Jul 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Calendar 
2023-2024 Graduate Calendar [ARCHIVED CALENDAR]

Forensic Psychology, PhD - Direct entry

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General information

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Forensic Psychology combines disciplinary and specialized study in Forensic Psychology, study in research methods and statistics, and applied learning experiences to prepare students to work in a variety of settings. Specifically, the program will prepare students for careers related to research and/or teaching in college and university settings; research and practice in behavioural science crime units within law enforcement; research in correctional facilities, mental health institutions, hospital settings, justice-related institutes, the pharmaceutical industry and educational entertainment industry; design and evaluation of community programs; administration in provincial and federal programs; behavioural science and statistical research in government organizations; advertising and marketing; and trial consulting. The program will also allow professionals (e.g., law enforcement officials) to advance in their current fields.

A current list of graduate faculty is available on the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities’ website.

Admission requirements

Admission is competitive and occurs once per year. The specific average or standing required for admission varies from year to year. Students are selected by taking into consideration a wide range of criteria, including grades, distribution of courses taken, Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores, statements of academic intent, reference letters, research interests, and supervisor and funding availability. Possession of the minimum requirements does not guarantee acceptance. Preference will be given to applicants with the best qualifications. However, the Forensic Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee will consider all components of the application when making admission decisions. Students will be assigned to research supervisors at the time of admission.

Please note that completion of an honours thesis or comparable research experience is highly preferred for the Forensic Psychology programs but is not required.

Applicants with unrelated backgrounds may be admitted as special cases. However, applicants without sufficient psychology background or those who do not meet the admission requirements of the program may not be prepared to perform successfully in the program courses. In this case, they may be required to take additional courses or be admitted as qualifying students. Please see types of graduate students and offers of admission  for additional details.

Academic requirements

In addition to the general academic requirements for graduate studies , all applicants must meet the following program-specific academic requirements:

  • Hold a four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent in Psychology or a related field (e.g., Neuroscience, Computer Science, Biology, Criminology) at a recognized institution. Students with both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are encouraged to apply.
  • Overall academic standing of at least an A-minus (GPA: 3.7 on a 4.3 scale), with a minimum academic standing of A-minus in the final two full-time years (four terms) of undergraduate study, including elective courses.

Supporting document requirements

In addition to the general supporting document requirements for graduate studies , all applicants must provide the following:

  • A curriculum vitae (CV).
  • General GRE scores. There is no specified minimum score; however, scores will be factored into admission decisions.
  • Psychology GRE scores for those applicants who have not completed a Psychology (undergraduate or graduate) degree within the last five years. There is no specified minimum score. All other applicants may still choose to have their Psychology GRE scores forwarded to the university, and the graduate committee will factor the scores into admissions decisions.
  • A third letter of reference. Academic referees are preferred; however, non-academic references will be considered.
  • A two- to three-page statement of academic intent (note that this is longer than the general requirements). The statement may describe previous research experience (e.g., thesis work, other research projects), industry or community experiences, general career aspirations, specific research interests and any experience relevant to these interests. If an applicant has already contacted a potential thesis supervisor (which is highly advised), that should be made known within the statement.
  • A substantive writing sample. A sample of the applicant’s thesis is preferred; an assignment or published work (with the applicant as first author) will suffice if a thesis has not been completed.

Part-time studies

The PhD program is intended to be a full-time program; however, under exceptional circumstances, students may be admitted on a part-time basis.

Degree requirements

For administrative purposes, students will be classified as master’s students for the first year of the program. However, after this first year, they will automatically move into the second year of the PhD program. Because students are admitted directly into the PhD program, the transfer from a thesis-based master’s to a PhD program  policy does not apply.

To be eligible for the direct-entry PhD in Forensic Psychology, students must successfully complete 73 credit hours. Students must complete 11 three-credit courses, including SSCI 5010G Data Analysis 1 - Graduate , one Advanced Research Methods and Statistics course, four Fundamentals courses, four Special Topics courses and PSYC 6940G Professional Development . Typically, the Professional Development course will be taken in the fourth year of the program. Students must also enrol in PSYC 5920G Professional Seminar  twice a year for the first three years in the program. They must enrol in PSYC 6900G PhD Research  every term that they are in the program. Students must complete PSYC 6920G PhD Proposal and Candidacy Exam , which consists of a written proposal and an oral exam, within 18 months of admission into the PhD program. In addition, students must pass a comprehensive examination (PSYC 6930G PhD Comprehensive Examination ), which will typically be taken near the conclusion of the third year in the program. At the conclusion of the program, students must successfully write and defend their 40-credit thesis (PSYC 6910G PhD Thesis ). The minimum time to completion for this program is three years. Students will be required to maintain a minimum of B-minus in all graded components of the program, as well as satisfactory research progress, to be considered in clear standing.

Proposed progression through program

Year 1

Semester 2

Year 2

Semester 1

Semester 2

Year 3

Semester 1

Year 4

Year 5

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