Admission Requirements (Graduate)

Thank you for your interest in our graduate program.  The deadline for applications is December 15, 2017.  Applications are still considered after that date, but please be advised that sooner is better.

The Department believes that successful graduate training requires close collaboration between student and research director on a research project that is of interest to both. Applicants are therefore encouraged (though not required) to correspond directly with individual members of the faculty in whose research they may be interested. Faculty members are happy to provide applicants with reprints of recent publications and to discuss the opportunities available for research in their laboratories.

Foreign students may enter Canada on student visas. Further information on how to obtain these visas may be requested from the nearest Canadian Consulate.  

Graduate Application Requirements

To help you understand the application requirements for our PNB graduate program, we advise you to first read carefully the general application requirements found on the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) How To Apply web page, especially the “Prepare your application” and “Application Instructions” tabs.  Then check the points listed here for requirements that are specific to our PNB graduate program. 

In addition to the requirements laid out by the School of Graduate Studies (How To Apply), PNB requires the following:

  • A statement of interest in pursuing graduate studies in Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour in one or more of the following six areas:  (1) Animal Behaviour, (2) Systems & Behavioral Neuroscience (3) Cognition/Perception, (4) Developmental Psychology, (5) Evolution & Social Behaviour, (6) Research & Clinical Training stream.
    • The statement should be one page in length, single spaced, with 12 pt font.
    • Please list any research, teaching, or work experience that is related to the fields in which you are interested in working.
    • Please list supervisors you wish to work with (no more than 3).  
    • Please indicate clearly if you are interested in applying to the Research & Clinical Training stream.  
  • Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit scores for the Graduate Record Examination (General Test).
  • If English is not your native language, please provide an official copy of your TOEFL score (please see the School of Graduate Studies How To Apply page for minimum scores).

To access the online application, visit:
School of Graduate Studies “How to Apply”

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact our Graduate Administrative Assistant, Nancy Riddell, by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or phone (905-525-9140 ext. 23298).

Additional Information

Applicants are urged to declare any disabilities, as well as to provide details concerning accommodations provided by their previous educational institutions, at the time of application. Such declaration is encouraged particularly in cases where it is felt that the disability may have affected past academic performance, and/or where accommodation may be required in order for the student to be successful in his/her graduate program. The School of Graduate Studies policy with regard to students with disabilities is to be found in section 6 of the School of Graduate Studies Calendar. The full policy and further information may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies.  Student can find additional information at the Student Success Centre, Student Accessibility Services, and the McMaster Centre for Student Development.

Financial Support

A separate application for financial assistance is not required, as all applicants are automatically considered for financial support within the Department. All graduate students are supported by stipends from a combinations of external scholarships, departmental scholarships, research grants, training grants, and teaching assistantships. The minimum stipend for 2017-2018 is $21,284. Hamilton is very affordable for students and thus the stipend affords a comfortable lifestyle.

  • Psychology graduate students without external scholarship support receive a departmental scholarship; in 2017-2018 this is $12,364 for both M.Sc. students and Ph.D. students.
  • In recent years, foreign students have been put on a similar financial footing with Canadian students, by virtue of their receiving either a supplementary departmental scholarship or a tuition differential waiver.
  • In the course of their graduate training, students assist in the Department teaching activities. The nature of each student's contribution depends upon his or her other interests and the needs of the Department. Teaching assistantships pay $8,920 per year (2017-18) and are available to all graduate students in our Department.  The sum of department scholarship ($12,364) plus teaching assistantship ($8,920) provides the minimum stipend $21,284.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply to external granting agencies in the autumn before they intend to apply to the Department. Financial support from these agencies is substantially greater than can be offered by the Department.  Canadian citizens or landed immigrants may apply to the Federal agencies: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Sciences (CIHR), or Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). Ontario residents may also apply to the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) program. Details of these and other assistance programs are available from your own University Graduate Office or from the McMaster University School of Graduate Studies scholarship page.

Graduate students are also eligible to receive financial support to attend scientific conferences.  Please refer to PNB Graduate Travel for more details.

To view details about Tuition and Fees at McMaster, please visit SGS Tuition and Fees

Social Life

Our Department’s Social Life:  The Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour department at McMaster is home to various receptions, seasonal parties, club functions, and sporting events, which help to generate some camaraderie and informality.
Throughout the academic year, psychology graduate students attend a series of colloquia given by distinguished guest speakers (typically Thursdays 2:30pm). Graduate student preferences mainly dictate the list of invitees, and interested graduate students (but not faculty) are invited to dine out with the guest speaker at departmental expense. (Faculty and indeed all interested people are welcome at receptions held before and/or after dinner.) The colloquium series is considered an important component (albeit an informal and unevaluated one) of graduate education, allowing students an opportunity to exchange ideas with leading researchers in their area of interest while also establishing social contacts that may be of importance to their postgraduate careers.

We also offer a weekly graduate seminar (Fridays 3pm) at which our graduate students present their research to the department.  On Fridays we offer an informal get-together called “Friday Social” following the graduate seminar, where students and faculty relax and socialize at the end of the week.

Softball is virtually the only game on campus during the summer months, so "What's your favourite position?" is often the first question an incoming PNB graduate student is asked. The department fields several teams in University leagues, ranging from the genuinely recreational to the humourlessly competitive. The department also sponsors a softball tournament and barbecue every July. Graduate students also organize other sporting events such as soccer, volleyball, and ice-hockey (for non-skaters), and squash and racquetball challenges. You don't have to be talented to participate and have fun.

Contact Department

Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour (PNB)
Psychology Building (PC), Room 102
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton Ontario L8S 4K1