Graduate School Experience at the University of Toronto


Alisha Giglio

Masters in Chemical Engineering-University at University of Toronto

Part 1: Tips to getting into UofT grad school, Graduate Research Days

The University of Toronto (UofT) is Canada’s top university for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies, and was my first-choice school to obtain my Masters of Applied Science (MASc) in Chemical Engineering degree. I was drawn to UofT because of its academic excellence, as well as its location in the vibrant, diverse, city of Toronto.

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While I was completing my application to UofT, I reached out to a few professors within the Chemical Engineering department who I was interested in working with to learn more about the MASc program, their research, and life at UofT. After expressing my interest, I was invited by the Chemical Engineering department to the Graduate Research Days (GRD) program. This program is a unique program many faculties at UofT offer, where potential masters or PhD students are invited for an all-expenses paid trip to the university for two days, to engage with staff, faculty, and current graduate students to learn more about UofT.

The Engineering Graduate Research Days took place during undergraduate spring break near the end of February. At the time, I was completing my BASc degree in Engineering Chemistry at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, about 3 hours east of Toronto. UofT therefore organized my train ticket from Kingston to Toronto, and my stay at the Chelsea Hotel in downtown Toronto for the next two nights.

Once I arrived in Toronto, the GRD program kicked off with a tour of the downtown UofT campus led by current graduate students. I could see where I would potentially study, live, and the laboratory facilities the university offered. Next, the current graduate students held a poster session, where I learned about the different research streams in the chemical engineering department and I was able to ask the current graduate students first-hand what it was like to work with the professors. After the poster session, I signed up for interviews with four professors I was interested in working with, and I then had 30 minute interviews with those professors. During the interviews we discussed research, expectations as a graduate student, and my qualifications to join their research group. I left the interviews feeling inspired to pursue my MASc degree at UofT, and I had even decided on my top choice professor who aligned with my interests and goals, to complete my research with in the Chemical Engineering department. The in-person conversations I had with both the graduate students and faculty during the program really gave me a sense of what it would be like to attend UofT, and played an essential part of making my decision for graduate studies.

After the GRD, I indicated on my application my professor of choice to work under. It turned out I left a great impression with the professor during my interview at the Graduate Research Days. The professor indicated to the department he was interested in taking me on as a student, and because of this, I was accepted to the MASc program at UofT to work with the professor of my choice!