Graduate education — a driving force

Faculty of Graduate Studies

Graduate education — a driving force

As a bench scientist, I tend to naturally gravitate to numbers to describe things. So when asked to comment on what marks the past decade for the Faculty of Graduate Studies, I slip into data mode.

The statistics are very impressive.

When I arrived at Brock in 2001, there were about 600 students enrolled in 12 graduate programs. Since then, our programs have more than tripled. We now sit at 44 master’s and doctoral programs in the six academic Faculties — Applied Health Sciences, Goodman School of Business, Education, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social Sciences. As for enrolment, we’ve experienced dramatic growth on a similar scale. Today we have almost 1,700 graduate students, including an increasing number of international students from as many as 80 countries.

Centre of research and scholarship

The numbers reveal an equally impressive narrative about the expansion of graduate education as a driver in the University’s recognition as a centre of research and scholarship.

Graduate students, under the guidance and mentorship of faculty supervisors, make valuable contributions to the University’s research, scholarship and innovation capacity. Each year in April, the Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research conference showcases the scope and calibre of work that our students pursue as they create distinct identities as researchers and scholars. At the same time, we make it possible for students and faculty to collaborate across all disciplines.

The conference is characteristic of Brock’s emerging graduate culture that sets us apart from larger institutions because of our size — not too big and not too small. We believe in giving students the best in personal attention, in access to facilities, resources as well as to a variety of experiences within a cross-disciplinary environment. And in today’s world, we are particularly aware that our students need specific training and skills for success in professional fields as well as the necessary experience to become great researchers and scholars.

A vital part of the future

Our Faculty will continue to be a vital part of Brock’s future. The University has clearly demonstrated its commitment to supporting the development of graduate studies as part of building world-class facilities to deepen our research culture and to expand educational and student life experiences. A few examples of this include: 

  • the Jack and Nora Walker Canadian Centre for Lifespan Development, housed in the Plaza Building — it brings together faculty and graduate student researchers, representing Social Sciences, Applied Health Sciences, Education, and Humanities as well as 40 community agencies, to study psychological, social, health, neurophysiological and educational aspects of life from infancy to old age.
  • the James A. Gibson Library — recent renovations to its sixth floor provide dedicated space to graduate students
  • Brock’s new International Centre on the East Campus — a place that encourages faculty and students to share an understanding of the world as well as providing new faculty and student space for our Classics department
  • the Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex (CFHBC) — graduate students in Applied Health Sciences, Biology and Chemistry work in state-of-the-art labs to advance Canada’s science and technology infrastructure. 

And there is more to come. Future buildings and renovations will provide new space and research infrastructure for students in Business, and in new research areas. These “trans-disciplinary spaces” will capitalize on our collective strengths across our six Faculties. It will make it possible for our graduate community to intersect and engage with one another so that the full value of their ideas, knowledge and creativity can be felt in dynamic ways.

And so, our story will continue to develop as we move from one exciting decade to the next, connected by our commitment to excellence in our graduate experience.

Dr. Michael Plyley
Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies   


• Senior administration bio

• Research profile
    • Faculty of Applied Health Sciences
    • Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex

• Keeping momentum going in Graduate Studies

• “A World of Possibilities”
Brock’s Faculty of Graduate Studies comes to life through the accomplishments of our students

Dr. Michael Plyley
Dr. Michael Plyley