Five things you didn't know about the Faculty of Graduate Studies

- December 2, 2015

Marty Leonard, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. (Danny Abriel photo)
Marty Leonard, dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. (Danny Abriel photo)

The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) is perhaps the most unique of all faculties at Dalhousie. Rather than classroom teaching and academic research, our core responsibility is the review, approval and monitoring of all things graduate: PhD, master’s, visiting, and qualifying graduate student admissions, course and program approvals, graduate scholarships, professional development, program regulations, registration and degree audits.

FGS also acts as the administrative connection for postdoctoral fellows, human resources for grad students and Dalhousie academic supervisors.

But did you also know…

1. We have a LOT of members

Faculty who work with graduate students are based in all the other Dalhousie faculties. However, in order to teach a graduate class or supervise a graduate project or thesis, faculty must be a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. There are currently 2,100 faculty with FGS membership.

2. Admission to Dalhousie Master’s and PhD programs is very competitive

Given that Dalhousie is Atlantic Canada’s leading research university, and features a community of scholars with internationally recognized expertise in their fields, it’s no surprise there are lots of graduate students who want to study here. Every year the Faculty receives approximately 5,000 applications, and the process is very is competitive: approximately 30 per cent (1,600) of them ultimately receive admission.

3. We take the time to focus on our team

FGS staff and deans assume a large array of responsibilities and support a significant number of graduate students. This requires a hardworking and dedicated team. Every summer we take a day to focus on ourselves and grow our teamworking skills. One of the most fun, challenging and rewarding exercises is an “Amazing Race” exercise. We work in groups of four to complete as many challenges and earn as many points as possible. Challenges include racing to the town clock, synchronized jumping, belly dancing, tennis, bus rides with strangers, searching for obscure landmarks and much, much more.

4. We support Dal’s important role as a Killam institution

Dalhousie is one of only five Killam institutions, and the only institution to sponsor master’s as well as doctoral students. The Killam Trusts, built on the enduring legacy of Dorothy J. and Izaak Walton Killam, recognize and support top scholars in diverse fields.

Since 1967, the Killam Bequest has provided more than $60 million to Dalhousie, including the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarships for master's and PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows. Dalhousie was bequeathed the largest amount from Mrs. Killam’s will, and as such has the greatest number of Killam awardees of any university.

5. We review hundreds of theses each year

Master’s and doctoral thesis written at Dalhousie pass through our office. Successful completion of all doctoral and most master’s degrees depends on original research and a well-argued, properly edited and formatted thesis. In 2014/15, FGS oversaw and gave final approval for 416 total thesis submissions — a significant contribution to the Library of Canada and to research and scholarship in general.

You can find the Faculty of Graduate Studies main offices on the third floor of the Henry Hicks Administration Building. To learn more about FGS, visit its website.

This article is part of "Know Your Dal," a 13-week series highlighting Dal's academic community. For more, including additional content from this week's profiled faculty, the Faculty of Graduate Studies, visit



All comments require a name and email address. You may also choose to log-in using your preferred social network or register with Disqus, the software we use for our commenting system. Join the conversation, but keep it clean, stay on the topic and be brief. Read comments policy.

comments powered by Disqus