How does a Science degree prepare me for graduate studies?
Many of our students go on to graduate studies at the M.Sc. or Ph.D. level at top universities in Canada, the U.S., and around the world. Sometimes McGill Science undergraduates stay on at McGill to do their M.Sc. studies and sometimes they go directly to M.Sc. or Ph.D. studies at other universities. Although we hate to see our great students leave us, it is often advisable for Ph.D. students to get some graduate studies experiences at another university.
Can I continue on to graduate studies at McGill?
Sure! McGill has strong graduate programs in all science disciplines. You can apply during your last year of studies, or you can consider applying during your second-last year to the B.Sc./M.Sc. (Thesis) Track which smooths the transition and provides early admission decisions.
Which program best prepares me for graduate studies?
An honours program provides the most rigorous education and provides an ideal preparation for graduate school. However, many of our majors students also go on to be excellent graduate students. Students interested in interdisciplinary graduate research may want to consider a joint major in multiple disciplines.
Whichever program you choose, you should pick upper-level courses that interest you and where you can get to know some professors in a smaller class setting. When you apply to graduate school it will be helpful if several professors have gotten to know you well and can write good recommendation letters for you.
We also encourage you to get involved in some research experiences during your undergraduate studies. This is the best way to discover the excitement of doing research and to get some ideas for potential M.Sc. or Ph.D. research topics. Our professors really enjoy working with our undergraduate students and we have a lot of interesting projects.
What about financial support and fellowships for graduate studies?
Many undergraduate students are not aware that most graduate work in the sciences comes with financial support of one sort or another, including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships or a combination of these.
NSERC postgraduate fellowships are also available to students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. You must apply for these fellowships at the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies. Don't by shy to ask your professors for reference letters and help preparing your applications.
Students who are residents of Quebec may, in addition to NSERC, also apply for an FQRNT fellowship (Bourse). Similarly, you must also apply for FQRNT fellowships at the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies.
Even if you do not qualify for one of these fellowships, many departments will usually find other means to provide financial support for qualified graduate students.