Coursework at the graduate level is not just different classes than the undergraduate. It is not simply more information on a particular topic. It is designed to be a qualitatively different experience.
Concordia University has accepted these principles as the practical ways graduate education will be delivered at Concordia.
1. Graduate coursework is more creative. Students create systems that will help them to be a more effective professional.
2. Graduate coursework is more self-directed. In many assignments, students decide how to fashion an assignment to help them apply and synthesize the material more appropriately.
3. Graduate coursework is more rigorous. More is expected of the graduate student than of the certificate or undergraduate student.
4. Graduate coursework is more attentive to epistemological issues. More attention is given to “how we know what we know,” and to how we prove and support what we know. Skills of discernment and critical thinking are needed.
5. Graduate coursework is more attentive to research. Students will be exploring (and conducting) new research. They will read and critique original research.

6. Graduate coursework is more a community of learners, rather than merely a teacher-student relationship. Graduate students are assumed to have reached an intellectual maturity that puts them at a place where the role of the instructor is different. Instructors do not have to spoon-feed or hand-hold; instructors need to guide and mentor the mature student in the direction that the student has identified.
7. Graduate students give careful consideration to research, information, and bibliographic references. The skills of knowledge navigation are increasingly important in the years ahead, and graduate students know how to find the knowledge they need.
8. Graduate learning is not just remembering information, it is constructing knowledge. The community of learners opens new insights and creates new knowledge in the field.
9. Graduate professors are actively engaged in research and learning. This helps them maintain a cutting edge in their profession.
“It is the role of graduate education to explore and advance the limits of knowledge and to define the state of the art in every field. Its purpose is to serve society’s needs in specific technical and professional ways, but also to serve the need for intellectual expansion. Graduate education is a major source of future intellectual leaders of society…”

Adapted from Organization and Administration of Graduate Education: A Policy Statement, Council of
Graduate Schools

Last modified: March 15, 2018