Graduate programs – degrees and post-diplomas

By Rob Taylor

If and when you apply to graduate school, you’ll find out that the process and requirements are a bit different than applying for undergrad.

First of all, students in Ontario and some students in Alberta and British Columbia will find that there is no central body to which they can send their applications for processing. Each graduate school processes their own applications and has their own standards for admissions. It is not unusual for each department to have additional requirements to the overall school requirements.

The University of Toronto, for its masters programs, requires students applying for full-time graduate studies to have an average in the mid-B range at the University of Toronto or an equivalent institution. In order to apply for the Masters of English program at U of T, applicants must have a B+ average in a four-year specialist program in English at U of T or an equivalent institution. Applicants must also show "evidence of first-class work in English". Applicants are also told that in "considering applications, the Department favours a broad training in the major genres and periods of English literature."

At The University of Western Ontario, people applying to the Computer Science Masters program need an Honours degree in computer science (or equivalent) with an average of at least 70%. The school cautions, however, that "meeting the minimum requirement does not guarantee admission. Admission is very competitive and the Department normally admits students with at least a 78% average."

The requirements at the University of Manitoba for the Anthropology PhD program are simply that "requirements for the M.A. degree must be completed. Preference will be given to applicants who have demonstrated independent research competence at the Master of Arts level." Incidentally, the requirements for the masters program in anthropology are "an advanced (four year) degree in Anthropology with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last two full years (60 credit hours) of study".

At McGill University, to gain entry into the MD PhD program, students must first fulfill all the requirements for and be accepted into the M.D.,C.M. (C.M. apparently came from Latin words that describe masters of surgery, which apparently no longer applies to this program, but the school kept the initials as part of the name of the program) program and be accepted by one of the departments of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Admission requirements for the medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland is a bachelor degree, including two courses in English, and the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test).

Post-diploma programs
Colleges (and some universities) have programs that you can apply to only if you have graduated from a college or a diploma program. These are called post-diploma programs.

One example of a diploma program is the Advanced Care Paramedic Program at Algonquin College. It is a 3-semester, graduate certificate program "designed to train current Primary Care Paramedics (PCP) in all aspects of advanced care paramedicine in accordance with the Canadian Medical Association National Occupational Competency Profile (for ACPs)."

Another example is the International Business post-diploma program at Red River College. Admission requirements for that program include a college diploma (two-year program or longer) or a university degree.

Going to school forever?
Beyond graduate and post-diploma programs, there is continuing education.

It doesn't matter what you do, now days you will very likely be going back to school on a semi-regular basis for the duration of your career, either in the form of seminars or certificate courses or perhaps even pursing another degree. I have both a BA and a BAA.

To stay competitive, yes, you are going to have to learn things for the rest of your life.

But is that really so horrible?

Modified on April 23, 2009