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When do Canadian universities start to offer and finish offering admission to their graduate programs? If it matters, I'm applying for a masters in computing science.

For background, I've already received one offer, but don't know what to expect on timeline for possibly receiving offers from other places I've applied.

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  • For the admissions committee, it actually doesn't work the way you were told in the US. In some programs, the professor's interest in a student is "usually" honored, but the admissions committee of the department often itself has limitations and standards of it's own, and then even then it's actually the graduate school/admissions department that makes the actual offer and so even the committee's decision isn't technically 'final' (but is only in rare, exceptional cases altered at most institutions). No idea how Canada works, though, but I wouldn't assume it works the same as the IS.
    – BrianH
    Feb 9, 2017 at 21:27
  • @BrianDHall can you give more details on how committee makes decision detached from professors' interest? i emailed a professor, and she told me she has no control over the admission and she can only discuss my project etc ONLY IF i survive the committee, which makes me feel uncomfortable.
    – Jason Hu
    Feb 9, 2017 at 21:30
  • The full details vary widely by institution, but in a nutshell: the committee is made up of various people, mostly professors in the department, and each applicant file is reviewed by some number of members, who look over all application materials (read letters, etc.). Collectively the committee decides who will be admitted, based on a shared decision making process (which varies). If you are interested in a full review across multiple fields, the book "Inside Graduate Admissions" is quite in-depth, but honestly you can basically consider it a black box, and it changes yearly.
    – BrianH
    Feb 9, 2017 at 22:14
  • In many institutions a professor can basically give a note to the committee stating their interest in a given student, and some institutions specifically have professors get heavily involved in picking their own students. But at many places it's pretty common to be admitted to the program, then an adviser (professor interest and fit with you) is chosen. Yet at some places 1-2 professors have to explicitly state their willingness to work with you to be admitted there, while at others if a professor doesn't explicitly say they want to work with you you don't get in at all. It's sausage making.
    – BrianH
    Feb 9, 2017 at 22:17
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    I've edited down the question to try to make it sufficiently focused and on topic here. If you approve of the changes I think it would also be potentially appropriate to re-open, as it seems more directly answerable to me.
    – BrianH
    Feb 10, 2017 at 18:14

1 Answer 1

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It's not uniform, and the lack of uniformity basically makes it a race: it is not uncommon for offers to have a very short window to accept, in the hope of recruiting (some would say trapping) good candidates early on.

It is not impolite to ask for updates or timelines.

It is often the case that faculty must commit some grant monies for student support, and Canadian grants are usually smaller than in the US. As a result, unless you have a generous scholarship, the system is more dependent on individual "matchmaking", i.e. finding a suitable supervisor willing to poney up the funds, rather than acceptance on pure academic record, although the wealthier and/or larger programs will accept students "at large" without firm supervisory commitments.

If you require funding but none of prospective supervisors has funds left, nobody will be in a hurry to make you an offer. If you have an offer, the better option is to contact these prospective supervisors directly, explain that you have an offer, and hope someone can give you a quick answer.

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