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Is research experience required for any grad programs


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It is not generally a requirement, but it obviously helps. Take into account that other applicants will have some research experience, which is going to count to their advantage. Grad schools need evidence that you will be able to actually do a lot of research. If someone has meaningful research experience, that goes a long way towards giving them the evidence they want. Hence, I would say: do your best to get some research experience.


However, you may have good reasons not to have had any research experience, and you may be able to explain that in your application. Still, you will definitely have to be able to show somehow that you can articulate and pursue a research question.

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Most of the Canadian schools I applied too, and I am a history major, required an honours thesis or equivalent. If you do not have an honours thesis, an independent study counts. I applied with both a thesis and independent study. I also had two research internships, but in different fields. I do not know for sure however, this is just my experience in applying. 

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I would say that very few programs in my field explicitly require research experience. That is, no application will be thrown out simply because there are no research experience. In fact, I know one of my friends had zero experience (a fellow first generation college student that had no idea grad school was a good option for them until their final year) but perfect GPAs and GREs and they got into a top 3 program at a research focussed institution. However, at my school (also a top 3 program at a research focussed institution), almost everyone in my cohort and cohorts following me have had some research experience (it might have just been 10 weeks over one summer, but there's always something). That said, our graduate program is structured as if our first year projects are our very first research experience ever. There is so much research right away that students with little research experience coming in will very quickly catch up to others with years of undergrad experience.

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