FAQ for Prospective Students



How does the Collaborative Specialization enhance the graduate education?

SGS considers Collaborative Specializations to provide multidisciplinary enrichment of traditional departmental degree programs for an educational experience that is more dynamic, comprehensive and versatile. Although there is no specific career in KMD for which program students are trained, the KMDI learning objectives have wide relevance for traditional departmental education. Study in the Collaborative Specialization better prepares U of T graduates for the pervasive new realities of work in the public and private sectors, broadening their marketability and positioning them to contribute to further innovation in knowledge media development and use.

What benefits does collaboration with KMDI specifically offer students besides additional elective courses?

Students are treated as members of KMDI’s growing research community, being given free access to the technological and personnel resources of the Institute. They are provided training and tech support for a range of new technologies, implemented directly in their course projects and as platforms for their larger research programs. KMDI’s position as centre of a collaboration of graduate units provides further leverage. Units participating in the collaboration agree to support KMD CS students, including those who belong to outside units. Collaborative Specialization students consequently enjoy an access to cross-departmental resources that would be difficult if not impossible to reproduce otherwise. KMDI itself is a recognized leader in the international KMD community, its graduate students connecting with a network of researchers, scholars and practitioners in both the university and private sectors.

How long does the Collaborative Specialization take to complete?

The Collaborative Specialization is designed to be completed in conjunction with a graduate degree program at the Master’s or PhD level, at the home department. The length of time is the same as a degree program without the KMD specialization.

How does collaboration with KMDI affect the final degree students graduate with?

The home unit degree is the primary degree and must be completed before the student is eligible to have a completion of a Collaborative Specialization conferred upon graduation. SGS, which considers Collaborative Specialization study to be a mark of distinction, keeps permanent records of the student’s accomplishment, including a notation of specialization on the final graduate transcripts. The actual diploma issued by the home unit does not mention the Collaborative Specialization. SGS prepares an official parchment for all graduates of collaborative specializations.

What happens if I don’t complete the Collaborative Specialization?

Students are free to withdraw from the KMD Collaborative Specialization at any time. Those students who do not complete the Collaborative Specialization, for whatever reason, simply complete their primary degree program.

Can I get funding through the Collaborative Specialization?

Because the Knowledge Media Design Institute is not a faculty or department, it is unable to offer student services. Students interested in obtaining funding should inquire through their home units or go to the School of Graduate Studies financial support page.

Can I find housing through the Collaborative Specialization?

Because the Knowledge Media Design Institute is not a faculty or department, it is unable to offer student services. Students interested in finding housing should inquire through their home units or go to the School of Graduate Studies housing page.

Is applying to the Collaborative Specialization different from applying to a home department?

Yes. These are distinct processes. Application information is not shared between the two. Some departmental applications invite students to indicate which Collaborative Specializations they are interested in. Indicating your interest there, however, does not guarantee that we will become aware of you. You must apply to us directly. Although departments maintain high admissions standards, faculties and departments may not be able to evaluate interdisciplinary research proposals, nor the set of conditions that a student should meet before embarking upon such a program of study. Be aware, also, that admission into a home unit and admission into the Collaborative Specialization are entirely independent events. One does not guarantee the other. Consult the individual units for their application and admission procedures.

How do I get in touch with the home departments?

Contact information for our collaborating units is as follows:

MIEMASc/PhD: grad.admission@mie.utoronto.ca
MEng: meng.admission@mie.utoronto.ca

Can I use the same statement of research interest and portfolio that I submitted to my home department when applying to the Collaborative Specialization?

Students applying to the Collaborative Specialization should provide new material. In practice, however, there will be redundancy. A statement of research interest will describe the same objectives, whether submitted to a home unit or to the Collaborative Specialization. In cases in which samples of work are required by a home unit, there also is likely to be redundancy. Any material in one application can be used in the other as the candidate sees fit (even to the point of simply photocopying it). However, the stronger applications will be those that take the opportunity to highlight the Knowledge Media Design aspects of research interests and to tailor their content to an interdisciplinary audience.

Does it matter when I apply as long as I do so before the deadline?

KMD CS accepts applications throughout the academic year but the Admissions Committee only meets once per term. To avoid delays students are suggested to submit applications as early in the term as possible and well in advance of graduation. We cannot accept applications for retroactive admission to the program after graduation even if a student completes all program requirements.

How do I know if my application arrived safely and that it is complete?

Applicants will be notified by email when the KMD Collaborative Specialization receives their complete application. Upon receiving an application package, the Admissions Officer will arrange for the transfer of transcripts and letters from the home department. If other materials are absent from the application, the applicant will be notified by email.

Who will be reviewing my application?

The Admissions Committee, chaired by the Collaborative Specialization Director and composed of KMDI Members, reviews all applications.

If my PhD dissertation must be a KMD topic, does that mean that it must be approved by the Collaborative Specialization Committee?

The KMD Collaborative Specialization Committee will review the initial statement of research interest (submitted with the application) but not the actual dissertation proposal. The student’s thesis committee must have a co-supervisor from a KMD CS collaborating unit other than the home unit, but this member need not to be a Collaborative Specialization Committee member. When the dissertation proposal has been accepted by the department, the thesis committee will confirm for the Collaborative Specialization that the topic is relevant to the KMD field. Given the multi-disciplinary nature of the thesis committee, it is unlikely that any problem will arise. If a dispute over the topic cannot be resolved, and the student wishes to continue in the direction chosen, s/he is free to withdraw from the Collaborative Specialization.

How do I get help with my application?

Contact us at admin.kmdi@utoronto.ca for more information, questions and help with the application process.