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Wilfrid Laurier University Development
October 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Headlines (Campus Updates)


Laurier plans to offer six more graduate programs this fall, with more to come

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Jan 24/07

To understand the true meaning of “unprecedented growth,” one need only visit the offices of Dr. Joan Norris, dean of graduate studies, and Helen Paret, manager of graduate administration.

At first glance, their offices are like many others, overflowing with paper and buzzing with activity. But after a few minutes, a tangible energy fills the air — the kind that comes with purpose, change and excitement.

The source of this energy radiates from a seemingly simple list that Dr. Norris scratched out in magic marker on a large piece of paper tacked to her wall. But the list isn’t simple; in fact, it took hours of strategy, evaluation and collaborative thought to create.

The list contains Laurier’s new graduate programs for Fall 2007, as well as those under review for the future. While that may not seem unusual, consider that for the past eight years a similar list would have contained only one, maybe two, programs. This year it holds 13.

“We are thrilled to be offering such a broad range of innovative graduate programs to our students,” Paret says. “While we are still awaiting final approval from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies for a number of programs, we anticipate that by September 2007, we will be offering up to 19 master’s degrees and nine doctoral degrees, as well as three master’s and one doctoral degree through the seminary. This represents six more graduate degrees than we offered last year.”

The graduate office has six new graduate programs under review at the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS) — a detailed, year-long process that began with reviews by numerous Laurier committees before going to senate and then on to OCGS. Representatives from OCGS then visit Laurier with specific questions for Norris, faculty and students. Five of these programs are expected to launch in 2007.

“This is a year of significant growth for Laurier – one that supports our move towards becoming a comprehensive university, as well our strategic focus on research,” says Norris. “Moving forward, we would also like to see a balance between undergraduate and graduate student numbers, and more PhD programs.”

The current growth at the master’s level is made possible in part by funding for graduate programs from the provincial government that coincides with the end of the double cohort’s undergraduate years.

If the level of growth is unique, then so are the program offerings, with integration across faculties and among institutions bringing diversity to students’ choices. The master of cultural analysis and social theory program, for example, integrates six departments, while the master of international public policy (MIPP) and the doctorate in global governance combine arts and business. The latter is offered jointly with the University of Waterloo, with support for students, faculty and research initiatives from the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

While the growth and diversity of graduate programs holds obvious benefits for students at both the graduate and undergraduate level, it brings just as much benefit to the university. Both Norris and Paul Maxim, associate vice-president: research, emphasize the strong links between graduate programs and research.

“Strong graduate programs attract faculty, chairs and researchers,” Norris says. “Young faculty members are drawn to research possibilities, and graduate programs and graduate students are a solid part of the research component.”

Maxim concurs. “Research excellence both attracts and is reinforced by a strong and diverse graduate student body,” he says. “Good graduate students are attracted to strong programs that have both the intellectual and material resources to support their careers.”

Indeed, existing graduate degree programs do much to support the research clusters identified in the university’s strategic plan: culture and human experience, society and public policy, environment and health, and science and technology.

Laurier’s proposed new graduate programs for Fall 2007 include:
•    Master’s in International Public Policy (which already has OCGS approval to commence)
•    MA in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory
•    MA in Philosophy
•    MA in Sociology
•    MSc in Integrative Biology
•    PhD in Global Governance, offered jointly with the University of Waterloo

Proposed new graduate programs for Fall 2008 include:
•    MA in Communications Studies
•    Master of Finance
•    MSc in Management
•    Another four programs are in the development stage and may be added to the slate of new programs expected for Fall 2008.

On March 2, 2007, the faculty of graduate studies invites prospective graduate students to experience graduate studies first-hand at the first annual graduate open house. Students will be able to meet with program representatives to discuss research opportunities, funding and admission requirements for all of Laurier’s graduate degree programs. Additionally, on March 2 and March 12, the research office will be holding “research days” to showcase faculty and student research activity.

For further information about graduate programs or the graduate open house, please contact Helen Paret at or visit the faculty of graduate studies at

By Lori Chalmers Morrison
Public Affairs


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