Graduate study at McMaster University began over a century ago with M.A., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees first being conferred in 1894, 1942, and 1951 respectively. The administration of graduate work has taken various forms throughout this period. The Graduate Studies Committee of the Faculty of Arts and Science administered graduate work until 1957 when it was replaced by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. In 1969 McMaster University adopted its current administrative structure for graduate work. Taking the position that there should not be separate undergraduate and graduate teaching faculties, the Graduate Council was established as the deliberative, administrative and executive body reporting directly to the Senate on matters concerning graduate work.
When McMaster moved to its current graduate organization, the aims of graduate work were described as "the highest development of the powers of reasoning, judgment, and evaluation in intellectual concerns; specialized training in professional skills; initiation into research or scholarly work and development of a capacity for its successful and independent pursuit; the fruitful pursuit of research and scholarly work". This description remains as valid today as it was then.
Research is central to graduate work, and McMaster's strong research orientation has a pronounced effect on the character of its graduate programs. The numerous research achievements of McMaster faculty members have been recognized by grants, prizes, medals, and fellowships in academic societies. Such distinctions attest to the qualifications and dedication of faculty members in developing and disseminating knowledge. The education that McMaster faculty provide is valuable not only for the graduate student's career but also for the student's development as a person.
McMaster University offers over one hundred respected and innovative graduate programs across 6 Faculties.