What are Post-Graduate (Post-Grad) Programs?
- Ontario Colleges offer post-graduate programs (also known as post-diploma programs) for students who have already completed a university or college degree or diploma.
- These are relatively short programs (usually 1-2 years of full-time study) offering intensive training and practical experience in specific career areas.
- Post-grad programs can be diploma or certificate programs. For individuals who would like to continue working full-time while furthering their education, a certificate program may be a good option.
1. Why Would I Want to Complete a Post-Graduate Program?
- Post-grad programs provide training in a specific career area, which can help you be more competitive in the workplace.
- Some of this training is practical (e.g., may include co-op or practical placements), which may complement the theoretical training acquired in university, and allow you to get your foot into the door with employers.
- Although many programs include this practical experience option, there is variation in what specific programs offer. Do your research to determine whether this practical component is included and whether the other aspects of the curriculum meet your needs.
2. Are There Benefits to Post-Grad Programs over Graduate School Programs?
- Post-grad programs are one of many types of further education such as graduate school, professional school, and a variation of these called mixed programs.
- Post-grad programs tend to be practical rather than research-based (a characteristic of graduate school programs).
- A post-grad program may be equal in value to a graduate degree, depending on your career area of interest. Do your research before deciding to pursue any further education, post-grad programs included, to determine which qualifications employers prefer in your area of interest. It will also help you determine which program would be best suited to you, given your interests, strengths, and academic background.
- Use LinkedIn to find other students who may be in or have recently graduated from the program you are interested in. Reaching out to these individuals and having a conversation with them can help you with getting into the program as well as seeing if it suits your needs.
- If you are unsure whether further education would be a good idea for you, feel free to meet with a Career Counsellor at the Career Centre for help making your decision. You can book an in-person or virtual appointment by calling 905-828-5451.
3. What Are the Admission Requirements?
- The main requirement for admission to a post-grad program is completion of a university degree or college diploma.
- Sometimes, your degree/diploma must be in a related area to the post-grad program you wish to pursue, or you may need to have completed related courses during your undergraduate studies (e.g., science courses or a science degree/diploma, to pursue some healthcare/health science programs).
- Beyond the general requirement for completion of a degree/diploma, check each program’s guidelines for any additional course requirements.
Additional requirements may include submission of the following:
- letters of reference
- cover letter
- statement of interest in the career area
- writing samples and/or portfolio
Sometimes, schools may base their admissions decisions on additional factors such as:
- performance in an admissions interview
- performance on admissions tests (e.g., English language or math)
- level of academic achievement
- whether you possess special skills relevant to the program (e.g., computer skills)
- whether you have relevant experience
Admission requirements can differ widely by school and/or program. Check the academic calendar or website of each school and program for this information.
4. Where Can I Find Post-Grad Programs? How Do I Apply?
- You can search for and apply to post-grad programs in Ontario by visiting the Ontario Colleges website.
5. What Is the Deadline to Apply?
- Applications are typically available in early October (for programs starting the following fall). Colleges also offer programs that start at other times during the year (view the list of open programs) at the above site. Although there is no deadline to apply to colleges in Ontario, applications received on or before February 1st are given equal consideration. Some programs are very competitive – so apply early. Visit the Ontario Colleges website for further details.
6. Other Ways to Continue Your Education
- Besides post-grad/diploma programs, you can check the Continuing Education departments at the various universities and colleges in Ontario, such as U of T, York, Ryerson, Sheridan, Humber, etc.
- Visit U of T's School of Continuing Studies website.
- Did you know? U of T rewards recent grads with an alumni discount of $550.00 towards one course, valid for 2 years following convocation?
- Some Canadian universities offer graduate-level certificates/diplomas. You can search for these in the Universities Canada online database (by selecting program level).
- Ontario Colleges Search for and apply to post-grad programs in Ontario.
- Gradschools.com and Petersons.com Search for post-grad programs at various universities in Canada and abroad.
- Course calendars – access online calendars on each school’s website.
- Career Centre Library and Career Cruising – these print and online resources can help you research careers to determine what education is required for your career of choice. Please ask Career Centre staff if you would like assistance with these resources.
Please note that this information is subject to change. It is best to refer to the original sources for the most up-to-date information.
Updated July 2023