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Find the most recent updates here, as well as FAQs and information for students, faculty and staff.

Graduate Application Guide & FAQs

Required Application Documents:

Graduate Studies Online Application

  • Each applicant is required to complete the Graduate Studies Online Application which opens in October each year.
  • In addition to the online application, applicants must also submit the required documents listed below, and some required application documents must be submitted through your online application. 

Academic Transcripts

  • Scanned/unofficial/student-generated transcripts for ALL post-secondary studies completed or in-progress are required at the time of application
  • Transcripts from institutions where you completed courses on Letter of Permission and/or as part of Student Exchange Programs must also be included

Official transcripts must be submitted if an offer of admission is made, and can be submitted in the following formats:

  • Electronic:
    • If the issuing institution produces official, electronic transcripts that can be sent directly to other institutions, select this option instead of Paper.
    • The issuing institution must send the official, electronic transcript to Megan Stokes at lsgrad@mcmaster.ca
    • This official, electronic transcript from the institution does NOT replace the scanned, electronic transcripts that the applicant must upload through their online application. 
  • Paper:
  • Official transcripts in a sealed envelope, signed/stamped by the issuing institution, and sent from the issuing institution directly to:

School of Labour Studies
c/o Megan Stokes
Kenneth Taylor Hall 717
McMaster University
1280 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON L8S 4M4
Canada 

  • McMaster University transcripts: 
    • If you are submitting a transcript from McMaster University, submit the transcript in Electronic format ONLY.  You do NOT need to request for a Paper transcript to be sent to the School of Labour Studies if the transcript is from McMaster University.

Note: The status of your transcripts in the School of Graduate Studies McMaster University Application will not be updated to "complete" until you have sent an official electronic or paper transcript if/when an offer is made. Please ensure you upload transcripts from all institutions attended at the time of application.

Academic References:

  • Two (2) confidential reference reports from instructors most familiar with your academic work. 
  • In cases of mature* applicants, one (1) work-related reference is acceptable.
  • McMaster University uses an Electronic Referencing System (e-Reference). By entering the email address of your referee through your online application, the system will automatically send an e-Reference request on your behalf
  • IMPORTANT: The system will send the e-Reference request to your references only after you submit your online application. Referees may require 3-4 weeks to complete a reference report. Referees must complete their reference report by February 1st. Please keep this in mind when you are working on your application.
  • If you are unable to use the Electronic Referencing System, you can download the Reference Form to send to your referees for completion.  
  • Downloaded reference forms must be sent by the reference directly to Megan Stokes by e-mail (LSgrad@mcmaster.ca)

*more than two years since last enrolled in a post-secondary education institution 

Statement of Interest (MA)

  • Must be uploaded as a PDF document through your online application
  • 2 pages (500 words), double-spaced
  • References page(s) should be single-spaced and do not count towards the maximum 2-page limit
  • An effective statement includes:
    • Whether you are interested in the MRP or Thesis stream (required)
    • A clear statement of your research interests
    • How your background (including education and work/volunteer experience) prepares you to do the research.
    • Why the School of Labour Studies at McMaster is the right place for you to pursue the research in question.

 Statement of Interest (PhD)

  • Must be uploaded as a PDF document through your online application
  • 3-4 pages (750 - 1000 words), double-spaced
  • References page(s) should be single-spaced and do not count towards the maximum 3-4-page limit
  • An effective statement includes:
    • A clear research question
    • Rationale for the research question
    • A clear research plan and methodology
    • How your background (including education and work/volunteer experience) prepares you to do the research.
    • Why the School of Labour Studies at McMaster is the right place for you to pursue the above research question.

Resumé/CV

  • Must be uploaded as a PDF document through your online application

English Language Proficiency (if applicable)

  • If English is not your native language, an official copy of your English Language Proficiency score or other evidence of competency in English is required.  
  • Applicants whose university studies were completed at an institution where English is deemed the official language of instruction may be exempted from this requirement (an official letter from the institution is required)
  • The English Language Proficiency exam must have been completed within 2 years of the application due date
  • The most common English Language Proficiency exams:
    • TOEFL: minimum score of 92 (internet-based), 237 (computer-based) or 580 (paper-based), minimum of 20 per band. Please use TOEFL department code 080 (Other Social Sciences).
    • IELTS (Academic): minimum overall score of 6.5, with at least 5.5 in each section
  • Submit English Language Proficiency exam results as a scanned document uploaded through your online application. 

Application Deadline:

  • January 31st, 2021 (includes all other supporting documents; CV, Statement of Research Interest, transcripts)
  • Reference deadline:  February 1st, 2021

NOTE: Only complete applications will be reviewed after the January 31st deadline. Admission decisions will be communicated in March. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed. 

Contact Megan Stokes, Grad Admin Assistant

Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Students

How much is tuition/funding?

  • Please see up to date details on tuition/fees and available funding here
  • Doctoral students who meet the criteria under Section 5 in the Graduate Calendar, receive financial support which meets or exceeds an annual minimum value equal to full-time tuition plus $13,500.
  • All incoming full-time M.A. students are offered some funding to assist with their studies from a variety of sources including Teaching Assistantship, scholarships and bursaries and Research Assistantship.

How do I apply?

  • See a step-by-step guide to our online application here.

I am an international student, can I still apply?

  • Yes! Prospective international students may find useful information related to study permits, scholarships for international students, and more here.

Is the MA only open to McMaster Labour Studies undergrads?

  • No. The Labour Studies MA is happy to accept qualified undergrads from ALL disciplines.

Can I still apply if I haven’t graduated with an Honours BA yet?

  • Yes, provided your undergraduate degree will be completed by August (i.e., your graduation/convocation could be later in the fall).

Do I have to decide between the MRP and Thesis before I apply to the MA program?

  • No, you may make this decision after you’ve started our MA Program, in consultation with your faculty advisor. Students are typically admitted to the MRP stream with the option to switch to the Thesis stream in December, if interested. Please ensure you state your preference in your Statement of Interest if you have one.

When do I enroll in my MA courses?

  • Not until September, once you have met your Faculty Advisor.

How do I get a Faculty Advisor?

  • We assign an 'interim' one based on your research interests (from your Statement of Interest) and those of our professors.
  • Though most people stay with the same advisor throughout the MA, you can change advisers at any point before the end of January if your research interests take you in a new direction.

Can I start the MA program in January?

  • Because we are a small program, all students start in September.

What if my undergrad degree was not done in Canada? Not in English?

  • International applicants are welcome to apply.
  • If English is not your native language, an official copy of your TOEFL score or other evidence of competency in English is required.
  • A minimum TOEFL (iBT) score of 80 (550 on the paper-based TOEFL test or 213 on the computer-based TOEFL test).
  • IELTS minimum is 6.5. Tests older than 2 years will require an updated test.
  • Scores lower than these will NOT be accepted by the School of Graduate Studies.
  • More information for international applicants can be found here.

I work full-time, is the MA available part-time?

  • Yes. 3 to 5 years are allotted to complete the MA part-time. Many graduate courses are offered at night or in the late afternoon to assist part-time students to attend.

I work full-time, is the PhD available part-time?

  • Yes. 6 – 8 years are allotted to complete the PhD part-time. Many graduate courses are offered at night or in the late afternoon to assist part-time students to attend.

My undergrad/Masters degree was completed 20 years ago, can I still apply?

  • Absolutely! 

I didn’t get very good marks in my first two years but improved in the final two years of my degree. Will that hurt my chances of being accepted into the MA?

  • The last 10 upper-year (level 3 or 4) half-courses of your honours (4-year) undergrad degree are averaged.
  • If those equal a B+ (78%), you are eligible to apply.

Are my grades all that is considered? Does anyone really read reference letters?

  • A Committee of Faculty members reviews all submitted information in each application before making recommendations for admission into the MA Program.

I was accepted into the program, when do I receive my scholarship?

  • Your scholarship is paid as follows:  40% in September; 30% in January; 30% in May.

I was accepted into the program with a TAship. How does that work if I don't have any experience?

  • Most new graduate students do not have any TA experience.
  • A preference form listing all available TA positions will be distributed in August to rank options.
  • The instructor of the course will provide information on expectations prior to the start of tutorials (third week of the term).
  • TA duties are completed within the fall or winter terms (i.e., nothing in the spring/summer).

Can I work as an RA (research assistant) instead of a TA?

  • Some years, a small number of RA positions are available. Information will be communicated to all new admissions in August regarding this option.

Can I come to campus and meet with the faculty before I make up my mind?

  • Yes, we are very happy to meet with you, discuss your research interests and give you a first-hand look at our programme.
  • Please contact us to arrange a suitable time for your visit: 905-525-9140 x24692.
  • Not available during COVID-19

Can I apply to the program even though I missed the deadline for applications?

  • Sometimes, but not always.
  • Late applicants may not have access to scholarships and TA monies.
  • Email Megan Stokes, our Graduate Admin Assistant, for details (LSgrad@mcmaster.ca).

Contact Megan Stokes, Grad Admin Assistant