Admissions Frequently Asked Questions: UTSC Clinical Psychology
Admission into the Clinical Psychology graduate program at UTSC is competitive and requires significant applicant preparation. Below is some guidance to assist prospective students in maximizing the success of their application. Although we encourage all eligible students to apply, we strongly suggest all applicants review and consider the admissions data and selection criteria outlined below prior to applying.
After you have carefully read the below information, should you still have further questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clinical Psychology (UTSC) - FAQs
I have completed my undergraduate or graduate degree in a field that is not psychology. How will this affect my application?
- As stated on our website, students with a strong background in mathematics, computer science, statistics, biological science, and/or neuroscience are especially encouraged to apply, even if they have fewer than the suggested number of psychology courses. Students interested in completing coursework in psychology to meet admission requirements (i.e. at least 4.0 to 6.0 full course equivalents or 8 to 12 semester courses in psychology) can complete foundational courses such as statistics, methodology based courses, history of psychology and/or any senior level content area within the discipline (i.e. social, developmental, biological, cognitive, abnormal, etc.).
I have already completed my Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at another institution. Should I apply directly to the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology?
- Applicants interested in the Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology are encouraged to review our Master’s degree program requirements to assess equivalency of degree(s) completed at other institutions. Due to the high volume of requests, application materials will not be assessed by our program in advance of submitting a formal application. Only complete applications that have been submitted via the Online Admissions Application Portal will be reviewed for possible equivalency and/or transfer credits. The alternative to applying to the direct entry Ph.D. program is to apply to the Master’s degree program in Clinical Psychology. Applicants should carefully review all program requirements when deciding on which degree program to apply for. Applicants should also be aware that the decision of which program to apply for (Master’s versus Ph.D.) may have implications for the type of graduate scholarship for which they may be eligible to apply for (e.g., Master’s versus Ph.D. graduate scholarships). In certain cases, it may be reasonable to consult with a core faculty member on this issue. Please note, however, that faculty can only provide a recommendation and that ultimately the decision on which degree (and corresponding level for scholarship funding) to apply for falls to the student.
I have a Master's in ________ (not clinical psychology). How do I know if this is equivalent enough to apply for the PhD?
- Applicants should carefully review the Program Overview – Clinical Psychology webpage to have a clear understanding of the UTSC Clinical Psychology training model. Our graduate programs heavily emphasize both research and clinical training. You should compare your previous Master’s degree with our MA degree and look for key similarities and differences. It is ultimately up to the applicant to determine if they have the prior training to succeed in the PhD program. Also see FAQ: I have already completed my Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at another institution. Should I apply directly to the PhD program in Clinical Psychology?
If I apply to the PhD program, would I automatically be considered for the MA program too?
- Due to the volume of applications received, the admissions committee would appreciate thoughtful consideration be given to the applicant category as there is no guarantee that an applicant would be considered for a program for which they have not applied to. Thus, it is highly advisable that applicants carefully consider whether the PhD program or MA program is the more appropriate applicant category given any previous academic and/or professional training in the field prior to submitting an application (see FAQ: I have already completed my Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at another institution. Should I apply directly to the PhD program in Clinical Psychology?)
How many courses can be missing from a previous Master's degree in order to be considered for the PhD program?
- Due to the high volume of requests, application materials cannot be assessed by our program in advance of submitting a formal application. Only complete applications that have been submitted via the Online Admissions Application Portal will be reviewed for possible equivalency. The unit does not provide a cutoff for the number of permissible missing courses at the MA level. Courses at the MA level provide important foundational knowledge in the training and structure of the program. Thus, it is very important that applicants carefully consider the “fit” of any previous graduate training within the structure of our MA and PhD programs. Also see FAQ: If I apply to the PhD program, would I automatically be considered for the MA program too?
How will Credit/ No Credit (pass/fail) grades impact the evaluation of my transcripts in the admissions process and GPA calculation?
- At least an A- (or first class standing) in the final two years of undergraduate study is required for admission to the MA program. This is typically calculated using 10 full-course equivalents (FCES). In cases where the final 2-years include Credit/No Credit (Pass/Fail) grades, these grades will be removed from the calculation of the admission GPA. Note that the admissions committee may review grades obtained in other senior level psychology, statistics, and research method courses, even if completed outside of the final 2-years of undergraduate study.
Are the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General and Psychology Subject tests necessary for my application to your field?
- The General and Psychology Subject tests will not be required.
How is the admission GPA calculated?
- Admission GPA is calculated using your last 2-years of undergraduate study, or 10.0 full course equivalents. Students who complete additional non-degree undergraduate courses and/or graduate studies after completing their Bachelors degree will have these grades considered as part of their application, however they will not entirely replace the GPA earned during the final 2-years of undergraduate study.
My GPA is below the A- minimum requirement. Am I still eligible to apply?
- Students must meet the minimum admission requirement of an A-/ 3.7 GPA in the final 2-years of undergraduate study. Due to the competitiveness among applicants, this is the minimum cutoff for students to be considered. Students who complete additional non-degree undergraduate courses and/or graduate studies after completing their Bachelors degree will have these grades considered as part of their application, however they will not entirely replace the GPA earned during the final 2-years of undergraduate study. As well, the admissions committee will review student grades in statistics, research methods, and senior-level psychology courses, even if completed outside of the final 2-years of undergraduate study.
What psychology and/or other courses should I have completed to be considered a competitive candidate?
- Competitive applicants will have demonstrated strong academic competency in senior level psychology, neuropsychology (if applicable) and research methodology courses. Most successful students will have achieved a B or higher in the following courses (or their equivalent): statistics, research methods, abnormal psychology, and brain and behaviour.
I am currently completing my final year of undergrad and my final year marks will not be available by the application deadline. How will my GPA be calculated without these grades?
- Applicants currently in the final year of their undergraduate program should note that courses currently in progress will not be included in this calculation (e.g. any course grades earned after the December 1st application deadline will not be considered). The last 10.0 full course equivalent grades to appear on your transcript, including going back to your 2nd year grades, will be used instead in the GPA calculation.
What type of research experience should I have when applying to the program?
- Due to the program’s research-intensive curriculum, candidates should demonstrate some past research experience in psychology and/or neuroscience. For example, this may be demonstrated through publications, conference presentations, and direct experience conducting research in labs as outlined in the CV. However, research potential and transferable skills/ knowledge gained through other experience can also be outlined in your personal statement.
What should I include in my personal statement?
- The personal statement is one of the most important parts of your application and is your opportunity to describe how you are a strong fit for our program. In preparing your personal statement, you are to discuss how your personal experience in research, academics, work, and/or volunteerism makes you a strong candidate for our program. You may choose to dedicate one section of your personal statement to communicate about how your lived experience could bring a valuable and unique perspective to our program. For example, this might include a discussion of your identity (cultural or otherwise) or non-traditional trajectory to graduate school. Please keep your personal statement to a maximum of three pages, singled spaced.
As a mature student, I am having difficulty obtaining an academic letter of reference. Can I submit a professional reference from my employer instead?
- Our program requests applicants submit two academic references, with an optional third reference. An academic reference would be someone who could speak to the strengths of your academic work and research ability, and would most often be a Professor or a professional engaged in research/clinical work (ideally cross-appointed as faculty at a university). However, if you are a mature student and have difficulty receiving an academic reference, you may choose, for example, a supervisor at work who can comment on your writing skills, problem solving ability, creativity, organizational skills and/or, if possible, your research ability.
Since reference letters from admitting faculty will not be accepted, who exactly does this refer to--are they all of the individuals sitting on the selection committee or the professors indicated as potential supervisors on my application?
- With regards to the reference letters, “admitting faculty” refers to the potential supervisors to whom you are applying. Therefore, if you apply to work with a specific faculty member, that same person cannot also provide you with a reference letter.
How does my application to your field affect my application to the OISE field? If I apply to your field but am not successful, will I still be considered for the field at OISE? Can I apply to both fields at the same time?
- Admission decisions for the two fields are carried out independently. If you wish to be considered for both fields, please submit two separate applications.
Is preference given to undergraduate students who have maintained a full course load in their last two years of study?
- The admissions committee does not consider students’ course load during their undergraduate studies, including whether it was completed on a part-time basis. All students must meet the minimum GPA requirement in the final two-years of undergraduate studies, or 10.0 full-time equivalent courses if completed beyond 2-years, in order for their application to be considered.
I need/want to take more foundational courses in psychology before applying. Are course credits from online platforms like Coursera acceptable?
- No, courses must be completed at a university where a transcript/grade is received.
I want to do a terminal Masters’ degree, is this possible? Will doing so impact my application in any way?
- While admission to the PhD program is not guaranteed, we expect our applicants wish to continue to the PhD program. If you are interested in a terminal MA degree, our program may not be the right fit for you and we encourage you to seek out other programs that explicitly offer a terminal Masters.
Can this program be completed on a part-time basis?
- No, both the MA and PhD programs are only offered on a full-time basis.
Does completion of the PhD in either the UTSC or OISE fields lead to competency in "Clinical Psychology" with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO)?
- Both fields leading to the PhD degree in Counselling and Clinical Psychology at the University of Toronto are intended to meet the registration requirements of CPO at the doctoral level. Our field is specifically intended to satisfy requirements for competency in Clinical Psychology with CPO. For information about CPO’s registration requirements and guidelines regarding specific competencies, applicants are encouraged to contact CPO directly: cpo.on.ca/contact-us/.
What is the difference between the Counselling & Clinical Psychology programs offered at UTSC and OISE?
- Both the OISE and UTSC fields provide rigorous clinical training. The UTSC program is designed for applicants interested in careers as clinical psychologists based on the Clinical Science model of training and research careers as psychological clinical scientists in university and academic medical settings. A unifying theme of our faculty's is to advance the assessment and treatment of mental disorders, especially depressive and bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, borderline personality disorder, and neurocognitive disorders, such as dementia due to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. For more information on the OISE field, please visit: OISE - Counselling and Clinical Psychology.
Is your field accredited by the Canadian Psychology Association (CPA)?
- Yes, the Clinical Psychology graduate program at UTSC is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association.
Can I take MA or PhD classes if I am not enrolled in the program (i.e. a visiting student)?
- Certain courses may be open to other students at the instructor’s discretion. This is only for other University of Toronto graduate students. Many of our courses are protected and only our students may take them.
Can the MA or PhD program be completed online?
- No, neither the MA or PhD program can be completed online.
Where may I find the list of professors supervising students in your field?
- An updated list of faculty interested in taking students for the current admission cycle can be found on our Clinical Faculty webpage.
Am I required to secure a supervisor before I apply?
- Students are not required to secure a supervisor prior to applying. While applicants are advised to focus their efforts on preparing application materials, it is also okay for prospective applicants to contact faculty accepting students to see if their experience and research interests is a good fit. Please refer to the Clinical Faculty webpage for a complete list of faculty accepting students in the current admission cycle.
What criteria should I consider when selecting a potential supervisor?
- Selecting faculty supervision is an important part of your experience as a graduate student. In addition, applicants with no clear and specific research link to a faculty member are unlikely to have their applications considered. You should think carefully about your proposed area of research and ensure it matches with the faculty selected in your application. Please reference the Clinical Faculty profile pages to learn more about admitting faculty’s research and areas of expertise.
Having completed my undergraduate or graduate degree as an international student, how can I verify that I meet the application criteria?
- International degrees can be assessed with the University of Toronto’s School of Graduate Studies International Degree Equivalencies Chart.
What funding is available to students?
- Currently, the Graduate Department of Psychological Clinical Science offers students in good academic standing a guaranteed minimum funding package of $23,000 plus tuition and incidental fees each year for a total of 6 years (2 MA years and 4 PhD years). Beyond the guaranteed minimum funding package, applicants are highly encouraged to apply for external funding. Please refer to the Graduate Funding and Awards webpage for complete details.
As an internationally educated professional currently in the process of registering with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO), the College has requested that I complete a certain additional courses to gain my certification. Can I be granted access to these select graduate courses without enrolling in the entire program?
- Currently, only students enrolled in the Graduate Program in Counselling and Clinical Psychology at the University of Toronto have access to our graduate courses.
If I only complete my Masters, am I still eligible for CPO registration?
- Students who complete our full program (to PhD) will be eligible for registration with CPO. For questions regarding special circumstances and CPO registration, please contact CPO directly.