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Graduate Studies

Research in Graduate Education

This page has been set up as a repository for information on research that has been conducted into graduate education.


  • Canadian Association for Graduate Studies guide addressed to students considering Masters and Doctoral study programs at Canadian universities. The booklet Graduate Studies: A Practical Guide (2012) [Adobe .pdf file] discusses some of the motives for pursuing graduate studies and provides prospective students with information on things to consider when examining the option of graduate school.
  • The Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) was undertaken in 2007, 2010 and 2013. This survey contains a wealth of information about graduate student satisfaction and experience.
    In 2010 more than 38,000 graduate students participated at 38 universities across Canada. The survey originated from joint US/Canadian efforts to survey graduate students. In 2013, participation rose to 48 universities. Download the 2013 version of the survey [Adobe .pdf file]. For more information, visit the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) webpage for the survey.
  • Understanding Career Pathways is a project undertaken by the Council of Graduate Schools to evaluate the feasibility of a larger project to develop and enhance templates and processes designed to track the career pathways of PhD alumni of STEM, humanities and social science graduate programs. The project will include the development of a white paper summarizing what is currently known about the demand for career tracking at the doctoral level in STEM, humanities, and social science fields, a survey of all doctoral granting CGS members to formally document processes for tracking alumni from CGS member institutions, and a workshop to include graduate deans, PhD holders and methodology experts. Project activities will conclude in the fall of 2014 with a report recommending next steps. For more information, visit the Understanding Career Pathways webpage.
  • Barry Chiswick, Nicholas Larsen and Paul Pieper produced a paper in December 2010, The Production of PhDs in the United States and Canada, [Adobe .pdf file] delving into the production of PhDs in the post-WW II period, overall and by gender and major discipline.
  • 2003 Study by Frank Elgar on PhD Degree Completion in Canadian Universities [Adobe .pdf file] for the Graduate Students Association of Canada.
  • New reports explore the stark realities of the university doctorate
    Doctoral enrolments in Ontario universities have nearly doubled over the last decade, with roughly two-thirds of doctoral students hoping to become university professors. Considering that Canadian full-time professors are now the highest paid in the world—working more hours but enjoying better job satisfaction than their counterparts in other countries—it’s a worthy goal.
    But according to two new reports from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) the demand of full-time faculty positions vastly outstrips the supply. Estimates are that less than 25 percent of PhD students in Canada will secure full-time, tenure-stream research and teaching positions, prompting a growing angst among current and newly minted PhDs about their preparedness for life in a non-academic career.
    Beyond Labs and Libraries: Career Pathways for Graduate Students (by authors Allison B. Sekuler, McMaster University; Barbara Crow, York University; and Robert B. Annan, Mitacs, Inc.)
    Report Appendix
    @ Issue #15, So You Want to Earn a Ph.D.? The Attraction, Realities, and Outcomes of Pursuing a Doctorate (by authors Vicky Maldonado, Richard Wiggers, HEQCO; and Christine Arnold, a doctoral student and former HEQCO research intern)
  • White Paper on the Future of the PhD in the Humanities — product of the Future of Graduate Training in the Humanities Project, funded by a Knowledge Synthesis Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada.
  • Research Paper by Darren King, Doctoral Graduates in Canada: Findings from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, 2004-2005 [Adobe .pdf file] in conjunction with Statistics Canada and Human Resources and Social Development Canada.
  • In December 2012, Robin Saliba prepared a report, PhD Program Structures in Canada, [Adobe .pdf file[ for the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies
  • Report of the Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature (2014) Charged by the MLA Executive Council in February 2012 “to consider the prospects for doctoral study in modern language and literature in the light of transformations in higher education and scholarly communication” (PMLA 127.4 [2012]: 1024), and funded in part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the task force met at the MLA office in fall 2012 and spring and fall 2013 and at the 2013 and 2014 MLA conventions in Boston and Chicago. The Executive Council received and approved the task force’s report in February 2014. Statements the task force received from departments engaged in projects related to its charge are included in an appendix.
    The Executive Summary is available to download. (Adobe .pdf file)
    For more information, or to download the full report and appendix, visit the Task Force webpage.

Organization Websites

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Canadian Association for Graduate Studies

Council of Graduate Schools

Council of Ontario Universities

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada

Commentaries on Graduate Education:

University Affairs magazine

Melonie Fullick, a grad student working on her PhD here at York University, maintains a blog for the University Affairs digital version called Speculative Diction to provide commentary and analysis on higher education policy and practice in Canada, linking them to developments overseas and also to the experiences of those working within the Canadian university system.

Hook & Eye is an intervention and an invitation: they write about the realities of being women working in the Canadian university system. They muse about everything from gender inequities and how tenure works, to finding unfrumpy winter boots, decent childcare, and managing lifes minutiae. Ambitious? Obviously. They’re women in the academy.

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