Best universities for psychology degrees in Canada

Explore the top universities in Canada for psychology degrees using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Best universities in
March 24 2021
psychology degree


Canada is a popular study destination for international students because of the number of high-quality universities and lower tuition fees compared with other anglophone countries.

The benefits of studying psychology in Canada include access to some of the world’s best research institutions, reasonable living costs and the opportunity to experience life in a multicultural society.

As for post-degree prospects, psychologists are not only in high demand in Canada, but they were also among the highest paid workers in the country in 2020. For international students, there are also multiple options for staying and working in the country after graduating.

There are 27 Canadian universities in the THE Psychology Subject Ranking, with five universities ranking in the top 100.

Below are the best universities in Canada for psychology degrees.

1. University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a public research university that was established in 1908.

Psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate majors at UBC, with students choosing either the bachelor of arts or the behavioural neuroscience programme.

Students will begin their course by studying an introduction to the discipline. From the second and third years, students will be able to specialise in courses such as psychology of sport and cultural psychology.

The MA in psychology is a 24-month programme that requires all students to complete a thesis and present it at the university’s annual Psychfest.

Research is focused around several major areas in the field: behavioural neuroscience, clinical, cognitive science, quantitative methods, developmental, health, and social psychology.

Each year, UBC’s psychology department partners with the Psychology Students’ Association to host events ranging from faculty-student socials, workshops on CV writing and career building, to panels on pursuing graduate studies.

What can you do with a psychology degree?

2. University of Toronto

The University of Toronto’s department of psychology offers a broad bachelor of science degree designed to give students a foundation across the entire discipline.

Alongside this general grounding, the University of Toronto continuously updates the psychology curriculum to incorporate new research and address new challenges in the field, including neuro-ethics and intergroup relations.

The undergraduate Psychology Students’ Association is made up of a group of elected students with many roles, including serving as a liaison between staff and students and providing a social network.

The unified graduate programme in psychology at the University of Toronto is conducted across all three of its campuses: Mississauga, Scarborough and St George. Adjunct faculty from associated hospitals and institutions participate in the programme and supervise graduate students.

3. McGill University

McGill University is the oldest university in Montreal and one of just three English-language universities in Quebec.

The first psychology course was taught at McGill in 1850 by W. T. Leach, and the first psychological laboratory was established in 1910 by William Dunlop Tait.

Psychology at McGill is offered as either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science programme and as a joint programme across both. Students within each of these courses have the opportunity to study across a range of courses including the psychology of bilingualism, health psychology and hormones and behaviour. Students are also given the opportunity to conduct their own research projects.

The graduate programme admits about 100 students and offers tracks in both clinical and experimental psychology.

The McGill Psychology Students’ Association organises an impressive range of academic events, lecture series and social events throughout the year for psychology students. The group even publishes a journal of undergraduate research.

4. University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo’s psychology department is approximately 50 years old.

At the undergraduate level, psychology can be studied as a major or a minor and as a three-year or a four-year programme.

The university promotes experiential learning and encourages students to undertake work experience, take part in research projects, volunteer and attend conferences.

The department also houses equipment and research facilities including ERP, digital video recording and streaming, psychophysiological measurement, eye-movement recording and access to MRI scanners. There are also laboratories specially equipped for studying behaviours of particular research interest, such as gambling machines to study gambling behaviour, a kitchenette to study persistent washing and checking behaviours, and infant and child playrooms to study cognitive and social development.

Faculty at the department of psychology undertake research in six areas: clinical, cognitive, cognitive neuroscience, developmental, industrial and organisational, and social.

5. Queen’s University

The psychology department at Queen’s University places a high value on research and skill development.

After taking introductory psychology in their first year, undergraduate students at Queen’s University can choose increasingly specialised courses in their second and third years and then complete their degree requirements with either a thesis or three advanced seminars.

There is also a range of master’s and doctorate level programmes on offer, split into four broad tracks of psychological research: clinical, cognitive neuroscience, developmental, and social.

The department itself is home to 31 labs where faculty members conduct specialist research in brain, behaviour and cognitive science, as well as developmental, social and clinical psychology. Many undergraduate students will have opportunities to volunteer and later conduct their own thesis research in these labs.

Top universities in Canada for psychology degrees 2021

Canada Psychology Rank 2021 WUR Psychology Rank 2021  University City
1  =13  University of British Columbia Vancouver
2  =21  University of Toronto Toronto
3  35  McGill University Montreal
4  78  University of Waterloo Waterloo
5  88  Queen’s University Kingston
6  101–125  University of Victoria Victoria
=7  126–150  University of Alberta Edmonton
=7  126–150  Dalhousie University Halifax
=7  126–150  York University Toronto
=10  151–175  McMaster University Hamilton
=10  151–175  Simon Fraser University Burnaby
=12  176–200  University of Montreal Montreal
=12  176–200  Western University London
=14  201–250  University of Calgary Calgary
=14  201–250  Carleton University Ottawa
=16  251–300  Concordia University Montreal
=16  251–300  University of Regina Regina
=18  301–400  University of Guelph Guelph
=18  301–400  Université Laval Quebec City
=18  301–400  University of Ottawa Ottawa
=18  301–400  Université du Québec Quebec City
=18  301–400  Ryerson University Toronto
=18  301–400  University of Windsor Windsor
=24  401–500  University of Lethbridge Lethbridge
=24  401–500  Memorial University of Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador
=24  401–500  University of New Brunswick UNB Fredricton
=24  401–500  University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon


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