Graduate Admissions FAQ

Please review the entire list of frequently asked questions and answers below, prior to contacting us for queries related to psychology graduate admissions.  Our program receives numerous inquiries each day and we are not able to respond to questions that are already addressed in the FAQ below.

This FAQ is divided into 2 general sections; I) PREPARING TO APPLY; and, II) AFTER YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR APPLICATION

 

Section I ‐ PREPARING TO APPLY

 

Where is the Okanagan campus located?

UBC Okanagan is located in Kelowna, British Columbia, in the southern interior of the province. It is a wholly separate campus from UBC Vancouver, which is located in the lower mainland of the province.  The city of Kelowna is 390 KM west of the city of Vancouver.

 

Can I apply to both UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver graduate Psychology programs with one application?

No. Applicants must submit (and pay the corresponding fee for) separate applications to each campus.  Applications cannot be shared between campuses. Our Psychology graduate programs operate fully separately and independently from one another.

 

Can I complete a UBC Okanagan Psychology MA or PhD part-time and/ or by distance (remotely)?

No. Our graduate programs are structured as full-time study and are residence-based.

 

Do the UBC Okanagan Psychology graduate programs require GRE scores as part of the application?

No, neither the GRE General scores, nor the Psychology Subject Scores are required for the graduate applications.

 

What graduate programs in Psychology are offered at the Okanagan campus?

The Psychology Department at UBC Okanagan has two separate and distinct graduate streams; Clinical Psychology and Psychological Science.   The application process is separate for each stream.  Any applicants who wish to be considered for both streams must apply (and pay the corresponding application fee) for each stream.  Information regarding each stream may be found here.

 

Can I set up a meeting with a graduate program advisor to discuss my qualifications/ inquire prior to applying to either of the UBCO Psychology graduate program streams?

Unfortunately, due to the extraordinarily high volume of applications to our Psychology graduate program, we are simply not able to provide individual advising services to the general public.  All admissions-related information can be found on our website here and applicants are expected to review the information in detail.  Additional applications and admissions information is also posted on the College of Graduate Studies website.

Generally speaking, all prospective applicants should consult with their current/recent professors, as well as with postdoctoral students, and/or senior graduate students who have provided research supervision and mentorship during the applicant’s undergraduate or graduate studies where applicable.  Such individuals will typically be able to provide informed guidance regarding the applicant’s preparedness for Psychology graduate studies.

For prospective Clinical Psychology applicants, another highly recommended resource is Applying to Graduate Programs in Clinical Psychology: A Guide for Prospective Students, Advisors, and Faculty – Part One and Part Two.

 

Does my degree meet the Psychology graduate program admission requirements? Can I send in my transcripts for you to review before I apply to your program?

Please do not send your transcripts or curriculum vitae (CV) to our Psychology Department, as we cannot pre-assess nor pre-qualify applicants.  Admissions requirements are outlined on our website here.

The College of Graduate Studies at our campus governs the admission and application requirements.  All application materials must be submitted directly to the College of Graduate Studies, via the online application system. See more here.

Completed applications will be reviewed by our Psychology admissions committee following the published application deadline of December 1 for the next (September start) intake.  Each application is reviewed against our stated admissions criteria.

 

How should I decide which faculty member to select as my potential research supervisor? Can I contact the potential supervisor directly?

All prospective applicants to the Okanagan campus are expected to review the Contact and People section of the Psychology department’s website to learn more about Psychology faculty members and their research areas here.

Prior to applying, all applicants are encouraged to make inquiries with 2-3 prospective research faculty supervisors in our Psychology Department to determine alignment of research interests, mentor/ mentee fit, and to confirm the supervisor(s)’ availability and interest to potentially supervise an incoming student.

Applicants must name UBC Okanagan-affiliated Psychology faculty research supervisors.  We unfortunately cannot consider applications that name UBC Vancouver faculty. As indicated above, our programs/campuses operate independently and we cannot share applications between campuses.

 

Can I apply for the Clinical program but work with a faculty member who is not in the clinical area

Applicants may request to have a Psychology faculty research supervisor who is not in the clinical core faculty group, provided that the given Psychology faculty member is available to supervise a graduate student’s research.  Again, applicants are recommended to list 2-3 prospective faculty research supervisors on their graduate applications (see previous section above).

Any admitted student whose approved Psychology faculty research supervisor is not in the clinical core faculty group, will need to receive mentorship from an available core Clinical faculty member for the duration of their program.

 

Should I apply for the MA or PhD program? Can I complete only the MA program?

We do not admit students who intend to complete only the MA degree. Our MA and PhD curriculums have been designed intentionally to be completed as a continuous program. However, on rare occasions, students may exit after the MA, or may not be recommended to continue to the PhD.

If you have an undergraduate degree (BA or BSc) in psychology and are interested in completing a PhD, then you should apply to the MA program — provided you meet the stated admissions requirements. If you already have a research-based master’s degree (MA or MSc) in psychology that is similar to ours in terms of written thesis requirements, graduate-level statistics & research methods, and relevant coursework, with a first class standing (80% or better, using UBC grade scales), then you should apply directly to our PhD program.

Some students with other master’s level education may be required to complete our MA program, with certain requirements possibly exempted in exceptional cases if deemed appropriate by the respective Psychology graduate program stream, and by the College of Graduate Studies.

 

How can I best prepare myself to apply?

Our Psychology graduate programs are rigorous.  In addition, admission to both of our graduate program streams (Psychological Science and Clinical Psychology) is very competitive.  The admissions review process is comprehensive, and several factors are considered by the Psychology graduate admissions committee when reviewing and ranking completed applications.  A number of criteria will lead to an applicant package being top-ranked, including if an applicant has:

  • an eligible undergraduate (honours recommended) degree in Psychology, or a related area, from a recognized institution
  • clear evidence of scholarly work (i.e., posters/presentations/publications);
  • a thorough but concise letter of intent/personal statement, with clearly articulated research plans
  • relevant research-related and/or mental health-related work and/or volunteer experience;
  • awards/ scholarships/ scholarly recognition;
  • a curriculum vitae (CV);
  • demonstrated proficiency in English (where required).

All applicants should also have made contact with 2-3 prospective research faculty supervisors in our Psychology department (prior to applying) to determine alignment of research interests, mentor/mentee fit, and to confirm the supervisor(s)’ availability to potentially supervise an incoming student.

Only a small number of strong candidates, as selected from the applicant pool by the admissions committee, will be invited to undergo a comprehensive, full-day remote interview process at our campus, prior to any admission offer being extended.

Due to the very high volume of applications we receive each year, many qualified applicants are unavoidably not granted an interview.

 

I did not study psychology as an undergraduate student, but I’m serious about doing graduate studies in psychology. What do I need to do to become a competitive applicant?

If your undergraduate degree is in another field, or if you had a minor in psychology, there may be some options to consider that can increase the strength of your application.  For example, if you have little to no Psychology coursework in your undergraduate degree, it is recommended that you complete additional university courses to achieve the equivalency of a psychology major, prior to applying to either of our graduate streams.  However, if you do have a Psychology minor as part of your undergraduate degree, you may be well advised to enhance your competitiveness by completing a thesis-based Master’s degree in general psychology at a recognized university elsewhere, prior to applying to either of our graduate program streams.

Applicants to our programs should have completed university-level psychology coursework (with strong grades) in the areas of: biological bases of behaviour; cognitive/ affective bases of behaviour; social-cultural aspects of behaviour; human development; history and systems of psychology; psychometrics; statistics and research methods (third-year level of course recommended); personality; psychopathology/ abnormal psychology.

As indicated in #7 above, several factors in addition to Psychology coursework will lead to an applicant being competitive for admissions consideration. Information on becoming an unclassified student can be found here.

 

What if I have a 3-year undergraduate degree in psychology from an International (non-Canadian) institution? Are international credentials acceptable for admission?

Possibly.  If your degree is a three-year Bologna-compliant degree from a research-intensive European university, it may be acceptable as a basis for admission to graduate studies at UBC. Check the Minimum Academic Requirements for International Credentials Guide to locate your institution’s information here.

If your international credential does not meet the accepted standards in the guide above, then you should complete the equivalent of ten courses per one year of full-time study (the equivalent of 30 course credits at UBC) in Psychology as an unclassified student at an eligible university.  Courses should mostly be at an upper level, and include research/ laboratory experience.  Recommended content areas include: biological bases of behaviour; cognitive/ affective bases of behaviour; social-cultural aspects of behaviour; human development; history and systems of psychology; psychometrics; statistics and research methods (third-year level of course recommended); personality; psychopathology/ abnormal psychology.

Generally, your GPA over the last two years of full-time upper level coursework, 300 level (third year) and higher of the international credential must be equivalent to a first-class standing (80% or better, using UBC grade scales).  Applicants must supply the given international institutions’ grading scales/ explanations along with their transcripts as part of their completed application package, for comparison against UBC standards.  Our College of Graduate Studies has final ruling on all GPA calculations and their equivalency to UBC scales.

 

Are the BA and BSc both acceptable for admission consideration? Do I require an Honours degree?

Both the BA and BSc degree in psychology will be accepted, and an Honours degree is not required provided you have clearly demonstrated scholarly research experience in the form of lab courses/experience and/or directed studies as well as publications, posters, and/or presentations.

 

Why are reference letters required?

Reference letters help to provide insight into your potential to succeed as a graduate student, beyond the academic information supplied by your transcripts. Three references are required, and at least two references must be of an academic nature. Personal references are not accepted.

References must meet the requirements set by the College of Graduate Studies, as to what is considered an academic reference versus a professional reference. These details can be found here.

Referees are required to use their institutional email addresses in to complete the online reference form. It is advised that applicants do not enter personal email addresses for their referees.  Submitted references will be subject to verification for authenticity.

 

I have exceptional personal circumstances that have impacted my past academic performance. Can my application still be considered for admission?

In recent years, we have seen a significant increase in students reporting exceptional circumstances.Rest assured that applicants can and should fully detail any such exceptional circumstances within their applications, such as within their personal statement/letter of intent.  Such factors would be considered carefully and reviewed by the admissions committee within the context of an applicant’s entire application package, provided it is complete (i.e. contains required transcripts, letters of reference, etc).  Incomplete packages will not be considered.

 

How much does it cost to submit an application for graduate study in Psychology at UBC Okanagan?

Please visit the College of Graduate Studies website to view current application fees here:

New for the Fall 2022 application period (for September 2023 admissions): to increase the diversity of our Psychology graduate application pool and to offset the cost of application fees for eligible applicants, the Psychology department is piloting an Application Coupon Code process on a limited basis.

To apply for an Application Coupon Code, applicants must meet the eligibility criteria stated below, and follow the outlined processes PRIOR to submitting an application:

  1. Email the Psychology graduate programs at: psych.gradstudies.ok@ubc.ca with the subject line “Request for Application Coupon Code”.

In the body of your email, you must include the following:

  • Your affirmation that you self-identify as being a member of a group or groups that have been marginalized on one or more grounds including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race or ethnicity, Indigenous peoples, mental or physical disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, and/or age
  • Your first name, last name
  • Your email address
  • Program/degree stream being applied for (must choose one): Psychological Science (MA or PhD) or Clinical Psychology (MA or PhD)
  • Confirmation of intake year you are applying for (September 2023)
  • If you are a domestic (Canadian) or an International student (required information to generate the correct coupon code, since domestic and international application fees differ)

Subject to the restrictions below, after you have requested an application fee and provided you have supplied the required information: i) the Psychology department will notify the College of Graduate Studies (the centralized campus entity that manages all of the applications) of your request and provide your identifying information as required to generate a Coupon, and ii) the College of Graduate Studies will contact you directly, at the email address you provided, with instructions for how to enter your Application Coupon Code for you to enter when you submit your application.

Please be advised of the following important restrictions:

  1. The Application Coupon Code request MUST BE MADE DIRECTLY BY THE APPLICANT IN ADVANCE of submitting an application. In no case can coupons be applied retroactively to applications that have already been submitted;
  2. Application Coupon Codes are valid for one prospective applicant for a one-time use only, to cover the cost of one (1) application fee, to either the Psychological Science graduate program stream (MA or PhD) or the Clinical Psychology graduate program stream (MA or PhD) at UBC Okanagan campus only;
  3. The request and/or use of an Application Coupon Code by an applicant does not guarantee admission to any graduate program/ stream;
  4. Application Coupon Codes are subject to internal budgets/ limited availability and are not guaranteed to be available at any point during a particular application period;
  5. Unused Application Coupon Codes are not valid if not used by the intended recipient applicant for the intended program or session by the application deadline of December 1.  Coupons cannot be applied to a future session;
  6. Application Coupon Codes are non-refundable (no cash value) and are non-transferable between people, other programs or sessions.

Section II – AFTER YOU HAVE SUBMITTED YOUR APPLICATION

 

Will you let me know if my application is incomplete? Can I submit my documents past the application deadline?

The application deadline is December 1 each year, for the following September intake.  Applicants are expected to begin their application process several weeks in advance, in order to provide them with the ability to submit a thorough and complete application with all required supporting documentation from third parties (i.e. official transcripts, test scores, reference letters) well before the deadline.

Once applicants have submitted their application and paid the application fee through the College of Graduate Studies application portal, they will receive an automated notification regarding their application, in terms of being Complete or Incomplete, and/or if other information or documentation is required, from the electronic application system.  Applicants are responsible for checking their email regularly to determine if any further information is required for their application.

The Psychology Department cannot accept any application documents directly; all application materials must be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies as directed via the online application system’s instructions.

 

Will I receive updates from the Psychology graduate program regarding my application status? How will I be contacted if I am under consideration for admission?

Unfortunately, due to the extremely high volume of applications we receive each year, the Psychology Department is not able to follow up with applicants individually with application status updates.

It is each applicant’s responsibility to ensure that his/her application is complete and submitted prior to the December 1 deadline.  The Psychology graduate admissions committee reserves the right to begin review of completed applications immediately following the application deadline.  Documents that are submitted or updated after the application deadline, may not be accepted.  Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed.

Only those candidates who have been shortlisted and invited by the Psychology graduate admissions committee to attend remote interviews, will be contacted directly by email invitation by the Psychology Department as part of the selections process.

The remote interviews are typically completed by the end of February.

 

How do applicants receive an offer of admission?

Following the comprehensive, full-day, remote interview process in the Psychology Department, the shortlisted candidates are ranked for selection by the Psychology graduate admissions committee.  The selected candidates are then recommended by the committee for admission to the College of Graduate Studies (CoGS).  CoGS then verifies that the recommended candidates have met the admission offer requirements, and subsequently extends the formal offer letter of admission to eligible candidates via the online application system.

Admission offer letters almost always contain certain conditions, such as requirements for receipt of official documents (i.e. official transcripts, English test scores) where applicable.  Further, students accepted to the Clinical Psychology program will be required to submit to, and clear, a vulnerable sector Criminal Record Check process in British Columbia, prior to being permitted to register in the program.

 

I met all of the minimum application criteria. Why was my application declined for admission?

Common reasons for an application to be declined for admission from the College of Graduate Studies include: unavailability of appropriate faculty research supervisor(s); and/or unavailability funding for the applicant; an applicant’s less competitive academic record; and simply the limited number of spots available in our Psychology graduate programs.

In addition, another valid reason for decline may be that the applicant pool of any given year was extraordinarily competitive, such that the declined student may have easily met the minimum standards but was considered less strong compared to other applicants for that particular year.

Applications not completed by the application deadline will also be declined.

 

When will I know for certain that my application is no longer under consideration?

Psychology graduate admissions officially close April 15 each year for domestic students and on March 15 each year for international students.  The College of Graduate Studies will provide all official decline notices via the online application portal to all applicants who were not selected for admission for the following September.

 

How long does it take to complete the graduate MA and PhD programs?

Licensing requirements for Psychologists across Canada vary, since the practice is provincially/ territorially regulated.  Students should check with the governing body in the region in which they wish to practice to determine specific requirements.  We do not admit students who intend to complete only a MA in Psychology, and the MA in the Clinical Psychology program curriculum is not designed to adequately prepare students for independent practice as Psychologists.

 

Can I practice as a psychologist with an MA from your Clinical Psychology program?

Licensing requirements for Psychologists across Canada vary, since the practice is provincially/ territorially regulated.  Students should check with the governing body in the region in which they wish to practice to determine specific requirements.  We do not admit students who intend to complete only a MA in Psychology, and the MA in the Clinical Psychology program curriculum is not designed to adequately prepare students for independent practice as Psychologists.

 

I’m an International Student; what are my application requirements?

The College of Graduate Studies governs the application and admission requirements for all applicants, domestic and international.

Information for International Student minimum academic requirements can be found here.

The required Grades and Credential Guide for International Students/ Credentials may be found here.

 

What funding is available for graduate students? How do I apply for awards/ scholarships?

Support for Psychology graduate students typically comes from three primary sources:

  • External awards such as CGS, SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR.  Prospective students must apply for these awards directly.  Students are expected to continue to apply for external funding throughout their graduate studies.
  • Internal funds for MA and PhD students; these include the UBC Okanagan Graduate Research Scholarship (for new students in MA and PhDand for continuing students.
  • Minimum Funding Policy for PhD students*: as of September 2021, all full-time PhD students (domestic and international) enrolled at UBC’s Okanagan campus will be guaranteed the minimum level of funding for up to the first four years of their program. The policy ensures that PhD students receive at least $20,000* for each of the first four years of their program (this amount will increase to $22,000 per year, starting September 2023). Funding sources can include any combination of external or internal scholarships, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or other academically related work at UBC (e.g., Graduate Student Academic Assistantship, lectureships). This four-year period will exclude any official leaves of absence Students are deemed eligible for these awards by the College of Graduate Studies, based on academic excellence.
  • On-campus employment; includes Graduate Teaching Assistantships from September-April each year, from the Psychology Department (up to 2 years for MA students, and up to 4 years for PhD students).  Some research supervisors are also able to offer their students Graduate Research Assistantships, based on a supervisor’s available funding (not guaranteed).
    Information regarding graduate student awards and scholarships, and how to apply, may be found here.

*see more about the Minimum Funding Policy here:

More information about Graduate Awards and Scholarships can be found here.

 

What are the tuition fees?

Tuition fees information for domestic and international graduate students may be found in the Academic Calendar here.

 

I’m interested in Counselling Psychology, which program stream should I apply to?

Graduate studies in Counselling Psychology is not offered at UBC Okanagan.  Persons interested in Counselling Psychology programs are encouraged to explore the Canadian Psychological Association’s website here for a listing of accredited Counselling Psychology programs in Canada.

 

If you have a question that is not addressed above, please inquire by email to: psych.gradstudies.ok@ubc.ca