Myths about Graduate School in Computer Science (in Canada)

McGill Campus

Preface

UBC Campus

Myth #1: Graduate school is X more years of paying tuition

  • McGill offered the McGill Engineering Doctorate Award, which guarantees $37,000 CAD in funding.
  • Waterloo offered the David R. Cheriton Graduate Scholarship as well as the International Master’s Award of Excellence (IMAE), which tops-up the base RA funding by $17,500 CAD.
  • Toronto guarantees both RA and TA funding, and the TA-ship only expects around 2 terms of commitment, whereas Waterloo expects 3 terms.
  • UBC guarantees around ~$20,000 CAD in funding per year (for MSc) through a mix of RA / TA-ships, but students can usually undertake additional RA / TA-ships for more funding. For PhD students, the tuition is waived.
Toronto campus

Myth #2: You’ll be extremely poor in graduate school

  1. Scholarships and Fellowships
Waterloo campus

Myth #3: You need good grades to get into graduate school

U of Alberta Campus

Myth #4: Social prestige is the primary metric for picking schools

  • Can find professors who are actively publishing in your field of interest. Publication count is a crude metric, but the reality is that you need to publish in order to go to conferences (where you can meet people and practice presenting your work to the community) and ultimately graduate.
  • Can find schools with a large number of faculty who are working in your field of interest, which opens up room for collaborations and new perspectives.
  • The ranking omits many professors who are not in the Computer Science department (e.g. ones in related fields like Math or Engineering) as well as professors who share time with industry.
  • The conferences the ranking considers to be ‘top conferences’ may not align well with your specific research interests.
  • The overall ranking has a heavy bias for fields with high publication counts, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Vector Institute , Toronto

Conclusion

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