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Recruiting the top international scholars of tomorrow

Queen’s unveils improved financial support for international PhD students.

Photograph of PhD convocation robes
This new policy is one of the first outcomes of the report released by the Working Group on Graduate Student Success in fall 2019. (University Communications.)

International PhD students are an integral part of the life of Queen’s, bringing diverse perspectives to campus and contributing to the university’s research mission. Soon these students will have improved financial support from the university. Starting September 2021, tuition fees for international PhD students will be assessed at the same rate as those of domestic students, which will result in a substantially lower cost to pursue their education.

“With this new tuition policy, we are setting up international PhD students for success and making Queen’s a more attractive choice for graduate education for the most promising emerging scholars from around the world,” says Fahim Quadir, Vice Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). “This decision is a part of a broader set of efforts underway to enhance the overall graduate student experience at Queen’s.”

This new policy is one of the first outcomes of the report released by the Working Group on Graduate Student Success in fall 2019.

“The report on graduate student success has provided us with excellent guidance on how we can strengthen graduate education at Queen’s. This decision on tuition exemplifies our commitment to enhancing our programs by supporting the many contributions international PhD students make to our research,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane.

The Working Group on Graduate Student Success, chaired by Dean Quadir, was established in 2018 after a Board-Senate retreat in March of that year. The Working Group was tasked with assessing the state of graduate education at Queen’s and making recommendations for ways to promote excellence in graduate education and experience. Throughout the process, the Working Group consulted extensively with current graduate students, faculty, and staff, and it examined the policies of other Canadian universities to learn best practices.

In its final report, the Working Group made 35 recommendations focused on six areas of strategic importance: student-supervisor relationships, professional and academic development, wellness and community, research excellence, communication, and financial support.

Following the release of the report, SGS established another working group to focus on graduate student funding. This working group developed the proposal for assessing domestic and international PhD student tuition fees at the same rate, which was then approved by the senior leadership of the university and the Board of Trustees.

“After reviewing the state of funding for international PhD students at Queen’s, we concluded that it needed to be revitalized if we want to remain competitive in recruiting high quality students. This new policy brings Queen’s in line with many of our peer institutions across Canada, including other research-intensive universities in Ontario,” says James Reynolds, Chair of the Working Group on Graduate Student Funding and Associate Dean of SGS.

Along with this tuition change, SGS is working to implement other recommendations from the 2019 report, including a new policy on graduate supervision for which feedback from graduate students, faculty, and other stakeholders will be sought in the coming weeks.

 “We’ve been listening closely to the concerns and ideas of our students to find out what they need to be successful at Queen’s. The recommendations and changes we are making are coming out of these consultations, and we thank our students for the insights they have been providing us,” says Reynolds.

SGS will be holding a town hall for current international PhD students to discuss the new tuition policy. The town hall will be held Wednesday Feb. 3 at 10:00 am EST. Students should email sgscomms@queensu.ca if they have questions about the event.

Learn more about graduate studies at Queen’s on the SGS website, where you can also read the 2019 report from the Working Group on Graduate Student Success.