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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Forensic Psychology (Doctoral program)

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Faculty Faculty of Social Science and Humanities
Location Downtown Oshawa campus location
Start dates September
Length Approximately 48 months, based on full-time study, for post-master’s students.

Approximately 60 months, based on full-time study, for direct-entry students.
Program load Full-time
Program format Courses with a PhD research dissertation
Student observing a discussion
The PhD in Forensic Psychology combines disciplinary and specialized study in Forensic Psychology, study in research methods and statistics, and applied learning experiences to prepare students to work in a variety of settings.

General information

The PhD in Forensic Psychology combines disciplinary and specialized study in Forensic Psychology, study in research methods and statistics, and applied learning experiences to prepare students to work in a variety of settings. Specifically, the program will prepare students for careers related to the following:

  • Administration in provincial and federal programs.
  • Advertising and marketing.
  • Behavioural science and statistical research in government organizations.
  • Design and evaluation of community programs.
  • Research and/or teaching in college and university settings.
  • Research and practice in behavioural science crime units within law enforcement.
  • Research in mental health institutions, hospital settings, justice-related institutes, correctional facilities, the pharmaceutical industry and educational entertainment industry.
  • Trial consulting.

The program will also allow professionals (e.g., law enforcement officials) to advance in their current fields.

Each year, a small number of undergraduate students may be admitted directly into the PhD program without a master’s degree. This direct-entry option is for undergraduate students with exceptional academic performance throughout their bachelor’s degree.


Admission requirements

PhD in Forensic Psychology
  • Hold the university's Master of Science (MSc) degree in Forensic Psychology or an equivalent research project or thesis-based Master of Arts/MSc degree (e.g., Experimental Psychology, Neuroscience, Computer Science, Biology, Criminology) at a recognized institution.
  • Minimum academic standing of A-minus (GPA: 3.7 on a 4.3 scale or 80 to 84 per cent) during graduate study.
PhD in Forensic Psychology – direct entry
  • Hold a four-year undergraduate degree or equivalent in Psychology or a related field (e.g., Neuroscience, Computer Science, Biology, Criminology) at a recognized institution. Students with both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are encouraged to apply.
  • Minimum overall academic standing of at least an A-minus (GPA: 3.7 on a 4.3 scale or 80 to 84 per cent), with a minimum academic standing of A-minus in the final two full-time years (four terms) of undergraduate study, including elective courses.
  • Completion of an honours thesis or comparable research experience is highly preferred but not required.
  • Applicants with unrelated backgrounds may be admitted as special cases. However, applicants without sufficient psychology background or those who do not meet the admission requirements of the program may not be prepared to perform successfully in the program courses. In this case, they may be required to take additional courses or admitted as qualifying students. Please see the Graduate Academic Calendar and Course Catalogue for additional details.
Required supporting documents:
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) including education, employment, teaching and research experience, and publications (if any).
  • *General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. There is no specified minimum score; however, scores will be factored into admission decisions. *Note: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score requirements have been waived for Fall 2021 admissions.
  • *Psychology GRE scores for those applicants who have not completed a Psychology (undergraduate or graduate) degree within the last five years. There is no specified minimum score. All other applicants may still choose to have their Psychology GRE scores forwarded to the university, and the graduate committee will factor the scores into admissions decisions. *Note: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score requirements have been waived for Fall 2021 admissions.
  • A third letter of reference. Academic referees are preferred; however, non-academic references will be considered.
  • A two- to three-page statement of academic intent (note that this is longer than the general requirements). The statement may describe previous research experience (e.g., thesis work, other research projects), industry or community experiences, general career aspirations, specific research interests and any experience relevant to these interests. If an applicant has already contacted a potential thesis supervisor (which is highly advised), that should be made known within the statement.
  • A substantive writing sample. A sample of the applicant's thesis is preferred; an assignment or published work (with the applicant as first author) will suffice if a thesis has not been completed.

Applicants must also submit the required documents outlined in the checklist of required documents.

Note: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score requirements have been waived for Fall 2021 admissions, but may be reinstated for future intakes. However, for future reference, the GRE® Subject Test date varies by location. Applicants should submit General GRE test scores prior to the deadline. Applicants should register early for the Psychology Subject Test. For an updated list of test centers, please see the Paper-delivered Test Center List. Institution code: 7178.

Required test scores for English language proficiency:

See English language proficiency for the minimum required test scores for this program.

Application deadlines

Please see application deadlines for specific dates. Note that the application deadlines listed are for both the online application and all supporting documentation.

How to apply

Applications for admission to all graduate studies programs are submitted online. There are five steps you must go through to complete the application process. See application process and requirements for step-by-step instructions.

Many of our graduate programs are extremely competitive; the number of qualified applicants normally exceeds the number of seats available for each intake. Satisfaction of minimum entry requirements does not ensure admission.


Sample research areas:
  • Children and the law
  • Detection of deception
  • Evidence-based policing
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Forensic neuroscience
  • Geographic profiling
  • Interrogations and confessions
  • Investigative interviewing
  • Psychopathy
  • Sexual violence
  • Wrongful conviction

Learn more about the research areas within this program and find research experts by visiting the faculty’s website and the university's Expert Centre.

Program curriculum

For program requirements, including required number of credits for completion, program maps and course descriptions, please see the Graduate Academic Calendar and Course Catalogue.


Internal awards and funding

Applicants to research-based graduate programs who are studying full-time are automatically considered for some types of funding at the time of admission.

Types of funding that do not require an application:

  • Entrance scholarships
  • Minimum funding packages
  • Teaching assistantships, research assistantships and graduate research assistantships

For more details on the above funding opportunities, see graduate student awards and funding.

Please note: Part-time students are not eligible for the above funding opportunities.

External awards and funding

Graduate program applicants are encouraged to apply for external awards to help finance their education. The application process differs for each competition, so review the information carefully to determine where and when you must apply. Please note: The majority of these awards are for domestic or permanent residents only.


Tuition fees for graduate programs are charged on a flat-fee or fee-per-credit basis and vary by program and student status.

For current, specific fees and details on flat-fee versus fee-per-credit programs, please see tuition and fees.


For more information:

Visit the program website

Contact the program:

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

Contact the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies:

905.721.8668 ext. 6209 

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