Research excellence

participant wired up for study with machines behind her

Faculty and students

The Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo has a 50-year history of research excellence. The founding 6 members of the department were among the top new academics in their areas and they established innovative programs of research that quickly put the department on the international map. Their enduring legacy is a department now comprised of 42 full-time faculty and over 100 graduate students who collectively conduct thriving programs of research in the areas of clinical, cognitive, cognitive neuroscience, developmental, industrial/organizational, and social psychology. The faculty members attract more than $3.5 million annually in research funding from 19 different funding agencies and all graduate students are funded, either internally or by external agencies. A recent study judged our department to be #1 in Canada in terms of research productivity and impact.1


Research in the Department of Psychology is supported by a staff of dedicated, talented people who provide invaluable assistance with all matters relevant to research, among these graduate student research, undergraduate honours research, computer equipment, specialized lab equipment (e.g., Event Related Potential Lab - ERP), and research finance. We also have a full-time coordinator for the Research Experiences Group, a pool of thousands of undergraduate students who have the opportunity to take part in research. Many individual labs have lab managers and other dedicated research personnel as well.

Facilities and equipment

The Department of Psychology houses state-of-the-art research facilities, including high-tech equipment (e.g., ERP, virtual reality, digital video recording and streaming, psychophysiological measurement, eye movement recording, access to an MRI) and labs that are specially equipped for studying behaviours of particular interest (e.g., gambling machines to study gambling behaviour, a kitchenette to study persistent washing and checking behaviours, infant and child playrooms to study cognitive and social development). The department staff and faculty have developed thriving systems for recruiting participants from populations of interest in the community, including adults (e.g., the Research Experiences Group, the Waterloo Research on Aging Pool, the Neurological Patient Database, and the Anxiety Studies Division of the Centre for Mental Health Research and infants, and children (e.g., the Centre for Child Studies, the Cognitive Development Lab, the Developmental Learning Lab, and the Lab for Infant Development and Language).

1Carleton, R. N., Peluso, D. L., & Asmundson, G. J. G. (2010). Assessing the research activity of Canadian psychology departments with graduate programmes. Canadian Psychology, 51(3), 164-176. doi:10.1037/a0020193