Grad School at Queen's

Applied Learning. Career Acceleration. Solve Problems. That's a Grad Degree.

Queen's is a place where graduate students learn and discover in a close-knit intellectual community. You can share experiences with the world’s best scholars, whether it’s on a campus park bench at Professor’s Walk, at the laboratory or in a coffee house. You have more than 100 graduate programs within 50+ departments & research centres to choose from. With the world at your fingertips, excellent funding options and life in the affordable, historic waterfront city of Kingston, Queen's has a great deal to offer. Graduate students come to Queen's to put their ideas in motion, change their lives and the world.

Why Grad Studies

If we polled 1,000 students in Grad School and asked them why they choose to pursue graduate studies they would probably all have something different to say. The choice is very personal, probably more personal than the decision to get an undergraduate degree. But we have noticed a trend of five main reasons that our students choose to continue their studies:

  1. A Master's Degree is the new Bachelor's Degree. Not too long ago, it was easy to be competitive in the job market with a four-year undergraduate degree, and in some cases this is still true, but in some it's just not enough any more. 
  2. Get noticed - by colleagues, by professors, by industry, by family - who ever you want to be noticed by. Locally and around the globe. 
  3. Dive deeper to find the answers you want - not answers that others want. You know those big questions you have? Or the research project in your fourth year of your undergrad that just never really got to the bottom of that question you were asking? This is your chance.
  4. Give teaching a try. Not sure what you want to be when you grow up? Grad School is a place to try teaching, try research, try publishing, try project management, try inventing - all while still under the disquise of school before trying it out there in the real world. 
  5. Get paid to learn. I know that sounds crazy, but many grad school positions are funded and your costs are either greatly reduced or you can even make money while you learn.

We believe that what happens in the classroom, the library and the lab is just the beginning of your educational journey. Our award-winning libraries and cutting-edge laboratories put you right in the middle of the academic action. And when you’re ready to go beyond the books, we’ve assembled a full range of services designed to help you learn how to teach, write, assess and grow.

From workshops, especially for Teaching Assistants, to writing seminars that will show you how to organize your thinking and write more effectively, to support groups and skills sessions that will help you cope with the pressures of grad studies and learn how to manage your time effectively, we are committed to helping you become well rounded no matter where your career path takes you.

Learn more about the Programs available to graduate students within the Faculty of Arts and Science. You may then select from the list of departments to obtain more information about individual departmental graduate studies.

Why Queen's Arts and Science

Hands-on learning with world-renowned researchers such as Nobel Prize winner Dr. Art MacDonald. Sounds too good to be true? How about a retreat centre where students gather to write and stay on track during their projects; or global exchange opportunities with institutions such as Stuggart in Germany? What about A tried and true education that has been around with a track record for success? This is Queen's grad studies. Here's more:

  1. Our grad school started in 1889, giving us 127 years to perfect what we do
  2. 4,000 graduate students makes for a big enough community to have meaningful engagement and collaboration, but small enough you don't get lost in the mix.
  3. Over 100+ study options - from part-time, to distance to traditional. It's like choosing your own adventure.
  4. Learn in the smartest city in Canada. It's true. We have more PhD graduates per capita than any other cities across our country.
  5. Queen's ranked 4th among medical-doctoral universities in Canada in Maclean's 2016 University Rankings – and 1st for student satisfaction!
  6. A walkable community for you (and your family if that's a consideration). From our waterfront, to our parks, to our vibrant downtown shopping district only minutes from campus.
  7. Money talks right? How about student funding over $30 million, or $10 million for teaching assistantships?

Instead of us telling you what Grad School at Queen's is like - check out our Grad Student Blog Gradifying or tune-in to Grad Chat on CFRC 101.9FM.

Words of Wisdom From Current Master's and PhD Students

How will it help my career?

  • One of our alumni saw a $28,000 pay increase once they completed their MA.
  • Practical skills.
  • Lots of networking opportunities with alumni and industry.
  • Publicity of research projects looks good on resume. Analytical thinking is transferable to many jobs.
  • References from supervisors to key employers.
  • Let's you specialize and become known within a specific field as an expert.

Tips for Applying

  • Queen's Career Services has helpful workshops.
  • Use career counselors to review your personal statement.
  • Establish good relationships with potential supervisors.
  • Talk to current grad students.
  • Use current grad students to help determine who a good supervisor would be.

How does it differ from undergrad?

  • Less lecture time (substantially).
  • Much more hands on experience.
  • Topics are more interesting since they are targeted to your specific areas of interests.

Is there funding?

  • Yes - for all disciplines.
  • Internal and External.
  • Scholarships and research grants.
  • Work study or TA opportunities.
  • Grad chairs will help you apply and understand what you could be eligible for.

Do I have to stay in the same department as my undergrad?

  • Generally no. It will help to have a strong understanding of the discipline to be successful.
  • Industrial Relations, Computing, Economics, Physics, Chemistry all are open to cross-disciplinary applicants (as are many others that didn't comment on this question at the event).
  • Prerequisites may exist but not for all.

Should I stay or should I go?

  • Stay. It's a lot of work to move away for only a year or two.
  • Go where you are happiest, but if you are happy here - then stay here.
  • Choose the project / supervisor that you can see working with and go wherever they are - which may be here since you already know the profs you like.
  • Staying helps to minimize uncertainty.
  • If you stay, it will be financially cheaper based on living costs.
  • Leaving may open up new networks but not guaranteed to do so.

Tips for Finding a Supervisor

  • You don't need to before you apply, but can be helpful. Especially for the MA level.
  • Find an interesting topic and then email the prof that oversees that area.
  • Approach any prof that you have a good working relationship with and if they won't do they could be a good person to help you find the right person.
  • Contact the Grad Chair in your department of interest and they will help you find a suitable supervisor.

Finding a Supervisor

Not all programs require you to find a supervisor prior to applications but some do. Where do you start? Right here. Research (thesis-based) graduate programs do require that you have a supervisor whereas most professional Master's programs do not require students to have a supervisor. If you're not sure, reach out to our School of Graduate Studies and they can help guide you. A good place to start is browse some of our great researchers and their projects - perhaps you'll find a perfect fit for you... and if you do - simply send an email to that professor and ask them if they are accepting students. You'll never know unless you ask.

Applying for funding is a tough, but necessary, part of the graduate school experience. Our Ph.D. students receive a guaranteed minimum funding package of $18,000 a year with many departments setting higher funding minimums and almost all offering much higher average funding packages. The majority of Master's students in research degree programs, also receive substantial funding support.

Have questions about applying to grad school? Get your answers.

Helpful information for international students applying to graduate studies in the Faculty of Arts and Science at Queen's University.

Learn about the Queen's Arts and Science graduate student experience.

The great thing about Grad Studies is that you can continue down the course of study you loved in your undergrad, or you can find a stream that branches off in a different direction in many cases. Here are some ideas to think about. Browse our many accelerated programs and traditional master's, PhD and professional programs.