PhD Program

Our PhD program provides opportunities to engage in intensive research training, and develop a critical and scholarly approach in each of our three focus areas: Behavioural & Cognitive Neuroscience, Lifespan Development, and Social & Personality Psychology. Full-time and part-time study is available. We offer high-quality training in a collaborative, collegial, and supportive environment.

Program Features


  • Research work includes an empirical thesis, completed over a four-year period. Each thesis is supervisory by a primary supervisor and two other committee members. Our small student-to-faculty ratio (typically 2:1) results in close mentorship.
  • Many students collaborate with fellow students and faculty members on additional research projects from both within and across research labs and focus areas.
  • Our PhD students are actively involved in research and dissemination, including presentations at national and international academic conferences, and publications in top-tier peer-reviewed journals. Students typically graduate with between 7 and 10 peer-reviewed publications by degree completion!


  • Coursework includes a one-term course on advanced research methods/statistics, two one-term electives, a two-term research seminar taken for each of three years, and a two-part comprehensive examination (written plus oral exam) completed by the end of the second year.


  • Teaching assistantships (TA) are guaranteed for two terms, for each of four years. TAs help plan and lead seminars, grade assignments and exams, and mentor undergraduate students in small-group and one-on-one settings.


  • Funding is guaranteed for four years, approx. $21,500 per year. (Tuition and fees are approximately $10K per year).
  • Our students are highly successful in winning external scholarships and awards through provincial and national award agencies (60% of grad students for 2018-19), which can double the amount of funding per year.

Completion and Careers

  • PhD students typically complete their degrees within 48 months.
  • Students develop market-ready transferable skills in several areas, including research design and implementation, data analysis, teaching, communication, critical thinking, and teamwork.
  • Many of our PhD students aspire to careers in academia. In recent years, over 80% of our PhD graduates have continued on to careers in teaching or research at public-sector institutions.
  • 50% of the our PhD graduates have secured funded post-doctoral fellowships and 50% of our graduates have become Psychology professors in universities across North America and around the world.
  • Other PhD graduates have gone on to careers in counselling, assessment, clinical practice, computer programming, and data analysis.