School: Canada (general) Graduate/PhD 2017-2018 applications and acceptance notices: Canada

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#1
Hi everybody! I'm new here but I have been reading threads like this from the past couple years as I have been exploring a Master's degree in planning. Unfortunately I don't know too much about applying to graduate school, and as such thought this would be a good place for anyone interested in Canadian planning schools to ask each other questions, voice our anxieties and think out loud about what's best for us, so that come next year we are all graduate planning students!

Two thoughts I have at the moment from looking over other threads are these:

1. I have weak relationships with even the professors I know best and for this reason I am really worried about my chances to even get two academic reference letters, which seems to be the standard, let alone good ones. Does anybody have any advice or insight as to how they have dealt with this issue, or perhaps how you are dealing with it now?

2. Along with the above problem, I also worry about my GPA being at 3.5 among my upper-level classes only, in third year only. I'd like to apply to a large variety of schools for this reason, but that's obviously a waste of money. Are there any "safer" schools that I could fall back on, that may be more open with their admissions? I'm not saying they would be a guarantee; I recognize that all programs are competitive. But perhaps one that's a bit of a bellwether in that if I don't get into it, I wouldn't get admitted anywhere. One I'm considering at the moment is VIU, but I really have no idea. I'm having a hard time learning about the various programs in Canada through their websites alone.

Look forward to speaking with all of you!
 

_P_

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#2
Hi everybody! I'm new here but I have been reading threads like this from the past couple years as I have been exploring a Master's degree in planning. Unfortunately I don't know too much about applying to graduate school, and as such thought this would be a good place for anyone interested in Canadian planning schools to ask each other questions, voice our anxieties and think out loud about what's best for us, so that come next year we are all graduate planning students!

Two thoughts I have at the moment from looking over other threads are these:

1. I have weak relationships with even the professors I know best and for this reason I am really worried about my chances to even get two academic reference letters, which seems to be the standard, let alone good ones. Does anybody have any advice or insight as to how they have dealt with this issue, or perhaps how you are dealing with it now?

2. Along with the above problem, I also worry about my GPA being at 3.5 among my upper-level classes only, in third year only. I'd like to apply to a large variety of schools for this reason, but that's obviously a waste of money. Are there any "safer" schools that I could fall back on, that may be more open with their admissions? I'm not saying they would be a guarantee; I recognize that all programs are competitive. But perhaps one that's a bit of a bellwether in that if I don't get into it, I wouldn't get admitted anywhere. One I'm considering at the moment is VIU, but I really have no idea. I'm having a hard time learning about the various programs in Canada through their websites alone.

Look forward to speaking with all of you!
I have great relationships with my Professors, I see them during their office hours, participate in class discussions and go out of my way to ensure they know who I am. You should do all of these things in order to secure a strong letters of reference. I wouldn't worry about your GPA, 3.5 is competitive if you have a strong statement of interest, valuable volunteer + work experience, and of course strong letters of reference. I can't comment on what would be considered a "safer" school because I don't want to tarnish a planning school's reputation by subjectively deeming it easier to get admitted into.

Living just north of Toronto and wanting to stay close by, my personal choices are Ryerson's MPl in Urban Development, U of T's MScPl and York University's MES in Planning (no particular order).
 
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#3
I have great relationships with my Professors, I see them during their office hours, participate in class discussions and go out of my way to ensure they know who I am. You should do all of these things in order to secure a strong letters of reference. I wouldn't worry about your GPA, 3.5 is competitive if you have a strong statement of interest, valuable volunteer + work experience, and of course strong letters of reference. I can't comment on what would be considered a "safer" school because I don't want to tarnish a planning school's reputation by subjectively deeming it easier to get admitted into.

Living just north of Toronto and wanting to stay close by, my personal choices are Ryerson's MPl in Urban Development, U of T's MScPl and York University's MES in Planning (no particular order).
It's a little late to develop those relationships hahah but I've managed to secure my required references anyway. Don't know how strong they'll be, but at this point there's not much I can do about it so I'm not too concerned. And yeah you're right, it wasn't the most appropriate question to ask, as you can tell I was probably just freaking out a bit at the time.

That's cool, it's great that you have so many schools available to choose from in your own area. I looked into them myself but decided to cut my options down and for various reasons ended up deciding against all of them. So far, I'll be applying to UBC, McGill, Manitoba, Queen's, Dalhousie and VIU. UBC and McGill would be my #1 and #2, but I don't have a preference between the next three yet. VIU is of course my last choice, since its accreditation status is uncertain at the moment, but I like the idea of being in a new program and staying in BC to boot.
 
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#4
Ill be applying to Université de Montréal for 2018. Hoping to do the Gestion de Projet stream with a Travail dirigé (field placement) instead of a thesis.

Just got to wait for my Residency to come through before I apply. Im hoping itll work out, I already have 12 credits of graduate studies from an MUP program in NYC and my French is very strong. Plus it is dual CIP/APA certified!
 
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#5
Ill be applying to Université de Montréal for 2018. Hoping to do the Gestion de Projet stream with a Travail dirigé (field placement) instead of a thesis.

Just got to wait for my Residency to come through before I apply. Im hoping itll work out, I already have 12 credits of graduate studies from an MUP program in NYC and my French is very strong. Plus it is dual CIP/APA certified!
Cool! I looked into it too, but I think my French just wouldn't quite cut it. Bonne chance a toi!
 
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#6
Cool! I looked into it too, but I think my French just wouldn't quite cut it. Bonne chance a toi!
Have you thought about Simon Fraiser?

Also bad GPA in non-program courses can be made up for by extracurricular experience and taking harder classes as an independent student to cut your teeth - thus proving yourself while you perpare for grad school. I did that at UdeM while still an undergrad and It actually helped me get into my MUP program in NYC!

Be creative! Undergrad isnt an end all be all.
 
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#7
Have you thought about Simon Fraiser?

Also bad GPA in non-program courses can be made up for by extracurricular experience and taking harder classes as an independent student to cut your teeth - thus proving yourself while you perpare for grad school. I did that at UdeM while still an undergrad and It actually helped me get into my MUP program in NYC!

Be creative! Undergrad isnt an end all be all.
I did look into Simon Fraser but decided it wasn't for me. From browsing through their website, their program seemed to be focused predominantly on sustainability and the environmental side of planning which doesn't interest me as much. To be frank, I also just wanted to whittle down the amount of programs I'd apply to, so I let little things like that help me decide.

I do have good extracurricular experience which I know will help. Since I'm already applying to programs now, I'm not really too worried. Can't change anything now, just have to wait until spring to see what happens!
 
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#8
I did look into Simon Fraser but decided it wasn't for me. From browsing through their website, their program seemed to be focused predominantly on sustainability and the environmental side of planning which doesn't interest me as much. To be frank, I also just wanted to whittle down the amount of programs I'd apply to, so I let little things like that help me decide.

I do have good extracurricular experience which I know will help. Since I'm already applying to programs now, I'm not really too worried. Can't change anything now, just have to wait until spring to see what happens!
This was a good call for you! I just finished my first semester at SFU in the planning program, and although I think it was the right choice for me, you get a very brief education in community planning.

Essentially the planning program is in environmental planning, which they are less explicit about. It is possible to work in some more urban/community planning by taking courses in the urban studies program or at UBC through the Western Deans Agreement (ie I will hopefully be taking a course in economic development this summer at UBC and possibly a housing course as an elective next year).

The central planning course at SFU is more a survey of community planning where you spend 2 hours each talking about infrastructure planning, housing, social planning etc and thats it. They did try to work in a 'studio' aspect this year, which was not very structured and pretty confusing. The negotiation course seems very good however and their law course will have 4 hours dedicated to municipal law.

If you want to do urban planning, SFU isnt your school unless you want to focus on sustainability. If you are into environmental planning or natural resources, then SFUs program is pretty good!

Wanted to get this onto the forum because I didnt get this perspective when I was applying last year!

I applied to UBC last year and didnt get in.. very competitive so good luck!!
 
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#9
This was a good call for you! I just finished my first semester at SFU in the planning program, and although I think it was the right choice for me, you get a very brief education in community planning.

Essentially the planning program is in environmental planning, which they are less explicit about. It is possible to work in some more urban/community planning by taking courses in the urban studies program or at UBC through the Western Deans Agreement (ie I will hopefully be taking a course in economic development this summer at UBC and possibly a housing course as an elective next year).

The central planning course at SFU is more a survey of community planning where you spend 2 hours each talking about infrastructure planning, housing, social planning etc and thats it. They did try to work in a 'studio' aspect this year, which was not very structured and pretty confusing. The negotiation course seems very good however and their law course will have 4 hours dedicated to municipal law.

If you want to do urban planning, SFU isnt your school unless you want to focus on sustainability. If you are into environmental planning or natural resources, then SFUs program is pretty good!

Wanted to get this onto the forum because I didnt get this perspective when I was applying last year!

I applied to UBC last year and didnt get in.. very competitive so good luck!!
Thanks for the insight, it's a relief to hear I made the right choice by not applying. It's good to hear that you're enjoying the program!

Yeah, I'll definitely need lots of luck to get into UBC, but it never hurts to try!
 
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#10
Hey all! I'm Kuno from Vancouver (working in Shanghai). I've applied to UBC, McGill, UT and NTNU. I think most school's application deadlines are fast approaching, so just want to wish everyone best of luck!!
 
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#11
Hey all! I'm Kuno from Vancouver (working in Shanghai). I've applied to UBC, McGill, UT and NTNU. I think most school's application deadlines are fast approaching, so just want to wish everyone best of luck!!
Hi Kuno! They sure are, I've now applied to UBC, Manitoba, VIU, Queen's and McGill. Good luck to everyone, hope we're all able to share good news come March!
 

cb2

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#12
It seems that acceptances are starting to roll out now for York! McGill says that they should begin sending out acceptances starting mid-February and going until April.
 
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#13
It seems that acceptances are starting to roll out now for York! McGill says that they should begin sending out acceptances starting mid-February and going until April.
Yep, time is sure passing by quick! UBC says they'll be sending out letter between mid-March and into April, and I believe Manitoba said they'd be starting in March as well.
 

cb2

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#14
I was just accepted into McGill and received an acceptance from York about 3 weeks ago! I am still waiting on UBC and U of T, but I am leaning toward McGill.
 

Zosk

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#15
I was just accepted into McGill and received an acceptance from York about 3 weeks ago! I am still waiting on UBC and U of T, but I am leaning toward McGill.
Congrats cb2! I got McGill's reply too late on Monday. Maybe we'll see each other there! I'm still a bit confused between McGill and Queens though...
 
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#16
Congratulations to both of you, you guys must be stoked!

I still haven't heard from McGill or Queens, though I was only able to finish my Queens application yesterday (I can't believe how quickly they got back to you after the deadline!). Should I be assuming that McGill will not be accepting me if I haven't heard from them yet?
 

cb2

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#17
Congrats cb2! I got McGill's reply too late on Monday. Maybe we'll see each other there! I'm still a bit confused between McGill and Queens though...
Congratulations to you as well! I have heard great things about both schools. I have a friend who is just finishing up at Queens and he had only good things to say about the faculty, the program and the city.

Congratulations to both of you, you guys must be stoked!

I still haven't heard from McGill or Queens, though I was only able to finish my Queens application yesterday (I can't believe how quickly they got back to you after the deadline!). Should I be assuming that McGill will not be accepting me if I haven't heard from them yet?
I wouldn't assume that. It seems as though McGill's first round of acceptance notices are coming out over a period of a few days, at least Sunday and Monday so far.
 

Zosk

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#18
Congratulations to both of you, you guys must be stoked!

I still haven't heard from McGill or Queens, though I was only able to finish my Queens application yesterday (I can't believe how quickly they got back to you after the deadline!). Should I be assuming that McGill will not be accepting me if I haven't heard from them yet?
Hey GC, thanks! Yeah I'm pretty excited, can't sit still today haha.

I applied to Queens Feb 14th, they got back to me Feb 27th so yeah, that was suuuuper quick. They generally say it takes them 6 weeks so I wasn't expecting it at all. McGill's deadline was Jan 15th, I applied maybe 12th? Got an email mid Feb saying it's under review and they'll update me between end of Feb and end of April. Also, based on my conversation with a McGill grad, he got his acceptance at McGill pretty late as well (definitely later than other schools, he said. Sorry, he wasn't very specific). So no, McGill might still reply! They have started to send rejections already so no news is good news I'd say.
 
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#19
Thanks guys, and good luck for the rest of your term if you're still finishing up your undergrad. Hope we all have more good news soon!
 
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#20
Got my acceptance to Manitoba late last night, which was a surprise to say the least! Still waiting on UBC and McGill before I make a decision, but it's a relief knowing I'll be going to grad school next year.
 
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