Application procedures for graduate studies in Psychology

Application deadlines for Psychology graduate programs for Fall 2020 admission:

  • December 1, 2019:  Clinical, Cognitive, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Social.
  • December 15, 2019: Developmental, including Developmental and Communication Science, and Industrial/Organizational.

Applications received after the deadlines may be considered if further graduate appointments are available.

Note: To be considered, your application must be submitted in full by the deadlines indicated above. It is advisable to apply at least 2 weeks ahead of the program application deadline in order to upload your application documents and to allow your referees to submit their online references by the application deadline.

Note: 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.

Applying to the University of Waterloo is a two step process:

Step 1: Complete your online application.

Begin by submitting your program application through the Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC). For step-by-step instructions on how to apply online through OUAC, create your Waterloo student account on Quest, and upload your application documents, see Applying.

Within 1 to 2 business days, the University will email you with instructions on creating your Quest account and uploading your application documents. You will not be able to submit any documents until then.

Step 2: Upload your application documents using 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 deadline date of the program to which you are applying.

A. Transcripts

Upload a copy of your unofficial transcript (must include your name, institution's name, and program name, plus academic terms, courses, and grades) 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. 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.

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/Organizational, or Social.
    • Note: 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

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).
Upload this Personal Statement (maximum 2000 words) 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 Science and Engineering Research Council (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: Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Test Scores

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

The Institution Code for the University of Waterloo is 0996. The Department Code (Psychology) is 2016.

A valid GRE test score is required 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 OUAC 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 OUAC 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. Admission decisions can only be made on a complete application.

Exception: Only the Master of Applied Science (MASc) in Developmental and Communication Science does not require the GRE. 

D: 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 OUAC 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. All references are to be submitted via the online form and not by mail or e-mail. Please submit your OUAC 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.

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 Institution Code for the University of Waterloo is 0996. The Department Code (Psychology) is 08.

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