Grad Programs At Queen’s University: Professional vs. Research – Which Is Right For Me?


Many undergraduates come out of school looking for more than just a job – they want a career. If this sounds like you, attending graduate school might be eggs-actly what you need to get on the pathway to success.

At Queen’s University, students may choose to pursue either professional or a research-based Master’s programs. Both types of programs offer aspiring professionals the chance to further their theoretical and applied knowledge and develop their skills.

So which type of study is right for you? Read on to find out!

Meet Megan:
Megan Rueckwald
Master’s student – Urban & Regional Planning (professional)
Queen’s University

Megan Rueckwald attended Queen’s University for her undergrad, and returned to pursue her Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. For her career, Megan wanted to focus on developing practical skills, which would lead to a registered professional planner’s designation. She ultimately selected a professional program, which provided her with a solid foundation of planning theory, recognized by the Canadian Institute of Planners.

“The professional degree sets you up for the job,” says Megan. “I really want those letters behind my name when I start out in the workforce… people can look at your professional degree and see the different jobs you’re suited for.”

Professional programs

All graduate programs at Queen’s University offer a rich learning environment and professional development opportunities. However, professional programs are more evidence-based with practical applications.

What does that mean? Depending on the program, students have the opportunity to do a practicum or placement in their field of study. Professional programs cover a wide range of fields and allow students to apply theory and knowledge to the particular profession of study.

Meet Fei:
Fei Geng
Master’s student in Mechanical Engineering (professional)
Queen’s University

After completing his undergraduate degree, Fei Geng worked for 6 years as an industrial engineer. He worked with many mechanical engineers and eventually decided to pursue higher education to gain advanced mechanical engineering knowledge.

“This program is great because it allows you to connect the academic and industrial aspects,” says Fei.

Research programs

Are you looking for a challenging and fulfilling experience? Research-based graduate programs at Queen’s University are well-suited to students who are looking to advance their knowledge in a particular area and push the boundaries of knowledge through discovery.

Aspiring professionals in these programs work closely with a supervisor and sometimes with peers and other faculty members to develop and carry out a research project. This approach is great for individuals who are looking to develop their academic, critical thinking, and integrative thinking skills, making them well suited for a variety of careers.

Meet Ashton:
Ashton Taylor
Master’s student – Geography (research)
Queen’s University

Ashton Taylor is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Geography. During her undergrad, she fell in love with geography and the enthusiasm of the faculty members at Queen’s University. She says she chose her program because it allowed her to explore her studies at a depth that no other degree program would allow her to do.

“In geography, you can find your own way and conduct your own research,” says Ashton. This program gave me the chance to explore different areas and work with a great faculty.”

Which one is right for me?

The key to deciding which type of program to pursue lies in your career ambitions and your interests.

Since professional programs apply advanced knowledge to particular fields, they’re perfect for individuals who are looking to work in a specific career that requires highly developed skills. Placements and practicums offer a great platform for students who want to apply their knowledge and skill in the workplace.

On the other hand, research programs are great for newly minted undergraduates as well as professionals who are looking for an intellectual challenge and the opportunity to actively engage in research. Thesis work is demanding, and requires students to develop many important career skills, such as time management, project execution, and the ability to work independently and collaboratively.

The good news? Both types of programs will offer you a robust and rewarding experience and will provide you with transferable skills for future employment. From attending classes and seminars to gathering data and performing experiments, graduate school is what you make of it. Whether you’re a hands-on learner or a deep critical thinker, graduate programs at Queen’s University have something to offer all aspiring professionals.

Take your career to new heights with Queen’s University’s School of Graduate Studies! Explore their egg-citing programs here.