Application procedures for graduate studies in Psychology

The Fall 2025 application and document submission deadline for all MA, MASc, and PhD Psychology programs is December 1, 2024

Note: Due to budgetary constraints, our ability to accept international students is extremely limited. In the Clinical, Social, and Cognitive Neuroscience programs no international students will be admitted unless there are exceptional circumstances. In the Cognitive, Developmental and Industrial/Organizational programs international students may be admitted but, again, such admissions will be extremely limited. 

Note: To be considered, your application package must be submitted in full, including the online reference forms and test scores, by the application deadline. Please apply at least 2 weeks ahead of the deadline in order to upload your application documents and to allow your referees to submit their online references on time. Please review your application documents carefully prior to submitting them as changes cannot be made post submission.

Applying to the University of Waterloo is a 3-step process:

Step 1: Begin by visiting the Psychology Programs website to determine your area of specialization and program level, and the Minimum admission requirements website to see if you are eligible to apply.

Step 2: Refer to the graduate online application system website for application procedures.

Additional Notes: 

I. Type of Program

Applications for the following programs must select The Master’s Thesis as the type of program. (i.e., do NOT select the Research Paper option).

  • Master of Psychology (research fields: Clinical, Cognitive, Cognitive - Aeronautics, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental and Social)

II. Potential Supervisor

Please ensure you list faculty supervisors that correspond to the areas you have selected in the graduate research field. For example, if you select COGNITIVE as your top choice, then for faculty supervisor you should select one or more faculty members from the COGNITIVE area. If you list more than one faculty member in a given area, then please list them in the order of preference (i.e., the first person listed is your top choice if you list more than one). 

In addition, if you have selected a second-choice area, then please also list at least one faculty supervisor from that area that you would be interested in working with. For example, if you select COGNITIVE as your top choice and SOCIAL as your second choice, then you must first list one or more faculty members from COGNITIVE and then list one or more faculty members from SOCIAL.

Step 3: Upload your application documents using Quest

Once your application has been received, Waterloo will e-mail you within one to two business days with your 8-digit student number and directions on uploading your application documents to Quest. On the 'My Materials' page on Quest, you will see the list of documents which must be uploaded. See below for details about each required item.  All items, including your test scores and references, must be uploaded to Quest by the program application deadline date.

Uploaded documents are considered final and once submitted cannot be replaced or updated. For example, if you have an additional term of marks, we cannot update your transcript.

A. Transcripts

Upload a copy of your unofficial transcript (must include your name, the institution's name, and program name, plus academic terms, courses, grades, and a transcript grading key) from all of the post-secondary institutions that you have attended and noted on your application. Official transcripts are only required after an admission offer is made.

B. Supplementary Information Form

For Psychology, the Supplementary Information Form (SIF) is completed in lieu of a Statement of Intent or CV. Each SIF answer has a maximum word count of 500, except for the Letter - Personal Statement (Question 2), which has a word count of 2,000. The Letter - Personal Statement is uploaded as a separate document.

To assist you in preparing your answers to be submitted on Quest, here is information about the four questions that you must complete.

B1: Preferred Specialization and Degree Program:

To ensure that your application is reviewed by the appropriate faculty members, please clearly indicate all of the following:

  • your preferred area of specialization - choose from Clinical, Cognitive, Cognitive Neuroscience, Developmental, Industrial and Organizational, or Social.
    • Note: MA and PhD applicants may also indicate a second area if they wish, but applicants should note that if they list the Clinical PhD program as their second choice, they are unlikely to receive consideration for that program.
  • your preferred program - choose from MASc (Master of Applied Science), MA (Master of Arts), or PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in Psychology. 
  • specific topics of interest.

Programs and departmental research areas

B2: Letter - Personal Statement

In a separate document, describe your goals for graduate study and a professional career, relevant research experience, academic work in your area of specialization, and other relevant educational and life experiences. If you have specific interests in your proposed field of study and in working with particular faculty members, describe those interests and who you would like to work with. Please ensure that the faculty member matches your preferred area of specialization.

At the end of your statement, please include a list of scholarships, prizes, honours, or other recognition you have earned, plus the title(s) of any publication(s), major paper(s), or thesis of which you are an author or co-author (if published, give citation). Feel free to use point form rather than complete sentences for this section. This information and all other information provided in your Letter cannot exceed 2,000 words.
Upload this Personal Statement as a single file in PDF format under the Letter Item in the Materials List. Do not include any other documents. Once you have uploaded the Letter – Personal Statement, indicate the date you uploaded your letter in question 2 of the Supplementary Information Form.

B3: Funding Applied For

Please list all scholarships that you have or will have applied for by the program start date pertaining to this application, such as:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC),
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR),
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC),
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS).

B4: Psychology Courses

Please list all Psychology courses, completed or in progress, including course number, title, weight, instructor and grade.

C: Names and Contact Information for 3 Academic Referees

You must provide the names and contact information (an institutional email address is required) of 3 academic referees (i.e. university faculty members who have taught you or closely supervised your research). For more information on academic referees, see References.

  • Once you have submitted your  application, the university will e-mail your designated referees within 1 to 2 business days with information on how to complete an online reference. Your referees will have 14 days to submit the online form; however, the references must be submitted by the program application deadline. All references are to be submitted via the online form and not by mail or e-mail. Please submit your  application at least 2 weeks prior to the application deadline to allow enough time for your referees to submit their online forms.
  • Check your Quest account to confirm that your referees have submitted the reference within the 14-day deadline. Please send them a gentle reminder if they have not.

D: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores (General test), please see the chart below for the requirements based on program.

Area and Program GRE Requirement
Industrial-Organizational MASc Required
Industrial-Organizational PhD Required
Developmental and Communication Science MASc Optional
Developmental MA Optional
Developmental PhD Optional
Cognitive MA Optional
Cognitive Psychology MA (Aeronautics) Optional
Cognitive PhD Optional
Cognitive Neuroscience MA Optional
Cognitive Neuroscience PhD Optional
Clinical MA Not required / not accepted
Clinical PhD Not required / not accepted
Social MA Not required / not accepted
Social PhD Not required / not accepted

It is your responsibility to have your Education Testing Service (ETS) send an official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test score to the University of Waterloo (see 'Scores' on the ETS website). The GRE General Scores must include Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The GRE Psychology subject scores are not required.

The Institution Code for the University of Waterloo is 0996. A Department Code is not required for Waterloo.

In addition, you must upload a valid GRE test score with your application documents by the program application deadline. If you have a valid GRE test score (GRE scores are valid for five years from the test date) at the time of application, indicate your test score on your  application and upload your GRE test report to Quest. However, if you do not have a valid test, you will not be able to enter the GRE score on your application. Arrange to take the test as soon as possible, e-mail the official test report as an attachment to, and arrange for ETS to send your official test report to the University of Waterloo. Do not upload any document other than a valid GRE test score.

Please note that GRE test scores from previous applications will be automatically linked to current applications and cannot be removed.

E: English Language Proficiency Score

An English Language Proficiency (ELP) test score is required of any applicant who has not completed three or more years of post-secondary study at a Canadian institution, or at an institution where English was the sole language of instruction. For information about ELP examinations and scores, as well as ELP exemptions, please see the Admission and English language proficiency requirements webpage.

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Waterloo is 0996. The Department Code (Graduate Studies) is 01.

F: Proof of Permanent Residence

Indicate your Permanent Resident status on your online application.

Upload a copy of your Permanent Resident Card (front and back in a single file) or signed Record of Landing/Confirmation of Permanent Residence document in Quest.

  • Maximum file size is 3500 kb.

Please note, Record of Landing/Confirmation of Permanent Residence documents cannot be accepted until they were signed upon your arrival in Canada. 

For more information concerning application documents, please see the Application documents website.

Internal MA/MASc to PhD Applicant Process

If you are looking to transition into the PhD program after completing your Masters or MASc, you need to apply for admission. The deadline to apply is December 1st, 2023 for a Fall 2024 start term. 

  • When applying, you do not need to provide new GRE scores or reference letters. When asked to provide an email for your references, please use Ana Carvalho ( and Emily O’Connor’s ( ( email addresses as your 3 supervisors/referees.
  • Confirm with your supervisor if they require you to upload a new Personal Statement and Supplementary Information Form.

Please note, a non-refundable application fee is required for all admission applications, this includes both current and prospective students. 

Next steps to keep in mind:

In order to make the fall deadline to start your PhD, you will need to have your MA thesis completed, approved and uploaded to UWSpace by August 30th 2024 (no later). Please read over this webpage for more details.

Admission FAQ's

Do I need to secure a supervisor prior to applying? 

Applicants are not required to find a supervisor. However, because you should indicate a prospective supervisor(s) on your application, please review the profiles of the faculty accepting new students in your program/research area (e.g. Cognitive, Clinical, Social, etc.) to find a match with your research interests. Faculty information is available at the bottom of our program webpages.

Can I update my application? 

Once applications and application documents are submitted, they are considered final and cannot be updated. However, you are welcome to contact the supervisor(s) you are interested in working with and tell her/him about the change.

What is the minimum required GRE score? 

We don’t advertise a minimum GRE score requirement. The GRE test scores are reviewed in combination with the rest of the application package.