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Clinical Developmental Psychology

The Clinical Developmental (CD) Area offers opportunities to engage in research spanning infancy through to emerging adulthood related to clinically-relevant topics in typical and atypical development, psychosocial development, neuropsychology, therapy outcomes, and program evaluation.

Graphic representing Clinical Developmental Psychology

Research programs studied by CD faculty have a developmental emphasis and include topics defined by:

  • Age and stage of development (e.g., infancy, adolescence, transition to adulthood)
  • Clinical psychopathology and treatment approach (e.g., trauma therapy, pain assessment, parenting, CBT, attachment disorders, early intensive behavioural intervention)
  • Developmental cognitive neuroscience (e.g., memory, executive functioning, attention, brain structure-function relationships in clinical populations)
  • Professional function related to children and families (e.g., clinical assessment/diagnosis, pediatric neuropsychological assessment, program evaluation)
  • Child and youth clinical populations (including, but not limited to, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health, addictions)
  • Developmental risk factors (e.g. prenatal exposures, trauma, brain injuries)

Faculty members in the CD area are all registered psychologists. Most members are active clinically—providing supervision, consultation, program evaluation, and outcome research in various community settings in addition to conducting collaborative grant-supported research.

In addition to obtaining rigorous research training, students are expected to obtain core competencies in the scope of practice of clinical psychology as applied to children and adolescents. This includes coursework and practical training (mainly in external practica) in psychological assessment and diagnosis of children and adolescents (including various types of internalizing disorders, externalizing disorders and developmental disorders), as well as, a variety of evidence-based modalities of child, adolescent, and/or family intervention.

Students who are interested in specialized training in clinical neuropsychology can apply to the Clinical Neuropsychology stream after being admitted to the Clinical-Developmental area.

Admission Requirements for Applying to the Clinical Developmental area:

  1. Minimum A- GPA in last two years of a four-year undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology (or Psychology Major);
  2. Completion of an undergraduate thesis or thesis equivalent;
  3. At least two courses in statistics and/or research methods with a minimum grade of A- in each course;
  4. Minimum of 6 months research experience;
  5. Minimum of 6 months of volunteer or paid work in a clinical or related field;
  6. At least two letters of recommendation from a research or academic supervisor

For more information about the Clinical-Developmental area, please contact the Director of Clinical Training Dr. Adrienne Perry. For admissions queries, please email

Additional Program Information

Faculty Member

  • Desrocher, Mary E
  • Muir, Nicole Marie
  • Muller, Robert Tom
  • Pillai Riddell, Rebecca
  • Prime, Heather
  • Rawana, Jennine
  • Toplak, Maggie E
  • Weiss, Jonathan
  • Wojtowicz, Magdalena

Faculty Member

  • Bebko, James M
  • Bohr, Yvonne M
  • Connolly, Jennifer A
  • Desrocher, Mary E
  • Muir, Nicole Marie
  • Muller, Robert Tom
  • Pepler, Debra J
  • Perry, Adrienne
  • Pillai Riddell, Rebecca
  • Prime, Heather
  • Rawana, Jennine
  • Till, Christine
  • Toplak, Maggie E
  • Weiss, Jonathan
  • Wintre, Maxine A G
  • Wojtowicz, Magdalena

The CD Program’s mission is to prepare students for their roles and responsibilities as competent and ethical Clinical Developmental scientist-practitioners. We are committed to this goal by providing education and training in theoretical, scientific, and conceptual foundations of the discipline of Psychology. We believe that the practice of clinical psychology requires a strong scientific and research foundation that promotes the development of scientific knowledge and critical thinking. In our program, we strive to provide students with opportunities to engage in research related to clinically relevant topics in typical and atypical development spanning infancy through to emerging adulthood, neuropsychology, therapy outcomes, and program evaluation. These opportunities enable students to develop independence as scholars and to contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge to the discipline of psychology. Our program also has a strong emphasis on diversity, in that students are trained to be sensitive to individual differences and cultural diversity issues in approaching research and clinical issues.

Students are expected to obtain core competency in all areas of the Mutual Recognition Agreement and be appropriately qualified for registration with the College of Psychologists of Ontario (or other licensing body elsewhere) for the practice of clinical psychology as applied to children and adolescents.

Program Goals

Overarching goals for graduates of our program and more general objectives are outlined here and these are further operationalized in Table 15:

  1. Graduates will demonstrate excellence in research, including:
    • competence in conceptualization and critical evaluation regarding research issues and appropriate use of statistics
    • competence in various research and evaluation methodologies suitable for typical and atypical populations in various settings (clinical, community, academic)
    • competence in dissemination of research to diverse audiences (academic publications, presentations of professional associations, knowledge translation to broad audiences)
  2. Graduates will demonstrate clinical competence in assessment/diagnosis, according to accreditation and registration standards, including:
    • competence in psychoeducational and social-emotional assessment of children and adolescents
    • competence in diagnostic formulation of various child and adolescent disorders and disabilities
    • competence in communicating diagnoses sensitively and with precision to children, adolescents, and their families
    • beginning competence in supervision of assessments by more junior trainees
  3. Graduates will demonstrate clinical competence in evidence-based psychological interventions, according to accreditation and registration standards, including:
    • competence in core clinical skills in interpersonal relationships, such as forming therapeutic alliance
    • competence in multiple modalities of evidence-based intervention for children, adolescents, and their parents
    • some students may gain competence in delivering group interventions, family therapy, parent-training interventions, and so on depending on the opportunities in their practicum settings
  4. Graduates will be ethical and professional members of the profession of psychology, including:
    • articulating a professional identity as clinical psychologists and scientist-practitioners
    • maintaining high standards of ethical and professional behaviour
    • demonstrating good self-awareness, self-evaluation, and knowledge of strengths and limits
    • demonstrating a sense of citizenship regarding contributing to the profession
  5. Graduates will demonstrate sensitivity to individual differences and cultural diversity in approaching research and clinical issues:
    • maintaining an attitude of respect and cultural humility regarding the impact of individual, cultural, and other forms of diversity in clients, and of their own position of privilege
    • commitment to working with and responding appropriately to marginalized or neglected groups of people

Applicants who wish to be considered for admission to the CD Area must specify “Clinical Developmental” as their primary area of interest. Other areas in the Department of Psychology (e.g. Clinical) can be specified as a secondary area of interest. However, an applicant's file is not automatically forwarded to another area, unless arranged by the applicant or the file is forwarded by the CD area. Once admitted, shifting from one area to another is not normally permitted. Review our Tips to Improve Your Application (below). Students who are interested in specialized training in clinical neuropsychology can apply to the Clinical Neuropsychology stream after being admitted to the CD area.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact the Graduate Psychology Program at

Admission Requirements for students applying for a Masters of Arts (MA)

Applicants are expected to have achieved a minimum A- grade point average (GPA) in the last two years of a four-year undergraduate honours degree (or equivalent) in Psychology. Applicants with an average that is lower than an A- may still apply; however, an explanation for why the average is low should be provided in the Statement of Interest.

Applicants to the Clinical Developmental (CD) Area are expected to have a general background and knowledge in core content areas of psychology. Applicants should have taken at least:

  1. One full-course in Introductory Psychology;
  2. One full-course in Research Design and Statistical Analysis; and,
  3. The equivalent of six other full-courses in psychology that cover the following core areas:
    * biological bases of behaviour (e.g. physiological psychology, neuropsychology, sensation, psychopharmacology, health psychology)
    * cognitive-affective bases of behaviour (e.g. learning, memory, perception, cognition, emotion)
    * social bases of behaviour (e.g. social psychology, cultural, ethnic and group processes, sex roles, organizational and systems theory)
    * individual behaviour (e.g. personality theory, human development, individual differences, abnormal psychology)

Applicants with insufficient breadth from their undergraduate training may be asked to demonstrate competence in these major areas of psychology by enrolling in undergraduate courses before beginning the graduate program.

In addition to meeting the graduate admission requirements, a student can only be admitted if there is a faculty member available and interested in serving as the applicant’s supervisor. For this reason, applicants are strongly encouraged to determine whether a faculty member with compatible research interests is available for supervision.

Students who plan to limit their studies to the Masters of Arts (MA) degree in the CD Area are discouraged from applying to the program. MA students in our graduate program are expected to proceed to and complete the requirements for the PhD degree. However, students completing their MA at York are not automatically accepted into the PhD program; they must make a formal, but internal, application for advancement into the PhD program.

Admission Requirements for students applying for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Admission to the CD area is generally at the MA level, unless the applicant is from another CPA/APA-accredited clinical graduate program. In this circumstance, the applicant may be considered for admission to the PhD level. Students with a Master’s degree from a non-accredited graduate program (e.g. Experimental Psychology) will be considered for MA-level entry to the CD area. These students will be expected to complete an MA thesis and the core CD area courses to obtain an MA degree at York University, prior to entry into the PhD program. Students with a former Master’s degree may be exempt from some courses (e.g. statistics) if they declare competence in a particular area from a previous graduate course taken.

Submitting your Application

To apply online, please visit How to Apply.

Clinical psychology training programs in Canada recognize their shared responsibility to Indigenous peoples. The admissions process for entry into the Clinical and Clinical Developmental Programs at York University is committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. With an understanding that Indigenous learners can face specific barriers or challenges when pursuing higher education, schools and programs within our Clinical and Clinical Developmental Programs have facilitated admission streams for applicants with Indigenous North American (First Nation, Inuit or Métis) ancestry. This process is intended to provide equitable access to Indigenous applicants and aligns with the intent of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action.

Make sure you have the following information ready when applying:

  1. Letters of Recommendation. A minimum of two letters of recommendation are required, but an additional third letter is preferred. It is ideal if two of your references are from a research/academic source, while the third is from a clinical supervisor familiar with your abilities. Academic references are very important, and having one strong clinical reference that attests to your professionalism and interpersonal skill can be advantageous. IMPORTANT: There are 2 Recommendation sources that your referees must complete. One is the STANDARD ONLINE REFERENCE FORM that is completed online by your referees once you have submitted your application, which is sent by the Faculty of Graduate Studies to your referees. The second is a SUPPLEMENTAL REFERENCE FORM that we use to receive more information about attributes that can be important in a clinical training context. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to send the following link to each of your referees and ask them to complete it. It is very brief, and should not take them much time to do. We developed it as an online survey, so that it will be automatically deposited into our application system. There is no need for them to send this second form back to you or upload a file to a website. Here is the link to provide to your referee for the SUPPLEMENTAL REFERENCE FORM:
  2. Non-refundable application fee (paid online) OR Credit Card information submitted with application. If you do not have a credit card and/or cannot apply online, you can request a hard-copy application form by calling 416-736-5000.
  3. Unofficial copies of transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended.  When applying, unofficial transcripts are acceptable.   If you are made an Offer of Admission, you will be required to provide official transcripts as a condition of admission.   Transcripts are considered official when sent directly from the issuing institution(s) in unopened, sealed envelopes. In some instances, the issuing institution(s) may mail the transcripts to you in unopened, sealed envelopes to submit.
  4. Official Degree Certificate in countries where Degree Certificates are issued separately (i.e. Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Pakistan etc.). Official copies MUST be submitted. Applicants should check International Credentials on the following website:
  5. A Statement of Interest. Personal Statement: The Personal Statement is an important part of the application. It should contain information about your past clinical and research experience, why you want to attend our Clinical-Developmental Area graduate program, your research interests, at least one faculty member whom you are interested in working with and why, and your career plans following graduate school. It is strongly recommended that you contact potential faculty members to see if they are available to supervise a graduate student prior to listing them as a potential supervisor in your Statement of Interest. See our Faculty Directory to learn more about faculty members’ research interests. Your Personal Statement should be two (2) pages double-spaced (standard margins and 12-point Times New Roman font) and should cover the following 4 components:
    1. Describe your past training experiences and what makes you ready for intensive research and clinical training at the graduate level
    2. Describe what motivates and/or inspires you, as it relates to your current research interests/specific supervisor, the CD program, and your broader career goals
    3. How do you/will you consider diversity, equity, and inclusion in your clinical and research endeavours? You can use personal experience or learning to highlight this.
    4. Highlight your most important scholarly contribution / product or knowledge mobilization activity (e.g., thesis, poster presentation at a conference, presentation).
  6. Curriculum Vitae. Make sure to indicate your educational and relevant employment history, any honours or scholarships you have received, any posters or publications you have been involved in and information regarding your honours thesis. We recommend that you take a look at samples of how academic curriculum vitaes are organized to format your CV effectively. At the same time, there is no one specific format required.
  7. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score, if English was not the language of instruction for your undergraduate degree. Applicants are required to provide proof of language proficiency if their first language is not English or they have not completed at least one year of full-time study at an accredited university in a country (or institution) where English is the official language of instruction. York reserves the right to request a successful English language proficiency test result.

The university's Admissions Department also has some additional useful information and a timeline to getting ready to apply (this information is not specific to CD Area).

Submitting your Application

Except for the SUPPLEMENTAL REFERENCE FORM, all application documents should be sent to the Graduate Admissions and Records Office. If your application package does not contain all required documents, your file may not get to the Psychology department. As a result, a review of your application by the professor you are interested in working with may be delayed.

The Department receives between 120–150 applications for admission to the CD area each year; approximately 8 students may be admitted per year. Preference is given to applicants with strong academic backgrounds who appear promising as researchers and as scientist-practitioners. Here are some common elements of successful applicants:

  1. They have applied for or have a history of external scholarship funding. We strongly recommend that you apply for external scholarship funding (e.g., Ontario Graduate Scholarship and one of the Tri-Council funding agencies [CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC]) before starting graduate school, even though you may not know what you will be doing for your Master’s research. Make sure to mention any submitted funding applications in your Statement of Interest!
  2. They have contacted faculty members before applying. Let faculty members know you intend on applying, and why you think you are a good fit to work with them in their program of research. Faculty members may not respond – however even knowing you are applying can help them keep an eye out for your application.
  3. They specify whom they wish to work with. It is certainly acceptable to mention a number of faculty members (not just one), as this will increase your likelihood of being reviewed by a faculty member who will be taking a new graduate student (not every faculty member takes on a student every year). At the same time, being too broad in your research interests and in the number of faculty members whom you wish to work with makes it difficult for the review committee to know whom to direct your application to.
  4. Prior experience is an asset. Students have a history of presenting or publishing research during their undergraduate program/years, have high grades and have clinical and research experience that is linked to the field of research of their potential supervisor. They often volunteer in research labs beyond what is required in doing an undergraduate thesis, and have life experiences that demonstrate maturity, interpersonal competence, initiative, and responsibility.
  5. Students have excellent letters of references. We recommend obtaining three letters of reference if possible. It is important that the referees know you well enough to answer the questions in the referral form. As a general rule however, two strong references are better than three mediocre references. Referees can be from research or clinical fields, and a mix of both can be helpful. You should definitely include your undergraduate thesis supervisor as a reference.

Our Graduate Program in Clinical Developmental Psychology is accredited by the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA). Our last accreditation review occurred in 2017 for a 6-year term. The CD program is seeking re-accreditation in 2022–23. Also, please note that a program must be accredited at the time the student completes the program in order for the student to be able to declare that he/she graduated from an accredited program. If you have any questions or concerns about the accreditation status of our program, please contact the Director of Clinical Training Dr. Adrienne Perry.

Dr. Stewart Madon
Registrar, Accreditation Panel
Canadian Psychological Association, Accreditation Office
141 Laurier Ave. W., Suite 702
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5J3

Tel: 1-888-472-0657 (ext. 328 for administrative assistant)
Website: Canadian Psychological Association

Useful Internal Websites

  • York University Psychology Clinic (YUPC) - YUPC is a new, state-of-the art community mental health and training centre associated with the Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Health at York University. The clinic provides a range of leading edge, effective mental health services to keep people of all ages living healthy, productive lives.
  • York Libraries
  • Psychology Graduate Student Association - All graduate students in the department of psychology are automatically members of the PGSA.

Pre-Doctoral Internship Resources

  • Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers - APPIC has organized and coordinated the internship matching process since 1968 by organizing and identifying quality internship.
  • Time2Track - Time2Track is a web-based solution developed to help psychology graduate students track clinical training experiences for practica, internship, and licensure.

Professional Associations

Learn More

The Graduate Program in Psychology at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.