Ladder your credentials

Start with a Graduate Certificate - finish with a Professional Master of Education

Looking at additional qualifications or already have one and wondering what is next? Our laddered system gives you the opportunity to explore online education opportunities and work towards three different credentials. 

This option was previously called the Specialized Applied Graduate Experience (SAGE).

What is Laddering? 

Laddering allows you to progress through successive credentials while carrying forward course credits. Students can receive three different credentials - a Post-Graduate Certificate, a Graduate Diploma in Education, and a Professional Master of Education. If you follow the laddering system, you can earn all three credentials with three fewer classes overall.

The three laddered components can include:

1. Post-Graduate Certificate

Consisting of five courses in a specialized area, completion of the program qualifies students for advanced standing in two electives in the Graduate Diploma in Education and one elective in the Professional Master of Education.

Note: Please specify your region from the drop-down in the top right.

Post-Graduate Certificate

2. Graduate Diploma in Education

Our Graduate Diploma in Education examines your professional environment to understand it more deeply, to solve problems, and to effect change. Students complete three courses in their chosen concentration selected from the following: Indigenous Education, Assessment and Evaluation, Classroom Specialist, Literacy Education, Global Education, or Educational Administration.

Graduate Diploma in Education

3. Professional Master of Education

The Professional Master of Education will build on learning in the Graduate Diploma of Education program to broaden understanding of educational theory and practice in relation to diverse professional contexts. Students complete four additional courses, including a capstone course with a self-directed project to explore current and personally relevant educational issues and challenges.

Professional Master of Education

Five CTE/PS Courses - $650-$745 per course

Three GDE Courses - $1253.70 per course (domestic) or $2918.70 per course (international)

Four PME Courses - $1253.70 per course (domestic) or $2918.70 per course (international)

All fees listed are in Canadian Dollars and are subject to change. Please see the Office of the University Registrar website for the most up to date information.

To begin the program, you apply to the individual courses in the Continuing Teacher Education or Professional Studies post-graduate certificates. Once you have completed the post-graduate certificate, you will then apply through the School of Graduate Studies website, including an online form and step-by-step instructions for setting up your account. You will need to apply to the GDE and PME programs separately.

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 through the online application system. 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 one week before the application deadline and be sure to include the correct email address. 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

Post-Graduate Certificate courses run eight times throughout the year and can be found on the Continuing Teacher Education or Professional Studies websites. GDE and PME application and start dates are below:
  • 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). 

  • 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 have achieved the required level of proficiency on one of the language proficiency tests listed on the School of Graduate Studies website.

For additional information on language requirements and how to apply, please see

Applicants to the Graduate Diploma in Education (GDE) and the Professional Master of Education (PME) programs who have completed a post-graduate certificate through Queen's Continuing Teacher Education (CTE) or Professional Studies (PS) as part of the laddered option qualify for advanced standing.  If offered admission to the GDE program, students will be exempt from GDE/PME 800 and GDE/PME 801, which are two elective courses out of the 5 courses needed to complete the graduate diploma.  If students continue on to the PME program after GDE completion, they will be exempt from GDE/PME 811, another elective, for 3 total advanced standing credits throughout the laddered option.

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. 

For BC Applicants

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 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. 

Graduates from our Professional Master of Education program normally receive higher teaching certification levels and increased salaries. Please check with your Board/Employer for details.

Contact Us

Graduate Studies & Research Office