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Online Graduate Diploma & Professional Master of Education

Our online, part-time programs are designed for educators who wish to improve their professional practice and/or take their career to the next level.

  • Enrol in the diploma program first or enrol in the master’s directly.

  • Our online programs are designed to improve professional practice.

  • The programs are part-time & flexible to accommodate professionals.

  • Students join a vibrant learning community & courses are collaborative.

  • Students use our online learning platform & tools such as social media.

  • Master's students choose concentrations such as Aboriginal Education.


  • The Graduate Diploma in Professional Inquiry consists of 5 online courses.
  • The Professional Master of Education consists of 5 graduate diploma courses and 5 professional master's courses (3 courses in a field of study, a course in organizational leadership and an elective).
  • Option 1: enrol in the graduate diploma program & then decide whether to apply to the professional master's.
  • Option 2: enrol directly in the professional master’s degree program.
  • Courses are approximately 36 hours online with your professor & 70-100 hours independently.
  • To accommodate work schedules, the courses are 7 weeks in summer and 10 weeks in fall and winter.
The Queen's Advantage


You can complete the programs from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection; you can take and pay for one diploma course, or you can complete all diploma requirements and move on to the professional master’s degree. Courses have start and end dates, but you aren’t required to be on your computer at a set time every day. All materials and assignments are designed for study anytime.

Professional Inquiry & Fields of Study

Queen’s is unique in offering a diploma in professional inquiry, which is the intentional examination of your practices or programs in order to understand more about them, solve problems or effect change. In both public and private education sectors, inquiry is critical for informing teaching practice and student learning. The master’s program offers fields of study in Aboriginal Education, Assessment and Evaluation, Classroom Specialist, Literacy, and Teaching abroad.

Interactive Courses

Unlike online courses where students just read the textbook and hand in a few assignments, our courses are truly interactive and collaborative. There is ample opportunity to interact with professors and peers to help you put your new knowledge and skills into practice and perspective. You’ll be engaged with your professor and peers in our community in our learning management system and, if you choose, using external tools such as social media. You’ll get to know your classmates, discuss ideas and work on team projects, and forge bonds that cross age groups and stages of life.

Vibrant Learning Community

Our priority is to build a close-knit community and quality learning experience. Our faculty members offer both research and online teaching expertise, and they work with an experienced instructional designer to ensure a quality learning experience and continuous development of the programs. Queen’s online courses attract students from a variety of settings—other universities, professions, and career transitions—which enriches everyone's experience. Because there are start dates, you’ll have a real class and be with the same group of students until course ends, an experience you can’t get from courses with variable start dates.

Guidance & Support

Rather than just providing a grade on your assignments, you’ll get valuable guidance and feedback on your learning from professors. In addition, our Graduate Studies manager is available to offer administrative and academic guidance and is able to provide the unique supports that online students need. You can reach us on the phone as well as online. Our office will keep in contact with you over the term to make sure you have all the information you need to complete your course and advance your program. You have access to all of the same Queen’s services and events as our on-campus students, such as the library and being invited to attend convocation.


Queen’s is regularly listed by Maclean’s magazine as one of the top five universities in Canada. Queen’s is a leader in distance education, offering distance courses since 1889, making it the longest-running distance education program in the country. We have been awarded 13 of the 60 courses – or 21 per cent of the total – funded by the Ontario Online Initiative, which was created to help universities and colleges design and host online courses.


Queen’s programs have been approved by the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance.

Graduate Diploma in Professional Inquiry

Enroll in the graduate diploma program, complete 3 required courses and 2 elective courses, achieve your diploma and the opportunity to apply to our professional master’s.

Alternatively, enroll directly in the professional master's, complete the 5 graduate diploma courses and 5 professional master's courses, and achieve your degree.

All descriptions of the courses offered in the Graduate Diploma in Professional Inquiry program are in the Academic Calendar.

All students take the following required courses:

You can select elective courses such as:

Professional Master of Education Degree

After completing 5 Graduate Diploma in Professional Inquiry courses, all students specialize by choosing a field of study & completing the three courses within that field. Students also take the course in Organizational Leadership and they choose an elective from another field of study.

Organizational Leadership

This course provides an overview of theories of leadership and an evolution of the practices of leadership within organizations in general and educational institutions in particular. Participants will examine the social and cultural construction of leadership, will gain an understanding of the range of roles and responsibilities that a leader has within an organization; will apply effectively selected leadership skills and processes; and will develop conceptual frameworks to understand behaviours within the organization. This is a required course for all students.

Fields of Study

Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal Leadership and Knowledge in the School and Classroom

The primary expected outcome of this course is an understanding of Aboriginal approaches to education, leadership, and knowledge from the perspective of Culture-Based Education. Students are encouraged to engage in peer-to-peer learning to expand upon their own awareness and challenge preconceptions. Because of this, this course is encouraged for students from all backgrounds with varying levels of cultural awareness.

Policy and Models in Canadian Aboriginal Education: From Residential Schools to Culture-Based Education

This course examines the history of Aboriginal education policy and models for Aboriginal education in Canada. It begins with an examination of Aboriginal approaches to education prior to and at contact, then goes on to discuss colonial approaches, including the Residential school system. Following this, it will examine post-colonial policy and education across provinces and First Nations.

Aboriginal Languages and Language Teaching

This course examines the diversity and current status of the Aboriginal Languages of the Americas, including their distribution, status, structure, use, and connection to culture. Students will then gain an overview of language teaching methodologies and an examination of the selection of appropriate methodologies for Aboriginal language teaching and language programming.

Assessment and Evaluation

Using Classroom and Large-Scale Assessment Data

This increasing emphasis on school accountability and improvement places demands on teachers and administrators to be able to interpret the meaning of assessment results. These data often form the foundation for setting priorities and setting targets. Given this importance of these activities it is critical that data users be able to identify the strengths and limitations of these data in supporting decision-making.

Planning and Implementing Classroom Assessment

The assessment of learning and achievement is a global phenomenon. Over the last 2 decades there has been considerable research demonstrating how well conceived assessment can be a powerful force both in supporting learning, and as a mechanism for individual empowerment. Yet, no matter how clearly assessment policies are defined, how concisely strategies for implementing assessment are described, and how many sample instruments are available for adoption or adaptation, the planning and implementing of assessment in classrooms continues to be a complex “wicked problem”.

Conducting Quality Program Evaluations

Educators plan and implement programs as a way to address the needs of students and their communities. These needs may be rooted in learning, recreation, behaviour, school culture and health and well-being to name a few. Typically, classroom and school based programs are spearheaded by individual champions or working groups. Their focus is typically on program activities and the challenge of implementation. Rarely do they have the time or resources to learn, in any systematic way, how their programs are working or how they might be improved. This is an issue especially when decisions have to be made about whether programs should be supported, expanded, continued or allowed to end.

Classroom Specialist

Innovative Curriculum Planning

Leaders in classroom practice are innovative curriculum planners. A review of the historical and philosophical roots of innovation in education will lead to an exploration of contemporary curriculum and instructional innovations such as those that now promote curriculum integration, learning in depth, and environmental inquiry. Students will have opportunities to practice innovative curriculum planning paying close attention to how the curriculum is intended to shape learning.

The Connected Classroom

Leaders in classroom practice help learners make strong connections to the world outside the classroom. This course examines the foundations of why, when and how to enlarge the context for learning and explores avenues that yield integrated and authentic learning experiences. Examples of connectedness are found in classrooms that connect to students’ experiences at home, integrate opportunities for informal education, encourage the involvement of community members, foster community service, and cultivate relevant and appropriate uses of the internet. The focus of learning will be on how to trigger, facilitate and enrich learning through outreach activities.

Critical and Creative Thinking

Leaders in classroom practice are concerned with the quality of both their own and their students’ thinking. This course provides guided opportunities to investigate and implement newer frameworks for practice, especially those intended to support students in becoming independent and innovative thinkers. Decisions about how learning is structured and managed and how students participate and interact will be considered in light of their potential to propel students’ thinking forward, deeper and in more creative directions.

Literacy Education

Theoretical and Historical Foundations

This course provides an overview of the history of literacy instruction and currently accepted theories of literacy development. Participants will develop conceptual frameworks to understand literacy from cognitive and sociocultural perspectives and will gain an understanding of the how these different perspectives condition the range of roles and responsibilities of an instructional leader of literacy education.

Component Skills

This course introduces students to the components of literacy, including phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, vocabulary and reading fluency and others. Participants will gain an understanding of how these components interact to contribute to literacy development in a range of readers.

Effective Intervention

This course builds on the course in Literacy: Component Skills to acquaint participants with research-based interventions and effective programming for a variety of literacy outcomes. Participants will gain an understanding of how these interventions meet the learning needs of typical and exceptional learners and how success of these interventions is measured.

Teaching Abroad

Culture, Curriculum and pedagogy

This course requires students to explore their roles as curriculum theorists within the daily, lived experiences of overseas classroom teaching. The role of cultural difference within the interconnected structures of planning, instruction, and assessment will be explored as it relates to the impact of daily teaching and learning in overseas contexts. Students will articulate the complexities of cultural difference and apply that understanding to analyze planning, instruction, and assessment.

Approaches to Professional Learning

This course will explore the particular role and place of inquiry within an international school teaching context. Students will broaden and deepen their knowledge of professional resources and publications for overseas educators. They will learn about the types of inquiry most relevant to overseas educators, how to gather, analyze, interpret and articulate various forms of data.

Professional Community Membership

Students will explore their roles and responsibilities related to the dissemination of the knowledge they gain through their own professional learning. As overseas educators, often confronted by cultural differences in their everyday teaching, finding ways to share new information and ideas on how to acknowledge these differences in the classroom is a professional obligation. Students will be expected to find appropriate outlets for a variety of written articles (opinion pieces, practical tips and tricks, professional inquiry data…etc.)

Application & Tuition Fees

There is a non-refundable application fee of $105.00 payable to the School of Graduate Studies. There are no registration fees, as students pay per course. Canadian students pay $1242.00 per course, and international students pay $2286.90 per course. Student activity fees are $16.67 per term. All fees are in Canadian dollars and are subject to change. Fees may be waived for Queen's employees.

Admission Requirements

The admission requirements are:

  • 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 Professional Inquiry 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 Professional Inquiry.

Application Deadline & Start Dates
  • January 2016 (Application Deadline: October 30, 2015)
  • July 2016 (Application Deadline: May 13, 2016)
  • September 2016 (Application Deadline: July 29, 2016)

Applications will be considered for admission as soon as all documentation has been received.

Contact Us

Graduate Studies and Research Office
Natalie Lefebvre, Graduate Assistant
Room A106
Tel (613) 533-6206
Fax (613) 533-6057