Psychology Graduate Program
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with a Masters in Psychology?
The Brock M.A. in Psychology is primarily an experimentally based research program. Since our first graduating class in 1995, most of our graduates have either continued on in the PhD program here at Brock or have entered Ph.D. programs at other universities in preparation for clinical or academic positions. Projected large numbers of faculty retirements and expected continuing increases in the number of undergraduate students suggest a strong future need for professors in Canadian universities. An M.A. in psychology is also a good background for further professional education in fields such as law, social work and medicine. Students in the M.A. program gain skills in research design, statistical analysis, critical analysis and logical thinking, and written and oral communication, in addition to expertise in specific psychology content areas. These skills are useful in a variety of jobs, including the design and evaluation of community programs, behavioural and cognitive retraining, agency policy development and implementation, behavior management, and supervised direct services to clients. In many of these cases, a Ph.D. level psychologist would be overqualified and too expensive.
How many applicants apply and how many do you accept?
We receive approximately 70-80 applicants per year and normally accept 6 - 8 full-time M.A. students and 4 - 6 Ph.D. students. We do not always accept students into each of the three focal areas (lifespan, social/personality, behavioral neuroscience) in every year. In a given year, the distribution of acceptances among the focal areas depends on the number and quality of applicants to each area and the availability of faculty supervision.
What are most important criteria for acceptance?
We base our decision upon a number of factors, including undergraduate grades, reference letters, GRE scores, undergraduate research experience, and the existence of a "match" between applicant and a faculty member who is available to be an advisor and who shares research interests. Relevant job and volunteer experiences are also considered. Statistics courses and completion of an experimental research project such as a thesis or equivalent are very important requirements.
How will you calculate my GPA?
We calculate three grade averages – one based on your entire transcript, a second based only on your psychology courses, and a third based on the last 20 half credits. We do make note, however, of the general pattern of grade performance. If you have a transcript that shows an uneven pattern of achievement, it would be helpful to provide an explanation in your application.
If I don't meet the minimum 75% average, will my years of experience in the field be taken into consideration?
The content and pace of our graduate courses require strong academic abilities for success. Although the University has established a minimum of 75% average for acceptance into a graduate program, most of the applicants we accept have averages of 80% or greater. Experience may provide relevant skills, but the best predictor of graduate performance tends to be previous university work. If your previous academic work is not at a B+ level, it would be unlikely that your application would be accepted unless you have shown improved academic skills through subsequent coursework.
If I don't have a degree in psychology, what will I have to take to meet the requirements?
Normally, we expect applicants to have 10 credits in psychology or related subjects (e.g., courses from some areas of Family Studies, Biology, Mathematics), although there is some flexibility in this. We look for specific courses in statistics, third or fourth year level research design, and an independent honours research project or equivalent. Research experience is very important, as it demonstrates that you have some training in study design, collecting and analyzing data, and writing up the results and conclusions.
Is there a "qualifying year" for applicants who completed a three-year degree in psychology?
At Brock, there is no admission to a qualifying year as such, but interested applicants are encouraged to contact the undergraduate officer or department administrator Kirsti VanDorsser (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding remaining requirements for completing a four-year honours degree in psychology, if they wish to pursue graduate work.
I'm thinking of returning to university for a master's degree, but having been in the workforce, have lost contact with my professors. Do I still need to provide academic references?
This situation is not uncommon. Academic references are still required from those professors who would be most familiar with your student work. Professors are often asked to provide references for former students. If you cannot obtain a third academic reference, a maximum of one reference may be submitted directly from an employer who knows your work-related capacities.
I'm thinking of returning to university for a graduate degree, but my GREs (General and Psychology tests) were written more than 5 years ago. Do I need to re-write them in order to apply?
If you are applying to the PhD program, you may submit your GRE scores as long as it has been less than 10 years since you wrote the tests (the Psychology test score is only necessary if your Master's degree is not in Psychology). If you are applying to the MA program you must re-write the GRE's if your scores are more than 5 years old.
What is the institution code and department code for the GREs?
The institution code is 0895 and the department code for psychology is 2016.
Is there a "cut-off" score for the GREs?
No, we don't have a minimum score for the GRE tests. The student's application is considered as a whole. It is especially helpful to have average to high scores on the writing skills and analytical scores.
What kind of financial support can I expect should I decide to come to Brock?
Our policy is that all full-time students will be funded. In the past, financial support to students who do not have external support (e.g., Ontario Graduate Scholarship) has consisted of a research fellowship, and a teaching assistant stipend. Students who receive external support have received teaching assistant stipends, and a top-up fellowship, in addition to the amount of their scholarship. Applicants are strongly encouraged to investigate all funding sources available to them and to apply to the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR) programs as appropriate during the last year of their honours undergraduate degree. For sample estimates of financial support available for graduate students, please consult the Graduate Studies website at http://www.brocku.ca/gradstudies/current/.
How much will tuition cost?
For updated tuition and ancillary fees, please consult the website at: http://www.brocku.ca/gradstudies/current/.
Can I work on my MA or PhD as a part-time student?
Students may study on a part-time basis, although most of our courses are offered during the day or late afternoon. Part-time MA students are expected to complete their degrees in five years and take research methods and data analysis as their first course. Part-time PhD students are expected to complete their degrees in eight years. Part-time students do not receive funding available to full-time students, but they may be able to work as seminar leaders or markers.