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Education & Training

Types of Graduate Studies

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree builds on knowledge and competencies acquired during related undergraduate (bachelors degree) study. Master's programs may range from 2 to 6 years, depending on the field.

  • Thesis-based master's programs require students to develop and demonstrate advanced research skills under the supervision of a professor. Thesis-based programs usually involve coursework, followed by research and an oral defence of a master’s thesis.
  • Course-based master's programs require students to demonstrate the necessary research, analytical, interpretative, methodological and expository skills in graduate-level coursework. Course-based programs often culminate in a final project or capping exercise.
  • Professional and practice-oriented programs prepare graduates for the professional licensing or registration required to practise in a specific field of study or occupation (e.g. speech pathology, psychology, etc).

Post-Master’s Certificates and Diplomas

Post-master’s certificate and diploma programs give students the opportunity to pursue graduate-level coursework without committing to a doctoral degree. These programs recognize specialized education in a particular discipline.

  • A post-master’s certificate may contribute towards a post-master’s diploma.
  • Post-master’s certificates and diplomas may ladder to a doctoral degree.

Doctoral Degree

A doctoral degree builds on the knowledge and competencies in a field or discipline acquired during prior study, usually at the masters level. Doctoral programs may range from 2 to 5 years, depending on the field.

  • Doctoral programs leading to a PhD are research-oriented. They may include written and oral examinations prior to preparation and defence of a dissertation on an approved topic.
  • A professional doctoral program (e.g. EdD, DMus) provides instruction in research methods but is designed to prepare students for professional practice. Students are required to complete some independent research—often applied research that supports advancement of the profession—normally culminating in a dissertation.

Post-Doctoral Certificates and Diplomas

Post-doctoral certificate and diploma programs give students the opportunity to continue doctoral-level coursework. These programs recognize specialized education in the discipline.

  • A post-doctoral certificate may ladder to a post-doctoral diploma.
  • Post-doctoral certificates and diplomas may ladder to post-doctoral fellowship training at an Alberta institution.

Professional Programs

The following programs normally require completion of an undergraduate (bachelor's) degree or a few years of pre-professional study at the undergraduate level.

Business Administration

Entrance Exam: Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)



Entrance Exam: Dental Aptitude Test (DAT)



Entrance Exam: Law School Admission Test (LSAT)



Entrance Exam: Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)



Entrance Exam: Optometry Admission Test (OAT)


Veterinary Medicine

Entrance Exam: n/a



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