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MA UBC vs Toronto vs Queen's


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Hi guys, I have been accepted into Queen's and UBC's MA and Toronto's regular stream MA (waitlisted for the DS) with similar funding options because a lot of it comes from an outside source. Funding is about the same everywhere so not a criteria.

I was wondering if any of you knew which school I should attend knowing that my main criteria is placement for Ph.D.

I know that Toronto and UBC generally seem to be considered a better ranked department at least for Ph.D studies but I don't really care about what department produces the most research, just the one that is a better stepping stone for top Ph.D programs. On that front, Queen's seems to have done good in the past few years from what I have read. Can anyone help me with this? Has Toronto placed regular stream students in good Ph.D programs in the past years? Any other input to help me narrow it down?


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I'm trying to decide between the same schools!

Except funding is a factor for me, but its not like I can't afford it if I choose the unfunded schools

So I'm left with wondering, which school has the best program?

Unlike the OP, I don't plan on doing a PhD anytime soon (although it may be an option in the future, but I just wanna start working soon and get some experience), so I'm wondering which program would be better for finding jobs internationally or in Canada after I graduate?

I'm fully funded at Queens, and I'm waiting on TAship at UBC (they said they'll give me more details later, but they can't guarantee it so I'm thinking the chances are slim), and I could apply for TA at U of T if I choose to go there?

Also, some people say its a bad idea to do your undergrad and grad at the same school, so this is also a factor I want to think about when deciding between the schools.

What are everyone's thoughts on this???

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There are two (of many) important factors to consider that I'd like to bring up:

1. Your research. If you're interested in a certain field, make sure that the related courses are being offered at each school. You also want to be on the lookout for potential supervisors. If one of the schools doesn't have much focus on your area of interest, then it may not be the best fit for you.

2. The atmosphere. Not only are you going there for school, you're going to be spending at least a year of your life there so you want to make sure you'll enjoy it. Look into the atmosphere within the departments, the school, and the city. I know that U of T is really competitive and that doesn't work for everyone. A friend of mine started her PhD there and transferred to another school after the first year because she was unhappy. As for the city, you've got two really big cities and one small city. Where will you be happy?

In the end, I don't think you can go wrong with any of those schools because they're the top 3 departments in Canada and all among the top 100 departments in the world.

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Thanks for your input booksnlooks!

I actually know which program I would probably feel the most comfortable with, because its where I am for my undergrad now.

But professors say its better to get your MA and BA from different schools to get more exposure so I'm incredibly torn.

So right now my gut has picked my undergrad university, but everyone else is telling me to go for another university.

Anymore thoughts on this?

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That's definitely a toughie! From an employment perspective, if you're looking to get into academics at any point, it is way better to attend more than one school. I know you mentioned that you mentioned that doing your PhD is an option in the future so you wouldn't want to close doors on future opportunities...maybe you could consider your MA at another school and return to your original school for your PhD?

One thing that might help is talking to people who have attended the schools you're considering. Do you have any professors who have attending one of the other schools? Also, you could contact current grad students at each school you're considering. Their contact info is often on the department's website. They'd give you the inside scoop on what the school is like and maybe one would be similar to your current school so you could get the best of both worlds.

I wish I could give you the right answer! I'm just thinking out loud about different options to explore to help you come to a decision.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If you need an MA as a stepping stone into a top Phd, most likely you are not going to get into a top Phd... Esp, if you are referring to top US programs... But if you want to stay in Canada for PhD, then all three are probably really good... I would go to Toronto b/c it may be easier to get a job afterwards if you decide not to pursue a phd..

UBC MA class starts the year with the same ambitions every year, then in mid-March they face reality... This year there were several really good candidates who could not get into US top 15 schools..

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  • 2 years later...

This is an old thread but i am going through the exact same schools right now for decisions. if you are still here, which of the schools did you end up choosing? Would you mind letting me know how your experience was?

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