The 10 Best Psychology Universities in Canada

After years of an uphill battle for improvement, the world is finally taking a shift toward better mental health care. 

With this vital rise in empathy and overall awareness comes a single, significant need: more well-trained psychologists.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this field has experienced a considerable increase over the past few years. It is only projected to grow an additional six percent between now and 2031

The journey to becoming a licensed psychologist is not a short one, however, nor is it easy. 

To legally operate in this esteemed field, hopeful doctors must first undergo years of rigorous education and training, ensuring that they are prepared to handle whatever situation they may encounter within this critical work. 

Luckily, Canada has spent years honing some of the top psychology programs in the world!

Here, we have compiled a list of the top ten psychology universities in Canada, detailing what sets them above and beyond in their field. The methodology for this list was created as an “averaged” ranking. 

We looked at four “top psychology schools in Canada” lists, assigned a score to each school on every list based on their position in each ranking, then created this list based on which schools had the highest score with all rankings considered. Sources for the rankings are available at the end of the article.

Read on to learn more about the best psychology universities in Canada.

10. Queen’s University (Kingston, ON)

Queen's University
everettjsj2, Douglas Library at Dusk, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Queen’s University Department of Psychology makes this list for one simple reason: they maintain a reputation as one of the top research centers in their field.

While enrolled in this university, students have the chance to engage in some of the most vital, cutting-edge work in this field, assisting in research labs that impact the future of this world.

Through the Sage Lab, researchers hone in on the intersection between gender, sexuality, and attraction. 

Using some of the top lab equipment available on the market, this team composes interviews and a host of other experiments, all in the hopes of learning more about the roadblocks that often lead members of the LGBTQ+ community to silence their own experiences. 

Elsewhere on campus, students can engage in labs studying chronic pain under Professor Dean Tripp, or work alongside Dr. Wendy Craig to learn about the impulses that drive childhood bullying

9. University of Waterloo (Waterloo, ON)

In one comparison after another, the psychology department at the University of Waterloo is consistently ranked among the best in the country. 

This is largely due to their top-notch professors and their efforts at valuable community outreach.

At the University of Waterloo, education is implemented as the professors and students work alongside each other to better the world around them. 

Recently, one such team did so by hosting a parenting workshop in the community, breaking down the top research to help improve parent-teen relationships and guide families toward happy, peaceful conflict resolution. 

Similarly, the Early Childhood Education Centre works on two levels, as both a research facility and a safe, affordable childcare facility to the community. 

While enrolled, children are offered a quality leap in life through preschool education, while students at the university can advance their own experience in the field of child development and psychology. 

8. York University (Toronto, ON)

York University
Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine, FoundersCollegeYorkU2, CC0 1.0

Currently ranked 6th in Canada according to McLean’s 2021 program rankings, York University’s psychology program consistently proves itself one of the top centers of learning in the nation.

Knowing how long the journey can often feel from freshman year to the finish line, York University PUMP, their Peer Undergraduate Mentor Program.

Through this organization, mentee students are paired with mentors of similar backgrounds and areas of study to help them navigate the often exhausting trek toward getting their master’s and doctorate degrees in psychology.  

In addition to meeting a minimum of four times per year to help organize classes, maintain a study schedule, and discuss any conflicts, these students have access to events designed to help them along their journey. 

For example, in the Winter of 2022, a special, three-part program assisted students by answering any questions about their potential graduate program, making sure they were prepared, and walking them through the application process. 

7. University of Ottawa (Ottawa, ON)

Founded in 1941, The University of Ottawa School of Psychology has had plenty of time to practice different methods of educating its students in this field, and this experience shines through in their world-class education.

In this university, education takes place both in an out of the classroom, as students have the chance to both participate and volunteer within the Wellness Lounge.

Designed as a way to increase overall mental health on campus, this lounge uses all the top research to help students combat feelings of stress, including a light therapy and nature room. 

Similarly, a healthy series of mental health and wellness clubs offer young psychology students the chance to seek the support they need while also gaining experience within their future field. 

By helping their peers, they can also learn about resiliency methods, beating burnout specifically related to the field, and a host of other vital areas of study. 

6. University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

University of Alberta
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The University of Alberta’s psychology program has made a name for itself mainly through the dedicated efforts of its world-class staff. 

While enrolled on this campus, students have the opportunity to learn from the best and brightest minds in the field, including Dr. Yao Zheng, who recently won the 2022 Martha Cook Piper Research Prize for his work in the field of psychology.

This university continues to prove its adaptability in the face of trial as it experiments with different strategies of in-person and online learning in the face of the pandemic. 

Dr. Ben Dyson was awarded for his efforts in the fight as he showed a continued to drive to creatively inspire his students through the highs and lows of online learning. 

During the annual Distinguished Scholar Lecture series, the university uses its influence to pull some of the top researchers from all over the world, giving even more opportunities for learning outside of the classroom. 

5. Western University (London, ON)

A brief look at the awards and achievements to spring out of the Western University psychology department makes it abundantly clear how this is one of the nation’s top learning places.

From Dr. Jody Culham, who was recently appointed a Canada Research Chair for immersive neuroscience methods, to Dr. Ken McRae, the newest Fellow of The Cognitive Science Society, this staff continues to block past barriers and increase opportunities for their students. 

To keep every mind on campus turning over the most controversial, vital topics of psychological conversation and study, Western University hosts a series of colloquium speakers who come from all over the world to educate students in the comfort of their own campus.

This year alone, the university has pulled four different speakers from across the continent, including Dr. Ann Marie Ryan of Michigan State University, who spoke on the importance of active allyship to minority communities. 

4. University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)

University of Calgary
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Every well-intentioned school of psychology operates from a place of compassion, but the University of Calgary takes that one step further, reaching out to its students through a series of engaging and compelling seminars. 

These range from more clinical in tone– like the recent webinar on the importance of a trauma-informed approach to research– to personable, as was the case with the “I am Not my Gremlin” initiative against negative self-talk.

In an even deeper show of empathy and social awareness, the University of Calgary’s psychology department created and continues to support the Indigenous Health Education Pathways to Healing

3. McGill University (Montreal, QC)

All throughout history, McGill University has been working diligently to provide the top psychological education to Canadians and beyond. 

After offering the very first psychological course in 1850, this university continued to build its distinctive program, leading to its first lab in 1910, years before the official department was even founded. 

Today, McGill University continues that grand tradition by serving as one of the leading psychological research centers. 

By pairing with some of the other top centers and institutions across the nation, McGill seizes every opportunity to provide its student body access to the top research facilities in the world.

Students hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the role the physical makeup of the brain plays in psychological trauma will have no problem learning what they need to know with help from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. 

Likewise, those curious about the role sound plays in mood can find more with help from this department’s partnership with the International Laboratory for Brain, Music, and Sound Research. 

2. University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business
Public domain photo by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

The psychology department at the University of British Columbia promises to offer its students incomparable chances at success through grants, awards, and access to some of the top research opportunities in the nation. 

2022 saw major financial success, with over $10,000,00 in research grants offered to various projects around the school. 

In addition to bringing about vital new knowledge in the field of psychology, every research project offers opportunities for students on campus to get involved as research assistants and all other manners of participation. 

The University of British Columbia respects that psychology remains its top undergraduate program, with more young students traveling to study this field than any other major on campus. 

As such, they take pride in offering awards of just under $7,000 to inspire and encourage these students, in addition to offering over $1,000,000 in new graduate student fellowships. 

Above all, this university takes pride in backing its research by financially supporting the next generation of educators, doctors, and licensed psychologists. 

1. University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)

The University of Toronto Department of Psychology takes special pride in studying the human mind through every step in its journey, from birth onward. Nothing showcases that dedication more so than the Child Study Centre.  

Composed of six different research facilities, this center unites students across all levels of study– from undergraduate to doctoral students– to understand more about the behavior of infants, children, and adolescents. 

Each of these six labs focuses on a different area of study, providing ample opportunities for students to research whatever area most interests them.

At the StarLab, a series of fun and exciting games offer researchers the chance to learn more about how children process their own morality and empathize with those around them. 

Students more interested in the process of memory building will feel right at home in the Budding Minds lab, where a combination of behavioral studies and neuroimaging combine to study how children develop and retain their earliest, most vital memories. 

By producing and sharing some of the top findings in their field, the University of Toronto works to maintain its title as the number one psychology university in Canada. 

This list was created as an aggregation of other rankings focusing on psychology programs in Canada. 

Here are the sources for those lists.

US News

Times Higher Education



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