What are graduate studies?

With more than 160 graduate programs offered, how do you choose just one? Start by asking yourself this question: am I looking for specialized research or professional development?

There are two types of programs: course-based (professional skillset focus) and thesis/project-based (research focus). Your choice will depend on your own study preferences and professional goals. 

A course-based master's program may not meet the requirements for a PhD program. If you plan to pursue a PhD you should consider a thesis/project-based master's program.

Course-based programs

A course-based master's program is ideal for enhancing your professional skillset. All degree requirements are fulfilled by completing courses. This type of program may also involve a capstone project, such as a major research paper or group project.

Most course-based programs are designed to be completed in one to two years full-time, and up to a maximum of six years part-time.

Admission requirements vary. Some course-based programs are intended for students who have recently completed a bachelor’s degree, while others may require prior work experience for admission.

Thesis/project-based programs

A thesis/project-based program is ideal for developing your knowledge in a specialized area of research. You will pursue an independent and original research project culminating in a thesis, under the supervision of a faculty member whose expertise matches your research area. This type of program is available at the master's or PhD level.

Students are required to prepare a substantial research document (thesis/dissertation) that makes an original scholarly contribution to their field. Doctoral and master’s students must also defend their thesis in front of an examination committee.

A thesis/project-based master’s program will typically take two years to complete, to a maximum of four years. A doctoral program will take four years, up to a maximum of six years.

FGS and your program

The Faculty of Graduate Studies sets out the minimum qualifications for admission. However, specific graduate program requirements may call for higher grades and additional documentation.

Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee entry into a graduate program as admission can be very competitive.

Explore our graduate and specialized programs on Graduate Admissions.