PROSPECTIVE STUDENT FAQ

1 – What’s the Graduate English Society (GES)?

2 – What kind of graduate community exists at Queen’s?

3 – What are graduate classes like at Queen’s?

4 – What kinds of research are faculty and graduate students doing at Queen’s?

5 – What is the Queen’s Pedagogy Commons?

6 – Does the Queen’s English Department organize annual graduate conferences?

7 – What is the workload for incoming MA and PhD students?

8 – What do the TAships entail?

9 – Are Teaching Fellowships available for doctoral candidates?

10 – What does the ENGL 800/900: Pedagogy and Professional Skills and ENGL 803/903: Research Forum entail?



INCOMING AND CURRENT STUDENT FAQ

1 – Where do graduate students live in Kingston? How do I find a place to live?

2 – How should I pick my courses?

3 – What can I do to prepare for coursework this spring/summer?

4 – How do I pay my tuition or get internal/external funding?

5 – What happens in the first week or two in September? Where do I have to be and when?

6 – What is the GES Listserv and how do I join?

7 – Where is my office?

8 – Where is my mailbox?



PROSPECTIVE STUDENT FAQ

1 – What is the Graduate English Society (GES)?

All current students in the graduate program in English at Queen's are members of the Graduate English Society (GES). Through the GES, students can voice and address concerns common to the graduate student body. The GES has its own constitution, elections, monthly meetings, and sends delegates to Department and University meetings, sponsors social and academic functions, keeps the membership informed of all activities of interest, and distributes funds. Everyone is encouraged to take up some role in the GES, as a member of the executive, a representative, or as an active member during meetings and events. While the Society for Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS: http://www.sgps.ca/) takes care of graduate students in general, the GES strives to represent and address the concerns of its members and foster a positive, mutually respectful, supportive, diverse and creative community at Queen’s.

The English graduate community is only as strong as the participation and investment its members put into it. We schedule regular social and academic events throughout the year to foster a strong and supportive graduate community. For a better sense of the English grads at Queens, feel free to contact the New Student Liaison (listed on the Executive page) or see the Queen’s University Graduate English Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/112891995435092/?ref=ts&fref=ts

2 – What kind of graduate community exists at Queen’s?

The Queen’s English department prides itself on the its vibrant graduate community. Many of the people you meet during your graduate work at Queen’s are just as friendly, supportive, and insightful as you are! With GES orientation events beginning in the first days of September, the social scene among Queen’s English grads is usually pretty active and collegial. You are encouraged to come to as many orientation events as possible, as this’ll be where you hit it off with the friends you’ll make for the coming year(s).  You’ll get an email in August detailing a schedule of all the events available.  The SGPS (Society of Graduate and Professional Students) also puts on mixers if you’d like to meet grads from other departments.

In addition to the extensive welcome week activities, there are a few official parties throughout the year that include all English grads and faculty (the Welcome Week Wine & Cheese, Christmas “Snowflake Gala,” and the Spring Party), weekly Coffee Hour lunchtime socials in the English Department lounge (fourth-floor Watson Hall), a Hallowe’en party, traditional holiday events such as the Orphan’s Thanksgiving and Orphan’s Christmas (for those not going home for those), Valentine’s/Anti-Valentine’s Day parties, as well as plenty of pub nights, various other parties (there’s enough of you that there’ll probably be an average of at least one birthday per week), shows by local/touring bands, club nights for dancing, movie nights (we can book the large screen in Watson 517 to watch movies on!), poetry and short-story groups, and sports.  In the fall and spring, the main sport is soccer (join the “Queen’s English Grad Football Association” group on Facebook), though we’ve also been known to play hockey (on foot in summer, ice in the winter), ultimate frisbee, baseball, squash and volleyball. If sports aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other things you can do in a group. For a glance at the kinds of events and members of the GES, visit the Queen’s University Graduate English Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/112891995435092/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Not only do we ensure a full schedule of social events, the department also promotes academic events throughout the year. In previous years, graduate students have organized and participated in conferences, roundtables, and workshops. Each term the GES organizes a Work-in-Progress event that provides an opportunity for faculty and students to present work in progress to the department for helpful and constructive feedback. Some graduate seminars also include a colloquium at the end of term to open up seminar research to all members of the department. While the research forum (ENGL 803/903) ensures bi-weekly talks that promote scholarly discussion, the GES and department encourage and support graduate student initiatives that foster scholarly and community-driven events.

Not only do we promote a supportive and collegial learning environment with faculty and student alike, the English Department at Queen’s has pretty top-notch faculty.  If you’d like to know what specific profs are like (if you’re trying to decide what courses to take), the best thing is to read their work, consult their faculty page, or ask students who have worked with them for their impressions (the New Student Liaison can probably help you find them). If you’re interested in meeting the professor yourself when you visit Kingston, be sure to book appointments with them in advance since some faculty live out of town and commute.

3 – What are graduate classes like at Queen’s?

Graduate classes in English are in seminar format, peopled by both MAs and first-year PhDs, and meet once per week.  They run almost 3 hours, and often include a break midway through the class.  Most classes integrate seminar presentations followed by class discussion, facilitated by the professor. Although classes include both MAs and PhDs, we encourage supportive collaboration and discussion and discourage competitive or aggressive behaviour. Students are expected to come prepared (read the assigned text(s) and have something to say) and contribute to all class discussions. Discussion is integral to the success of the course and is a fundamental part of graduate study, so it is important to contribute to and encourage engaged conversations in courses and among peers. If you’re coming to do your PhD and thus know what seminars are like, you’re expected to step up a little more, model how it’s done for your MA classmates, and pick up the slack if there are lulls in the discussion.

Graduate courses at Queen’s strive to address and engage with current theory and criticism and foster unique and intelligent engagement with the texts and ideas on which the courses centre. For a list of graduate courses, please consult the graduate course list: http://www.queensu.ca/english/graduate/courses.html

4 – What kinds of research are faculty and graduate students doing at Queen’s?

Faculty and graduate students at Queen’s are engaged in innovative research that addresses a range of theoretical and historical fields.

For current and past research of individual faculty members, please consult the faculty pages: http://www.queensu.ca/english/faculty/faculty.php
For recent faculty book-length publications, please see: http://www.queensu.ca/english/faculty/faculty_bookshelf.php

The titles of recent research of second year doctoral students can be found here: http://www.queensu.ca/english/graduate/stp.html
For current research interests of the graduate students in the department, please consult the bios page: http://www.queensu.ca/english/ges/contact_list_and_bios.html

5 – What is the Queen’s Pedagogy Commons?

The Queen's Pedagogy Commons is a webpage for the dissemination of pedagogical essays that focus on the specific challenges facing graduate students and professionalization. We are working to bring together a broad set of research interests and produce a self generating archive of material for graduate students seeking to learn about teaching. The website is designed and administered by the Graduate English Society at Queen's University.

Submission guidelines and past issues can be found here: http://www.queensu.ca/english/ges/queens_pedagogy_commons.html

6 – Does the Queen’s English Department organize annual graduate conferences?

Although the English Department does not yet organize an annual graduate conference, there have been a number of successful student-organized conferences in the past few years. Past conferences led by or affiliated with English graduate students include: Animals and Animality Across the Humanities and Social Sciences, June 26-27, 2010; Ut Pictura Poesis: Thinking about Representation in Late Medieval and Renaissance England, October 1-2, 2010; Plan for Poverty 2010: An Interdisciplinary and Community-based Graduate Conference, October 14-16, 2010; Ideas of Place and Particularity (Modern Horizons Journal), October 21, 2011; Come Together: Digital Collaboration in the Academy and Beyond, May 11-13, 2012.

The Department and the GES support and encourage students interested in organizing conferences, and hope that new and currents students contribute to this burgeoning tradition.

7 – What is the workload for incoming MA and PhD students?

Graduate work at Queen’s is demanding and involves a large amount of reading and writing. If you’re coming to do your MA and wondering how grad courses differ from undergrad lecture-based courses, they each involve about double to triple the work. If you’ve taken seminar courses in your undergrad, the seminar courses may be similar in format but have greater expectations for course reading, participation, and assignments. For novel-based courses, you’ll usually read one novel per week, plus some articles on it.  If it is a poetry course, there’s less volume of reading, but it’s denser (but you probably know this already).  Like undergrad, there is usually a mix of novels/plays and poetry.

Most courses require you to do a seminar presentation and an essay, plus contribute in weekly discussions.  The seminar presentation is usually a 20-minute report on the material assigned for that day, arguing an original thesis as in an essay, and serving to jump-start seminar discussion.  Sometimes the professor will want you to hand in your presentation notes a week or two after you deliver it. The essay or term paper is usually due some time after the last class, is usually 15-20 pages, and should make an original argument based on original research.  The aim is to have something that you can possibly publish. The requirements for each course should be outlined in the course description. The grade range for essays is usually in the 80s. If you score below 80%, it’s an indication that you’re doing sub-par work.  Anything above an 85% says that you have the potential to do well in your graduate program, and anything above 90% (which is very rare) says that you should probably submit the essay to a journal for publishing.

In addition to coursework, you will also be expected to take part in departmental events both social and academic) and you will be required to fulfill your TA responsibilities, which include attending lectures, holding office hours, grading essays, and—if you’re a PhD student—lecturing twice per term. At times the workload may seem overwhelming or daunting, but time management is key. Finding support with faculty and peers also helps to keep everyone on track!

8 – What do the TAships entail?

Queen’s guarantees TAships to MA students and PhD students in the first four years of study, providing graduate students with invaluable teaching experience (and income!). Your TAship will cover the Fall and Winter term, but not the Spring (there are some spring and summer TA positions available, but they usually go to upper-year PhDs). You should arrange to meet with the course instructor as soon as you’re assigned your TA position.

If you’re an MA, you will likely be assigned to a 200-level course. Every effort is made to match students with courses in which they have some background. TAs are required to go to class, hold office hours, and grade papers. The ENGL 800 course workshops provide guidance for TAs and will teach you all aspects of grading essays and interacting with and helping students.

If you’re a PhD, you will also be assigned to a 200-level course, though the workload is a bit more demanding. PhD students do 2 lectures per term (4 total) to provide an opportunity for doctoral students to begin their professionalization and instruction. Lecturing can be quite a bit of extra work, since classes are 50-80min long, and you’ll be expected to lecture for the duration of the class. You’ll have the ENGL 900 workshops to help you learn to grade essays, interact with and help students, and prepare for your lectures. Y our course instructor will also be an invaluable resource for support and feedback with your lectures

9 – Are Teaching Fellowships available for doctoral candidates?

Doctoral candidates in the 4th or 5th year of their research are eligible for a Teaching Fellowship for a 200-level course in their field of expertise. The teaching fellowship provides 5th year PhDs with supplementary funding.

10 – What does the ENGL 800/900: Pedagogy and Professional Skills and ENGL 803/903: Research Forum entail?

Both ENGL 800/900 and ENGL 803/903 provide opportunities for students to develop pedagogical and professional skills in academia. These courses provide invaluable information and instruction for incoming students and help to cultivate and support engaged strong scholars. The schedule for both courses will be circulated at the beginning of term.

ENGL 800 (for MAs) and 900 (for PhDs) is mostly offered in the fall, though it usually involves some supplemental workshops in the winter. Attendance is mandatory, as the information covered in the workshops is highly useful. This is where you get your TA training, get help putting together scholarship/PhD applications, workshop conference abstracts and articles, and participate in various other professional/pedagogical development workshops. You don’t usually need to prepare as much for these classes as you do for your other courses and you’re graded as Pass/Fail based on attendance and the completion of assignments, so it’s not as demanding on your time as your other courses.

ENGL 803 (for MAs) and 903 (for PhDs) consists of twelve scheduled meetings throughout the Fall and Winter terms. These meetings coincide with a presentation by members of the English Department faculty and/or visiting scholars. Participation involves attending the talk, participating in discussion, and completing any required assignments. Like ENGL 800/900 you’re graded on Pass/Fail as well. These talks are a great opportunity to take part in and reflect on diverse and current research (and methodologies), so attendance for most, if not all talks is mandatory. You don’t always need to prepare for these, though preparation is usually manageable. The research forum talks occur approximately every second week, so they’re not as demanding on your time as your other courses.



INCOMING AND CURRENT STUDENT FAQ

1 – Where do graduate students live in Kingston? How do I find a place to live?

I recommend a 3-phase plan of attack: (1) to find a place, first scour the online listings and make a list of the prime candidates, (2) come to Kingston and check them out; pick one.  (3)  Start planning how you’re going to do this move.

(1a)  First, decide whether you’d like to have a roommate or not.  It usually works out to be cheaper, but it’s also a distraction you may or may not have time for this very busy year you’ve got ahead of you.  Depends on your study style and social disposition.  If you'd like to find a roommate from among the incoming group of English grad students, let the New Student Liaison know (for contact info, see the GES Executive page), and s/he will pass along your email address to other incoming students looking for roommates.

(1b)  Familiarize yourself with the layout of the city as it pertains to the campus, and specifically to Watson Hall, where you’ll be doing all your grad classes and keeping office hours for TAing.  Ideally, you’ll get a place that’s about a 15- to 20-minute walk away to Watson; there's plenty of such places to be found.  Here’s Watson Hall on Google Maps: http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=49+Queens+Crescent,+Kingston,+ON&sll=49.891235,-97.15369&sspn=28.297189,75.9375&ie=UTF8&ll=44.234715,-76.503296&spn=0.015313,0.037079&t=h&z=15.  If the link doesn’t work, just search for “49 Queen’s Crescent Kingston Ontario” (incidentally, the real address is 49 Bader Lane, but somehow Google doesn’t have its facts straight).

(1c)  As for the choice of neighbourhoods, you'll definitely want to avoid the “undergrad ghetto” (as it is traditionally called by its denizens, proud of their slumming adventure away from the parents' nest). Trust me, it pumps out just too much noise and party mayhem to deal with given the amount of studying you have ahead of you, plus the houses there are notorious for broken facilities, mold, complacent/exploitive building managers, etc. The undergrad ghetto radiates 5-6 blocks out from campus, west (to around MacDonnell Street) and north (all the way up to Princess Street), and east as far as Sydenham Street or so.

Another neighbourhood to look out for is the one in the wedge northwest of the Princess & Division interesection. It's inexpensive, but students tend to avoid it because of the perception that it's unsafe, perhaps because it's where you see much of Kingston's ex-inmate population (there are 9 penitentiaries in the region).  That said, this perception (as well as its colloquial name, the "townie ghetto") is a little unfair, since there are plenty of non-ex-inmate families living around there.  I myself have lived there for two and a half years and never once felt directly threatened. So, whether or not you would feel comfortable in that neighbourhood depends on what you're used to and your personal disposition.

The choicest neighbourhoods are the one east of campus (east of City Park, bounded by Sydenham, King, and Princess), the one northeast of where Princess & Division intersect (around McBurney, a.k.a. "Skeleton," Park), or the one northwest of campus beyond the undergrad ghetto (bounded by Sir John A. MacDonald Blvd. and Princess).  Kingston is a very walkable city, but if you're living west of Sir John A. or north of Concession, you should invest in a winterized bike or be on a bus route (http://www.cityofkingston.ca/residents/transportation/transit/index.asp).

(1d)  You have two options for finding places: scouring the online listings, and driving/ambling around town in-person to find “apt. for rent” signs.  You can do the former from where you are now, and the latter when you get here to check places out.  The following are some helpful databases to search for what suits you:

craigslist: http://kingston.en.craigslist.ca/apa/

kijiji: http://kingston.kijiji.ca/f-housing-apartments-for-rent-W0QQCatIdZ37

graduate student society: http://www.sgps.ca/services/housing.html

Queen’s: http://www.queensu.ca/dsao/housing/alist1.htm

Kingston Whig-Standard: http://www.ospreyclassifiednetwork.com/classifieds/classifiedcategory.asp?newspaper=Kingston%20Whig%20Standard&cat=Rentals

Kingston This Week: http://www.ospreyclassifiednetwork.com/classifieds/classifiedcategory.asp?newspaper=Kingston%20This%20Week&cat=Rentals

If you join the Queen’s network on Facebook, you can also find places advertised in the Marketplace application.

Some (though not many) grads opt for grad residences on campus.  For those who have, the reviews are mixed.  The advantage in grad res is that you don’t have to bother looking for a place (which is good if you aren’t at liberty to travel to Kingston in the spring/summer before you start and need to take a place site unseen), and it’s as central as you can get on campus, being in the JDUC (University Centre), which is right at the main intersection of University Ave. and Union St.  (There’s also grad res at West Campus, but it’s a little out of the way and the reviews are usually negative, with building managers at times being lax about fixing broken facilities.)  The downside is that it’s a little expensive for what you get, and you usually have to be out at the end of April, which means looking for a sublet to finish off your spring semester while the winter semester is still demanding all of your attention.  But if you’re still interested, go here: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/pub/qedetails/housing.php.

(2)  When you have a list of places, contact the landlords and arrange to meet them on a day that suits you.

Before you arrive in town, make sure to arrange to meet up with the New Student Liaison (for contact info, see the GES Executive page) for a tour of those parts of campus relevant to you.  S/he’ll also take you out for lunch or a pint and answer any questions you have about the program, Queen’s, Kingston, grad life, etc.  If you’re torn between courses, also arrange to meet with the Grad Director about it, and any of the profs just to see what they’re about.  If you’re coming to do your PhD, you should also meet with potential supervisors in your area.

(3) Make sure to book flights, moving van/truck rentals, etc. well in advance, as Kingston is inundated by about 13,000 students in late August, all doing a move-in around the same time as you.

Regarding Internet service:
The Cogeco student plan is popular.
Rogers has a similar deal.
Bell seems to have good rates, but I don’t know if there are complications and catches.

2 – How should I pick my courses?

If you’re coming for your MA, you’ll be doing 6 courses, plus the ENGL 800 professional/pedagogical skills course and the ENGL 803 Research Forum.  So you’ll do 2 courses in the fall semester (plus 800 & 803), 3 in the winter, and 1 in the spring.  If you don’t have a second language to satisfy the language requirement, you should also register for a language course.

For PhDs, you’ll do 5 courses, plus ENGL 900 and ENGL 903. So, you'll do either 2 courses in the fall (plus 900 and 903) and 3 in the winter (leaving the spring open to start studying for your comps); or, if you’re really keen on one of the spring courses, 2 in the fall, 2 in the winter, and 1 in the spring.  Whatever combination you choose ultimately depends on which courses interest you (i.e. pertain to your area or fill the breadth requirements), but you may also want to consider easing up on the first semester by taking just 2 courses then (+900/903), especially if you aren't coming in with a scholarship and need to apply for OGS/SSHRC in October/November.  If you don’t have a second language to satisfy the language requirement, you should also register for a language course.

The available courses are listed here http://www.queensu.ca/english/graduate/courses.html
Course selection is arranged with the Graduate Coordinator, who sends out instructions about registration in May or June.

3 – What can I do to prepare for coursework this spring/summer?

The year of coursework you have ahead you is a lot of work—lots of reading and writing.  But it’s not just coursework: you’ve also got TA work, scholarship applications (if you don’t already have one), maybe PhD applications (if you plan to follow your MA immediately with a PhD), and also a social life to juggle.  The more you can prepare ahead of time for (1) scholarship/PhD applications and (2) the coursework reading, the more you’re going to save your sanity in the first semester. Also, if you do not have your language requirement, it might be worthwhile to working on your language requirement before the term begins.

(1)  As scholarship and PhD applications are quite similar in what they ask for, I’ll deal with them both here.  If you’re coming to do your MA, you’ll have to decide soon whether you want to go on to do your PhD immediately following your MA, in which case you’ll have to do applications for PhD programs (due around December-January), and applications for the scholarships that’ll help pay for it (due around October-November). The main external funding bodies that students have available to them are SSHRC and OGS.  See http://www.queensu.ca/english/graduate/financial_support.php for links.  It’s pretty much mandatory to apply for them if you don’t have funding already.  Not only do they amount to more money for you, but they ease up the English program’s budget, which puts you in good stead with the Department.  The online applications don’t go up till later in the summer, but there’s plenty of preparation you should do before that.
(1a)  First, make sure you have a thorough Curriculum Vitae put together.  In fact, the online scholarship applications are, at their core, really just a CV that you fill out in their format.  So if you have all that info assembled (i.e. the wheres and whens of your previous degrees, work/volunteer experience, awards, publications, etc.) you’re halfway there.
(1b)  Write a dissertation project proposal.  This is totally preliminary; projects often change drastically.  The proposal just shows that you have an idea of where you’re going (before you learn better and get diverted).  It has to be an interesting topic with a penetrating hypothesis, demonstrate an awareness of the existing scholarship on the topic, argue for why there needs to be more scholarship (i.e. yours), and provisionally predict where you think the project will go in terms of what the chapters will look like.  The proposal document is indeed a genre unto itself, and you will get plenty of workshop help on it in 800/801.  For SSHRC, the proposal is 2 single-spaced pages in 12-pt. Times New Roman font; for OGS, it’s 1 single-spaced page in 12-pt. Arial font. Apparently this matters.
(1c)  If you’re planning to start your PhD the year after this MA, thoroughly research which places you’d like to apply to.  If you are applying to U.S. institutions, they will require that you write GRE exams (which is something you should probably already have done, at this stage) and provide them with score results; some even require you to be filthy rich already and be able to prove it with bank statements.  You’re strongly advised to pick institutions based on whether there’s a good supervisor there to work with, someone who’s published in the area that you plan to do your dissertation on.  This is why you should already have a draft proposal to send them and see if they’re interested in the work you intend to do.  You should also ask them for any advice on improving the proposal.
(1d)  Order official transcripts of your grades from your alma mater(s).  For every scholarship and PhD program you apply for, you will need a set of transcripts for them, but for now you can just get a set for yourself that you can keep (in a safe spot, because transcripts can be expensive) and use whenever you need to photocopy or PDF-scan them to send to your referees.
(1e)  Line up your 2 referees and make sure with them that they’ll write you strong reference letters for your scholarship and PhD applications.  They should be presently tenured profs (i.e. not retired or otherwise unaffiliated) who know you well and believe in your potential; usually they'll have given you your highest marks.  Promise them that you’ll give them everything they need to write a strong reference letter: (i) a copy of your grade transcripts, (ii) writing samples (i.e. essays that they gave you high grades on), (iii) a copy of your CV, (iv) your project proposal (and ask them for advice on improving it), (v) the reference forms themselves (which you’ll have to wait for until the online application is up, because the forms are downloaded from it), and (vi) a timeline for what reference letters are due when, and where to send them (because they’ll send scholarship reference letters directly to Queen’s, and PhD application reference letters directly to the institutions you apply to).

(2) Don’t feel that you have to get too carried away with readings ahead of time, but, with so much going on in the first semester, and especially in the first couple of weeks, you’d be doing yourself a huge favour if you can get a few things out of the way ahead of time:
(2a)   Have the first couple of weeks’ readings already done.  If it’s not clear from the course description online what those readings are, just email the professor and ask.
(2b)  Also ask them if there’s any background reading that’s not on the syllabus, but nonetheless informs the course and would be a good idea to have read if you haven’t already.
(2c)  If you have a complete syllabus list, it’s also a good idea to start thinking about which novel/poem/play/etc, you’d like to do a seminar presentation on (see “What will classes be like?”), which means some preliminary investigation into what they’re about.  Keep a list in order of preference, because the schedule of who in your class does what seminar presentation is usually decided in the first class or two, and, depending on how the sign-up is arranged, you may not always get your first pick.
(2d)  If the course involves lots of novels, and there’s some thick ones assigned for the middle or later parts of the semester, it’s a good idea to polish them off ahead of time.

4 – How do I pay my tuition or get internal/external funding?

Information regarding different methods of payment can be found at the University Registrar's Fee Payment Methods website.

Full information about funding opportunities and payment schedules for tuition, TA work, and internal or external funding please consult this comprehensive document concerning financial options: [PDF link to be added shortly]

5 – What happens in the first week or two in September? Where do I have to be and when?

You should receive a schedule of events from the Graduate Coordinator or Social Convenors before the beginning of term. The schedule of Welcome Week events should also be posted on the GES website before the term starts. The exact dates change from year to year, but the first official Departmental event is the Grad Welcome by the Grad Director in Room 517 of Watson Hall.  Immediately following this welcome, you’ll break up into groups and get a campus tour by a returning English grad.

In addition to this general departmental welcome, the social convenors will schedule a full week (or two) of orientation activities. They usually span the first couple of weeks in September, and include a semi-formal function in a fancy bar, less formal gatherings in (what will be) more familiar bars, a corn-maze adventure on nearby Wolfe Island (a must!), casual sporting events, usually a house party, and a wine & cheese party. Although it may be tempting to skip out on the social events, the GES schedules these events to provide ample opportunities for new and returning graduate students to meet and get to know one another. For students in coursework, the welcome week activities are invaluable for meeting your colleagues for the next 10 months. It’s much easier (and more fun) to start classes with new friends than with a group of strangers, so try your best to make it out to as many events as you can!

6 – What is the GES Listserv and how do I join?

The GES Listserv is an electronic mailing list that allows graduate students to communicate with each other via mass emails. It’s very important that you join as soon as possible to ensure that you don’t miss out on important GES information.  The listserv is used to circulate meeting minutes, collect student feedback, organize social events, and even ask for books other students might have signed out of the library on term loan. See the GES Listserv FAQ for more information and for instructions on how to sign up.

7 – Where is my office?

Due to a campus space-crunch and a large English grad cohort every year, MAs and first-year PhDs share communal offices. The MA office is in Watson 415, which is just across from the English Department office (right beside the elevator). The PhD-1 office is in the adjoining room, Watson 443. You can get your keys from the Grad secretary (usually with a deposit); these keys will give you access to the room as well as a personal storage locker.

Sharing an office is definitely not always ideal, especially when it comes to holding office-hour consultations with the students you TA for, so Watson 125 is the communal TA office. At the beginning of the term, there will be a sign-up sheet in Watson 125 and each TA will schedule in their office hours (usually 1-1.5h/week). It is important to hold your TA office hours outside of the communal MA and PhD offices on the 4th floor to ensure that these rooms remain quiet study spaces. The MA office is also shared with the History Department so it is important to keep work spaces clean, quiet, and welcoming for everyone.

8 – Where is my mailbox?

All of the English Graduate Students share communal mailboxes in the Department office. They are separated alphabetically by last name, but are not huge, so you need to make sure you check your mailbox regularly (often they’re used for receiving essays from professors, getting pay stubs, etc.). For most of your TA classes essays will be due in class, so the grad mailboxes should not be used as student essay drop-boxes (also the office staff do not time-stamp papers, so students should always hand in assignments directly to you or the professor).



By Jordan Smith (jordan.smith@queensu.ca), 2008. Updated by the same, 2009. Updated by Julia Gingerich, 2013.

Welcome Week!

The Welcome Week 2013 Schedule for new and returning grad students is now online.

Incoming Grad Student FAQ

For those new to the Queen's University English Department grad program and to the city of Kingston. A list of Frequently Asked Questions about the grad program and finding your way around Kingston.