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How a Computer Science Degree Prepares you for Graduate Studies

McGill Many of our students go on to graduate studies at either the M.Sc. or Ph.D. level at top universities in Canada, the US, and throughout the world. Sometimes our McGill Computer Science undergraduates stay at McGill to do their M.Sc. studies and sometimes they go directly to M.Sc. or Ph.D. studies at another university. Although we hate to see our great students leave us, it is usually advisable for Ph.D. students to get some graduate studies experiences at another university.

Which program best prepares me for graduate studies?

An honours program provides the most rigorous education and provides an ideal preparation for graduate school. However, many of our majors students also go on to be excellent graduate students. Students interested in interdisciplinary graduate research may want to consider a joint major in Math or Physics or combining a major in Computer Science with a minor in another discipline, for example Cognitive Science.

Whichever program you choose, you should pick upper-level courses that interest you and where you can get to know some professors in a smaller class setting. When you apply to graduate school it will be helpful if several professors have gotten to know you well and can write good recommendation letters for you. We also encourage you to get involved in some research experiences during your undergraduate studies . This is the best way to discover the excitement of doing research and to get some ideas for potential M.Sc. or Ph.D. research topics. Our professors really enjoy working with our undergraduate students and we have a lot of interesting projects.

What about financial support and fellowships for graduate studies?

Many undergraduate students are not aware that most graduate work in Computer Science comes with some sort of financial support, whether that is through teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships or a combination of these.

Students who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents should be aware of the NSERC postgraduate fellowships. Remember to apply for these at the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies. Don't by shy to ask for help from our CS professors in preparing your applications and to provide reference letters. We like to see our students be successful in these competitions.

Students who are residents of Quebec may, in addition to NSERC, also apply for an FQRNT fellowship (Bourse). This is also done at the beginning of your last year of undergraduate studies.

Even if you do not qualify for one of these fellowships, computer science departments will usually find other means to provide financial support for qualified graduate students.

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