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master programs in canada research based and credit based
Master Programs in Canada- Research-Based and Credit-Based
master programs in canada research based and credit based

Master Programs in Canada- Research-Based and Credit-Based

A Master’s student, otherwise known as a graduate student or grad student, is an individual pursuing additional education in a specific field after completing their bachelor’s degree. Whether students meet their master’s degrees or are still completing them, they have many steps to overcome for their future. On the topic of master’s degrees, many students can participate in Research-Based and Credit-Based degrees. While both have advantages, disadvantages, and different methods, they are great for setting up students for success. 

What is a Credit-Based/Coursework Program?

Credit-Based Programs are a more structured way of learning that follows a similar format to an undergraduate degree. While students study independently, they will receive the help they need from professors and tutors.

Admission Process for Credit-Based/Coursework Program

Generally, Credit Based programs rely on GPA for its admission. Many Master’s Programs require a minimum B average (GPA of 3.0 on a scale of 4.3) There are other requirements when it comes to Credit-based programs such as the following:

  • Proof of English Language Proficiency (IELTS, TOEFL, Duolingo, etc) 
  • Submitted evidence, or references to take advanced studies in the area of interest
  • Work experience may give students an edge in their Credit based application, but it is not always required
  • A letter of intent or a resume may also assist students if they demonstrate maturity, motivation, and communication skills

Examples of Credit-Based/Coursework Programs and what it involves

Credit-Based and Coursework Programs are supposed to include activities such as lectures, workshops, and seminars. These programs tend to have the following rules and requirements:

  1. Credit and coursework programs tend to take one or two years to complete
  2. Credit-Based and Coursework programs are not suitable for Ph.D. programs

Examples of these include the following in Credit-Based/Coursework Programs:

  • Master of Engineering
  • Master of System sciences 
  • Masters of Business
  • Master of Education, Communication, Fine arts, and more.

What is a Research-Based Master’s Program?

Research-Based programs involve students completing their research projects in a field of study of their choice. 

Admission Process for Research-Based Master’s Programs

Research-based programs are considered to have very different requirements compared to Credit based programs. Not only are students expected to have a minimum grade point average of a B, but they are also expected to have a minimum of two years of successful professional work experience. Other admission or application requirements include the following:

  • A letter of intent for Ph.D., with two pages maximum (Includes Curriculum studies, Language and literacy, Topics of interest, have the student’s background)
  • A PDF of unofficial transcripts
  • Must provide the name of two references
  • Resume/CV
  • English Language Proficiency (For international students only)
  • Examples of past Academic Writing

Examples of Research-Based Masters Programs and what it involves

Generally, Research-Based Programs involve original research and suitable identification and analysis of a topic. These programs have the following rules and requirements:

  1. These research programs take about two years to complete
  2. Requires a research supervisor
  3. If interested, students who complete this can have this followed by a PhD 

Examples also include the following in Research-Based masters programs:

  • Master of Applied Science (Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering)
  • Master of Science (System Sciences, Epidemiology, Management)
  • Master of Arts (Education, Communication, Political Science, and more)

What Master’s Programs can you find in Canada? 

With many schools in Canada, you can find many Universities that involve Research programs and Credit programs, such as the following:

University of Victoria 

  • Anthropology at the University of Victoria. Full of field and lab opportunities, and focuses on the subfields of Anthropology, such as Culture, Health, Evolution, Ecology and more!

Program options: Masters, Doctorate

Study Options: Full-time study

Program Delivery: On campus

Dynamic Learning: Co-Op Optional

Program Duration: MA-2 years. Ph.D. 4 years

  • Art History at the University of Victoria, where students study the art and visual world with topics ranging from Art, Imagery, Architecture and more. 

Program Options: Masters, Doctorate

Program Delivery: On campus

Dynamic Learning: Co-Op Optional
Program Duration: MA-2 years. Ph.D. 4 years

  • Biochemistry and Microbiology at the University of Victoria where students learn about important topics from structural Biology, Environmental Contaminations, Regulation of Gene Expression, and more. 

Program Options: Masters, Doctorate

Program Delivery: On campus

Program Duration: MA-2 years. Ph.D. 4-5 years

University of Fraser Valley

  • Criminal Justice- The Master of Arts at the University of Fraser Valley helps students acquire knowledge to prepare them for their future careers in this industry, practicing ways to develop practice responses to crimes, as well as gaining skills to accomplish crime analysis.

Program Options: Masters

Program Delivery: On Campus

Program Duration: 20 Months

  • The Social work & Human services at the University of Fraser Valley gives students practical knowledge to move into a leadership role, helping students focus on cross-cultural social work, Ethno-cultural diversity, and more. 

Program Options: Masters

Program Delivery: On Campus

Program Duration: 2 years

University of Toronto

  • Master of Architecture at the University of Toronto is a comprehensive program that allows students to gain knowledge in this industry, practicing programs such as design studios, Visual Communication, Design technology, and more.

Program Delivery: On Campus

Program Duration: 3 years

  • The Forestry Program at the University of Toronto is a research and thesis-based program, having students focus on Forest Biosphere Science, Invasive Species and threats to forest health, and more. 

Program Delivery: On Campus
Duration: 2 years

These are only a few Master’s programs in Canada that provide this high level of education perfect for students. 

Advantages of Credit-Based/Coursework Programs?

Credit and Coursework Programs are suitable for students since depending on what you major in, these programs allow students to learn many valuable skills and help set them up for their future. Down below are some examples of the advantages of these programs:

  • Good practice and well versed in a variety of subjects
  • It can help with employment, therefore setting up a stable career for your future
  • Surrounded by tutors and peers to help assist you if needed
  • Allows students to study a variety of subjects, making this form of education interesting

Disadvantages of Credit-Based/Coursework Programs?

Despite the advantages being very strong and significant for this program, there are also a fair amount of disadvantages that students must go through, making studying life a bit tricky for them:

  • Credit and Coursework programs tend to be less flexible 
  • More likely to be expensive 

Advantages of Research-Based Master Programs?

Many students who enroll in Research-Based master’s programs have many advantages as to why it can help set them up for their future. Although these programs tend to take a long time for students to complete, Research-Based Master programs have their advantages for students:

  • Students are allowed to focus on one topic of their choice that peaks their interests
  • Receives a better understanding of what it is like to what studying for a Ph.D. will feel like
  • It will overall give them a significant amount of help with Research-Based degrees
  • Allow students to have freedom and flexibility to manage their workload
  • If research is a vital part of your ideal future career, Research-Based master’s programs provide a starting point for students. 

Disadvantages of Research-Based Master Programs?

While there are students who are eager to sign up for a Research-Based master’s program, this easily comes with disadvantages for students, such as the following:

  • There is a lack of variety of subjects discussed
  • Because of the lack of subjects involved, these programs could turn dull and repetitive fast for some
  • Lead to less development in skill since research is independent

For more information on these programs, click here and here for more details and information. 

Any Advice?

There is a lot to consider when signing up for any Master’s Program in Canada, as students should decide their reasoning for studying. The last thing one would want to do is not be passionate about a subject you are learning. It is important to remember that time management and being ahead of your readings and assignments are vital to a successful education. 

Be sure to stay focused and do the best you can! Study hard out there!

Sources:University of Toronto Master Programmes, University of Victoria Master, University of Fraser Valley Masters, Course vs Thesis-Based, Course work and Research Based, Apply for admission University of Victoria, Admission Requirements Thompson Rivers University, Admission Requirements for Simon Fraser University
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