4. Graduate Application Process

4.1 Application Forms and Supporting Materials

All applicants for graduate programs at Dalhousie must apply online. The application must be accompanied by the application fee, or it will not be reviewed by the academic unit. All supporting materials (including academic reference letters, transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, official GMAT or GRE scores where required, official ESL test scores, etc.) are to be sent directly to the academic unit to which the student is applying. Note that supporting documents (e.g., transcripts, letters of reference, etc.) for all applications will be verified for authenticity. Documents submitted as part of the application cannot be returned or photocopied for the student.

Two letters of reference are required for admission to a graduate degree program. These letters should normally be from academics familiar with the applicant but may be replaced in some course-based professional Master's programs with relevant professional references according to the following schedule:

  1. For applicants who completed their undergraduate (or related graduate) degree within the past 3 years: two academic references.
  2. For applicants who completed their undergraduate (or related graduate) degree 3 to 5 years ago: (a) one academic reference and one relevant professional reference; or (b) two academic references.
  3. For applicants who completed their undergraduate (or related graduate) degree more than 5 years ago: (a) two relevant professional references; or (b) one academic reference and one relevant professional reference; or (c) two academic references.

Reference letters are provided in confidence to Dalhousie University for the purposes of determining a candidate's suitability for admission to an academic program, receipt of an honour or award, or evaluating the applicant's research projects and materials.

4.2 Application Deadlines

General deadlines for applications are as follows:

General Application Deadlines Canadian Applicants Non-Canadian Applicants
For September Admission June 1 April 1
For January Admission October 31 August 31
For Summer Admission February 28 December 31

Please note: some academic units have application deadlines that are earlier than the Faculty of Graduate Studies deadlines. Refer to the specific academic program listings in this Calendar for these dates.

4.3 Academic Unit and Faculty Approval

All applications are reviewed by academic units, and the academic units then make a recommendation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies for acceptance or rejection, including any required conditions of admission. The Faculty of Graduate Studies makes the final decision on admission. Academic units may contact applicants to let them know of a positive recommendation to the program. Although helpful to the applicant, this does not constitute official acceptance into the graduate program.

4.4 Official Response

All successful applicants will receive an official email from the Registrar’s Office indicating they have been accepted into the graduate program. This email is the only official notification that the university sends out. All other forms of communication, including letters from an academic unit or a Faculty, do not constitute official acceptance by the university.

4.5 Scholarships

Successful applicants who are also approved for graduate scholarships will receive an email or letter of notification of their award from the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Unofficial funding discussions may occur between the applicant, supervisor and/or academic unit throughout the admission process. Emails or letters from supervisors or academic units do not constitute official offers of financial support by the University. An official statement of scholarship support will be sent to funded students from the Faculty of Graduate Studies once funding sources have been confirmed.

4.6 Deferrals

Newly accepted applicants who, for reasons beyond their control, are unable to take up their position on the date for which they were accepted, may request a deferral of their start date to a later term. Students may request a deferral of one, two, or three terms. No student may receive more than one deferral. Students wishing to request a deferral should contact the academic unit to which they were accepted as soon as possible. Deferrals are not automatic. Deferrals require the permission of the academic unit and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

All courses must be dropped before a deferral can be considered; otherwise, fees may be charged. If a student has not requested a deferral before the last day to register, the student must reapply for the new term, pay a new application fee, and pay any fees associated with registration. At the discretion of the academic unit, the student may also be required to submit new supporting documents.