The Best 10 Schools to Study Psychology in Canada

The beginning of a new academic year is a wonderful opportunity to explore all kinds of educational and career opportunities. In this article, we are going to take a tour of the highest-ranked universities in Canada to study Psychology.

For this, we will be using the renowned Canadian ranking, Maclean’s University Rankings, which has released an official list of the most prestigious and competitive academic institutions to study psychology. It is a collection of data and research based on the reputation of the universities. Let’s begin the article with some information you might not know about psychology and how influential the program is in Canada



Studying Psychology is a progressive path for a young professional

Psychology is one of the youngest and most actively developing sciences. Receiving an education in this specialization will open many doors for students in various social spheres of life.

Psychologists are among the most sought-after specialists in Western countries. Graduates find work without any problems and successfully move up the career ladder. A Canadian university diploma will allow you to work in any country.

If you are interested in the nature and causes of human behaviour, relationships between members of society and collectives, psychological disorders, and methods of their treatment, this program will suit you best.

Consulting an academic advisor will help you in your courses correctly, taking into account your interests and the required number of credits you need for graduation.


Why the Psychologist profession is so popular in Canada?

Unlike most people in the post-Soviet space, who are used to overcoming life’s difficulties on their own, in North America, it is customary to consult a psychologist in difficult situations. However, a psychologist’s very status in Canada is much higher than in other countries. Like a doctor, a psychologist in Canada can be a person who has completed the appropriate training, has a specialized education of at least the Master’s Degree, and has received a license from psychologists’ professional association (Canadian Psychological Association).

Without such a license, a person can provide services of a similar nature. However, he or she cannot be called a psychologist.

On the other hand, a specialist who graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree and then graduated with a master’s degree in psychological direction and managed to get the coveted license can count on a completely comfortable life and respect in Canadian society.

Typically, a certified psychologist earns between CAD 120 and CAD 180 per hour. This is approximately 230,000 CAD per year, which is quite good. Moreover, Psychologists are well respected in Canada and they, therefore, enjoy their jobs.


What are the psychological specialties of Canadian universities?

Currently, training in Canadian universities is carried out in a large number of psychological specialties. At the same time, universities are constantly adjusting the number of programs, depending on the current situation on the labor market of the country, which each university is continually studying. In 2021, the most demanded psychologists were graduates of the following areas:

  • Counseling Psychology
  • Child and adolescent psychology (Psychology in Child and Adolescent Psychology)
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Police Psychology
  • Military Clinical Psychology

In any case, specialists trained in any area of psychology in Canada will not be left without work.

Besides, a Canadian diploma allows you to work and practice in Canada and the most developed countries of the world. Of course, subject to obtaining local licenses, if the need for such is provided for by the host country’s legislation.


Top 10 schools to study Psychology in Canada

1. University of British Columbia

First on our list is the University of British Columbia (UBC). This institution offers 10 of the best course of psychology and is ranked among the top 50 universities offering psychology and ranked first among the best universities in Canada, according to Maclean.

UBC was recently considered the most international University in North America. There are around 17,000 international students from over 160 countries. The main campus of UBC in Vancouver is considered three of the best cities to live in globally.

Internationally recognized for its excellence in teaching, UBC has an annual budget of C$166 million for psychology research, a value that drives more than 9,500 crucial projects in different areas every year.


2. McGill University

McGill is a leading university in the areas of psychology and research in psychology. It is one of the most competitive departments in Canada and is best known throughout the world. Faculty members and students are published in many academic and scientific publications throughout the year, based on the university’s work.

Necessarily as diverse as the discipline requires, research at the school covers the main areas of experimental and applied psychology. Research training objectives impose a high degree of differentiation.

For example, professors hold research funds from the three federal granting councils and a large number of specialized organizations. They maintain professional relationships with researchers in science, medicine, health sciences, and the arts.

The school has a unique bilingualism policy governing all aspects of its activities. At all levels of study, compulsory courses are taught separately in English and French. Bilingual students are favored for admission to the doctorate, and obtaining this diploma requires passive knowledge of the second language.

Thanks to its more than fifty years of experience, its teachers’ excellence, and its reputation, the school offers a rewarding experience that leads to multiple careers for all those who wish to learn psychology.


3.   University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is one of the oldest in Canada, having opened its doors in 1827. However, psychology did not achieve department status until 1927. Today, research-focused programs are offered at one of the best universities globally and the best in Canada. More than 60 full-time members and 20 members from different departments help form a very well-organized department that offers students many classes and research options.

At the undergraduate level, a four-year degree is offered, and at the graduate level, there is a one-year master’s degree and a four-year doctorate. The main research areas are:

  • Brain and behavior.
  • Social and personal abnormalities.
  • The neurosciences of perception and knowledge.


4. University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is one of the most renowned universities in Canada and around the world. Campus Saint-Jean is proud to contribute to the university’s success by offering university programming in French within a predominantly English-speaking environment in Western Canada!

As an essential francophone component of the University of Alberta, Campus Saint-Jean offers diverse and unique programs, especially psychology. The institution provides a rich, and varied education focused on the integral development of the individual. Critical thinking, excellence, small classes, intimate community are some of our characteristics.

Finally, Campus Saint-Jean B. A in psychology graduates, being bilingual, enjoy a clear advantage over the competition in Canada and overseas.


5. Western University

Western University, one of Canada’s leading psychology universities, attracts scholars and academics who are leaders in their fields and conduct groundbreaking research in some of the most provocative and cutting-edge fields globally.  Since its founding in 1878, Western University has been the source of discoveries that have benefited Canada’s psychological and health development around the world.

Students enrolled in Western University’s 88 graduate degree programs in twelve faculties and schools are supervised by internationally renowned faculty in high-quality programs with excellent research facilities. Western University is home to globally recognized research centers such as – Center for Planetary Science and Exploration, Brain and Mind Institute, Fraunhofer Project Center for Composites Research, and the Bone and Joint Institute.


6. York University

The psychology programs at York University, Toronto, comprise the largest department of psychology in Canada. The faculty has more than 80 members, many of whom are internationally renowned leaders in their field. They have won prestigious awards such as the Steacie Prize and the Fellowship of Royal Society of Canada.

Students in the program can work with two accredited clinical areas and take classes on a wide variety of topics, including animal behavior and the philosophy of psychology. Undergraduate students can receive a three- or four-year degree. At the graduate level, master’s and doctorates are available. Degrees in health psychology and neuroscience are also offered.


This university offers specialized training in psychology which allows one to know the main fields of this discipline. This training prepares for the pursuit of graduate studies in psychology to pursue a career in research or intervention as a psychologist. It also prepares for graduate studies in related disciplines. This scientific training, solid and versatile, also allows the graduate to occupy certain jobs for which an undergraduate training in psychology is relevant.


7. University of Calgary

The University of Calgary offers 150 programs of graduate and awards licenses, the masters and doctoral (Ph.D.). The university’s campus covers an area of 2.13  km2 and accommodates 16 faculties, 53 departments, and more than 30 research centers and institutes. The most renowned faculties are the Haskayne School of Business, the Schulich School of Engineering, the medical school (MD), the law school (LLB), and the veterinary school, which opened in 2008. The University of Calgary employs a total of 1,917 full-time people.

This young university establishment is among Canada’s leaders and ranks among the top 200 universities for psychology studies in the world. It sets itself apart from other Canadian universities by the way it actively encourages its students to develop their leadership in all fields.

This baccalaureate offers balanced and diversified scientific training. It aims to acquire basic knowledge on the various dimensions of human behavior, research methods, psychopathologies, dynamics, and human development.

The school also allows deepening the main theories in psychology while giving a large place to their application fields. It puts in contact with a diversity of approaches, problems, and fields of specialization in psychology. It promotes the acquisition of practical research skills and offers an introduction to evaluation and intervention methods in psychology. The student acquires rigorous scientific thinking and develops versatile personal and interpersonal skills.


8. Dalhousie University

Dalhousie University is a leading research institution, a member of U15. The university researchers are leading innovative work in fields as diverse as psychology, oceanology, life sciences, sustainable development, clean energy, agriculture, materials science, and information and communications technology. The university is an economic powerhouse and an engine of knowledge production on a regional, national and international scale.

Founded in 1818, Dalhousie is one of the oldest Canadian universities. It is attended by more than 18,500 students, including more than 3,500 international students from some 130 countries, who benefit from world-class psychology-related educational programs in an environment conducive to innovative thinking and cutting-edge research.


9. University of Waterloo

For more than 40 years now, the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo has offered undergraduate training that prepares students for the job market, for graduate studies in various disciplines, and, in particular, for a doctorate in psychology. The psychologists trained in her doctoral program stand out for their skills as practitioners, whether with individuals, groups, or organizations. The knowledge and skills they acquire with the school, they know how to put them into practice!

The recognized quality of the institution’s teaching, the diversity of their research activities, and the privileged relations that the department maintains with the practice environments are undeniable advantages for all those who wish to make psychology their main focus of work.

We must not hide it – studying psychology is sometimes difficult because places are limited, the work to be done is not an easy task, and the competition is very present. But choosing to study psychology at the University of Waterloo is also choosing to give yourself a human and stimulating living environment.


10. Queen’s University

Following its mission and vision, Queen’s college – School of Psychology brings together in harmony the different fundamental and professional psychology fields. Her openness to other disciplines, her desire to develop strategic axes that meet the future needs of psychology, her bilingualism at all levels, the exceptional student experience, and her community commitment make her a benchmark nationally and internationally.

The Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is a program accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association, through which students acquire both clinical and research skills that give them access to multiple employment opportunities. Through practice, students become familiar with clinical work with children, adolescents, adults, families, and couples and with assessment and consultation programs linked to community organizations.

Each student works closely with a thesis supervisor, either a full-time professor in clinical or experimental psychology, a professor in multiple assignments or an adjunct or clinical professor who works in hospitals or community organizations.

Queen’s university combined accelerated M.A/Ph.D. program offers specialized training in behavioral neuroscience, cognition, developmental psychology, social and community psychology, and general research training and professional skills. The school’s dynamic faculty are as interested in neurons as they are in communities and study them using state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research facilities.

All of this allows the school’s graduates to distinguish themselves in various research settings, including academia, government, and industry.


How has the field of Psychology developed in Canada?

We consider it important to place the field of psychology in a context that is being shaped by various factors, from the re-organization of institutions due to economic demands, the cultural changes that some authors point to as the end of modernity, and the strong presence of the technology in the Canadian cultural milieu.

Concerning the epistemological and methodological paradigm, we will begin by highlighting that the predominant model in the early days was empirical-experimental, and currently, other approaches have been developed.

Quasi-experimental research designs are a very present methodology. In this case, we find more open models than the rigorously experimental control of variables, thus applying to fieldwork, although attention is paid to the need for operational definitions.


Bachelor Degree – Bachelor of Arts in Psychology (Psychology Major)

Bachelor of Arts students has the option of a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. The doctoral program, which is the most competitive part of the department, admits only 10 to 20 students per year out of 230 candidates. Those who are admitted can choose between the fields of experimental psychology or clinical psychology.

A bachelor’s degree in psychology will provide a solid foundation for career growth and success as a psychologist. The diploma will help build a career in the social sciences, business, public sector, or education. Also, graduates can continue their studies in master’s or doctoral studies.

Training in this speciality provides an opportunity for senior students to participate in research; the university organizes trips to national importance conferences from the Association for Psychological Science, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Society for the Study of Brain, Behavior, and Cognition, etc.

The program is designed for four years of study and is distinguished by the variability of the courses. The student must pass several compulsory subjects:

  • introduction to psychology 1 and 2;
  • introduction to biological psychology;
  • analysis of psychological data;
  • introduction to research methods in psychology.

Other courses provide a choice of:

  • Introduction to personality;
  • Introduction to developmental psychology: childhood and adolescence;
  • Introduction to Abnormal Psychology;
  • Introduction to cognition;
  • Introduction to Social Psychology;
  • An introduction to developmental psychology: adulthood and aging.
  • At the highest level, students study more specialized branches of this science, choosing courses to study:
  • Psychiatric Clinical Disorders,
  • Infancy,
  • Social Psychology,
  • Clinical Psychology,
  • Health Psychology,
  • Psychology and Law,
  • Forensic Psychology,
  • Personality,
  • Psychopharmacology,
  • Cognition: Attention and Memory,
  • Human Neuropsychology,
  • History and systems of psychology,
  • Auditory, tactile and chemical processes, etc.

The bachelor’s program necessarily includes research practice and internship. The student chooses the type and list of courses depending on which diploma he wants to receive Minor, Major, or Hons. A consultant will help you to plan the training program correctly, if necessary.


Bachelor Degree – Business Administration and Psychology

In Canada, interdisciplinary training programs are actively practiced – this is a progressive method that is very popular. It allows you to prepare highly-demanded specialists in the labor market who will have the necessary knowledge in several related areas of knowledge to perform their work professionally and at a high level.

The Human Resources Management and Industrial – Organizational Psychology course is one of the Business Administration program’s popular specializations. The course is designed for four years of study and aims to teach students to apply social sciences in a business environment to optimize the team and its work.

Completion of this program will allow you to build a career in human resource management and organizational psychology in any enterprise.

The graduate will be eligible to work as an HR manager, recruiter, training and organizational development specialist, HR manager.

An undergraduate program may include courses such as:

  • management and organization life;
  • introductory psychology / behavioral science;
  • human resource management;
  • production psychology of the organization;
  • business introduction.

For admission, the applicant must have a certificate of complete secondary education (12 classes) and high marks in mathematics and have a high level of English.

The cost of training for this course will be about 30,000 CAD/year.



Psychology is a popular field of study around the world, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It is the study of human behavior viewed from various perspectives, such as social, biological, and developmental. In Canada, major universities have popular psychology programs taught by subject matter experts, but only a few stand out from the rest.