• Passionate Minds

Feature on Queen’s University

Written by Rory Sullivan

Edited by Farah Farhat


Cha Gheill! What does that mean you ask? It means “no surrender” in Gaelic and is the conclusion to the traditional cheer at Queen’s University! Originally called Queen’s College, it is one of the oldest universities in Canada, having been established in 1841. If you have always wondered about Queen’s University, but have no idea where to get all the important information, look no further!


Popular Programs:

Engineering - If I had to pinpoint the one program Queen’s University is best known for, I would have to say it is their Engineering and Applied Sciences program. Founded in 1893, the faculty has constantly been a top name for prospective Engineering students. Specializations include Mining Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and many more. Rich with history and tradition, Queen’s Engineering is an excellent choice, and you could be one of the 4600 students who are admitted annually to this faculty.

  • Required Courses and Admissions: Competitive Average = 87%+

  • English4U (minimum 70%)

  • Calculus and Vectors 4U

  • Chemistry 4U

  • Physics 4U

  • Choose ONE out of Advanced Functions 4U, Biology 4U, Data Management 4U, Computer Science 4U, Earth and Space Science 4U

  • One 4U/4M course

  • Tuition and Fees: $13k-14k


Commerce - Another big faculty at Queen’s University in Commerce at the Smith School of Business. With an impressive 98% of commerce students achieving employment within six months of graduation, the Smith School of Business at Queen’s is an excellent choice for any interested student. Ranked in the top ten business schools in Canada, the Smith School of Business accepts 500 first-years annually, making it a pretty competitive program.

  • Required Courses and Admissions: Competitive Average = 87%+

  • English 4U (Minimum 80%)

  • Calculus and Vectors 4U (Minimum 80%)

  • Another additional 4U Mathematics course (Minimum 80%)

  • Additional THREE 4U/4M courses (no more than two 4M)

  • MANDATORY: Supplementary Essay and Personal Statement of Experience

  • Tuition and Fees:

  • Tuition: $16,288


Con-Ed - Also known as Teacher Education, this program allows undergraduate students to complete their Bachelor in Arts/Music/Science/Fine Art AND their Bachelor’s of Education in five years. It is essentially a time saving, double degree for Queen’s students to be out on the job market a year earlier than other students training to be teachers. The program also includes placement in the third year, and students choose a concentration in their fifth year (ex. Drama in Society, At-Risk Children, International Education, etc…). There are only 140 spots for first years, making this program VERY popular!

  • Required Courses and Admissions: Competitive Average = 80%+

  • English 4U

  • Two additional 4U courses

  • Three additional 4U or 4M courses

  • Tuition and Fees:

  • Tuition: $7,853 (cost differs final year - info found here)


Nursing - With only 92 spots, this is one of the most selective undergraduate programs at Queen’s University. This is an especially important program given the current state of our health crisis. Small class sizes, hands-on learning, and clinical placements ensure all graduates of this program will receive a unique and well-rounded learning experience.

  • Required Courses and Admissions: Competitive Average = 90%+

  • English 4U (Minimum 75%)

  • Biology 4U

  • Chemistry 4U

  • Any 4U Mathematics course

  • Additional two 4U/4M courses

  • Tuition and Fees:

  • Tuition: $7,251.92

  • Advanced Standing Track:

  • Students can complete their degree in two years with two summer terms instead of the full four years.

  • Tuition: $7,865.24


Arts and Science (ArtSci) - The biggest faculty at Queen’s University, this faculty includes all programs from Political Studies, to Psychology, to Life Sciences, and many, many more! Students entering their first year of ArtSci will remain undeclared for the entirety of their first year, which allows them the freedom to decide what degree plan they want to declare at the end of the year. Students tend to change their minds about their degree plan from when they first apply, to when they finish their first-year exams, which makes Queen’s ArtSci especially cool! There’s no need to worry about switching degrees when your first year is left undeclared.

  • Required Courses and Admissions: Competitive Average = 80%+ (Arts) / 82%+ (Science)

  • Arts:

  • English 4U

  • Two additional 4U courses

  • Three additional courses in either 4U or 4M

  • Science:

  • English 4U

  • Advanced Functions 4U

  • Calculus and Vectors 4U

  • Two additional courses of Biology 4U, Chemistry 4U, OR Physics 4U

  • One additional course in either 4U or 4M

  • Tuition and Fees:

  • Tuition: $7,220.71


NOTE: The Personal Statement of Experience is MANDATORY for all Commerce students, but OPTIONAL for every other faculty. However, it is strongly recommended that every student completes one, as this may help your chances of looking desirable and being accepted to the university.


These are some of the most popular ones that Queen’s is known for, but there are several others that are just as interesting!


Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle:


About: One of the most unique aspects of Queen’s University is that they own a castle located in East Sussex, England, which is now used as an exchange destination for students. The 15th century English castle was donated by Alfred Bader to Queen’s University in 1993 and is now used as both a centre of learning and a historical tourist spot.


Academics: The BISC offers programs available for summer, winter, and fall terms in a variety of degree programs (ex. Drama, History, Architecture, etc…). While upper-year programs are only one semester-long, the BISC offers a year-long first-year program for freshmen to spend their year abroad. Along with small class sizes and the fact that Queen’s students can avoid having to transfer their credits like in other exchange programs, the BISC program has midterm trips built into the tuition. In past years, students have visited Paris, London, and many other cities that can help expand their learning.


Campus Life: Students who live at the castle are a half an hour bus ride from Brighton and a two-hour train ride from London. Most students use their weekends at the castle to travel to the close European continent in order to make the most of their location. Multiple clubs and several volunteering opportunities on campus will ensure that students leave the castle feeling more fulfilled than when they came.


Tuition and Fees:

  • Fall Semester Tuition: $13, 814

  • Winter Semester Tuition: $13,814

  • Specialized International Politics Program: $13,814

  • Summer Semester Tuition: $10,236

  • First-Year Tuition: TBD (approx. $40k in past years)


Certificate Programs:

About: These certificates, which can be obtained by Queen’s and non-Queen’s students alike, provide students with the opportunity to add to their academic career. Having an additional certificate sets students apart from others, especially when applying for a job. These certificates typically require 12-18 units (4-5 courses), and 6 of those units can be applied to your degree as well. Most students will take the additional courses needed in the summer term, and the extra time and money can definitely be worth it in a competitive job market.


ArtSci Certificates:

  • Academic Writing

  • Data Analytics

  • Disability and Physical Activity

  • Employment Relations

  • Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Creativity

  • French for Professionals

  • Geographic Information Science

  • Global Action and Engagement

  • Indigenous Languages and Culture

  • International Studies

  • Media Studies

  • Mohawk Language and Culture

  • Sexual and Gender Diversity

  • Urban Planning Studies


Commerce Certificate:

  • Smith Certificate in Business has been designed for Queen’s University Arts and Science, Engineering and Applied Science, and Four-Year Nursing students who want to gain fundamental knowledge in the key areas of business, in order to broaden their career options upon graduation.” (Smith School of Business, 2020).

  • Tuition: $8,884.08 (covers the 6 courses needed to complete this certificate)


Queen’s Certificate in Law:

  • This online certificate allows a unique experience for students who are interested in the law. It provides students with a taste of the law, whether the student is interested in pursuing a law career in the future or is simply looking to stand out on their transcript and resume. Four courses will be needed to satisfy the certificate requirements, two of which can be applied to your degree.

  • Tuition: If you are a Queen’s student, two of the necessary courses will be built into your annual tuition. The two additional courses will be $1,134 each, totalling to $2,268.


Queen’s Traditions:

Faculty Jackets - The leather (vegan options now available!) faculty jackets have been a

tradition at Queen’s for decades. During Homecoming last year, it wasn’t uncommon to see Alumni around campus with jackets as old as the 70s. A lifelong reminder of your time at Queen’s University, the jacket is a popular option for many students. Each faculty has its own specific coloured jacket, and you can add badges to make your jacket your own. Badges can be earned for challenges completed, degree plans, your hometown, and even your residence!

  • Faculty Colours:

  • ArtSci = Maroon

  • Engineering = Purple

  • Computing/Kinesiology = Black

  • Nursing = Navy Blue

  • Cost: Leather = approx. $450 / Vegan = approx. $150


Tams - Similar to the faculty jackets, the Tam is a hat with a pompom on top with a different colour depending on your faculty. The difference is that the Tam is given to every student during Orientation Week and is another physical reminder of your time at Queen’s. The Tam is a representation of our Scottish history that has been a part of our school’s traditions since the 1920s. As part of the tradition, first-years must wear the Tam over their ears when they first receive them at the welcoming ceremony that takes place during Orientation Week and is commonly worn at football games.

  • Faculty Colours:

  • ArtSci = Red

  • Engineering = Gold

  • Commerce = Maroon

  • Computer Science = Purple and Gold

  • Nursing = White

  • Con-Ed = Light Blue and Red


Orientation Week (AKA Frosh Week!) - This faculty-specific, week-long, fun-filled event is built to ensure that EVERY student feels welcome at Queen’s University. Every faculty has completely different events with uniforms to go along with it. First years have scheduled events with upper-year students called Gaels (another link to our Scottish past) in groups with other students from the same program, ensuring students can find friends in their first few days. Though upper years don’t participate with the first years in Orientation Week, many upper years will celebrate their own Frosh Week down at the lake. Orientation Week is where many of the faculty specific traditions come out, including Engineering students dyeing themselves AND their hair purple, and the ArtSci tradition of painting a pair of coveralls with your frosh group to make it into your own design.


So, this was basically a crash course in all things Queen’s! I hope I didn’t overload your brain with too much information, but hopefully, I was able to give you an idea about what to expect from Queen’s University. If you have any questions at all, please either refer to the extra resources below or book a mentoring appointment with me (RORY SULLIVAN) on the Passionate Minds website!


Additional Resources:

Queen’s Website - https://www.queensu.ca/

Arts and Science Undergraduate Society - https://www.queensasus.com/

Engineering Society - https://engsoc.queensu.ca/

Alma Mater Society - https://myams.org/

Commerce - https://smith.queensu.ca/about/index.php

BISC - https://www.queensu.ca/bisc/

Con-Ed - https://educ.queensu.ca/concurrent

Tuition and Fees - Tuition

Quick Facts - https://www.queensu.ca/about/quickfacts

Competitive Averages - https://www.queensu.ca/admission/content/competitive-average-admission-consideration

Find your Program Requirements - https://www.queensu.ca/admission/about-applying/requirements


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