Registration Now Open

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) is excited to announce that it will host its 58th Annual Conference in a virtual format from 1-5 February 2021. The title of this year’s conference – Learning from the Present: Transforming Graduate Education Post-Pandemic – reflects both the challenges and opportunities of our times.

For nearly sixty years deans, associate deans, administrators, faculty members, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students have gathered at our annual conference to learn and share ideas about the future of graduate education in Canada. Despite the immense difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, CAGS is committed to continuing this longstanding tradition.

The 58th Annual CAGS Conference will include all of the elements typically featured at our in-person conference, as well as some new opportunities to share, learn, and connect with colleagues and friends. We are excited to leverage a sophisticated virtual platform to offer an expanded slate of workshops, panel presentations, and keynote addresses, as well as award ceremonies, special guest speakers, and interactive social events. The conference will bring together a diverse community of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers, administrators, faculty members, and deans from across Canada who share an interest in transforming graduate education post-pandemic. Conference content will be offered in both French and English, and each event will feature integrated remote simultaneous interpretation.

Topics of discussion at our annual conference will include:

  • Adaptation, resiliency, and perseverance
  • Reimagining graduate education
  • Transforming academic culture
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Inclusion, diversity, and equity
  • Anti-black racism and racial equality
  • Indigenization of the academy and support for Indigenous students
  • Graduate supervision and mentorship
  • Broadening perspectives on dissertations and the PhD
  • Career awareness and professional development

The early-bird registration period for the 58th Annual CAGS Conference has now opened. Register before 31 December 2020 to receive a 20% discount!

For more information about the CAGS Annual Conference, please visit our website:, or write to Ian Wereley, Executive Director,

Conference Schedule 

The Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS) is adding the finishing touches to its virtual conference platform which launches Monday January 25, 2021. The title of this year’s conference – Learning from the Present: Transforming Graduate Education Post-Pandemic – reflects both the challenges and opportunities of our times. The virtual conference runs from February 1-5, and each day will begin at 12 noon EST and conclude at 4:15 PM (EST)

The week will include plenaries, concurrent sessions, networking breaks, social events, and open sessions (round tables) so you can engage in topics that matter to you the most, and there will be countless opportunities to connect one-on-one with colleagues from across the country. 

Register Now

Starting at 12 Noon (EST)

Monday, February 1st 

  • Join us for the opening ceremony and the first plenary, both of which set the stage for the week. Dr. Irvin Studin, President of the Institute for 21st Century Questions and Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of Global Brief magazine, will lead an insightful and thought-provoking session contemplating Five Pivots for the Future of Canadian and Western Graduate Education. The conversation will be moderated by CAGS Past-President Dr. Susan Porter, Dean and Vice-Provost of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of British Columbia.

Tuesday, February 2nd

  • Two concurrent sessions allow you to begin the conference day with choice. You can either join the “SSHRC Roundtable on Living with Earth’s Carrying Capacity (LECC) Project,” or you can choose to learn more about “Foundational Skills Needs and What Social Sciences and Humanities Need to Know.”

Wednesday, February 3rd

  • Join us for the opening plenary with Jennifer Polk, PhD, who will share her experience and insights for Transforming Graduate Education into Awesome Post-Pandemic Careers. Jennifer is a Career Coach that has supported hundreds of graduate students (and particularly PhDs) as they navigated the journey from degree to career.

Thursday, February 4th

  • Join us for a special virtual event to discuss the latest report from the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) on the challenges of students and recent grduates and their entries into the workforce. Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, O.C., FRSC, FCAE, Chair of the Expert Panel on the Labour Market Transition of PhD Graduates, will explore the report and its results. The conversation and Q&A session will be moderated by Dr. Eric M. Meslin, FRSC, FCAHS, President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. 
  • NOTE: This event is open to both registrants and non-registrants of the 58th Annual CAGS Conference. Attendees of the conference can access this event through the regular conference agenda. All others must register in advance.
  • Click here to register

Friday, February 5th

  • In universities across Canada, race-based data is not collected, making it almost impossible to understand the needs and challenges of students of colour—and there are many. Eternity Martis is an award-winning journalist based in Toronto, Canada. In this plenary talk – What does it mean to be a student (and woman) of colour on a Canadian university campus today? – Eternity will share her personal journey as a university student on a predominantly white campus, weaving together stories drawn from her bestselling memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up (McClelland & Stewart, 2020).

For more information about the CAGS Annual Conference please write to Ian Wereley, Executive Director, at

Stay tuned for the launch of the virtual conference platform on Monday January 25th.