Prospective Graduate Students

Psychology Admission Requirements and Procedures

Admission to the Department of Psychology at McGill is highly competitive; in the past few years 5-8% of applicants have been accepted. Because the number of applications exceeds supervisory resources, some otherwise qualified students may not be admitted. Each staff member examines applications in his or her area of interest and may propose one or more candidates. Potential candidates are then discussed by the entire staff, and a final decision regarding acceptance is made by the Department as a whole.

Because the selection of students is initially made by individual staff members, potential applicants are advised to consider their choice of supervisors carefully. Information to assist in this choice is provided in the area descriptions at the start of this document and in the alphabetical list of supervisors at the end. If you feel the need to contact a potential supervisor, send an e-mail and ask the professor to take note of your application. Even if you do not receive a reply at that time, rest assured that all applications are given due consideration.

Admission generally depends on an estimate of a student's aptitude to do scholarly work at a high level and to make original contributions to knowledge. We consider the applicant's overall record, including marks, test scores, and letters of recommendation. In addition, selection is influenced by the applicant's statement of his or her special area of interest and by the availability of research space and financial resources within the Department. As each selection is made on a highly individualized basis, for both student and staff member, it is important that applicants supply as much information as possible about themselves and about their interests.

Students with GPAs less than 3.30 will not be considered. Although it is not a requirement, normally the students we accept into the clinical program have a GPA of at least 3.8. Also, it is rare for a student who has not had research experience to be accepted.

The nominal academic requirement for admission is an honours or major degree (BA or BSc) in psychology with a minimum GPA of 3.30. This usually includes an introductory course plus courses in experimental psychology, the theoretical development of modern ideas in psychology, and statistical methods as applied to psychological problems. Applicants are advised to have some research experience; such experience is usually obtained by completing an undergraduate research course, writing an undergraduate or Master's thesis, or working as a research assistant. An applicant who holds a Bachelor's degree (in any subject) but who has not met these requirements should consult a faculty member in his or her area of interest to determine if any courses must be completed before applying to the graduate program. In certain areas, prior training in fields such as computer science, mathematics, biology, or physiology is very desirable. Students applying to the clinical program are advised to complete 42 specific undergraduate credits in psychology as specified by the Order of Psychologists of Quebec.
The Department does not accept "qualifying" students. But anyone who holds a BA or BSc degree can become a "special student" and register for one or more undergraduate courses in the Department (see Special Student Status, below).

After students have been accepted into the programme and they have signalled their intention to attend our programme, we review students’ records to ensure that they have demonstrated proficiency in the following areas required by the OPQ at the undergraduate level: biological bases of behaviour, cognitive-affective bases of behaviour, social-cultural aspects of behaviour, human development, personality, psychopathology, statistics, psychometrics, research, and history and systems. Students missing any of the required 42 undergraduate credits must demonstrate proficiency in these areas by taking the required course(s) independently and passing a final exam. Students may complete these courses during the first two years of their graduate program.

Students are provided with a listing of the required courses and are required to complete a form indicating equivalent courses that they have completed.  Students’ records are reviewed by the programme’s Administrative Secretary and the Director of Clinical Training to verify that all requirements have been met. When a course which may satisfy a requirement does not appear on this list, equivalency is granted if examination of the course outline by the Director of Clinical Training or a designated professor indicates that the course is sufficient to satisfy the requirement necessary.

Students who have taken undergraduate courses in the McGill Psychology Department may apply to our graduate program. But before doing so they should consider the advantages of pursuing a graduate degree elsewhere, which include the likelihood of being exposed to new approaches to a field of interest and the personal development associated with success in a new academic environment.


Graduate Student Application Procedure

The Department considers applications only for full-time graduate studies for the PhD degree. We do not consider applications for only the Master's degree, or for part-time study. We no longer provide application packages. You are strongly urged to apply on-line at, however, a paper application may be requested from the Graduate Program Secretary (gradsec at if you are having difficulty in accessing the on-line application form. You may contact the Graduate Program Secretary at (514) 398-6124 for any specific questions. Given the number of inquiries we receive, we cannot return long-distance phone calls.

Application Procedures

When completing the online application form and you are applying to the clinical program, select PhD-T.

When completing the online application form and you are applying to the experimental program, select Masters of Arts or Masters of Science. Should you have completed or will complete a Master's degree, select PhD-T.


Psychology Admission Requirements and Procedures

Application material required online

For supporting documents, see link below on how to upload:

1. Online Application for Admission form:

2. Application fee: $100 for each form you submit (you may indicate two programs on each form), payable by credit card when you submit the form.

3. Transcripts: your complete record of study from each university-level institution you have attended to date. Uploaded copies will be considered as unofficial; final, official copies sent by regular mail will be required once you are offered admission.

4. Three Letters of recommendation required: There are no forms for these letters. On the application form you must provide the names and e-mail addresses of your referees. McGill will contact these referees and invite them to upload references on your behalf. Reference letters must be on institution letterhead and signed by the referee; the referee must indicate his/her title and full contact information; letters must indicate the student's name and specific program applying to; electronic letters must be sent from a valid institutional e-mail address.

5. Personal statement: Describing in as much detail as possible your interests in psychology and your career goals. Also indicate the area of psychology that you want to study (e.g. developmental, social, etc.) and the name of one or more faculty members with whom you would like to work. Upload document, file may not exceed 3MB.

6. Curriculum Vitae - Upload document, file may not exceed 3MB.

7. Source of funding: Indicate if you have funding or applied for funding.

8. Supervisor preference: Indicate Professor(s) you would like to work with.

9. Psychology area: Indicate the area you are applying to - clinical or experimental.

10. Psychology research interest: Indicate primary area of interest (check more than one if relevant).

GRE (Graduate Record Examination):

All applicants must take the GRE General Test if they have studied in an English-speaking university. For those who have psychology background, it is recommended to take the Subject component of the GRE. Applicants with little or no background in psychology are not required to submit scores on the Subject component of the GRE. Canadians who have not studied in an English-speaking university are not required to submit the GRE General Test and Subject component. When registering for the test please ensure that you request that results be sent directly to McGill University. McGill will then receive the results electronically, directly from the testing agency.

GRE general test scores have to be submitted by the application deadline (December 15). GRE subject test scores can be submitted after the application deadline has passed.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language):

Non-Canadians whose first language is not English and who have not studied at university in English must take the TOEFL. Canadian citizens are not required to take the TOEFL.

All supplemental application materials and supporting documents must be uploaded directly to the McGill admissions processing system (complete instructions:


The application deadline is December 15, 2014 for Fall 2015 admission.

Graduate Admissions
Department of Psychology
McGill University
1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1

Applicants should note that the deadline for many scholarships and fellowships is about four months earlier than the application deadline and that applications for fellowships and scholarships should be submitted through their home university.


Special Student Status

A Special Student is one who holds a BA or BSc degree but who is taking a series of undergraduate courses. The Department of Psychology admits such students to its undergraduate courses when they are interested in applying to our graduate program but lack the necessary preparation for admission. Admission as a Special Student is not related to admission to the graduate program. Should a Special Student apply to the graduate program, the application is treated exactly the same way as any other application. Information about undergraduate psychology courses at McGill is available at

A Special Student may take any psychology course in the undergraduate calendar other than Honours Research Project and Seminar (PSYC 380), Foundations of Modern Psychology (PSYC 480), and Honours Thesis Research (PSYC 481), which are restricted to Honours students. Registration in Research Project and Seminar (PSYC 450), requires permission of the instructor; a separate written application for the course must be submitted by August 15th. Forms are available in room N7/9 of the Stewart Biological Sciences Building or on request from the undergraduate advisor. Please note the prerequisites for each course; Introductory Psychology (PSYC 100) or an equivalent is a prerequisite for all courses in the Department that do not specify prerequisites. The following psychology courses are recommended as preparation for graduate work in psychology: Introductory Statistics (PSYC 204), Statistics for Experimental Design (PSYC 305), Intro. Behavioral Neuroscience (PSYC 211), Perception (PSYC 212), Cognition (PSYC 213), Social Psychology (PSYC 215), Modern Psychology in Historical Perspective (PSYC 403), and Research Project and Seminar (PSYC 450). Individual students should select courses from this list as well as other advanced level courses to make up any deficiencies in their undergraduate work. Up to five courses per term may be taken.

Application forms for Special Student status can be obtained from the Admissions Office, 2nd floor, of the James Administration Building on campus. Be sure to specify a "Special Student" application. The study plan section must be signed in the Department if more than six credits are being taken in Psychology. The completed application form, including the study plan, and a copy of your transcript should be submitted to the Admissions Office. Answers to questions about Special Student status can be obtained by calling Ms. Paola Carvajal, the Undergraduate Academic Advisor, at (514) 398-6122.


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