native speakers of English, minimum TOEFL scores are:

  • 600 (Paper) or 100 (Internet), or
  • IELTS minimum overall band score of 7.0, with no other component score less than 6.5, or
  • MELAB score of at least 84

DOCTORAL APPLICANTS (PhD)

Clinical Psychology

Applicants to the clinical psychology PhD program must have completed one of the following requirements prior to admission:

  • a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in clinical psychology or a related area from an approved institution, with clear evidence of research ability, or
  • a bachelor’s degree, with one year of study in a Master’s program with 18 credits of first class average of which, normally, 12 credits must be at the 500 level or above, and
  • clear evidence of research ability

Applicants must also have the ability to clear a criminal record check for working with vulnerable adults and/or children in order to be eligible for the program and the practica.

Psychological Science

Applicants to the psychological science PhD program will normally have a BA or BSc and MA in psychology or a related field, with clear evidence of research ability or potential. Your background training must be sufficient for advanced work in your chosen field.

English-language competence

For non-native speakers of English, minimum TOEFL scores are:

  • 600 (Paper) or 100 (Internet), or
  • IELTS minimum overall band score of 7.0, with no other component score less than 6.5, or
  • MELAB score of at least 84

EXCEPTIONAL CASES

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had significant formal training and relevant professional experience, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the psychology Graduate Studies Committee and approval of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

MORE INFORMATION

Visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar* for full admission and program requirements information; the calendar is a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

* In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

REQUIRED GRADES AND CREDENTIAL GUIDE

Grades and degree credentials required by UBC vary by country. Search the Required Grades and Credential Guide—a guide to assist international students in estimating their eligibility.

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORS

An international student advisor can answer questions about immigration, medical insurance and the transition to UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, BC. Visit the International Programs and Services website to meet the team.


Tuition & Funding

Tuition

Tuition amounts presented here are estimates only and all fees are subject to change. For official tuition and fee information, visit the UBC Okanagan Academic Calendar, a comprehensive guide to all programs, courses, services, and academic policies at the University of British Columbia.

Program Schedule Domestic (per year) International (per year)
MA Full-time $4,897.85 $8,604.65
PhD Full-time $4,897.85 $8,604.65

Tuition is paid three times a year, on the first day of each term: Winter Term 1 (September), Winter Term 2 (January), and Summer Term (May).

Funding Opportunities

Graduate students are typically funded through a combination of internal and external funding awards, Teaching Assistantships and Research Assistantships.

Students are expected whenever possible to apply for relevant scholarships and fellowships. These include, but are not limited to, Canadian Tri-Council scholarships, University Graduate Fellowships, and Graduate Dean’s Entrance Scholarships.

If students wish to hold off-campus (external) employment, they should discuss with their supervisor, particularly if the student is a grant-holder, as restrictions on hours of work may apply.

Assistantships

The Department of Psychology has a number of positions available for qualified students.

Teaching Assistantships (TA)

Paid TA positions are provided through the Department of Psychology and allow graduate students to develop skills in teaching, supervision, facilitation, and student assessment. Teaching assistants may lead seminars, help teach undergraduate courses, or assist in student evaluations and marking.

  • MA students are eligible for paid TA positions for up to two years.
  • PhD students are eligible for paid TA positions for up to four years.
  • TA positions usually occur September to April. TA hours and wages are governed by the British Columbia Government Employees Union (BCGEU).

Teaching assistants are mentored by their supervisor and via the Centre for Teaching and Learning. To learn more or apply for a position, see our Careers page.

Research Assistantships (RA)

As paid research assistants, graduate students assist their supervisor or other researchers in conducting high-level research. RAs are typically funded by a supervisor’s external grants, contracts or other sources of funding, and, therefore, are not guaranteed.

Research Assistantships are wholly dependent upon individual research supervisor’s funding. RA positions may take place at any time during the school year and wages and hours will vary. RA positions are not guaranteed. Talk to your potential supervisor about RA opportunities.

Scholarships & Awards

UBC Awards

The College of Graduate Studies administers merit-based graduate awards at the Okanagan campus. The College manages a number of award competitions each year and administers payment of all internal awards and selected external awards.

External Awards

All prospective graduate students (Domestic and International) should explore and apply for external awards and fellowships, including awards offered by Canada’s three research councils: CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

Graduate scholarships and awards may also be available from foundations, private organizations or foreign governments (check with your country’s education authority).


How to Apply

Find a Supervisor

Please contact our faculty supervisors before starting your application. Admission to the program requires the confirmed availability and mentor-match with a faculty supervisor as well as meeting program-specific criteria and requirements.

Required Documents

A complete application package will contain:

  • Online application and application fee
  • Official transcripts for all post-secondary institutions attended
  • English language test (for non-native speakers of English)
  • CV or resumé
  • Three reference forms or letters
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (psychology subject scores also recommended)
  • Letter of intent describing research interests and plans
  • Ability to clear criminal record check (required for practica)
Deadlines

Applying takes time. We recommend you start your application two months in advance.

For full consideration students should submit all application materials by the following deadlines:

INTAKE APPLICATION DEADLINE
Domestic applicants
September December 1
International applicants
September December 1

UBC’S Okanagan Campus

The University of British Columbia is a global centre for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. In the psychology program at UBC’s Okanagan campus, you gain all the benefits of attending a globally respected university while studying in a close-knit learning community.

DYNAMIC CITY

UBC’s Okanagan campus borders the dynamic city of Kelowna, a hub of economic development with a population of about 150,000 people—the fourth fastest growing population in Canada. In fact, the Okanagan Valley is rated one of the best communities in Canada to grow your business.

More than 160 buses travel daily from campus to key locations such as Kelowna’s cultural district and thriving downtown waterfront. The campus is two minutes from the Kelowna International Airport, one of the top 10 busiest airports in Canada.

UBC Okanagan is situated within the First Nations territory of the Okanagan Nation, whose spirit of stewardship for the land is reflected in the university’s respect for sustainability.

NATURAL BEAUTY

A diverse natural region with sandy beaches, beautiful farms, vineyards and orchards, and snow-capped mountains, the Okanagan Valley features sweeping stretches of lakeside and endless mountain trails for biking and hiking.

Check out this 360-degree video: Kelowna From Above.*

* Best viewed using desktop Chrome or Firefox (desktop) or YouTube app (mobile).

CAMPUS HOUSING

Full-time UBC Okanagan students can live in residence, which offers modern living with easy access to academic and personal support. Residences are surrounded by hiking and biking trails, plus panoramic views of the campus and valley.

OFF-CAMPUS HOUSING

* UBC does not verify or endorse information shared on this third-party website, which is offered here as a public resource only.

Join the club: Make friends with similar interests, compare notes, and organize and participate in academic and recreational events in the Psychology Course Union.

College of Graduate Studies: CoGS offers orientation events to support you in your first steps as a graduate student at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Stay active: Take advantage of the many opportunities to get involved and play—from workout space in the new Hangar Fitness and Wellness Centre and our 1,561 square-metre gymnasium, to athletic courts, intramurals, fitness classes, and nationally ranked varsity athletics. Have a ball in Sports and Recreation.

Relax: The Graduate Collegium is a gathering place where grad students can hang out, eat lunch, spend time with their fellow students, and attend or host special events. The lounge-style room is open seven days and week and is outfitted with comfortable furniture, kitchen facilities, and individual and group-work spaces.

College of Graduate Studies: Your hub for administrative support and such things as graduate workshops for professional development and for assisting you from the admissions process through to your graduation.

Centre for Scholarly Communication: Supports graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and faculty in disseminating their research. The Library’s CSC provides one-on-one consultations and workshops, including writing support for theses, dissertations, journal articles, and grant proposals.

Centre for Teaching and Learning: Provides support related to teaching, TA training, and use of technology in educational programming.

Learn more about graduate student resources and support.

Careers and Occupations

With a psychology MA or PhD degree from the University of British Columbia, graduates are well-positioned to thrive in a variety of occupations, such as:

  • Addictions support worker
  • Behavioural analyst
  • Correctional officer
  • Crisis intervention support worker
  • Human rights advisor
  • Labour relations specialist
  • Marketing and public relations professional
  • Mental health professional
  • Parole/probation officer
  • Youth and family support worker

Career Services

Map out your future and prepare to hit the ground running with resources and services provided by the Advising & Involvement Centre.

Tell your story with resumé and cover-letter strategies, and search Work Study jobs for experience relevant to your degree and career goals. You can also book an appointment to meet one-on-one with our career advisor.

alumni UBC

alumni UBC is a member-driven association that offers a variety of lifetime programming and communications to enrich the lives of UBC graduates.

The ‘Your Next Step’ program offers webinars, speaker series and professional development sessions. It is designed to provide advice, tips and resources in areas of career development to graduates for life after university.

Realize the promise of a global community with shared ambition for a better world and an exceptional UBC.