PhD in School/Applied Child Psychology

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

Application deadline: December 1 annually (Fall admission only)


The PhD in School/Applied Child Psychology is the second degree in a sequential pair of programs, the first of which is the M.A. (non-thesis) Research Project in School/Applied Child Psychology, or former M.A. in Educational Psychology, School/Applied Child Psychology (thesis) concentration (closed for admission as of Fall 2014).

Most students in the doctoral program completed their M.A. in the Educational Psychology program although students can apply for direct entry into the PhD program with a master’s degree obtained at another institution.

Extending upon the MA degree, the program's focus remains on the improvement of the educational and psychological well-being of children and to educate school psychologists in a manner consistent with the highest international standards in the field. Students explore a variety of topics including mental health, child development, school organization, learning processes, behaviour, motivation, and effective teaching. They are prepared to become inquiring professionals committed to the development of children and youth and receive intensive training of clinical practice with children and families, as well as basic and applied research.

The program develops clinical skills through intensive assessment courses, a Clinic Practicum, Field Placement, and a full-year Internship. Typically, our graduates go on to practise school psychology across a range of environments including private practice, academia, hospitals, and school boards. The PhD program is accredited by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec (OPQ). Graduates are eligible for licensure in Quebec.



The PhD program in School/Applied Child Psychology is accredited by the Order of Psychologists of Quebec (OPQ) and the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).

Accrediting body information

Order of Psychologists of Quebec
1100 Beaumont Avenue, Suite 510
Mont-Royal, QC
Canada, H3P 3H5

Telephone: 514-738-1881
Fax : 514-738-8838

You can also visit the OPQ website.

The PhD program in School/Applied Child Psychology has submitted an application for accreditation with the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA).

Canadian Psychological Association
141 Laurier Ave. W., Suite 702
Ottawa, ON
Canada, K1P 5J3

Telephone: 1-888-472-0657

You can also visit the CPA website.



View Program Outcomes - Student Admissions, Outcomes & Other Data (Respective to APA's CoA Guidelines & Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology, Article IR C-20).


Admission Requirements

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 applications is December 1 (annually) for Fall admission only.

Please read the program’s admission requirements fully.

The Department no longer accepts deferrals except under extraordinary circumstances.

Academic background

There are two entry levels and patterns in the PhD program. The specific requirements to be admitted at each level are as follows:

  • PhD 2 Level
    Applicants should hold an MA in Educational Psychology with specialization in School/Applied Child Psychology from McGill or a recognized equivalent degree. This degree should reflect high overall standing, study within the area of the proposed doctoral specialization and evidence of research competence.
  • PhD 1 Level
    Applicants should hold an MEd in Educational Psychology or a Master's degree in a related discipline (e.g., sociology, social work) lacking only the content in educational psychology that can be acquired within one year of full-time study. The applicant's academic record must reflect high overall standing and evidence of research competence.
  • Applications are considered for students who have completed equivalent (i.e. counselling psychology) or directly relevant (e.g. clinical psychology) master's programs. In order to receive consideration, an applicant must be able to make up any missing master's-level content/courses in one year or less.
  • Prior to applying to the program, prospective applicants should ensure that they have taken the appropriate courses before beginning their application. This can be done by reviewing the provided School/Applied Child Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Checklist [.doc] to ensure they meet admission requirements. Consult the School/Applied Child Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide [.pdf] to assist in determining 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).

Admission deferrals

Whether continuing from MA to PhD, or applying anew, deferrals are only provided under exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the Program Committee.

For students continuing from the School/Applied Child Psychology M.A. to the Ph.D. program, a deferral might be considered if they:

  1. Complete the M.A. on time and in good standing, as in the normal progression.
  2. Secure an advisory commitment before the following January 15th application deadline.
  3. Defer for a maximum of one year.
  4. Commit themselves strongly to continuing in the program after such a deferral.
  5. Will not cause the Clinic Practicum to exceed more than 10 students.
  6. Will not cause the cohort from which they defer to fall to a size that is too small to sustain the exclusive classes in an economically defensible manner (normally about 6 students); to this end a deferral cannot be granted until a sufficient number of continuing students confirm that they will be continuing (this could be as late as April 15th).
  7. Are able to provide strong arguments for why a deferral is essential to their being able to successfully complete the program.
  8. Can demonstrate that the grounds for requesting the deferral were not definitively known by the application deadline of January 15th.

For new applicants to the program, a deferral may be considered if they:

  1. Commit themselves strongly to coming the following year.
  2. Defer for a maximum of one year.
  3. Will not cause the number of requested and granted deferrals to result in the entering class being too small or the following class cohort exceeding 10 students.
  4. Are able to provide a strong case for why a deferral is merited.
  5. Can demonstrate that the grounds for requesting the deferral were not known by the application deadline of January 15th.

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.


Prior to starting an online application:

- Familiarize yourself with McGill's admission requirements, program requirements, and required supporting documentation.
- Review McGill's Graduate Admissions and Application Procedures
- Review the step-by-step Applying and Admissions Help Site
- Submit your application before the deadline

*In order to finalize and submit your online application, a non-refundable application fee is required.

Online Application
  1. Complete the Graduate Studies Slate online application form.
    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) references. 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.
    • 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 are asked to list the name(s) of up to three (3) School/Applied Child Psychology faculty members(s), in order of preference, who they would like to supervise their area of research interest(s). These should be the same names as those listed in application statement (see #3 Application Statement below). For more info on selecting preferred supervisors, see our Admissions FAQs.
  2. Submit your application
    Once you have submitted your application an acknowledgement will be sent to the email address you have included in your application. You will be able to track your application online via Slate and start uploading documents.
  3. Upload supporting documents
    Within Slate, applicants must upload (in PDF format) the following supporting documents 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 the online application - 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). Offers of admission are contingent upon the receipt and verification of these official documents. Please do not send these official records until we request them from you.

    2. SACP Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    A completed curriculum vitae using the Curriculum Vitae Form [.doc] must be uploaded through the online application. Please be sure to convert to PDF prior to uploading to the online application. IMPORTANT: Personal CVs will be rejected.

    3. SACP Application 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 program. List the name(s) of up to three (3) School/Applied Child 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 School/Applied Child Psychology faculty members website to review the list of SACP Faculty members and their areas of research interests and expertise: (approx. 1/2 page). For more info on selecting preferred supervisors, see our Admissions 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.
    • Please note: Only the SACP Application Statement is required, you are NOT required to submit a separate personal statement. Please upload the Application Statement in the Personal Statement Section. Thank you.

      4. Pre-Admission Academic Checklist
      Complete and upload through the online application, the School/Applied Child Psychology Pre-Admission Checklist [.doc]. This form is used by applicants to indicate the names of the courses they have completed that fulfill the requirement for this program. Consult the School/Applied Child Psychology Pre-Admission Academic Domains Guide [.pdf] for information and assistance in determining how to categorize courses when completing the Pre-Admission Academic Checklist.

      5. Writing sample (e.g., paper for a course, MA thesis, publi­cation).

      6. OPTIONAL Graduate Record Examinations (GRE): Scores on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) - both general and the psychology subject tests, sent directly from the testing agency. When arranging submission of GRE results, indicate the McGill University institution code: 0935. All GRE scores must be reported to McGill by December 1st of each year. Please ensure that you schedule your exam with sufficient time for the results to be received by McGill.

    • Submit your English Language Proficiency Test Scores
      International applicants: Submission of documented proof of English language proficiency, if applicable, as described in the Admissions notes above.

    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. This letter serves 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.

    Additional fees apply to certain cohorts of Counselling Psychology students due the use of the Assessment Materials Resource Centre (AMRC). User fees for particular courses may be viewed on the AMRC page.



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