Graduate Application, Selection Process, and Guidelines

The Department hopes that any questions about our admission and selection processes and their timelines will be answered in this document. To start, we wish you good fortune in any of your future applications to either Acadia or elsewhere.

The Psychology Department directs students to the Acadia University Research and Graduate Studies website (https://gradstudies.acadiau.ca/Graduate_Admissions.html) for details of the application process, including the various components of the application itself and the online submission process. Note the deadline for completed applications is December 15th, although sometimes reference letters are late and this does not necessarily invalidate an application. The goal of this document is to inform applicants of Departmental procedures and timelines of our selection process, particularly as many applicants will have applied to multiple Graduate and other programs, each with their own procedures and timelines.

Research match with a potential supervisor(s) is an important deciding factor in the student selection process; conducting master's thesis research can be thought of as an apprenticeship, and Faculty cannot supervise research outside their research area of expertise. Potential applicants may contact potential supervisors in writing prior to submitting their application to clarify research match and determine if a Faculty Member is planning to accept a new master's student for the upcoming academic year. Prior to contacting a particular Faculty Member, applicants are encouraged to learn more about the Faculty Member’s research by visiting the Acadia University Psychology Department’s website and reading Faculty’s bios.  Please be advised that Faculty may or may not respond to applicants’ written inquiries.  Due to time constraints, applicants are discouraged from requesting to meet with potential Faculty research supervisors prior to submitting their application. Should their application be selection be short-listed during the selection process, applicants will have an opportunity to meet with potential Faculty research supervisors during the interview process.

Applicants are invited to describe any special circumstances that may affect their application and academic record such as the need for paid employment during undergraduate years, parental and medical leave(s), and possible socio-cultural disadvantages. If included, this information should be added to the “Statement of Applied Interests” part of the application with a subheading “Special Circumstances”. This last component is completely voluntary and not required; however, the Department is committed to Equity/ Diversity/ Inclusiveness principles and actions and is willing to consider applicants’ special circumstances as part of the admissions selection process.

In January, applications are examined and approximately the top third of applications are identified in terms of quality according to an appraisal of the application. Faculty who have been designated as a possible research supervisor will review applications and a meeting is held to select a short-list of 10 to 12 applicants in February. Interviews will be arranged consisting of two faculty, one of which will be the potential supervisor. Another Faculty meeting is held after the interviews have been completed. The top 4 to 6 students are selected from those interviewed, other suitable applicants may be placed on a waiting list, and some may be deemed unsuitable and rejected. Admission offers typically go out in March from Research and Graduate Studies, but this will not contain a financial offer (e.g., teaching assistantship) as major external awards (e.g., SSHRC, CIHR, Scotia Scholars) have not been announced and teaching assistant budgets may not be finalized. Applicants offered admission have until April 15th according to Canada-wide guidelines to accept or reject Acadia’s offer, but are encouraged to let Acadia know earlier once they have made a decision. If a student declines Acadia’s offer of admission, the short-list of other acceptable applicants will be revisited, and further offers may be made.

Unsuccessful applicants will not receive formal feedback on their applications and should not ask for this. Inquiries of where we are in our process in a given year will not be answered.

The Department recognizes that applying to Graduate School is a time-consuming and sometimes stressful experience, although the same can be said for other post-graduate training and professional programs. Applicants should be aware that the Psychology Department’s Clinical Psychology Program is highly competitive, with many outstanding applicants not being offered admission. In the 2020-2021 cycle now completed, the Psychology Department received 90 applications and admitted five students, reflecting a 6% acceptance rate. The number of applications received during this academic year was higher than average, possibly due to COVID and a change in the GRE admissions requirement.

Again, we wish you good fortune in any of your future applications to either Acadia or elsewhere.