Psychological Clinical Science: Counselling and Clinical Psychology PhD; Field: Clinical Psychology

Doctor of Philosophy


The field in Clinical Psychology is offered primarily by the Graduate Department of Psychological Clinical Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). Clinical Psychology adheres to a Clinical Science model of training and is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). The primary and overriding objective of graduate training is to foster exceptional clinical scientists according to the highest standards of research and professional practice. Graduate training in Clinical Psychology at UTSC has primary research strengths in the areas of: clinical and cognitive neuroscience, psychological assessment and clinical neuropsychology, psychopathology, personality, and mindfulness- and acceptance-based psychotherapies.

The field in Clinical Psychology adheres to a generalist model of training, with a primary focus on adults. A unifying theme of faculty research in Clinical Psychology at UTSC is to advance knowledge of the etiology and assessment and treatment of mental disorders. Instruction is provided in psychopathology, assessment, and intervention, and students are trained to practise with a variety of adult populations. The field also boasts strength in neuropsychology.

Contact and Address

Telephone: (416) 287-7131

Graduate Department of Psychological Clinical Science
University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)
Science Wing, Room SW427G
1265 Military Trail
Toronto, Ontario M1C 1A4

Program Description

The PhD program is designed for applicants interested in a career as a clinical psychologist based on a Clinical Science model of training. Graduate training in Clinical Psychology at UTSC prepares graduates primarily for research and clinical careers as clinical scientists in university and medical and psychological settings.

The field is distinguished by its innovative cross-disciplinary approach that emphasizes scientific innovation through novel research collaborations that push traditional boundaries in clinical psychology. Importantly, the program meets the needs of students who plan to engage in research, teaching, and/or evidence-based clinical practice. This program is intended to meet the registration requirements of the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) at the doctoral level.

The Counselling and Clinical Psychology program (Clinical Psychology field) is offered on a full-time basis, and progress in the program will be reviewed annually.

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Applicants are admitted under the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies. Applicants must also satisfy the Department of Applied Psychology and Human Development's additional admission requirements stated below.

  • A master's degree in Clinical Psychology (or its equivalent) from a recognized university, with a minimum A– average and excellent research performance.

  • Competitive scores on General and Subject (Psychology) tests of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). Note: the GRE requirement has been waived for the 2022-23 admissions cycle.

  • Two academic letters of reference.

  • A personal statement.

  • A curriculum vitae.

  • Completion of the Department's Faculty Selection Form.

  • Applicants whose primary language is not English and who graduated from a university where the language of instruction is not English must demonstrate proficiency in English. Applicants must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or its equivalent according to SGS regulations, prior to submitting the application. See General Regulations section 4.3 for requirements.

Program Requirements

  • The PhD program requires 5.5 full-course equivalents (FCEs) including coursework, three clinical placements, plus a comprehensive examination, thesis proposal, thesis, and thesis defence:

    • 3.5 FCEs in coursework, normally completed by the end of Year 3 (CPS1103H, CPS1201H, CPS1301H, CPS1401H, CPS2901H, CPS2902H, and CPS3901H).

    • 2.0 FCEs in clinical work:

      • 1.0 FCE in two separate part-time clinical placements during Years 1 and 2 (CPS3999H, CPS4999H).

      • 1.0 FCE in a one-year, full-time clinical internship at a Canadian Psychological Association- or American Psychological Association-accredited clinical setting (or equivalent), which normally takes place during Year 5 (CPS5999Y). Eligibility for the clinical internship will be assessed by the Director of Clinical Training (DCT) prior to Year 4 of the program.

  • The comprehensive examination requirement consists of two mandatory components:

    1. An oral examination focused on clinical expertise (normally completed in the Fall session of Year 2); and

    2. A research-focused grant proposal (normally completed in the Fall session of Year 2).

    • A pass on both components is required for a student to continue on to PhD candidacy. Students who fail the oral exam will have the opportunity to retake the exam. Students who fail the grant proposal will have the opportunity to revise and resubmit. Students who fail either or both component(s) on the second attempt should consult the School of Graduate Studies’ Academic Appeals Policy. If after the appeals process and second attempts at either or both component(s) result in a failure, the student will no longer be eligible to continue in the PhD program. Guidelines on the comprehensive requirement can be found in the PCS Graduate Handbook.

  • Thesis proposal, normally approved prior to the start of Year 3 of the program.

  • Completed thesis.

  • Successful defence of the thesis at the Final Oral Examination.

  • For students interested in acquiring additional clinical hours, the PhD program provides the following optional courses: CPS6999H and CPS7999H. Please note that optional courses for the PhD must be approved by the faculty supervisor, the DCT, and the Graduate Chair prior to course enrolment.

  • Supervisors will have annual meetings with students to assess academic progress and to develop plans of study. The DCT will also hold formal annual meetings with students to assess clinical and professional progress.

  • The program length is five years, which includes a pre-doctoral internship.

Program Length

5 years

Time Limit

6 years