PhD in Counselling Psychology


On this page: Overview | Admission Requirements | Applying | Tuition & Fees

Application deadline: December 1 annually (Fall admission only).

Please read the program’s admission requirements fully. Please note that the Department no longer accepts deferrals, except under extraordinary circumstances.


The program is built on the scientist-practitioner model. It is currently accredited by the Quebec Order of Psychologists (OPQ) and the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).

The PhD program aims to develop graduates who:

  • Contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of counselling psychology.
  • Practice from a strong evidence base.
  • Take a leadership role in community, professional and university organizations in counselling psychology.

Read more

The PhD in Counselling Psychology detailed program information page contains additional information about the program:  (Our Mission - Our Expectations - Our Clinical Training Resources - Our Support Systems - Our Students - Our Graduates at a Glance - Our Faculty - Our Accreditations - Program Outcomes).


Admission Requirements

Academic background & CGPA

PhD in Counselling Psychology applicants are advised that, in accordance with the Quebec Order of Psychology (OPQ), Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), and American Psychological Association (APA) criteria for doctoral program accreditation, all doctoral candidates must have a solid grounding in the history of psychology, biological basis of behaviour, developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, the social-cultural aspects and determinants of behavior, cognitive-affective psychology, psychological measurement and assessment, research methods, statistics, and personality. This is evaluated using the PhD Pre-Admission Academic Checklist.

Applicants accepted to this program who do not have such courses in their undergraduate training must complete the missing requirements prior to starting their degree. Those applicants missing courses from their Master's level education equivalent to the MA in Counselling Psychology - Research Project Concentration, will be required to complete these courses after entering the doctoral program. 

In addition to the information provided on this website, all applicants should also visit the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office website for information on admissions and funding, as well as the requisite standardized tests (for example: TOEFL/IELTS).

To be eligible applicants must hold:

1) A baccalaureate degree consisting of 42 credits of core courses in specific Psychology domains:

View a list of 42 undergraduates credits of core courses and complete the PhD Pre-Admission Academic Checklist [.doc] prior to applying. Consult the Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domain Guide [.pdf] to determine how to categorize courses when completing the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist.


  • Due to our high volume of applicants, Departmental Faculty and Staff do not review an applicant's academic history in order to help the applicant complete the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. Applicants are asked to thoroughly consult the Pre-Admission Academic Domain Guide (link above) and use course descriptions and other course materials from completed courses, to complete the checklist to the best of their abilities. Successful applicants who are offered admission will be advised of any conditions of acceptance on their letter of admission (which may include fulfilling any pre-requisite course requirements). 
  • At the time of application, applicants can be missing up to 6-credits of courses from their Pre-Admission Academic Checklist. However, admitted students are required to have all Pre-Admission course requirements completed by the beginning of their degree (by their first term, Fall year 1, of study).

2) A Master's degree equivalent to the MA in Counselling Psychology: Project Concentration or a Master's degree from a directly relevant program (e.g. Clinical Psychology, other Counselling Psychology programs).

View a list of MA Counselling Psychology: Project Concentration courses: Graduate Calendar Course Listing for MA Counselling Psychology: Project Concentration.

  • In order to be considered, an applicant must be able to make up any missing Master's-level content in one year or prior to starting the doctoral program.

CGPA: A minimum CGPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 in undergraduate studies is expected. Please be aware that a CGPA of 3.0 is a minimum requirement only and does not guarantee acceptance.

International students

CGPA Equivalency
If you are an international applicant and wish to find out whether you qualify under McGill University's CGPA Guidelines for Graduate Admissions, visit International CGPA Equivalency.

Proficiency in English
Applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English and who have not obtained (or are about to obtain) an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized institution in Canada or the US (anglophone or francophone), must submit documented proof of proficiency in oral and written English.

Appropriate exam results must be submitted prior to the application deadline and submitted directly from the language testing proficiency office to McGill. For more information on test requirements, submission of scores, and possible exemptions, visit the McGill Future Graduate Students English Language Proficiency page.

In each case, you must ensure that the official test results are sent directly to McGill (McGill Institution Code: 0935) by the testing service. Applications will not be considered if test results are not available.
Please note that TOEFL results are only valid for two years from the date the test was written.

Applicants whose mother tongue is not English may be asked to demonstrate an English-language proficiency beyond the submission of the language proficiency test scores.

Please note the Department no longer grants deferrals, except under extraordinary circumstances.


We will be accepting applications for our Graduate Programs starting on September 15th for the following Fall Admission term. Applications are submitted using Slate, McGill's online application system.

The deadline for online submission of your completed application and uploaded supporting documents is December 1 annually (Fall admission only).

Online Application

STEP 1. Complete Slate Online Application

  • Complete an online McGill Slate application for admission. Applicants should review the above mentioned program eligibility requirements prior to starting their online application. Applicants should review the GPS step-by-step Applying and Admissions Help Site before starting their application. Note: in order to finalize and submit your Slate application, a non-refundable application fee is required.
  • Built into the online application are numerous questions requiring personal information specific to every applicant. Program specific requirements within the application are as follows:
    • Letters of Reference: Within the online application, applicants must provide valid institutional e-mail addresses for three (3) referees. McGill University will send an email to each referee applicants identify on the application form, asking for a reference in support of their application to be admitted. Referees will be invited to login to a secure portion of the McGill website where they will be required to answer questions about the applicant and will be given the ability to 1) input (via text box) a reference letter either by typing it in directly or by cut-and-paste from an existing document or 2) to upload a letter of reference in PDF format.
      NOTE: The Selection Committee prefers that at least one of the letters relate to clinical work/training and one relate to academic or research training. The nature of the third letter is at your discretion. If you cannot supply a reference in both clinical and academic categories, the Committee will accept three letters in the same category.
    • Statement of Research Interest and Preferred Supervisor(s): Within the online application, applicants are required to concisely outline their proposed area(s) of research interest should they be admitted to this program (1100 character or approximately 250 word maximum). Applicants will also be required to list the name(s) of one (1) or more ECP Counselling program faculty member(s), in order of preference, who they would like to supervise their area of research interest(s). Applicants should ensure their preferred supervisor has listed expertise in their chosen area of research interest. Consult the Counselling Psychology faculty members website to review the list of faculty members and their program areas of expertise For more info on selecting preferred supervisors, see our Admission FAQs.

STEP 2. Uploading supporting documents to online application

  • Within the application, applicants must upload (in PDF format) the following supporting documentation by the December 1 application deadline(More details on the uploading process can be viewed on the Slate Help Site).
    1. Transcripts: An unofficial copy of your complete university-level academic record to date must be uploaded through Slate - including any McGill transcripts. (Quebec residents: CEGEP transcripts are not required). All transcripts received via the upload process are considered unofficial.  If you are offered admission, you will also need to provide official transcripts (sent to us by mail in a sealed envelope directly from the institution). Your offer of admission will be contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. Please do not send these official records until we request them from you.
    2. Curriculum Vitae (CV): A completed curriculum vitae using the ECP Counselling Psychology Curriculum Vitae Form [.doc] must be uploaded through the online application.
    3. Personal Statement: Please provide a 2 to 3-page (maximum) application statement in APA style and format (i.e., double-spaced) that includes the following information:
      • Past and current research experience: Describe your past and current research experience. List the research projects you have been involved with. Include the title and supervisor, a description of participants, and provide specific details about research skills that you acquired through these experiences. For at least one of these studies, provide a summary of the theory, methodology, and your interpretations of the findings. (1 page).
      • Expected gains and career objectives: Why are you applying to this program? How do program training standards match your general career objectives? Which skills would you like to gain? (1/2 page).
      • Research supervision: Concisely outline your proposed area(s) of research interest(s) should you admitted to this programList the name(s) of up to three (3) Counselling Psychology program faculty member(s) - in order of preference - who you would like to supervise your area of research interest(s). Please provide a brief rationale for selecting each faculty member as a potential research supervisor. Ensure your preferred supervisor has listed expertise in your chosen area of research interest. Consult the Counselling Psychology faculty members website to review the list of Faculty members and their areas of research interests and expertise: (approx. 1/2 page). For more info on selecting preferred supervisors, see our Admission FAQs.
      • Your personal trajectory (optional): If any, please describe personal and/or professional challenges encountered during course of your studies.
      • Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) (optional): McGill would like to give you this opportunity to disclose any information about your identities and/or experiences. This information will facilitate access to any available financial aid and/or awards available to you during the application process. Rest assured that all personal data submitted will be kept confidential and used only for operational decision-making; your personal information will never be shared with any internal or external bodies, nor with any instructors, supervisors, or fellow students. For more information regarding EDI at McGill University, pls visit this Equity at McGill website.
    4. Writing sample (e.g., paper for a course, MA thesis, publi­cation).
    5. PhD Pre-Admission Academic Checklist: Complete and upload through the online application the PhD Pre-Admission Academic Checklist [.doc]. Consult the Counselling Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide [.pdf] to determine how to categorize courses when completing the Checklist.
    6. International applicants: Submission of English language proficiency, if applicable, as described in International Applicants section above.

    Review process, notification and confirmation of acceptance

    1. By April 1st of each year, candidates offered potential positions in the program will receive by email a "Recommendation of Acceptance" sent to the email address they provided in Slate to inform the candidate that the Admissions Review Committee has agreed to recommend them into the program and that their application is being transmitted to McGill's Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) for final review and acceptance. In most cases, this review takes approximately 7-10 days.
    2. After review by GPS, successful candidates will be contacted by GPS with an official "Offer of Admission".
    3. Candidates are then required to respond to their offer of admission on-line using your Slate account.

    Tuition and fees

    For information on tuition and fees please visit McGill Student Accounts' Fee Calculator for Graduate Tuition & Fees.

    Information about application fees can be found on the Students Accounts website.



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