Graduate school may seem like part of a distant future, but it’s never too early to start planning. As you look forward to earning your undergraduate degree, think about your next step; a step that could include a master’s or doctoral degree.
You are on the brink of an exciting future. Queen’s School of Graduate Studies can help you get there.
Tips for Undergrads
Get to Know your Professors
Do you know your professors? Do they know you? If not, get to know them. When it comes time to write a reference for you, it will help if they can write about you personally, instead of just listing your marks.
Volunteer to help with research projects or complete an independent project, directed reading or thesis course. It’s a great way to delve into a topic you might want to study at the graduate level and could lead you in directions you may never have dreamed possible.
Go to the Fairs
Graduate recruitment fairs, information sessions and open houses at universities are a great way to learn about your program of interest, what it can offer, the funding opportunities, the research going on and whether or not you have the necessary courses to apply.
Contact the universities you are interested in and learn all you can about the campus, the city, the faculty and the staff. Talk to current graduate students and ask about their experiences. Find out if there are any special requirements before you start the applications process.
Don't wait until the last minute to get your final application in. Some scholarships and bursaries depend on you applying early. And make sure you keep on top of the deadlines. They have a way of sneaking up on you.
Understand Your Funding Options
When you can concentrate on your studies without having to worry about where the next tuition payment is coming from, you will be able to appreciate and enjoy the experience that much more. This takes planning.
We recommend you get an early start. In the summer between your 3rd & 4th undergrad year, search the web and learn about scholarship opportunities including federal graduate awards (NSERC, SSHRC & CIHR) and provincial award (Ontario Graduate Scholarship). Often the application deadlines for these awards are early in the fall, even before the deadline for applying to graduate studies.
The School of Graduate Studies also has scholarships available.
Considerations Before Applying
Step 1: Apply early for any government awards
If you meet the eligibility requirements, apply for funding from Canada's three major research granting agencies in the fall before you plan to attend graduate school. Each agency offers several awards and if you enter a Queen's graduate program having successfully won one of these awards, you will automatically receive a $5,000 (Master's) or $10,000 (PhD) top-up award.
Visit the agency websites for instructions: NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR.
Step 2: Explore the degrees available at Queen's
Find a degree program that matches with your interests - there are over 100 programs to choose from.
Step 3: Check the minimums
Make sure you have the minimum academic requirements listed by the graduate program that interests you. Most candidates for admission to a doctoral program possess a Master's Degree. Direct entry to some programs is possible for those with exceptional academic standing.
For a master's program, candidates for admission hold second-class standing in one of the following degrees awarded by a recognized university
- an Honours Bachelor Degree in Arts or Science
- a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science or Law
- a Degree of Doctor of Medicine
- or equivalent
To check the minimums go to the individual program pages.
Please note that if you are considering the Master's programs in Education, refer to the program website for the admission qualifications.
The School of Business administers their MBA program of study and the School of Medicine administers all postgraduate training programs for Doctors of Medicine.
Step 4: Find out if you need a supervisor
Research (thesis-based) graduate programs require that you have a supervisor and some programs ask that you contact potential supervisors before applying to identify individuals with whom you share common research interests. Some graduate programs, primarily professional Master's programs do not require students to have a supervisor. Consult the program's website or Graduate Assistant to find out what is required.
If you need to identify a supervisor on your application, visit the program website to learn about faculty members' research. When you find a faculty member with similar research interests to yours, contact him/her and tell them about your interest in graduate work, area of research interest and related experience. The email correspondence is also an opportunity for you to find out if the faculty member is accepting new graduate students to supervise.
Step 5: Find out about tuition, student activity fees and basic living expenses
The Office of the University Registrar handles Tuition & Fees. There is some important information for graduate students about fees, payment of fees, and how changes in your academic status may affect your fees.
To plan your budget, it is helpful to know the approximate cost of living. The Office of the Registrar has provided a breakdown of expenses that you might incur over a 12 month period. Please keep in mind that these are estimates.
UHIP medical insurance is mandatory for all international students, you will be required to purchase a UHIP plan in order to register for your program of study. The Queen's University International Centre's Health Insurance and Care will assist you in attaining this.
If you are bringing your family, health coverage must also be purchased for each accompanying dependant.
Step 6: Check the program website for average financial packages available to graduate students
Link to our new Graduate Program Descriptions
Step 7: You are now ready to apply!
Begin the Application Process when you are ready to apply. International applicants please note that attaining a visa can take time, so it is important that you begin the process as early as possible.