Figure out what it is you want to study/research. The more specific you are about your intended area of research, the better. For example, you cannot say that you want to study simply ‘Landscape Archaeology’, ‘the Romans’, or ‘Archaeological Science’. A specific area of study would be ‘Wendat territoriality’ or ‘The impact of climate fluctuation on Late Classic Maya political instability’. Decide what interests you most, start brainstorming before you consider applying to grad school, and contact a prospective supervisors before you apply - the strongest applications come from students that have discussed specific projects with a prospective supervisor. You will need to clearly articulate your ideas in your Plan of Study when you apply to graduate school. If you are interested in applying to Trent, these steps are strongly recommended:
- Review the different faculty associated with the program.
- Read an article or recent publication authored by the professor you are interested in working with; this will give you an idea of their current research and interests and whether you would fit well with their area of expertise. You do not need to find an exact match, but at least a professor with a solid foundation in your proposed area.
- Contact the professor, usually via email, about your interest in working with them as a graduate student. Have an idea of how you see yourself fitting in at the university, the department, and with the professor and express this in your contact email. You do not need a perfectly designed research project at this stage. It is understandable that you might have only a general idea of the area in which you are interesting in working.
- Engage in a dialogue with your prospective supervisor (the professor you are interested in working with). It is important to establish this contact both for yourself and for the professor with whom you hope to study. This dialogue will help you to determine whether the professor is the right fit for you and they can give you some guidance in developing the seeds of a research project to mention in your plan of study. Ask your prospective supervisor about funding (financial support) that is available in the program.
- Start to put together the necessary documents and written components for your application. Refer to the Faculty of Graduate Studies website to confirm which documents are required (https://www.trentu.ca/graduatestudies/programs/). Typically, applications to graduate school require: Official Transcripts, Two Letters of Reference, A Writing Sample, A Plan of Study, Proof of citizenship, and Proof of English Language Proficiency (for students whose undergraduate institution’s primary language of instruction was not English). Give yourself ample time to complete this step in the process. Transcripts often take several weeks to be received. You do not want to rush writing your ‘plan of study’ or editing your ‘writing sample’ – these are the documents which will represent ‘you’ and your work to the admissions committee.
- Think about whether you are interested in a Master’s or Arts (MA) or Master’s of Science (MSc) as both streams are offered by the Anthropology Graduate Program at Trent. The main distinguishing feature between the two options is that Master’s of Science degrees prominently feature scientific methods. Ask your prospective supervisor about which stream is most appropriate for you and your research goals. It is important to note that changing between streams after you are admitted to the program is possible. It is not necessary to apply for both the MA and MSc in the same year and this does not increase your chances of being admitted. Apply to only one of the two streams.
- Apply to the university. This is a two-step process requiring online registration and fee payment and then the submission of your additional documentation to the university. Follow the institutional guidelines for how to successfully complete this process. Be sure you have noted the school or department deadlines and submit your application in time.