III. Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs

Please note that entry into Dalhousie’s graduate programs is competitive, and applicants who meet the minimum requirements are not guaranteed admission. Normally, successful applicants have academic records and qualifications that are well above the minimum required.

3.1 Admission Requirements

The Faculty of Graduate Studies sets the minimum admission standards that are required for entry into graduate programs. Individual academic units may require additional qualifications of their candidates, and enrollment limitations usually mean that successful applicants possess qualifications that considerably exceed the minimum requirements. The Faculty of Graduate Studies reserves the right to reject applications from candidates who meet or exceed the minimum admission requirements. Final decisions on all admissions are made by the Faculty of Graduate Studies, and there are no appeals on admission decisions.

In all cases, candidates for admission must possess degrees which the Faculty of Graduate Studies deems to be equivalent to those granted by Dalhousie University, and which have been granted by institutions that are fully recognized by Dalhousie.

3.2 Master’s Degree Programs

Candidates for admission must hold at least a four year Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum B average in the last 60 credit hours from a university of recognized standing, with the following conditions:

  1. For entry into a Master’s program with a thesis requirement, candidates must hold a four year Bachelor’s Degree with an honours or the equivalent of honours standing as granted by Dalhousie University in the area in which graduate work is to be done or an area which is relevant to the graduate work. A four year Bachelor’s degree may be considered as equivalent of honours if there is evidence of independent research capacity (such as a research project as part of a course) or if the degree is officially approved as an honours equivalent.
  2. Dalhousie University recognizes three-year degrees in some programs from select universities from Bologna-signatory countries as equivalent to a four year honours degree, but makes decisions in this regard on a case-by-case basis. To be considered for admission, such an applicant must also meet the following criteria: (1) evidence of senior matriculation at the high school level (e.g., A-level exams in Britain, the baccalaureate in France, Abitur in Germany), (2) a university program of study with completion of 180 to 240 ECTS, (3) an ECTS-based average of B or better, and (4) evidence of independent research capacity (e.g., senior paper or thesis).
  3. Dalhousie University recognizes three-year degrees in some programs from select Canadian universities where a student has taken a one-year Collège d’enseignement général et professionnel, or “General and Vocational College;” CEGEP before entering university.
  4. For entry into all other programs, candidates must hold a four-year Bachelor’s Degree with at least four courses, or their equivalent, taken at a senior undergraduate level in the area in which graduate work is to be done or an area which is relevant to the graduate work. Candidates must achieve an average of at least a B in those four courses, as well as the overall B average in the last 60 credit hours for their degree.
  5. In those cases where a candidate has a three-year degree and a four-year degree and where an honours program was not available, first-class candidates may be considered for admission. Students may be accepted to a two-year program fee program or they may be accepted to a Qualifying year.
  6. A small number of mid-career professional Master's degrees (see 7.4.3) may admit candidates either with or without a Bachelor's Degree, depending on the qualifications of the applicant. Admission to such programs, as with all graduate programs, is at the discretion of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
  7. All applicants whose first language is not English are reminded that they must also demonstrate English language competency (see section 3.4 in this Calendar). 

3.3 Doctoral Degree Programs

The criteria for admission to Doctoral programs are more rigorous than for Master’s programs. The successful completion of a Master’s degree does not guarantee admission to a PhD program. Typically a PhD thesis must represent an original contribution that advances the field of learning in the subject. It must be a significant piece of research and only those with a demonstrated ability to perform research at an advanced level will be considered for admission.

Candidates must hold:

  1. a first-class (e.g., a minimum of an A- average) thesis Master’s Degree, or its equivalent, from a recognized university, for entry into a Doctoral program with a two-year program fee and residency requirement, (the identification of a first-class Master’s degree is based on grades in coursework; evidence of a well-written, high quality thesis, and other indicators, such as publications in refereed journals, presentations at scholarly conferences, etc.); or
  2. a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized university with a first-class (e.g., a minimum of an A- average) honours standing (including a research dissertation) as granted by Dalhousie University, for entry into a Doctoral program with a three-year program fee and residency requirement. Dalhousie University recognizes three-year degrees in some programs from select universities from Bologna-signatory countries as equivalent to a four-year honours degree, but makes decisions in this regard on a case-by-case basis. To be considered for admission, such an applicant must also meet the following criteria: (1) evidence of senior matriculation at the high school level (e.g., A-level exams in Britain, the baccalaureate in France, Abitur in Germany), (2) a university program of study with completion of 180 to 240 ECTS, (3) an ECTS-based average of B or better, and (4) evidence of independent research capacity (e.g., senior paper or thesis).
  3. a first-class non-thesis Master’s Degree may be considered for admission to the PhD on a case-by-case basis by FGS where evidence of independent research can be clearly demonstrated, such as a major research paper, presentations at scholarly conferences, publications in journals, etc. Such candidates may also be admitted into a Master’s program with the possibility of transferring into the Doctoral program, as described below.
  4. all applicants whose first language is not English are reminded that they must also demonstrate English language competency (see section 3.4 in this Calendar). 

3.3.1 Transferring from a Master’s to a PhD Program

A few academic units will admit a Bachelor’s graduate with a first-class honours degree into the Master’s program and recommend them for transfer to the Doctoral program. Also, in exceptional circumstances a student with a non-thesis Master’s degree of first-class standing (average course grade of A- or better) may be admitted into a thesis Master’s program with the possibility of transferring into a PhD on the basis of outstanding academic and research potential. Students who wish to transfer from a Master’s to a Doctoral program should do so within the first five terms of initial registration. Such requests must be made before the term in which the transfer is to take effect.

3.4 English Language Competency

English is the language of study at Dalhousie; therefore all applicants whose first language is not English must demonstrate their capacity to pursue a graduate-level program in English before admission. The standard test is the TOEFL. The Faculty of Graduate Studies sets a minimum acceptable score of 92 for the internet-based test. Some programs within the Faculty of Graduate Studies set a higher minimum, such as a TOEFL of at least 100. (See academic unit listings for individual program admission requirements.) The following other tests will also be accepted with the following minimum scores: IELTS, 7; PTE Academic, overall score of 65 and nothing below 54; MELAB, 85; CanTest, average of at least 4.5 with no band score lower than 4.0; CAEL, 70 overall, with no band score lower than 60. Alternatively, a prospective student may enroll in the ESL program with the Dalhousie College of Continuing Education and obtain a grade of at least A- on the final stage of that training. The language competency test may be waived if the applicant has completed a degree at a recognized university where the language of instruction is English. The claims must be verified by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Test scores are valid for two years from the date the test was written.

Further information on these tests may be obtained from:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL/TSE Service
PO Box 6151
Princeton, NJ
USA 08541
toefl@ets.org 
www.toefl.org               
The Dalhousie code is 0915 for the TOEFL test

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate
1 Hills Road
Cambridge, UK CB12EU
ielts@ucles.org.uk
www.ielts.org

Dalhousie University College of Continuing Education

College of Continuing Education
1459 LeMarchant Street, Suite 2201
PO Box 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
cte@dal.ca
www.cte.dal.ca

Pearson English Test (PTE Academic)

pte-acustomersupportapac@pearson.com 
pearsonpte.com

Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB)

English Language Institute (ELI)               
University of Michigan
555 S. Forest Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI,
USA 48104-2584
melabelium@umich.edu
www.cambridgemichigan.org/melab

Canadian Test of English for Scholars and Trainees (CanTest)

CanTEST Project Office
Language Testing Services
University of Ottawa
70 Laurier Avenue East, Room 130
Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5
cantest@uottawa.ca               
www.cantest.uottawa.ca

Canadian Academic English Language Assessment (CAEL)

CAEL Assessment Testing Office
School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies
Carleton University
126 Paterson Hall, 1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6
cael@carleton.ca  
www.ielts.org

3.5 Conditional Admissions

If a conditional admission is approved, the condition must be met within the specified period of time. If the condition is not met by the stated deadline, the student's admission will be rescinded.

Conditions on admission cannot subsequently be waived.

3.6 Graduate Examination

Some academic units require GRE or GMAT scores of applicants as a criterion for program admission. Check academic unit listings in this Calendar for information on specific program admission requirements.

3.7 Advanced Placement

Upon admission, in some academic units with undergraduate honours programs, a student may request advanced placement credits based on graduate courses completed within an undergraduate program, that are deemed equivalent to graduate courses within the student’s proposed graduate program at Dalhousie University. For courses that have been counted toward a previous degree, in which a minimum grade of “B” was attained, advanced placement of up to six credit hours of study may be used to reduce the overall course requirements in some Dalhousie Master's programs.

All requests must have the approval of both the Graduate Coordinator of the home unit and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Combined, Advanced Placement, Letter of Permission and transfer credits completed outside Dalhousie University cannot normally exceed 33% of the program’s overall course requirements.

3.8 Transfer Credit

A transfer credit allows for courses completed outside of the student’s program, normally at another institution, to be used as part of the student’s degree requirements. Such courses must have a minimum grade equivalency of B- on the Dalhousie graduate grade scale, cannot have been used for credit for another degree and normally cannot exceed 33% of the student's overall requirements. This total of 33% would also include any courses taken on Letter of Permission (see section 7.6.6) and Advanced Placement. Application for transfer credits must be made within the first term following admission and must be approved by the Graduate Coordinator of the home unit and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. An original transcript and course equivalency is required if the course was not completed at Dalhousie.  In order to be eligible, courses must satisfy any time period restrictions that may apply.

3.9 Students with Disabilities

See Accommodation Policy For Students in the University Regulations section of this calendar.