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Finding the Right Graduate School and Funding Guide

Subject Librarian

Jay Wolofsky Jay Wolofsky
(416) 979-5000 x7377

“A serious search for an adequate graduate school should begin at least a year and a half before your expected entrance to a chosen program of study.”  (cf. W. Spenser Guthrie Graduate School Selection Utah State University)

Internet Resources


1 Admissions
2 Directories
3 Funding Sources
4 Guides
5 Ranking

1 Admissions

Admissions Data (The Philosphical Gourmet Report)

From the website of Brian Leiter, a “Ranking of Graduate Programs in Philosophy in the English–Speaking World,” a brief reflection on the usefulness of admissions data when considering Graduate programs. Professor Leiter is the John P. Wilson Professor of Law and Director of the new Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago.

Applying to Graduate Schools (The Philosophical Gourmet Report)

Realistic and practical advice on the process of applying to graduate school and the realities of the current academic job market. From the website of Brian Leiter.

Council of Graduate Schools

From the website of The Council of Graduate Schools, a U.S.-based organization dedicated to the promotion and advancement of graduate studies and research, comes the international graduate admissions survey. This page provides open access to summaries and reports on the CGS surveys since 2007 (with reports from 2004 in the archives section). The CGS survey aims to investigate the international graduate application, admissions, and enrollment processes.

The Graduate Management Admission Council

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) is the owner and administrator of the standardized test known as GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test), the leading standardized testing service for graduate business and management programs. Created for the advancement of graduate education and research, the Council or Graduate Schools has a membership of over 500 universities in the U.S. and Canada as well as 16 institutions outside North America. The Council’s website provides useful resources and external links under “Resources for students” tab, including information on fellowships and financial aid options, national organizations, and instructional articles published by the council (most by purchase). *U.S. centric

Graduate School Admission.com

Privately owned, U.S.–related content. Offers information about graduate programs in a range of professional disciplines, excluding business, law, and medicine. Provides links to external websites devoted to admissions for specific disciplines and a topical books list (in partnership with Amazon.com). Houses a popular discussion board which offers an open access forum (users must complete free registration to contribute content), note these are public, not expert opinions. Gives brief explanation and criticism of graduate school ranking system.

Graduate School Admissions 101 (About.com: Graduate School)

Generalized information on preparing your application for graduate school. Covers topics including, transcripts, GRE (and other standardized test scores), letters of recommendation, and admissions essay(s). With its simple format and readability this resource is a good starting point for students interested in pursuing graduate education, however, should be used with combination with other, more authoritative sources.

2 Directories

Canadian Universities: Programs of Study Database (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada)

Hosted by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, who represent 95 Canadian public and not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges. This website is a great resource for Canadian graduate programs. Searching can be done by province, university, or area of interest.

Find the Graduate School That’s Right for You (PhDs.org Graduate School Guide)

An easy to navigate directory to over 23’000 graduate and Ph. D programs throughout universities in the United States. Provides basic information on the institutions and the specific field of interest, with statistical data divided into three categories: institutional profile, students, and degrees. Also provides links to institution’s websites, ranking information, and additional sections on application procedures and graduate student life.

Grad Schools in Canada

Aimed at an international audience, this website provides some basic information about graduate studies in Canada, including program options, school selection, the application process, scholarships, accreditation, and rankings. While designed for those with an outsider’s perspective, this website would be useful for native Canadian students as well, providing an easy-to-use platform when searching for schools and programs.


Perhaps the most all-encompassing directory for U.S. and Canadian graduate programs, this website allows users to search by region, discipline, and/or institution type (public, private, etc.). Provides useful institutional profiles, including information on tuition costs, academic requirements, demographic information on student and faculty populations, as well as some quick facts and maps on the surrounding area. Also contains resources section to current literature and news reports involving U.S. and Canadian universities, external links for scholarship resources and general information articles.

Graduate Guide

Allows users to search by institution and/or field of interest and location, throughout Canada and the United States. Provides results list of schools with links to relevant contact info and school websites.

Master's Degrees Online


Contains brief profiles mainly with financially concerned content on a limited list of Canadian universities, divided into large, mid-sized, and small categories. Also provides content-provider’s profiles and blogs, as well as links to message boards on scholarships, general university-related content, and institutional pages. Available in Chinese text.

Universities in Canada

A more general directory of educational opportunities in Canada and beyond. Provides a short list of (currently twelve) Canadian universities which offer graduate degree programs. Each profile contains a brief description and list of disciplines, as well as links to university websites.

3 Funding Sources

Alexander Graham Bell Graduate Scholarships and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships

The Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships (CGS) and NSERC Postgraduate Scholarships (PGS) provide financial support to scholars engaged in master's or doctoral programs in the natural sciences or engineering. This website provides all necessary information on policies and procedures for the awards. Applications are made available online from the site, deadlines set by institutions.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships)

Administered by Canada's three research granting councils, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) program supports students with above average scholarly achievement in graduate studies in the social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, and health; as well as leadership skills. Open to Canadian and international students. It is valued at $50,000 per year, for up to three years. Website provides most up to date information, including deadlines and application process.


Funded by the federal government of Canada, these grants are available to College and University students in all provinces except the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec. As the website explains, these grants do not have to be repaid and are “predictable, easy to apply for, and will be provided to students at the beginning and in the middle of the school year” (cf. about page). Those who apply for a Canadian student loan are automatically assessed for most of the Canada student grants. Depending on a student’s profile they may be eligible for multiple grants at once.

Community of Science (COS) provides a full range of Internet-based services for the world's researchers.

"Universities, corporations, societies, private institutions, government agencies and individual researchers all depend on COS Web-based products and services to find funding, promote their work, identify experts, manage resources, and collaborate with colleagues." (cf. About page)

  • COS Funding Opportunities - an up-to-date database of announcements for grants, fellowships, awards and more from around the world, comprising more than 25,000 records worth over $33 billion.
  • COS Funding Alert - a weekly e-mail notification with a customized list of funding opportunities based on specified criteria provided by the individual COS member.
  • COS Expertise - a richly featured knowledge management system for individuals and institutions, containing more than 480,000 first-person profiles of researchers from over 1,600 institutions worldwide.
  • COS Scholar Universe - a searchable, editorially controlled database of nearly 2 million published scholars in a variety of disciplines.
  • COS Public View of Expertise (PVE) - a user-friendly interface to make selected information from an institution's research expertise available to key external constituencies and the general public.
  • COS Workbench - an easy-to-use Web workspace for Expertise profile holders, with many features to help you promote your work and manage your resume/CV.

Graduate Guide: Financing Graduate Study (U.S.)

A more general information site on scholarship options for graduate students, including private, not-for profit organizations, military, institutional and government opportunities. Covers planning and application process. U.S.-centric, though with smaller section focusing on Canadian and international applicants.

IIEPASSPORT Study Abroad Funding

Hosted by IIEPassport study, a joint project between the Institute of International Education and Education Dynamics, this site functions as a directory to international funding opportunities, both for Canadian students interested in continuing their graduate education outside of Canada and for non-native Canadians wishing to pursue graduate studies at a Canadian institution.

Library Resources for Research Grants and Thesis Proposals


Created by American engineer and former dual masters student of mechanical engineering and business administration, this site is aimed at members of minority groups, (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau), who are pursuing their graduate degrees and interested in funding opportunities.

Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS)

These scholarships are awarded annually to 2000 students beginning a masters or doctoral program. Awarded to students based on eligibility criteria and outstanding academic merit. The scholarship is for one academic year, which may consist of two or three consecutive terms, depending on the program at a value of $5000 a semester. Application is available online, procedure and all other info outlined on the website

Ryerson University Graduate Funding

Outlines and provides brief descriptions to all internal opportunities of funding for prospective and current Ryerson graduate students as well as an extensive list of outside scholarship and awards opportunities. Also outlines eligibility and general processes for funding at Ryerson.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

A foreign studies supplementary scholarship opportunity to graduate students already holding scholarships from one of the following: a Joseph-Armand Bombardier, Alexander Graham Bell or Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) at the master’s or doctoral level, or a Vanier CGS at the doctoral level. For those interested in international research abroad.

Women Grants and Scholarships

A regularly updated directory of funding opportunities specifically for women.

4 Guides

About Graduate School (The Princeton Review)

Provided by The Princeton Review, this web guide covers a wide range of topics, including application processes, studying abroad, preparation at the end of your undergraduate degree, as well as choosing a program and research options.

Canada’s Higher Education and Career Guide

A more general guide to Canadian universities, community colleges, career colleges and jobs in Canada. Provides lists and links to schools and programs across the country as well as prospects for those at the end of their program or recently graduated.

Canadian Universities: An Overview of Graduate Studies in Canada (Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada)

A simplified overview of graduate studies in Canada, including definitions of various options, applications procedures, payment options, benefits and external links.

Criteria for Choosing a Graduate Program (Quintessential Careers)

Content by Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of multiple successful educational websites, this page provides a list of the issues and topics that students interested in graduate studies may want to consider before choosing their program.

Guide to Choosing Graduate Schools with Masters Programs that Are Right for You (EducationIndex.net)

A comprehensive list of issues to consider when choosing a graduate program and school. Provides answers and advice from university professors and scholars, U.S.-centric.

International Graduate

A guide to graduate programs and schools all over the world. Option to search by location, field of interest, or institution. Also provides general advice on the selection and application process.

Peterson’s Guide to Graduate Programs

A detailed series of guides to graduate programs in almost every discipline. Considered by many students and educators to be a critical first stop in the applicant’s selection and preparation process. Once students have decided on an area of interest, the print version of these guides can be useful in gaining a broader scope of institutions and available programs. They also provide practical information of school addresses, program directors, faculty members, and number of applicants/enrolled students. The online version of Peterson’s brings students through the lengthy and complicated process of finding, applying, and financing graduate school. This online guide is complete with practice admissions tests, links to thousands of schools and program profiles, and a very useful ‘graduate school planning timeline’.

Preparing for Grad School in Canada (SchoolsinCanada.com The Network for International Students)

General information for international students interested in pursuing graduate school in Canada. Topics cover: academics, personal preparedness, English language expectations, and more.

A Realistic Perspective on Graduate Study (The Philosophical Gourmet Report)

From the website of Brian Leiter, an honest reflection on the educational and career prospects for philosophy students considering a masters or PhD. program.

Where Your Should Apply for Graduate School (Tara Kuther) About.com Guide

From About.com, an easy-to-read guide on selecting the right graduate program for you. International in scope.

5 Ranking

Academic Ranking of World Universities

First published in June, 2003 and updated annually, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is a widely respected and cited source for grading of research institutions. ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world Universities (from Africas, Americas, Asia/Pacific, and Europe).

Best Graduate Schools (U.S. News and World Report)

Compiled by U.S. news, researchers analyze over 12’ 000 graduate programs in the U.S. The rankings are based on several criteria, which varies according to discipline. For professional-school programs in business, education, engineering, law, and medicine, rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school's faculty, research, and students. For programs in the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and many other areas, including selected health specialties. These rankings are based solely on the ratings of academic experts.

EduRoute University Web Ranking

Web rankings based on analysis of university websites. Rankings available by country and alphabetically. Information drawn from institutional websites, third parties, and Internet resources.

HEACT Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities

Rankings are formed on the basis of bibliometric methods to analyze and rank the scientific papers performances of the top 500 universities in the world. Selection of universities for this study was based on information obtained from the Essential Science Indicators (ESI). Features of this study are that quality indicators account for 80% of the score; that is the first ranking employing h-index, an indicator reflecting both the quality and quantity of research papers. The performance ranking is based exclusively on the qualitative and quantitative performance on scientific papers.

Global Universities Ranking

“The New Global Ranking of World Universities is the first international global project of an Autonomous Non-Commercial Organization of Independent Rating Agency - RatER (Rating of Educational Resources), supported by the academic society of Russia. Investigation activity of the RatER is based on the concept of the public value system. Each criterion is a combination of inside and outside evaluations of education quality, gathered during sociological surveys of employers, students, graduates, heads and teachers of the higher educational institutions, experts. The object of the investigation is a faculty (department) and not the university itself, which allows comparing higher educational institutions in an appropriate way” (cf. about page).

Graduate School Rankings (PhDs.org Graduate School Guide)

Creates specialized graduate school rankings according to the users’ own preferences. Users can select their own subject area and then define their own priorities upon which results list will be based. U.S. schools only.

NRC Ranking  of U.S. Psychology Ph.D. Programs

“Contains links to 185 psychology Ph.D. programs rank-ordered in quality according to the most recent study conducted by the National Research Council, with "quality scores" taken from a summary of the NRC report published by the APS Observer” (cf. home page).

Ranking Web of World Universities (Webometrics Ranking)

“Since 2004, the Ranking Web is published twice a year (January and July), covering more than 18,000 Higher Education Institutions worldwide. Web presence measures the activity and visibility of the institutions and it is a good indicator of impact and prestige of universities. Rank summarizes the global performance of the University, provides information for candidate students and scholars, and reflects the commitment to the dissemination of scientific knowledge” (cf. about page).

Rankings: Macleans OnCampus

Published since 1991, Mclean’s annual rankings are produced with the mandate of providing, “essential information in a comprehensive package to help students choose the university that best suits their needs. Rankings are based on a range of factors, including spending on student services, scholarships and libraries, to student/faculty ratios and faculty success in obtaining national research grants” (cf. about page).

SCImago Institutions Ranking

“The SCImago Institutions Rankings (SIR) 2009 World Report shows a ranking with more than 2000 of the best worldwide research institutions and organizations. The ranking includes several indicators of institution research performance, such as output, visibility, collaboration and impact” (cf. home page). Downloadable PDF.

The Top Ten American Research Universities (The Center for Measuring University Performance)

The Center for Measuring University Performance determines the Top American Research Universities by their rank on nine different measures: Total Research, Federal Research, Endowment Assets, Annual Giving, National Academy Members, Faculty Awards, Doctorates Granted, Postdoctoral Appointees, and SAT/ACT range.

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