Minimum admission requirements for graduate studies in Psychology

Note: Because the number of applicants always far exceeds the number of available spots, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. (This is particularly true of the Clinical Psychology program.)

Note: Due to budgetary constraints, our ability to accept international students for Fall 2023 is limited to one university-funded position at the MA level, none at the PhD level, and none for the graduate Clinical Psychology program, either MA or PhD. International students will not be able to submit an application to our PhD programs in the application system.

For complete application procedures, including required documents, go to Application procedures.

We typically evaluate applicants' preparedness for graduate studies based on the following:

  1. the Graduate Studies Application  form.
  2. the online Supplementary Information Form (SIF) (i.e. personal statements regarding background for the intended area of study).
  3. normally an Honours Bachelor's degree or its equivalent in Psychology with a first-class cumulative average (minimum 80%) over the last two full-time academic years (see Note 1).
    1. For those with a Master's degree in Psychology seeking admission to a Doctoral program, a first-class cumulative average (minimum 80%) in the Master's program is required.
    2. If your degree is from a non-Canadian university, please see International admission equivalencies for equivalencies to a Canadian 4-year Honours Bachelor's degree and a first-class cumulative average.
  4. three academic letters of recommendation (i.e. university faculty members who have taught you or closely supervised your research). For more information on academic referees, see the References website.
  5. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores (General test) are required for Cognitive, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Industrial-Organizational graduate Psychology applications only. The GRE requirement is waived for all other Psychology research area applications (Clinical, Developmental, and Social) for the Fall 2023 intake. Please note that GRE test scores submitted for previous Psychology graduate applications will be automatically linked to current graduate applications and cannot be removed.
  6. an English Language Proficiency (ELP) test score (see Note 2).
    • While testing centres are closed due to COVID-19, the following option is available for test takers: TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition® is available in all areas that TOEFL iBT testing is normally available, except for Mainland China and Iran.
  7. Proof of Permanent Residency if Permanent Resident status is indicated on the application form. Proof includes a copy of your Permanent Resident Card (front and back in a single file), or a signed Record of Landing/Confirmation of Permanent Residence document.
  8. a match of interests between the student and a potential faculty supervisor.
  9. an interview, in some cases.


  1. Those with a Three-Year Bachelor's degree in Psychology (i.e. General level), or any Bachelor's degree with a Major other than Psychology, will require further studies at the undergraduate level before applying to graduate studies in Psychology at the University of Waterloo. Two options for further studies include the following:

    • apply for admission to the Honours Bachelor's program in Psychology, or

    • apply for admission to Make-Up Psychology, which is a subcategory of Post-Degree Studies. However, based on the regulations for the Canadian study permit, the Make-Up Psychology program is not available for international applicants who do not currently possess a valid Canadian study permit. Please contact Waterloo International  if you currently hold a valid Canadian study permit to determine if you are eligible to extend your current student visa.

      Note: Neither of these options guarantee admission to graduate studies at the University of Waterloo or elsewhere, and an Honours Thesis is strongly recommended.

  2. You must provide proof of competency in English unless you are exempt from testing. For information concerning eligible ELP examinations, scores, and exemptions, see the English language proficiency (ELP) website.