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 is extremely limited. In the Clinical, Social and Cognitive Neuroscience programs, no international 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.  

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 ( faculty members who have taught you or closely supervised your research). For more information on academic referees, see the References website.

5. Please see the chart below for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores (General test) 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

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. An option for further studies include the following:

Note: This option does not guarantee admission to graduate studies at the University of Waterloo or elsewhere, and an Honours Thesis is strongly recommended.

  1. 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.