You might be finishing up your undergraduate studies and are starting to consider what to do next. Many students will opt to look for work, and some will be considering the possibility of further education at university or college. Continuing on with your studies can be an inviting option for so many reasons: to pursue a subject you’re passionate about, gain new skills, improve your self-confidence, and gain networking and communication opportunities!
We’re referring to college and university programs that require partial or full completion of a degree before you join them.
The next level of university education following a bachelor’s degree is a master’s degree. They are normally one to two years long, and can be course-based or thesis/research-based. There are three broad types of master's degrees:
These are programs that normally require completion of a bachelor’s degree (though sometimes they may require only partial completion of an undergraduate degree) and that lead to professional designations. Examples are medical school, dental school, second-entry nursing (BScN), and law school.
Colleges offer certificates (normally 1 year in length), fast-track diplomas (normally 2 to 3 years in length shortened to 1-2 years for university graduates), and graduate certificates (normally 8 months to 1 year in length).
Graduate certificates require the completion of an undergraduate degree or college diploma for admission, and thus are very attractive to university grads, as they build upon knowledge and experience gained through your bachelor’s degree.
|Graduate School||Professional School||College|
|Level||Master's degree (then Doctorate)||Second-Entry Bachelor's or Master's degree (depends on field of study)||Certificate, Fast-Track Diploma, Graduate Certificate|
|What is it?||Intensive study of a particular area/subject, often involving a strong research focus||Study leading to a professional designation such as teacher, pharmacist or social worker||Training in skills-focused areas such as addictions counselling or marketing|
|Duration?||1-2 years (or more)||Varies, generally 2 years or more||1-2 years|
|Admission Requirements||Generally a strong GPA, research experience, references||Strong GPA, relevant experience, extra-curricular involvement, references||University degree, demonstrated interest in particular areas|
Reflect on the reasons for considering further study. It is a decision that only you can make, and each person will make the decision for their own reasons.
Are you curious about further study? You might think about the following reasons to pursue further education:
There are also reasons to put further study on hold, if only temporarily. If you find yourself relating to any of the following scenarios, you may want to pause and reflect:
For full-time college programs in Ontario, visit www.ontariocolleges.ca. Many colleges offer the same programs part-time so you can work and study!
Attend the Graduate & Professional School Showcase that takes place in September each year. It features presentations from universities and colleges across Ontario and beyond! If you missed the Showcase, the recorded presentations are available for viewing on CLNx until December of each year.
Uncertain if further education is right for you? Not sure what program best suits your needs and interests? Make an appointment with a career advisor at the AA&CC!