Our fully online, part-time Graduate Diploma in Education (GDE) program is designed for educators and other professionals who want to take their career to the next level.
Students have the unique opportunity to focus their graduate learning in a chosen concentration of study and apply that learning to solve problems of practice and effect change in their professional context.
Consisting of only 5 online courses, the GDE program is an excellent way to begin your online graduate studies experience and earn a graduate diploma. Should you decide to continue on after you finish the Graduate Diploma, take an additional 5 courses to earn a Professional Master of Education degree as well.
The GDE program offers a flexible and personalized approach to post-graduate studies in education. All GDE courses run asynchronously online, which means professionals can participate from anywhere in the world without disrupting their busy schedules.
Students enrolled in the GDE program must complete a total of 5 graduate courses, 3 required and 2 elective.
- Courses do not need to be taken in a specific order.
- Courses are 10 weeks in Fall and Winter and 7 weeks in Spring and Summer.
- Courses are approximately 36 hours online and 70-100 hours independently.
- Each course is 3.0 units/credits.
- Current course descriptions
How to Apply
Applications to all graduate programs are made through the School of Graduate Studies website.
Note: The application for admission is used for all graduate programs at Queen’s University so you will notice that reference is often made to your research interests. Since you are applying for admission to a professional program, please relate your comments in these areas to your professional aspirations rather than to research.
Two Professional letters of recommendation (e.g. letters from an employer or workplace supervisor) can be submitted in support of applications to professional graduate programs. For applicants who apply to a professional graduate program, a Professional reference form will be generated for their referees. Academic references are also acceptable.
Referees are notified that you want them to provide a reference for you by email after you have submitted your application, so please submit your application at least one week before the application deadline and be sure to include the correct email addresses of your referees. Applications will not be deemed complete and will not be reviewed by the admissions committee until all listed references are received.
In addition to the online application and application fee, applicants are required to submit an official transcript (envelopes from the institution cannot be opened) from all universities you have attended except for Queen's. Transcripts sent from the issuing university should be sent to:
School of Graduate Studies Queen's University
Gordon Hall Room 425
74 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario Canada K7L 3N6
If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies & Research Office.
How many references do I need?
The GDE program requires 2 references to be submitted. Current academic or professional references are welcome, and we will accept any combination of the two. If you have been out of school for over 5 years, we will accept 2 professional references. In all cases, the information in recommendations should relate to the prospective student's ability to undertake the work in the GDE program. Photocopied or 'stale' letters (dated more than one year prior to the application deadline) are unacceptable.
What does a professional reference mean?
A professional letter of recommendation should be a letter from an employer or workplace supervisor. The reference cannot be from a colleague but should be someone to whom you report.
How will the references be contacted?
When compiling your online application, you will enter the names and email addresses of your two references. Upon submitting your application, your references will be emailed a link to complete a secure online reference form. It is important to submit your application at least a week before the application deadline to ensure that your references have sufficient time to submit their recommendation. If your reference did not receive the link, please have them check their junk folder or contact email@example.com.
Where do I send my transcript?
Official transcripts should be sent in unopened sealed envelopes directly to:
School of Graduate Studies
Gordon Hall, Room 425
74 Union Street
Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6
My university is only sending e-transcripts during this time. Is that acceptable?
In these unusual circumstances, the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) will accept e-transcripts if they are generated and sent directly by the issuing university to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 1-613-533-6015. Courier cannot be processed for now, but Canada Post Services is still operational, so SGS can pick up and process transcripts by regular mail.
Parties should understand that official hard copy transcripts will still be required, eventually. For more information, please see SGS website.
I was a student at Queen's previously. Will the university access my Queen's transcripts internally?
If you are a Queen's University alumnus, there is no need to provide or upload Queen's transcripts to your application.
Do I need a B.Ed. to apply?
A B.Ed. is not a requirement to apply to the GDE program. A three-year baccalaureate degree is required from a recognized university.
Can I go back to my online application and make changes after it has been submitted?
Changes can only be made prior to payment and submission of your application. Please email email@example.com if you need to note an important mistake or change after it has been submitted.
Who do I contact if I have any questions?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding the program or application.
The GDE and PME are both about developing professional leadership and applying educational theory to practice. They are set up as laddered programs in which students are encouraged to complete the GDE first (5 courses) and then move on to the PME (an additional 5 courses), so they can receive two credentials for the same price as just the PME. The first year of the PME is the same as the GDE.
In the GDE program, students focus their graduate learning in a chosen concentration of study and apply that learning to solve problems of practice and effect change in their professional context. Concentrations include: Assessment & Evaluation, Classroom Specialist, Educational Administration, Global Education, Indigenous Education, and Literacy Education. In the PME program, students build on their learning in the GDE program to broaden their understanding of educational theory and practice in relation to diverse professional contexts. The PME program includes a culminating, self-directed capstone project in which students explore current and personally relevant educational issues and challenges.
Students can exit after their GDE is completed if they do not wish to continue. Applicants can also apply for direct entry into the PME if they choose.
Is the GDE program intended for teachers?
While our online graduate programs attract many teachers and education administrators, they also draw professionals from other sectors. Professionals who have education and leadership responsibilities and wish to improve their professional practice come to the program from health sciences, engineering, business, social services, and the military.
How long will the GDE take to complete?
The GDE requires 5 courses for completion. There are 4 instructional terms per year: Fall (September to November) and Winter (January to March), which are 10-week courses, as well as Spring (May to June) and Summer (July to August), which are 7-week courses. The university operates on a 3-term academic year, and thus all courses taken in Spring will fall under the Summer term umbrella. We advise students to start by taking 1 course to get a feel for the workload and then add on from there. Most students take 1 - 2 courses per term and finish around the 1-year mark. Students have up to 3 years to complete the GDE program.
Yes, it is a requirement that students admitted to the GDE program take a course in their first term.
What is the course load like?
The GDE is designed for flexible part-time studies. Also, note that this program is 'asynchronous,' meaning there is no requirement to attend lectures or be online at a certain time, so you can arrange your coursework around your professional and personal schedule. You receive all course materials and due dates on the first day of the course, so you know what is coming and can manage your time accordingly. Students who have successfully completed our program typically spend anywhere from 2-10 hours per week per course, depending on their educational background and understanding of course material and the demands of an assignment or project.
What does a typical course look like?
All GDE course content emphasizes connections between educational theory and practice and provides students with opportunities to apply their learning in meaningful and relevant ways. GDE courses are broken into modules, each lasting 1-2 weeks and focusing on a particular theme. Within each module, there are typically a few discussion posts (posting your thoughts on the course material and responding to your peers) and one short authentic assignment (e.g., blog post, PowerPoint slides, brief video, 1-2 page position paper, or mind map). Some courses have fewer short assignments in favour of one or two larger assignments (e.g., case study, multimedia project, book review, professional resource, or professional inquiry project), and vice-versa. There is never any need to come to campus to write examinations.
Does the cost of tuition include textbooks?
The cost of tuition does not include any textbooks. Most courses do not require you purchase a textbook.
What online platform do you use for course instruction?
onQ is Queen's University's enterprise learning management system, built in the Brightspace/Desire2learn environment that many students are already familiar with, both at Queen's and at other institutions. It can be used to deliver academic courses on the Web and can also be used for collaborative research and project-based group work. onQ is the same online environment used across all units, including those offered by Continuing Teacher Education, to ensure a consistent student experience across all programs.
Do I have to choose a Concentration right away?
In the application, you will be asked which Concentration you would like to enrol in. It is important to carefully consider all Concentrations prior to submitting your application. The Admissions Committee reviews your requested Concentration and rationale as part of the review process.
Can I change my Concentration afterwards?
Concentration changes may be considered if you are still in the early stages of the program and have not yet completed your Concentration courses. Email your Concentration request and supporting rationale to the Manager of Graduate Programs in Education and include your student number. Concentration changes are normally not considered more than once.
Once you receive your admission email in the program, you will find information about how to apply for advanced standing using your Continuing Teacher Education Post-Graduate Certificate.
It is important for those taking the PME program with advanced standing and who are from BC to consult with their teacher qualifications service to be sure that being exempt from 2 courses in the master's program still qualifies them for category upgrades. Students who are approved for advanced standing are only required to complete 8 out of the 10 courses but in some instances, your qualification service will not allow 8 courses but require 10 for a master's program. Please make sure you check with TQS and/or are aware of regulation 5.04, "where the content of one part of a program overlaps the content of a second program, the common portion shall not be counted twice in assigning a teacher's category. The TQS cannot split the credit used from a course between two programs". We do not deal directly with qualification services so we urge potential applicants or current students to do the research about what is required in terms of courses and degrees that would qualify them for potential category upgrades. Please contact TQS if you have any questions regarding this.
- A baccalaureate degree from a recognized university
- Graduation with a B- graduating average or higher (70% graduating average or a ranking in the top third of the graduating class where number grades are not available)
- Under exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to highly motivated individuals with relevant field experience who do not meet the B- requirement
- Applicants whose native languages do not include English must obtain a minimum English language requirement of 580 or higher on the paper-based TOEFL exam; 237 Computer-based; 88 on the TOEFL iBT test or IELTS Band 7 or higher
You may apply to the Graduate Diploma in Education first and then to the Professional Master of Education, or you can apply to the Professional Master of Education directly. In most cases, applicants must apply for admission to the Professional Master of Education within five years after completing the Graduate Diploma in Education.
Application Deadline & Start Dates
- September start - Application deadline: APRIL 1
- January start - Application deadline: AUGUST 1
- July start - Application deadline: FEBRUARY 1
These deadlines are firm and include the submission of all supporting documentation (transcripts and references).
Applications for admission to graduate programs are completed and submitted on the School of Graduate Studies website, including an online form and step-by-step instructions for setting up your account.
Note: The application for admission is used for all graduate programs at Queen's University, so you will notice that reference is often made to your research interests. Since you are applying for admission to a professional program, please relate your comments in these areas to your professional aspirations rather than to research.
Two Professional letters of recommendation (e.g., letters from an employer or workplace supervisor) can be submitted to support applications to professional graduate programs. For applicants who apply to a professional graduate program, a Professional reference form will be generated for their referees. Academic references are also acceptable.
Referees are notified that you want them to provide a reference for you by email after you have submitted your online application, so please submit your application at least two weeks before the application deadline and be sure to include the correct email addresses of your referees on your online application. Applications will not be deemed complete and will not be reviewed by the admissions committee until all listed references are received.
In addition to the online application and application fee, applicants are required to submit an official transcript (envelopes from the institution cannot be opened) from all universities they have attended except for Queen's. Transcripts sent from the issuing university should be sent to:
If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies & Research Office.
School of Graduate Studies
Gordon Hall Room 425
74 Union Street
Canada K7L 3N6
Required Courses (3)
GDE students choose one of the following concentrations and take all 3 courses in their chosen Concentration:
Assessment & Evaluation
In the Assessment & Evaluation concentration, students explore how various data sources can be used systematically to inform learning and improvement efforts in classrooms, schools, systems, programs, and organizations. Students completing this specialization gain an appreciation of quality assessment and evaluation as the foundation for meaningful evidence-informed decision-making and develop practical skills that can be applied across diverse professional contexts. The courses in this concentration are:
- GDE/PME 826 Using Classroom and Large-Scale Assessment Data
- GDE/PME 827 Planning and Implementing Classroom Assessment
- GDE/PME 828 Conducting Quality Program Evaluations
In the Classroom Specialist concentration, students explore and develop innovative curriculum practices intended to support integrated and authentic learning within and beyond the classroom. Students completing this specialization gain a greater appreciation for their role as creators and facilitators of learning experiences as well as the philosophical underpinnings guiding their decision-making practices within the classroom. The courses in this concentration are:
- GDE/PME 831 Innovative Curriculum Planning
- GDE/PME 832 The Connected Classroom
- GDE/PME 833 Supporting Innovative Thinking
In the Educational Administration concentration, students explore change management in educational organizations and the impacts of funding models, policy, and politics on educational administrators and stakeholders. Students completing this specialization develop an appreciation for evidence-informed administrative decision-making that supports student, institution, and community success and well-being. The courses in this concentration are:
- GDE/PME 861 Change Management in Educational Organizations
- GDE/PME 862 Finance and Budgeting in Public Service Sectors
- GDE/PME 863 Equity-Focused School Leadership
In the Global Education concentration, students take an in-depth look at the community and climate of international education. Students completing this specialization gain a greater appreciation for the many voices and stakeholders at play when education attempts to meet the needs of a global community. The courses in this concentration are:
- GDE/PME 851 Creating Connection in Culturally Diverse Schools
- GDE/PME 852 International Education in a Globalized World
- GDE/PME 853 The Business of International Education
In the Indigenous Education concentration, students explore Indigenous approaches to education, leadership, and knowledge; the history of Indigenous education policy; models for Indigenous education in Canada; and the diversity of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas. Students completing this specialization gain greater cultural awareness and appreciation, develop an understanding of the need to decolonize pedagogy, adopt policies that build towards education for reconciliation, and acquire Indigenous language teaching methodologies. The courses in this concentration are:
- GDE/PME 820 Indigenous Leadership and Knowledge
- GDE/PME 821 Policy and Models in Canadian Indigenous Education
- GDE/PME 822 Indigenous Languages and Language Teaching
In the Literacy Education concentration, students explore literacy development theories, components of literacy, and research-based literacy interventions. Students completing this specialization develop an in-depth understanding of the roles and responsibilities of instructional leaders in literacy, how literacy interventions can be implemented to meet a diverse range of student needs, and how the success of these interventions is measured. The courses in this concentration are:
- GDE/PME 841 Critical Foundations of Literacy
- GDE/PME 842 Literacy Development
- GDE/PME 843 Effective Intervention
PME students also take the following 2 required courses:
- PME 894 Introduction to Educational Fieldwork (prerequisite for PME 896)
- PME 896 Capstone (typically the final course in the PME program)
Elective Courses (2)
GDE students choose 2 elective courses from the following list:
- GDE/PME 800 Self-Regulated Inquiry and Learning
- GDE/PME 801 Cultivating Creativity
- GDE/PME 803 Organizational Leadership (recommended for Educational Administration Concentration)
- GDE/PME 810 Integrated Planning, Instruction, and Assessment
- GDE/PME 811 Innovation in Teaching and Learning
- GDE/PME 813 Knowledge Translation and Mobilization
- GDE/PME 814* Problem Based Learning (*this course includes synchronous and asynchronous learning activities)
- GDE/PME 815 Digital Literacy
- Up to 2 courses outside their chosen Concentration (see Required Courses section above)
Ladder your Credentials
Applicants to the Professional Master of Education (PME) program who have completed a post-graduate certificate through Queen's Continuing Teacher Education (CTE) or Professional Studies (PS) and the Graduate Diploma in Education (GDE) as part of the laddering option (formerly known as SAGE) qualify for advanced standing in GDE/PME 811 (Innovation in Teaching and Learning), which is 1 elective course out of the 5 courses needed to complete the degree. With advanced standing, students only complete 2 required courses and 2 elective courses to earn the Professional Master of Education degree.