School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

International Students

As an international student although the majority of the requirements to apply and to register are the same as domestic students, there are some additional considerations you need to be aware of. Please read the international student handbook (Pdf - 1.05MB) carefully.

Why Queen's? The Facts...
  • Queen’s is one of Canada’s oldest degree-granting institutions, and has influenced Canadian higher education since 1841 when it was established by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria.
  • Queen’s is a mid-sized university with a vibrant graduate community which represents 20% of the total student enrolment – the highest percentage in Ontario.
  • Queen’s graduate students bring diversity of experience, perspective and culture and come from over 70 countries.
  • Kingston, home to Queen’s University has been named by the BBC as one of the world’s great university towns to live in.

Program Excellence

  • Queen’s ranks in the top three of Canada’s leading research intensive universities in terms of Master’s degree and doctoral degree completion rates.
  • Queen’s offers over 120 graduate degree programs with many opportunities for interdisciplinary learning.

Research Excellence

  • Since 2003, Queen’s has ranked 1st among Canadian Universities in the number of awards and prizes per full-time Faculty – we attract the world leaders and innovators.
  • Queen’s ranks in the top quintile for research intensity (Re$earch Infosource’s list of the Top 50 Research Universities in Canada in 2013).

Excellent Student Support

  • Queen’s offers one of the most comprehensive professional development programs for academic, professional and personal success called "Expanding Horizons";
  • Queen’s University International Centre is an international education support service for students, faculty and staff at Queen’s. Through its educational and training activities the Centre promotes an internationally informed and cross culturally sensitive university community enhancing and diversifying the international learning environment.
Visiting Researchers, Exchange Programs and Partnerships

Did you know that Queen's has many international partnerships and exchange opportunities for international students.

  • Visiting Research students
  • International Exchange programs
  • Cotutelle Program

Visiting Research Students

A student who is registered in a graduate level program at their home university may register at Queen's for non-degree study and/or to join a research group for a period of up to one year.  Interested students are required to complete an application that includes a recommendation from the research supervisor and from the Department Head. A Visiting Research Student may be assessed student activity fees but not tuition fees and may not enroll in courses. They must be insured under UHIP (if international). Contact the SGS office for further information and the application documents for the VRS program.  Please contact Darlene Homer at the SGS Office if you have any queries.

International Student Exchanges

International student exchanges are managed through a database of universities with whom Queen's has an exchange agreement. These agreements are often the result of a signed Memorandum of Agreement between two institutions and appendices to these agreements include details such as the length of study, fees that must be paid by students and the length of the agreement.  Because of the reciprocal nature of student exchanges, tuition is often waived at the host institution; however students continue to pay tuition to their home university. Students are responsible for all other expenses such as travel, fees related to non-academic services, accommodation and for incoming exchange students at Queen's, UHIP payment.

Students from China - China Scholarship Council
Xiaqian Liu, Education

The China Scholarship Council is a government agency in China which provides scholarships to students for doctoral and postdoctoral studies abroad.

Queen's University has signed an agreement with the CSC and with specific Chinese universities to be a preferred host institution for CSC scholarship holders. These scholarships will be awarded to students across all graduate programs, particularly those in physical sciences, applied science and life sciences.

Who is qualified to receive a CSC PhD scholarship? A citizen of China, studying in China or abroad

In order to apply for the CSC scholarship, a student normally must first have received a formal offer of admission from Queen's University.

Procedures for students from China as part of CSC

Queen's University is honoured to receive applications from excellent Chinese students who will be applying for China Scholarship Council (CSC) doctoral scholarships.

Step One

  • Visit the website of the graduate program that you wish to apply to.
  • Determine faculty member(s) with research interests that match yours.
  • You may then contact them by email indicating that you are a potential CSC applicant.

Step Two

Step Three

If the language of instruction in your current degree program is not in English, please take the TOEFL or IELTS test, and ensure your test results are sent to Queen's University

Step Four

Collect the required transcripts and reference letters as indicated on the online application.

Step Five

Once you have received an offer of admission from Queen's University, apply to the CSC doctoral scholarship program.

For further information on the CSC, please see

Note: Queen's funding commitment to CSC holders- you will receive funding in an amount equivalent to the international tuition fee. This funding may come from any combination of Research Assistantships, International Tuition Award, Queen's Graduate Awards, Teaching Assistantships, or other departmental resources.  Check with the department whether all or a portion of your funding will be paid directly to your tuition fee account or paid to you, and you then pay your tuition.

Application & Admissions

As an international student, there are many aspects to consider before applying to a graduate program and then there is the application process itself.

Registration & Fees

Considering and understanding all the costs associated with studying is important to allow you to concentrate on your studies. Enrolling in graduate school also has a number of steps. Make sure you don't miss any, so you can start your program on time.

Awards & Funding

Funding for International students

International graduate students are financially supported through a combination of stipends, awards, bursaries and employment opportunities.

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. This minimum does NOT include the International Tuition Award (or equivalent) valued at $5,000 that each incoming international PhD student automatically receives. Funding is guaranteed for 4 years as long as student remain in good academic standing. The majority of Master's students in research degree programs also receive substantial funding support.

Queen's also has entrance scholarships and fellowships available to international students who demonstrate academic excellence - eg. Principal's International Doctoral Award (PDF 23KB)

Ontario Graduate Scholarships (OGS): Foreign students who are studying in Ontario under a temporary resident visa - student study permit, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada) are eligible for the allotted visa student awards.

Information about other sources of funding for international students can be obtained from:

American students who have access to Section 529 savings plans are eligible to utilize these resources while studying at Queen's.

International students can hold student loans that they may have secured through their home country. Please contact the appropriate student loan agency for further information.

Mitacs Globalink Research Award

The Mitacs Globalink Research Award supports international research collaboration. Special research funding is available for graduate students with uncertain status in their current location, to conduct research at a Canadian university.

Award overview:

  • $5,000 award from Mitacs to support student travel and accommodation expenses, research-related expenses, and student stipend
  • 12-24 week project at a Canadian university
  • Supervised by Canadian faculty
  • Applications are accepted at any time and will be processed as received.

For more info, see Mitacs Globalink Research Award

Resources for International Students

Throughout your time at Queen's you may need to see advice or assistance. There are a number of departments

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need TOEFL if my studies were in English?

At Queen's, English is the language of instruction and communication, except in the language departments. Proficiency in English is a prerequisite for application to 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 recently 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.

Do I need to make minimum payment if I have not arrived in Canada?

Upon request sent by email to the Office of the University Registrar, a new international graduate student could be granted a waiver of this requirement, which would allow them to proceed through online registration without making the minimum registration payment.

How do I set up a bank account after I arrive in Canada?

International students are required to show their acceptance letter to the bank to be able to open an account.

How do I get a health insurance plan?

Enrolment in the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) for international students is mandatory for you and any dependants who arrive with you. UHIP provides basic medical insurance coverage for hospitals, doctors and some diagnostic fees. You and your dependents must enrol within 30 days of your arrival in Canada or you will pay a penalty of $500 plus retroactive premiums.

You must visit the Queen's University International Centre (QUIC) upon your arrival to Canada to apply for UHIP. All international students attempting to pre-register or register must complete a UHIP application to enroll themselves and their family members who reside in Ontario in UHIP.

Questions about the UHIP application process should be directed to QUIC by emailing them, calling them at extension 613-533-2604 (internal extension 32604) or visiting them in the John Deutsch University Centre.

Where should I look to find a place to live if I'm accepted?

Graduate students can find housing both on campus and off campus.

Are international students funded for their graduate studies?

International graduate students can receive funding for their studies at Queen's through a combination of stipends, awards, bursaries and employment opportunities.

As for domestic students, Queen's has a guaranteed minimum stipend for funding-eligible international PhD students currently valued at $18,000.

All international doctoral students without full external government funding who are admitted to full-time study at Queen's are eligible to receive an International Tuition Award. Under this program, each new international full-time doctoral student receives an award to be held during his or her funding-eligible years of study. The annual award is applied as a tuition credit directly to the students' fees account. Please contact the graduate coordinator of the department you are interested in for details.

Like domestic students, prospective or enrolled international graduate students do not make individual application for most internal named fellowships or scholarships or departmental awards administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

Can international students be teaching assistants?

Yes they can. Most graduate departments/programs engage several graduate students (both domestic and international) each year to assist in undergraduate teaching, tutorial work, and laboratory demonstrating, as Teaching Assistants (TAs).