Stage one: Be prepared
It’s important to learn about your new department in advance. Take the time to connect.
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Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada, R3T 2N2
Move ahead with confidence as a graduate student. Understand the big picture and the actions you need to take throughout your academic career. #UMGradGoals give you the important academic program, funding and professional development information that will help you succeed.
Know your key goals, actions, and milestones as you work through your degree program.
It’s important to learn about your new department in advance. Take the time to connect.
You are more likely to have a successful graduate student experience with a clear plan in place.
Check in on your progress midway through your studies to be sure you're on track to complete the program.
In the final stages of your graduate degree program, remain focused on your ultimate goal: completing your degree.
It’s important to learn about your new department in advance. Take the time to connect with your future advisor, submit applications for all eligible funding opportunities, and register for orientation activities to make connections with other students.
Know your academic unit’s website and graduate support staff contacts including your graduate program chair. Make intentional choices for your courses and work experiences.
Contact your advisor, if you have one assigned at admission, or graduate chair before you start your classes. They can put you in contact with other faculty members, administrative assistants, and fellow incoming students.
Your advisor and graduate chair answer questions relating to coursework selection, teaching or research assistantships and unit-level funding opportunities.
There are many awards available for eligible graduate students listed on the Faculty of Graduate Studies Awards Database. Be aware of the application deadlines, ensure you have submitted all of the official requested materials to complete your application(s), and, perhaps most importantly, give your referees ample time to write strong, positive letters in support of all your funding applications.
Students should also be familiar with funding opportunities within their academic unit and faculty, including student research and teaching assistantships where available.
Every year we invite students to attend our graduate student orientation. It includes a welcome session, campus tours, resource fair, and workshops. Your home unit will likely have similar orientation events.
A successful graduate student experience is dependent on having a clear plan in place.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies Academic Guide outlines all of the institutional requirements that you must meet to complete a UM master’s or PhD program. Each academic unit has an additional set of supplemental regulations that list their program-specific requirements.
Program requirements for master's and PhD students will vary depending on the faculty and department; however there are key components for all programs that you need to know to graduate.
Know how many credit hours of required coursework are needed for your program, including any specific courses that must be taken, and make sure you register for them when they are offered.
If you are in a comprehensive stream, find out if the comprehensive exams have set times to write and know what the criteria are for writing them.
If your program includes a practicum or internship, work with your advisor or unit to arrange your placement.
Generally, thesis-stream master's programs and those with major research papers have some form of public presentation or defence. Work with your advisor and committee members to schedule this in time to meet your expected graduation date.
Completing your master's program in the recommended two years or PhD in the recommended four years allows you to maximize your scholarship and funding eligibility, and helps you move forward in your academic and professional life in a timely manner.
The University is committed to upholding the highest academic integrity standards possible, and it is incumbent on all members of the university community to know what constitutes a breach of academic integrity and to abide by the rules outlined while engaged in coursework, teaching, and research.
Within the first term of your graduate studies, you must register for and complete the GRAD 7500 - Academic Integrity Tutorial. This tutorial must be successfully passed with a score of 100%.
Failure to complete the GRAD 7500 in the first term will result in a hold on your student account, which prevents registration, and an assignment of an F grade.
All graduate students should form their committee by the end of the first year in their program.
Your committee must include three members: your advisor, an internal member who must hold a primary appointment in your academic unit, and a member external to the academic Unit. Both committee members must also be members of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
If you plan to invite someone from outside the University of Manitoba to serve on your committee, your advisor should investigate as soon as possible the process required to have them appointed as a member of FGS.
The Faculty of Graduate studies must approve your committee. For MA students, this is recorded on the "Master's Thesis/Practicum Title and Appointment of Examiners" form while for PhD students this is recorded on your "Program of Study" form.
The Faculty of Graduate Studies must approve any changes in your advisor and/or advisor committee membership.
Choose your committee members carefully. Consider them in terms of the additional expertise they will lend to your proposed research project.
Keep your advisor, and your advisory committee, updated about your performance in coursework, your thoughts on a potential research project, or drafting your research proposal.
At least once each year, meet with your advisor and entire research committee to report on your progress and solicit feedback.
Complete a Faculty of Graduate Studies progress report with your committee, review it, and sign it. This form then becomes part of your student file.
Work with your advisor and committee to come up with something that is realistic; a project that is original but sufficiently realistic in scope that it can be completed successfully and in a timely manner.
Demonstrate your ability to develop, propose and complete a piece of original research in a timely manner.
If your planned research involves human or animal subjects, you must acquire ethics approval from the Office of Research Ethics and Compliance before any data collection begins.
The Human Ethics Coordinator can advise students on what they need to write for a formal ethics protocol, which is submitted for review and approval by one of five research ethics boards on the two University of Manitoba campuses - Fort Garry and Bannatyne.
All students must complete the online tutorial: TCPS 2 Course on Research Ethics (CORE).
Students must also successfully complete the GRAD 7300 tutorial on research ethics.
It is absolutely necessary to obtain all ethics approvals and to maintain those approvals for the duration of any data collection involving human or animal subjects.
Any data collected without the required approvals can’t be used in any circumstance for research. Therefore, know your research project and find out if you require ethics approval before you start.
It’s a good idea to reflect on your graduate program at the mid-point. Two-year master’s students should take stock at the end of the first year, and PhD students should do so at the end of the second year. For students in a one-year pre-master’s program, plan you self-assessment for the end of your first term of study.
By the end of the second year of a master’s program, you should have met the following goals:
By the end of the second year of a PhD program, you should have met the following goals:
All graduate students should consider if you can:
Apply for student travel funding support to attend professional meetings and conferences.
Ask if your academic unit and faculty may also provide student travel funds. The UM Graduate Students Association also offers conference grants to facilitate graduate student attendance at professional meetings and conferences to present their research.
These institutional funding sources combined make it entirely possible for graduate students to gain experience traveling to national and international conferences where they can meet other professionals in their field and share with them their graduate research.
Many peer-reviewed publications start out as conference presentations.
Having made the effort to write a presentation paper for a conference, you should consider revising your work for submission to a peer-reviewed venue for publication. In some instances, conference or session organizers may invite you to revise your paper to be included in a special journal issue or edited volume.
Gaining experience in the peer-reviewed publication process while still a graduate student is advantageous since you can draw on the expertise of your advisor and mentors to help you learn how to prepare the manuscript for submission, suggest prospective reviewers, respond to reviewers' comments, and revise the manuscript for final submission.
Don’t feel discouraged if your first publication attempt is unsuccessful. Every academic has experienced this at some point. It is important to reflect on the expert comments you received and to use them next time.
When you enter the final stages of your graduate degree program, remain focused on your ultimate goal: completing your degree so you can move on to the next stage of your life. Stay on track to complete your program.
The most important date in your research timeline -- the one that anchors everything you do -- is convocation. When do you plan to graduate? Consult Submit your thesis or practicum, which lists recommended deadlines for every step in the process.
If you miss these dates, you will be delayed until the next convocation.
Consider the following resources:
If you find a job posting for which you are qualified, then apply! To be in the best position possible to do this, it is advisable to have the following already prepared:
The job market can be tough. Don’t be discouraged. It is a good idea to consider a wide range of prospective careers.
Alternative academic careers are increasingly common, so you can broaden your expectations and search.
Starting your graduate student career is an exciting time but can also be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the University of Manitoba community or to Winnipeg. There are many resources you can reach out to for help:
Still not sure what to do?
There are resources available to students before they graduate that can help including GradSteps workshops, the Research Occupations online Library, and the UM student Career Services, available through the Student Affairs office.