Careers & Graduate Studies

Overview

One very important question is often asked by Psychology undergraduate students: What can I do with my degree in Psychology? While finding the answer to this question is ultimately up to you, we are pleased to offer a number of resources and programs for students, including events planned in cooperation with the Career Centre and Alumni Office

Researching Career Choices

  • For possible careers with a degree in psychology, visit our Some Career Ideas webpage and/or review our information sheet PDF iconWhat Can I Do With A Degree in Psychology?.
  • Check out potential jobs through your favourite search engine, and on job-specific sites listed on this website. 
  • Get connected. For example, join a professional association or LinkedIn (workshops on how to best take advantage of this online professional network are available through the Career Centre).
  • Talk to people who make hiring decisions in the field you are interested in, to see which route they would recommend pursuing.
  • Talk to people working in the field or fields that interest you – ask them for advise on what steps to take to achieve your goal.
  • Learn about what is required (e.g. certificate course, training, skills, etc) by potential employers.
  • Check out websites for graduate schools.
  • Consult other sources on the web for further career advice, including the links on this website.
  • Attend career events sponsored by the Psychology Department, the Psychology Student's Association and the Career Centre.
  • Parents, friends, academic advisors, the career centres and teachers can provide advice.
  • The media can be a source of up-to-date career information.
  • What are you interested in and what are the things you really enjoy? Where does your passion lie? Research, working directly with people, statistics, hands-on work, social activism, politics, to name a few.
  • What are the particular talents and skills that you can bring to a job?
  • What type of work environment appeals to you, be it casual, more structured, involving working closely with others or more independently, a job with a travel component, for example?
  • What tasks/jobs do you, and do you not, enjoy?
  • Which of your own recent job experiences have you found particularly interesting and/or rewarding? 
  • What do you think is going to be important to you next year and beyond? Think about your future goals.
  • Careers in Psychology: Opportunities in a Changing World by Tara L. Kuther and Robert D. Morgan (Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2009)
  • Opportunities in Psychology Careers by Donald E. Super (McGraw-Hill, 2008)
  • Majoring in Psych?: Career Options for Psychology Undergraduates by Betsy L. Morgan, Ann J. Korschgen (Allyn & Bacon, 2009)
  • Read PDF iconThe Five-Year Resume by Laker and Laker, and try out their career planning exercise

 

Careers and Jobs

The University of Toronto Career Centre offers a wealth of resources, workshops, events, and job listings to assist students and recent graduates with their career search. Check out upcoming events on the Career Event page of this website.

Information about Careers in Psychology

Job Posting Links

  • University of Toronto Career Centre provides a list of job postings for students and recent graduates
  • U of T Careers posts jobs for research assistants, academic advisors and more
  • Charity Village is an excellent site to search for non-profit jobs
  • Career Jet for students with a bachelor's degree in psychology
  • Indeed for psychology-related jobs in Canada

Government Job Sites

Consider working toward a diploma or certificate from a community college or university, taking advantage of the career training they offer. This additional qualification may meet the needs of future employers who are looking for applicants with applied training and experience. The combination of the critical thinking skills and theory training you receive at university, coupled with applied, practical training received through a community college or certificate program, are very attractive to prospective employers and may well increase your employability. Such courses are often designed specifically for those who hold an undergraduate degree, making many of the programs one year or less in length. Courses are also sometimes offered part-time, in the evenings, or via distance education, allowing you to combine them with paid employment. Plus, having this extra certificate may make promotion at your workplace more likely. And colleges also offer more direct assistance with job placements after completion. 

The Universities Canada maintains a database of all university and college programs in Canada, at all levels. Check out the program or programs that fits your area of interest. You can also browse through the ‘fields of study’ for program ideas that you may never been aware of, or considered. Another source of related information is the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Graduates unanimously agree that working in your field as a volunteer, with a not-for-profit organization, with campus organizations, or elsewhere is invaluable. It is the best way to gain the relevant job experience that will catch the attention of future employers. And you can make a contribution at the same time. Below are some volunteering websites for you to check out, both on and off campus.

 

 

Graduate School Preparation

Students should be prepared to do most, if not all, of the legwork for investigating their options for graduate school in Psychology.  There are simply too many graduate programs in Psychology across North America for the Undergraduate Office to be able to answer specific questions.

First determine whether you want to stay within the city, the province, or the country.  Find out what psychology programs are offered in the area(s) you would like to attend for grad school.  Call or e-mail the schools you are interested in and ask them questions.  Ask for information to be sent to you, or check out their web sites.  The following information provided below is only a basic guide to assist you in getting started.  The rest is up to you!

Students who intend to apply to graduate schools and to pursue a career in psychology will require a B or B+ average and in some cases an A- average or higher throughout their academic career with specific emphasis on the last two years.  Other important factors include standardized test scores, reference letters, relevant volunteer or paid positions, and research experience.

The Psychology Students' Association (PSA) holds seminars on applying and getting into graduate school at least once or twice per academic year.  Please check their web site calendar for up and coming seminars.  The PSA may also have some useful books available for student consultation in their office (Sidney Smith Hall, room 509).  These could include "Career Paths in Psychology", "Getting In" , and the APA's "Graduate Study in Psychology".  You may want to contact them to see if these are still available.  

One source of information available is the Psychology Eudaimonia website.   This website and its content was created by Carolyn Hoessler, a former President of the Psychology Students' Association, to help undergraduate students apply to graduate schools in Psychology.  The advice posted has been gather from professors, graduate students, career advisors, and others.Another source, which is highly recommended by our department, is a book by Dr. Dave G. Mumby (Professor of Psychology, Concordia) called "Graduate School: Winning Strategies For Getting In."  Check for it at your local bookstore or library or, for more information, visit his companion website and blog A copy is available for short-term loan for students at the Undergraduate Office (Sid Smith, room 4014).

Students should aim for a well-rounded undergraduate program which includes a broad scope of courses both within and outside of their core psychology program.  Rather than pursuing a narrow specialization in the area of primary interest, students should become acquainted with problems and methods in a variety of areas dealing with both human and animal behaviour and from diverse approaches, e.g. physiological, developmental, cognitive, etc.

Graduate schools normally require a four-year (Honours) Bachelor's degree or its equivalent which has included courses in introductory psychology, statistics, and some laboratory or research work in psychology.  In our department, you can fulfill the statistics requirement by taking either PSY201H and PSY202H or STA220H and STA221H.  You can fulfill the laboratory requirement by taking one of PSY319H, 329H, 339H, 379H, 389H, or 399H.  Beyond these minimal requirements, students should consider taking additional advanced-level courses related to their area of interest and experimental or research courses.  Seminar courses at the 400-level provide excellent pre-graduate school experience.

Many graduate schools require that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).  Some schools, usually in the U.S., also require the Millers Analogies Test (MAT).  The results from these tests can sometimes be as important as grades in determining admission.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE): The GRE is comprised of two different types of tests: a General Aptitude Test (which has both a verbal and quantitative component) and an Advanced Test (which is more specific to the relevant subject area of graduate study, e.g., psychology).

GRE General Aptitude Test: For practice exercises relating to this portion of the GRE one may purchase books at the U of T Bookstore as well as local bookstores.  An exercise book of this sort can provide insight into the format, length, and types of questions involved. Several private companies offer GRE prep courses (e.g. KaplanRichardsonPrinceton) as well.

While the quantitative section of the aptitude test does not entail advanced mathematics, most recommend a review of basic algebra and geometry.  For the verbal section of the aptitude test, a review of basic English grammar and composition is recommended.  Last minute studying (cramming) for the verbal secvtion is not particularly helpful, as the verbal section measures ability that has been developed over a long time.

GRE Advanced Test in Psychology: Students may prepare for this portion of the exam, which covers a variety of areas in psychology, by reviewing their notes and reading from undergraduate PSY courses.  For this purpose an intensive review of a good introductory textbook may be particularly helpful.  Not all graduate schools require that applicants write the Psychology GRE, though, so make sure that you check with each university you plan to apply to.

An information booklet on the GRE is typically available from the School of Graduate Studies, 63 St. George Street.  This booklet provides information about the nature of the examination, indicates where and how to register to take the test, and includes sample questions.

One of the most important credentials a student can develop in addition to their GPA and breadth of course work is training and experience in research.  One may develop research experience by (a) arranging to take PSY 299 through the Research Opportunity Program with a faculty member, while in the second year, (b) being a research assistant to a faculty member or (c) conducting one's own research under a faculty member's supervision with an Individual Project (PSY405/406). Research Specialist students will have complete a Thesis course (PSY 400Y) as part of their program.

Research experience can also be valuable in obtaining informed letters of recommendation from faculty members.  Graduate School applications require at least two letters of recommendation from faculty members, sometimes three.  Students may also request a letter of recommendation from their instructor of a 300-level Laboratory course, or a 400-level seminar course.

For any type of research project, one should make contacts with faculty members no later than the spring session of one's third year.  Since one will usually need letters of recommendation to graduate schools in the fall of fourth year, one should have contacts well-established by this time.

Students who intend to apply to areas of psychology related to human service (e.g., counselling, clinical psychology) will find it beneficial to gain some experience and training in the helping professions.  Information about volunteer opportunities is available through local mental health care facilities and hospitals, as well as other agencies.  Opportunities also exist through part-time and summer employment (camp counsellors for disabled children; psychiatric aides at hospitals; etc.).  It is not advantageous, however, to concentrate on gaining relevant work experience at the expense of maintaining a good academic record.

Students should take advantage of the opportunities that arise for faculty-student interaction through departmental colloquia, undergraduate psychology conventions, and involvement in the Psychology Students' Association (PSA) and their seminars and other events.  These opportunities allow students to share common concerns with fellow students, graduate students and professors, and to enhance their appreciation for, and knowledge of, the field of psychology.

Several resources exist which provide additional information on graduate study in psychology:

  • The CPA publishes their Graduate Guide online which describes the programs and entrance requirements for psychology graduate schools in Canada.  Usually available for loan from the Career Centre Library is the book "Graduate Study in Psychology" (published by the American Psychology Association), which describes the programs and entrance requirements for graduate schools in the U.S.A.  In addition to this a guide to getting in to graduate school in psychology, Getting In, is also published.
  • Many departments also have web pages.  Good launching points are visiting the section for students at the Canadian Psychological Association website and the American Psychological Association's home page.
  • The National Research Council (NRC) of the United States conducts a survey to rank various graduate programs.  There is a website which has compiled a ranked list of American Universities offering Experimental Psychology programs and a separate site with a ranked list of Canadian and American Universities offering Clinical Psychology programs.
  • The College of Psychologists of Ontario has a website which provides information about becoming a "Registered Psychologist" or "Registered Psychological Associate".
  • Calendars for various Canadian, American, and foreign universities may be available at Robarts Library and at the Career Counselling and Placement Centre (Koffler Centre). 
  • The Career Centre offers a wide variety of programs and services to meet the career planning and employment needs of students and recent graduates.  To access these programs and services, students are encouraged to register with the Career Centre website.

Students should also note that professors and graduate students are willing to help with questions and sometimes to share some of their own undergraduate and graduate school experiences.

Scholarships are available to provide financial assistance to graduate students:

These web sites provide all the information you will need in order to apply and also include application forms for download.  Note that most application deadlines are early in the academic year (October/November).  You can enquire about these scholarships in the Undergraduate Office (SS 4014) or find out more information, including deadlines on the Scholarships & Awards page.

Are you interested in becoming an experimental or clinical psychologist? In studying counselling psychology? In pursuing further education in another area of psychology? If so, check the links below. 

To obtain certification with the Canadian Counselling Association, you must have completed specific graduate courses. Contact the CCA and determine if the choice of courses in your program acceptably meets their certification standards.