School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

How to Apply

How to Apply

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.

Equity admission regulation: Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies is committed to enhancing diversity in graduate education which includes ensuring mechanisms for applications from prospective students who may not have had opportunity and advantage equal to others to be considered. In recognition that life circumstance may prohibit, present barriers, and/or discourage access to pursue advanced degrees, due consideration shall be given by the applicable graduate program personnel to the non-academic factors identified by the applicant, and the applicant’s special circumstances and unique qualities. Traditional measures of an applicant’s academic performance will be considered accordingly.

Preparing to Apply

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.

Ask Questions

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.

Apply Early

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. Follow this link to find out more about funding.

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.

Information for Indigenous Students

Indigenous 1 Student Admission Regulation

Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies welcomes and encourages inquiries and applications for all our graduate programs from Indigenous candidates. Indigenous candidates’ academic, cultural, personal and professional background, and other factors indicative of capacity for graduate level study and research, will be considered and evaluated accordingly on an individual basis by the applicable graduate program personnel. To be considered under this regulation, applicants must self-identify as Indigenous upon application for admission to Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies.

1 For the purposes of this regulation, Indigenous is defined as First Nation, Métis and Inuit (FNMI).

Information for International Students

English Language Comprehension

At Queen's, English is the language of instruction and communication, except for the language departments. Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for admission. Those applicants whose native languages do not include English will be required to obtain satisfactory standing in an English Language Proficiency Test as part of the application process, and before final acceptance is granted.

Any applicant who has, within the 12 month period prior to the month of application, studied for at least one complete year at a university where English is the official language of instruction may be exempt from the English Language Proficiency Test. An applicant requesting a waiver of the test for this reason should do so in writing and submit it with the application. The Director, Admissions and Student Services of the School of Graduate Studies, in consultation with the department, will make determinations in these cases.

See Step 3 under Apply in 5 Steps on accepted English language tests.

Immigration Requirements

International students participating in programs longer than 6 months in length are required to have a study permit issued by the Canadian government. Additionally, citizens of some countries will require a temporary resident (entry) visa to be allowed to come to Canada. The Queen’s University International Centre (QUIC) offers information about applying for these documents on the Canadian Permits and Visas section of their site.

Additional information on services and programs relating to your transition to Queen's, mandatory health insurance for international students, housing, and more can be found in the International Students and Staff section of QUIC’s site or through daily advising on these and other topics of interest to international students and their dependents.

Apply in 5 Steps

Step 1: Start the Online Application


You may complete the on-line application for graduate studies at Queen's at any time. Most acceptances are made in March and applications should be made early in the year if you wish to be considered for fellowships or awards. Please refer to the degree program websites for specific deadlines for the program that you are applying to.

Once you have reviewed the degree programs available and decided to apply, you are ready to begin the online application

Completing a Paper Application

If you cannot complete the online application, please contact or email the graduate assistant in your program of interest for a paper application.

Accommodating Disabilities

The School of Graduate Studies places great importance on accommodating disabilities and special circumstances to ensure that everyone is able to complete the application process. Any applicants with questions about accommodating their needs should email the School of Graduate Studies Director of Admissions and Student Services.

Step 2: Compile the Documentation


A complete application must include official, up-to-date transcripts for all current and previous study the applicant has listed in the Academic Background section of the application.

Acceptable methods for submitting transcripts:

  1. Transcripts can be uploaded to the online application, as PDF files. The transcripts must be scanned (black and white recommended) and saved as a PDF file, and uploaded successfully. Complete instructions are available to applicants on the Transcript Upload section of the online application.
  2. If a transcript or transcripts cannot be successfully uploaded to the online application, applicants are responsible for ensuring that an official transcript or transcripts of all current and previous university-level studies are sent to the School of Graduate Studies by all universities previously attended. All hard copy transcripts received as part of an application for admission must be received in sealed envelopes.

Final transcripts: Hard copy original official transcript showing degree completion and conferral, will be required from all applicants who accept an offer of admission to graduate studies at Queen's University. These final transcripts are to be sent directly from the issuing institutions to the School of Graduate Studies, in sealed envelopes.

Transcripts sent from the issuing university should be sent to:

School of Graduate Studies
Queen's University
Gordon Hall Room 425
74 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario
Canada K7L 3N6

Other transcript notes:

  • Transcripts in languages other than English or French must be accompanied by an English or French translation provided by the institution issuing the transcript.
  • Photocopied transcripts or those printed from a university website are not permitted.
  • Degree and graduation certificates must be included if the transcript does not indicate the type of degree and date granted.
  • Transcripts are to be sent directly from the issuing institutions to the School of Graduate Studies, in sealed envelopes.
  • All hard copy transcripts received as part of an application for admission must be received in sealed envelopes.
  • Transcripts submitted with applications become the property of Queen's University, are subject to verification, are not available for copying and will not be returned to the applicant.

Official transcripts are NOT REQUIRED for any study of any kind carried out at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario. The School of Graduate Studies will access the student record directly for applicants who have attended or are currently attending Queen's University.

Letters of Recommendation

For applicants to research programs, two current academic recommendations are required from professors under whom the applicant has recently studied. It is recognized that certain applicants to some programs may have difficulty in obtaining academic references and that it may be more appropriate to get references from professionals or supervisors. In such cases references from other sources containing information acceptable to the Department/Program or School and the School of Graduate Studies may be considered. However, all effort should be made to include academic recommendations.

Two Professional letters of recommendation (e.g. letters from an employer or workplace supervisor) can be submitted in support of applications to professional graduate programs. For applicants who apply to a professional graduate program, a Professional reference form will be generated for their referees.

In all cases the information in recommendations should relate to the ability of a prospective student to undertake the work in the program to which he or she is making application.

Referees normally use and submit their letter of recommendation or reference form to the School of Graduate Studies via a secure online reference form submission process. Letters of reference sent as attachments via electronic mail (email) are unacceptable substitutes for this secure online reference form.

Photocopied or stale dated letters (letters that were issued more than one year prior to the application date) are unacceptable.

Other universities' references forms are not to be substituted for the reference form for an application to Queen's University.

Some departments/programs have special requirements regarding letters of recommendation (e.g., three letters may be required, etc.).  It is the applicant's responsibility to consult the appropriate department’s/program's application procedures for details.

Additional Information / Documentation Needed by the Degree Program

Some departments/programs require additional documentation such as a current course list, GRE or written sample of work. Review the department’s/program's application procedures for details.

Please note that all required test scores must be received directly from the testing agency before your application is complete.

Step 3A: Self Identify as an Indigenous Student (if applicable)

If you are an indigenous student, and wish your application to be considered under the 'Indigenous Student Admission Regulation" then you must self-identify as Indigenous upon application for admission to Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies

Step 3B: Provide English Language Test Results (if applicable)

All required test scores must be received directly from the testing agency, before your application is complete.

English Language Comprehension

At Queen's, English is the language of instruction and communication, except for the language departments. Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for admission. Some programs require satisfactory achievement on the GRE. Please check with the degree program for specific testing needed and scores.

Those applicants whose native languages do not include English will need to earn satisfactory standing in an English Language Proficiency Test as part of the application process, and before final acceptance is granted.

Any applicant whose first language is not English, but who, within the 12 month period prior to the month of application, has studied for at least one complete year at a post-secondary institution where English is the official language of instruction, may submit with their application a request to be exempted from the English language proficiency test requirement. The Director of Admissions, School of Graduate Studies, will review the request. The applicant will be informed of the results of the review. 

The following English Language Proficiency tests results are accepted by the School of Graduate Studies:

TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test)


Score (/30)

Writing Test


Speaking Test


Reading Test


Listening Test


For an overall minimum score of 88 (out of 120).


Applicants must have the minimum score in each test, as well as the minimum overall score.

Please note that, the Department of English, and the Faculty of Law have higher minimum TOEFL iBT requirements.

TOEFL Paper-Based and Computer-Based Tests

Applicants must meet the minimum score requirements of the department to which they wish to apply. These minimum scores are listed on the individual Program pages.

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) - score of 7 on the academic module
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) - 65 (minimum overall score)
  • Canadian Academic English Language (Computer Edition) (CAEL CE) – 70 (minimum overall score)

Please note that if a final grade of 80% or more in ESLA 140 or ESLA 150 from Queen's University's English for Academic Purposes Program is achieved at the time of application, an English language test score may not be required. See Queen's University School of English for details.

How to Submit English Language Test Scores

The School of Graduate Studies is able to access test scores directly from TOEFL , IELTS, PTE Academic and CAEL CE databases.  We do not require hard copies of your test scores sent from the testing center if we can obtain them directly from TOEFL, IELTS, PTE  or  CAEL. 

TOEFL,  PTE Academic and CAEL CE

Please ensure that you have the testing center release the TOEFL, PTE Academic or CAEL CE score to Queen’s University (0949) and inform the School of Graduate Studies (following submission of your application) that your score report is available to retrieve electronically from the official testing center site.  Email:  


Please provide the School of Graduate Studies with the TRF number found on your IELTS score report (following submission of your application) in order for us to obtain your IELTS test score electronically from the IELTS site.  Email:

Hard copy test results: If you did not arrange to have the results of your English language proficiency test accessible to the School of Graduate Studies,  you must request that the testing agency send us a hard copy official test results document either by email or through regular mail (address below).

Step 4: Complete the Online Application

The online application will walk you through each step in the process, including how to submit transcripts, letters of recommendation and other documentation. You will first be invited to create an account using your email address. We will email you a User ID so that you can create a password to complete the online application.

Complete all the screens as they are presented to you, remembering to click Save and continue before you move on to the next set of questions.

Paying the Application Fee

When you have completed all the sections, you can submit your application. At this point, you are asked to pay the non refundable application fee on-line (currently $110 CDN). Remember, you must be able to pay the fee on-line with a Visa or Mastercard number, in order to complete your application on-line.

Please note that the application fee of $110 (CDN) is non-refundable.

The application is considered complete when all of the documentation is received by the School of Graduate Studies.

Step 5: Check the Status of Your Online Application

You will be emailed an application number and can set your own password to complete your online application and check the status of your application such as which documents are still needed in order for your application to be complete.

When your online application is complete and all documentation is received, the degree program will assess your application. You will be informed by the School of Graduate Studies by email, or in the postal mail if you submitted a paper application, about whether or not you are being offered admission.