Graduate Studies - English/Arts

This document is originally written by Tanima Hossain, MA in English (Windsor University).

Year of Publication: 2018

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For us English majors bagging a scholarship is as important as getting acceptance in a University. In this note, I will try to highlight key features that will help prospective students to get funding opportunities also admission in a Canadian University.

1) First of all, let me clear one fact that getting FULL FUND in MA in English is EXTREMELY RARE as an international student in Canada. Most of the universities offer TA/GA positions that covers a part of the tuition fee.

2) There are a few universities that offer full funded MA course. But they are extremely competitive. Their application requirements tend to be much more high than normal programs. So before applying search for universities that offer full funding. But I would also recommend measuring yourself out! Are you capable enough to hold a position among several thousands international students and another few thousands native speakers and writers! We all think we are the best but give it a neutral thought!

3) You must have a good IELTS or TOEFEL score. The higher the better! Target band score ~8.0! (That was my score). If you think it is too much I’m sorry then you are not for for English Department!

4) You must have a writing sample of 20/25 page with bibliography or MLA format. Therefore, I would strongly recommend writing a thesis paper. You can send a chapter of that as writing sample. Submitting a writing sample is an application requirement! The Graduate committee will see your writing skill and your capabilities through this. So, if you think that just a course paper which you copy pasted from internet and edited a bit would do the magic, you are wrong!

5) Admission Process are mostly central and you not need to manage a Professor before applying. You can directly apply for admission.

6) What will you do if your University does not have a thesis option and you graduated without a thesis? Either you can work on one of your previously done assignments or start a new writing. See how the scholarly writings are written! Read a lot. And write a sample. Be sure that the admission committee does not expect you to write like a pro. But it has to be to the point, neat and expressive! Remember this reflects your capability as an academic writer also your knowledge. So, put special emphasis on it.

7) PUBLISHED Articles can take you anywhere so focus on your writing.

8) Extra curricular activities help a lot! But they must be relevant. Activities related to academics will be given more preference than cultural activities.

9) Most of the universities calculate your CGPA again. They will calculate your overall CGPA, also CGPA in your major area separately! For example, if you have total twelve courses and six of them are your major courses then they will calculate the CGPA of six courses separately. And if you do not meet the requirement you will be out in the first round! So as hard as Literature or Linguistics course and marking can be give it your best effort and try to maintain a good CGPA. Heads up, Universities require 80% - 85% in your major area.

10) Try to do most number of courses offered by your university in your major area. Because believe it or not admission committee does go through your university website and offered courses! So, they will always prefer a student who has done ten courses in their major area than someone who has done only eight courses of their major area. (But remember, CGPA matters).

11) Having said that, also try to be diverse in your courses! Do not just do only major courses because I told you to! Even if you are a major in Literature try to do Linguistics or ELT courses. The goal is to show that you are a diverse student with knowledge of every sphere. History, Social Science, Anthropology, Psychology, even some courses outside your box might help also!

12) It is possible to graduate from English but studying in MA in another field. Just look for the University admission requirements. If you have a strong enough profile you will get admission.

13) Job experience is always a plus point. If you are currently working try to do workshops that are relevant to your job. For example, if you are teaching try to attend workshops that are related to teaching. It will show that you are passionate about what you do! When I was teaching at a English Medium School, I attended several workshops arranged by British Council and my school. It definitely enriched my CV.

14) Try to do voluntary work. It shows your humanitarian side!

15) If you are in your first or second year of University then get involved with a club! A meaningful one would help most! Look for clubs that has international recognition (For example, AIESEC), clubs that interact with people, has a social message!

16) If you have already graduated and willing to apply then first enrich your profile! Try to do relevant work! Even if you are working full time, try to attend workshops, voluntary works anything that is related to your field of study and will give you a certificate!

17) After saying all this, lets go back to basic how to secure funding? Most of the Universities and Departments have entrance scholarships available. Mail your department asking if you will be automatically considered for it or you have to apply.

18) As far as I know there are several provincial scholarships available. Your university website should have information of all the available scholarships and how to apply. If it does not, Google helps! If you go by the pointers that I gave, you will be a pretty hard contender for those scholarships.

19) Ask your Department about scholarships available, TA/GA positions! There is no shame in admitting we want to study for free! Because it is Universal truth!

20) Put some actual effort in your research about Universities, Scholarships and Admission requirements. If you think it is not necessary and consider it as just a option! Universities will also consider you as an option.

21) Mail the Universities that reject you and ask for the reason! In a polite manner obviously! It will help you to make your profile better and remove the lacking! If you are actually interested in studying in a Canadian University then this will help you know your flaws!

Best of Luck!

Web Resource:

List of MA in English programs in Canada: