We are currently accepting applications for the September 2024 term. Please note that all program and admission-related inquiries are managed exclusively via email. To ensure your inquiry is addressed, please contact email@example.com or review our FAQ section. Our program’s unstaffed phone number is (613) 533-6937. No live phone calls are accepted via this phone number and an automated message provides general information and our email address for any inquiries. Click here to contact us. Learn more about the admission process and requirements by
Welcome to the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law. This section is updated on a regular basis (date stamp below) and provides current and prospective students responses to frequently asked questions (FAQ), separated by topic:
• About the program
• Admission requirements
• Program length and term information
• Expected course load
• Financial requirements
• Entry-to-Practice (EPE) Exam eligibility
NOTE: The following FAQ is intended to provide current and prospective students with a high-level understanding of the Graduate Diploma, including academic requirements, program timelines, eligibility and expectations. However, this FAQ is not a substitute for reading and understanding the Handbook of Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures, which can be found HERE.
We encourage your input on ways we can continue to make this resource more helpful. Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org under the subject line “FAQ improvements.”
Updated: October 2, 2023
About the program
What is the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law?
Queen’s Law is empowering tomorrow’s immigration leaders, today. The Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law is an innovative and comprehensive program designed to equip students with the knowledge, practical skills and critical judgement necessary for immigration consulting as well as roles in the broader immigration ecosystem. The Graduate Diploma will prepare you for the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) mandatory Entry-to-Practice Exam, build strategic competencies, and position you for success in this complex and rewarding field.
What kind of designation will I receive upon completion?
Upon successful completion of this program, students will receive a Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law, which is recognized as a Graduate Diploma or “G.Dip” accreditation by Queen's University. Obtaining a G.Dip does not constitute a Juris Doctor (JD) degree or qualify graduates to practice law in Canada. To become an accredited Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, applicants are required to write the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultant's (CICC) Entry-to-Practice Exam and meet all of the mandatory requirements outlined on the CCIC’s "How do I become an RCIC?" website.
To learn more about the Queen’s Law JD program, click here.
Who is this program for?
The Graduate Diploma is designed for individuals who are looking to enter Canada’s immigration sector, as well as those seeking to enhance their skills and understanding of the immigration system to support and advance in their existing professions. The program's courses are aligned with the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) essential competencies for Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, and provide students with a deep understanding of Canadian immigration and citizenship law and procedures. They merge theory and practice to prepare students for a number of vital roles in the immigration sector, as well as functions that support organizations on immigration and citizenship matters. These include:
• Prospective immigration consultants
• Lawyers seeking specialized training in immigration law
• Advisors and recruitment specialists at universities and colleges
• Human resources professionals
• Leaders in immigration settlement organizations
• Constituency assistants for members of federal, provincial, and territorial legislatures
• Immigration and border policy analysts and program specialists in government agencies
• Business development leads at law firms
• Diplomatic services and consular support professionals
To learn more about the CCIC’s essential competencies for Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, click HERE.
If I do not plan to become an immigration consultant, is this program still for me?
Immigration practice is only one professional pathway you can explore. Immigration is essential to Canada’s future prosperity, and is a fundamental building block of our economy. By completing this program, you will be able to leverage your foundational and practical understanding of Canada’s immigration sector, to any number of career paths.
From non-profit organizations, government agencies, to professional management firms, corporations and more, businesses and organizations require skilled immigration practitioners to help them navigate the future of Canada’s workforce and the broader economy. The Graduate Diploma is purpose-built to support a broad range of professions, including immigration practitioners, lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, staff of non-profit organizations, educators working with international students, and human resources professionals.
What does the program consist of?
The Graduate Diploma is a three-term, nine-course program that is optimized for an online learning environment. Students can complete the program in under 12 months to progress towards the Entry-to-Practice Exam, and an exciting career path in the immigration sector. The program’s courses are aligned with the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultant's (CICC) essential competencies for Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, and ensure students are equipped with a deep understanding of Canadian immigration and citizenship law and procedures, as well as the knowledge and skills necessary for successful practice.
The Graduate Diploma courses include:
• Foundations of Canadian Immigration Law
• Ethics and Professional Responsibility
• Temporary Entry
• Economic Immigration
• Family Class Immigration
• Refugee Protection & Trauma-Informed Client Service
• Enforcement – Inadmissibility, Detention and Removal
• Immigration Practice Management
Learn more about the Graduate Diploma courses HERE. To learn more about the CCIC’s essential competencies for Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants, click HERE.
How was the program developed?
The content for the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law was developed by internationally-recognized immigration law experts and seasoned practitioners. The result is a program that integrates substantive academic knowledge with practical skills required for success in 21st century practice.
The development of the Graduate Diploma program has been guided by a National Advisory Committee, comprised of licensed immigration consultants, lawyers and community experts who have worked in all areas of Canada’s immigration ecosystem. From Canada’s top consulting practices, refugee legal aid clinics, and the Immigration and Refugee Board to immigration law firms, settlement organizations and industry associations, our advisory council members bring the full wealth of their experience to the stewardship of the Graduate Diploma program.
Learn more about our course developers HERE.
Learn more about our National Advisory Committee HERE.
From start to finish, how long is the program?
The Graduate Diploma is a three-term, nine-course program delivered in under 12 months.
Are part-time options available?
While the program is designed for full-time learning to prepare students for the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council’s mandatory Entry-to-Practice Exam, part-time options are available on a limited basis. Starting in the 2021-2022 academic year, all students will have the ability to take courses throughout the majority of the year. Part-time applications will only be considered for Fall (September) intakes only.
For some, this may give you additional flexibility to complete the program earlier than anticipated. While others, who are managing their course load in conjunction with other personal or professional responsibilities, have between 24 to 36 months to complete the program requirements. Our aim is to maximize opportunities for students to participate in this program so they can begin the process towards their licensing requirements with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council, and a rewarding career.
Is the program delivered in-person, online, or both?
The program is designed and optimized for an online learning environment, with live tutorials that feature direct interaction with instructors who are leading experts in the field, as well as digital collaboration platforms to encourage peer-to-peer learning through simulations and discussion forums. Students will acquire foundational knowledge, build their professional skills, and navigate this rapidly evolving sector in a dynamic, experiential learning setting.
Self-directed learning is an important component of this program to prepare students for the rigors of the profession. One of the key differences between undergraduate and graduate-level education is that graduate students are responsible for a much larger part of the learning process. Students are responsible for managing their learning strategies through self-directed work, including time and workload management, asking probing questions during tutorials, staying abreast of sector developments and charting their own intellectual exploration.
What online platform do you use for course instruction?
onQ is Queen's University's enterprise learning management system, built in the Brightspace/Desire2learn environment that many students are already familiar with, both at Queen's and at other institutions.
How was Queen’s University selected to administer this program?
Queen's is a dynamic, academically acclaimed research and teaching institution with leading researchers in immigration law and migration theory. Moreover, the Faculty of Law at Queen's University is a national and international leader in online and experiential education.
In 2018, the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) issued a Request for Proposals to retain an educational provider to design, develop and implement a graduate program that would be accredited by the CCIC. After a review process, Queen’s University was selected as the sole accredited English provider of the graduate diploma in May 2019.
What are the mandatory admission requirements for the program?
Prospective students require the following:
1. A Bachelor's degree from a recognized university (or equivalent institution*)
2. A minimum of a B average or the equivalent in the bachelor’s degree
3. English language proficiency test scores (see section below)
4. Contact information for two references who will submit letters of reference
(note: at least one academic reference is required for students who have graduated from a bachelor’s degree less than two years prior to application, as well as a professional reference from someone who has supervised you at work or in a volunteer position. References cannot be from a friend, colleague or relative.)
5. A 400-word maximum (roughly 2000 characters maximum) Personal Statement of Interest to be submitted through the online application portal explaining your motivations for wanting to pursue the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law
*Applicants with a degree from a post-secondary institution that is not a recognized university will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Please note: the information above is a summary for information purposes. Please review our admissions page HERE for a detailed list of requirements to ensure you are meeting the application requirements, as well as the Handbook of Academic Regulations, Policies and Procedures, which can be found HERE.
How do I submit transcripts?
A complete application must include official, up-to-date transcripts for all current and previous study you have listed in the Academic Background section of your application. Transcripts must be scanned (black and white recommended) and saved as a PDF file, then uploaded to the online application. Please see the “Tips for Transcript Upload” document HERE. You can also consult the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website for more information, HERE.
My university is only sending e-transcripts during this time. Is that acceptable?
In these unusual circumstances, the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (SGSPA) will accept e-transcripts if they are generated and sent directly by the issuing university to email@example.com, or by fax to 1-613-533-6015. Courier cannot be processed for now, but Canada Post Services is still operational so SGSPA can pick up and process transcripts by regular mail.
Parties should understand that official hard copy transcripts will still be required, eventually. For more information, please see, Section 5, Newly Admitted and Applying Students: https://www.queensu.ca/sgs/node/1739.
What does a professional reference mean?
A professional reference should be someone who has managed and/or supervised you at work or in a volunteer position. The reference cannot be from a friend, colleague or relative.
Does providing all the required documentation ensure that I will be enrolled?
Providing all the required documentation is not a guarantee of admission. The GDipICL is a competitive, high-demand program. This means that you are not guaranteed enrolment even if you meet the minimum requirements. Preference is given to students with the best qualifications.
Applications are reviewed by the program’s Admissions Committee, which is chaired by the Academic Director and is accountable to the Queen’s School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Law. This committee is responsible for approving decisions throughout the admissions process, and for ongoing evaluation of admissions policies and procedures. The School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs holds final authority for all decisions concerning offers of admission, or notices of refusal of admission, to the Graduate Diploma program based on the committee’s recommendations. All admissions decisions are final and may not be appealed.
How do I apply?
Applications are managed electronically via Queen’s School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs secure application portal. New users will be required to create an account and password to initiate the process. Individuals who require assistance with their online application are encouraged to contact the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is an overview of the application submission and review process:
Is there an admissions pathway for applicants who do not have a B average or a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university?
Queen’s University School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is committed to enhancing diversity in graduate education, which includes ensuring mechanisms for applications from prospective students who may not have had opportunity and advantage equal to others to be considered.
In recognition that life circumstances may prohibit, present barriers, and/or discourage access to pursue advanced degrees, due consideration is given by the Admissions Committee to non-academic factors identified by applicants, and to applicants’ special circumstances and unique qualities. Traditional measures of an applicant’s academic performance will be considered accordingly.
On an individual basis, consideration may be given to highly motivated individuals with some post-secondary degree studies at the university level, as well as professional experience, who do not have a minimum of a B average or a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
Applicants wishing to apply as an “access” candidate should apply through the regular admissions portal and are requested to identify the life circumstances that may have prohibited, presented barriers, and/or discouraged access to advanced degree studies, in their Statement of Interest (see admissions page). Applicants must also send a detailed resume demonstrating a minimum of five (5) years relevant work experience to email@example.com by the application deadline.Some examples of relevant work experience include prior work as a paralegal, community legal worker or in the immigration sector.
The Admissions Committee retains the discretion to require a personal interview.
Can I take program courses without pursuing the full Graduate Diploma?
Yes. Students who do not wish to apply for the Graduate Diploma but meet the requirements for admission can apply for single course enrolment as either an Interest Student for Program Credit or as an Interest Student for No Program Credit. Students can register for up to four courses individually.
Interest student category
Participation in Program
• Students can register for up to four (4) courses individually
• Note: Program Credit students are required to take ICL 810, Foundations of Canadian Immigration Law prior to taking other courses
• Assigned a grade upon completion of the course to use toward transcripts and GPA
• Provided student has good academic standing (B- in all courses) may be eligible for Graduate Diploma
No Program Credit
• Students are expected to participate in all aspects of the course but are not required to complete course assessments (quizzes or final assignments)
• Not assigned a grade upon completion of the course
• Courses cannot be used to satisfy program requirements towards Graduate Diploma
• May be eligible for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credit (substantive hours) with the Law Society of Ontario, and CPD/Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credits in other Canadian jurisdictions. Learn more HERE
Do I have to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to enrol in the Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law?
The program is open to applicants of all nationalities regardless of Canadian residency or citizenship status. Additionally, there is no Canadian citizenship or permanent resident requirement to write the Entry-to-Practice Exam (EPE) to become a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).
What are the program’s language requirements?
The Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law will prepare you for the mandatory Entry-to-Practice Exam and equip you with the skills you will need to be a successful immigration consultant. As an accredited provider of the Graduate Diploma, we have established minimum language test score requirements to support our students’ pathway to the Entry-to-Practice Exam.
Minimum requirements for the four English language proficiency tests which are accepted for applications to this program are as follows:
• IELTS (Academic) minimum overall score 7.0 with at least 7.0 for each component
• TOEFL-PBT Paper-based test minimum overall score of 607
• TOEFLiBT Internet-based test minimum overall score of 101 with a minimum score in each component of the test as follows:
o Writing test: 25/30
o Speaking test: 25/30
o Reading test: 25/30
o Listening test: 26/30
• CAEL CE (Canadian Academic English Language Test – Computer Edition) minimum overall score of 70, with at least 70 for each component
Read more about the language test scores HERE. Please note: English language proficiency test scores must be no older than two (2) years from the month of application. Tests older than two (2) years will not be accepted for the admission review process. Required scores must be achieved on a single ELPT. Combination scores/superscoring is not acceptable for the admission process.
Beginning on February 25, 2022, Graduate Diploma Program graduates will no longer required to meet the language ability test scores for the Entry to Practice exam set out by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants.
What is the IELTS?
IELTS is an acronym for International English Language Testing System. The IELTS test uses British English and consists of four parts: reading, listening, writing and speaking. It takes two hours and 45 minutes to complete, including transfer time from one section to the next. The IELTS is accepted in thousands of institutions in over 140 countries. However, each institution has its own requirements for IELTS scores. Once students take the test, they can select up to five organizations where copies of their IELTS results will be sent free of charge.
What is the TOEFL?
TOEFL is an acronym for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is an English proficiency test, developed by an American company, ETS, to measure an individual’s reading, speaking, writing, and listening proficiency in American English. TOEFL scores are a requirement for over 900 universities and other institutions in more than 130 countries. There are two methods of taking this test: as a Paper-Based Test (TOEFL PBT) or an Internet-Based Test (TOEFL IBT). The TOEFL IBT is more popular. You can register and take the TOEFL IBT at designated centers in almost all countries and it takes four hours to complete.
What if my language test scores fall below the requirements for admission – is there a pathway toward admission?
Yes. Students are required to demonstrate fluency in reading, writing, listening and speaking. To support students in meeting these requirements, English language upgrading and support opportunities are offered by the Queen’s School of English: English for Immigration and Citizenship Law Pathway (ESLA 150). This 12-week intensive English language program, delivered entirely online for GDipICL students, develops knowledge, skills, and strategies for academic success.
Students interested in entering this program must have a Conditional Offer of Admission from the GDipICL admission process. The Queen’s School of English does not accept direct applications for acceptance into this program. Applicants who wish to take this program must identify their interest on the GDipICL Fall application and provide all admissions-related documents for a full application assessment. Conditional Offers of Admission will be sent to successful candidates, who will then enter the ESLA 150 program in the Fall term. Students who complete ESLA 150 with a minimum ‘A’ grade will then begin their GDipICL studies in the following Winter term. Note: Students are tested prior to the start of the ESLA 150 program and, based on their CaMLA English Placement Test (EPT) scores, may be advised to not join the ESLA 150 program if their English level does not meet a minimum requirement.
This program is not available for Winter applicants.
If I meet the language requirements for the Graduate Diploma, will I be eligible to take the College's Entry-to-Practice Exam?
Yes. Beginning on February 25, 2022, Graduate Diploma Program graduates will no longer required to meet the language ability test scores set out by the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (the College) in order to take the Entry-to-Practice Exam.
Are there exemptions for English language testing
There are only two grounds for exemption from this requirement, as elaborated below:
1. Any applicant whose native languages do not include English, but who has completed four or more years of consecutive full-time academic study at a university where English is the official language of instruction, may submit with their application a request to be exempted from the English language proficiency test requirement. Proof will be required that English is the language of instruction there. Acceptable proof of this is the original, official transcript, received from the issuing university or uploaded as part of the application for admission. If it is not stated on or evident from the transcript that English is the language of instruction, arrangements must be made for a separate, official letter that confirms this to be sent to the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs from the issuing post-secondary institution.
2. Any applicant who has successfully completed ESLA 150 (University Preparation Level) in the Queen's School of English, English for Academic Purposes program, or an equivalent program at another Canadian university, with an "A" grade within the 24-month period prior to the month of application, may also submit a request to be exempted from the English language proficiency test requirement.
Your eligibility for an exemption will be determined after you have submitted your application and relevant supporting documents, including all transcripts, for admission consideration.
Those applicants who do not meet one of the two requirements listed above, will be required to obtain satisfactory standing in an English Language Proficiency Test as part of the application process.
Exemption decisions are final and may not be appealed. No additional exemptions are offered outside of the exemptions listed above.
Program length and term information
How long is the program?
The Graduate Diploma in Immigration and Citizenship Law is designed as nine courses delivered in three terms in under 12 months.
Are part-time options available?
While the program is designed and optimized for full-time learning, part-time options are available on a limited basis for September admission only.
Can I switch between part-time and full-time study?
Academic change decisions are subject to review and approval and require a plan of study. To submit an academic change form, please click HERE.
When are courses offered?
Courses are offered in the Fall Term (September - December), Winter Term (January - April) and Summer Term (May – August).
When are the intake periods?
The Program accepts new Full-time students in September and January, and a limited number of part time students in September.
Expected course load
What should I expect in terms of course load and hours of work per week?
The Graduate Diploma is designed to be a dynamic and immersive learning experience. The program provides students with the foundational competencies they require to understand the legal frameworks, policies, procedures and regulatory landscape of the immigration sector, while simulating the rigours of the profession they will be entering.
To that end, students should expect this program to resemble a full-time job in terms of their weekly time commitment. Between reading materials, video-conferenced tutorials, group-work and assignments, students should expect to allocate a significant amount of time to this program. It is expected that full-time students will limit paid employment to an average of ten hours per week. For more details concerning the requirements associated with full-time study status, see Section 3.3.1 in the Handbook of Academic Regulations, Policies, and Procedures.
Fortunately, this is a direct-to-market program. Equipped with a strong theoretical understanding and practical sector-based knowledge, students are positioned to enter the workforce once they have completed the Entry-to-Practice Exam.
What does that translate to in hours?
The Graduate Diploma is designed to be a dynamic and immersive learning experience. It would not be uncommon for students to commit upwards of 48 hours a week to the program, and in some case more during busier periods.
The first course in the program, "Foundations of Canadian Immigration Law" (ICL 810), is structured as an accelerated, intensive course (12 weeks of instructional content delivered in six weeks). Students can expect to dedicate upwards of a full workweek during those first six weeks of the program. Students registered in the GDipICL on a part-time basis who are working full time or have other responsibilities may wish to consider a temporary leave from work or a reduction in their work hours in order to manage the workload associated with ICL 810. Following completion of ICL 810, no other course is structured as an intensive.
What is the typical time commitment for tutorials?
Students select their live virtual tutorial schedule after they have formally been admitted into the program. Timeslot preference is offered on a first-come basis and is dependent on the availability of each tutorial section and the individual tutorial group size limits. Live virtual tutorials are typically held on weeknight evenings, Tuesday to Thursdays, between 4:00-10:00 pm EST and weekend midday, Saturday to Sunday, between 10:00 am-5:00 pm EST. Ensure that you review your live tutorial selections prior to the start of each course.
Can I select my preferred tutorial time?
Students select their tutorial after they have formally registered. Timeslot preference is based on availability in each tutorial section, and the individual tutorial group size limits, on a first-come basis. Final tutorial placement is communicated 30 days prior to the start of the course.
As a Graduate Diploma Student what services can I access?
Queen’s University has a robust set of services and programs available to support your personal, academic, and social health. Student Wellness Services (SWS) offers a welcoming, confidential, and integrated service that is responsive to your health and wellness needs.
In addition, Queen’s Student Academic Success Services (SASS) offers academic support to students who wish to develop their skills in critical thinking, reading, learning, studying, writing, and self-management.
Please visit the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs website for more information on the full range of academic, professional and personal resources available.
What is the total tuition for the Full-Time program?
Tuition for the program is assessed on a per-term, per-course basis. However, total tuition is $14,592. For more information, please visit our Tuition and Financing page to review all course fees, and tuition payment options.
(The above information was last updated on February 12, 2021 and is subject to change.)
Please note: In accordance with University policies and procedures, tuition and course fees are subject to change, and may be updated or adjusted at any time. You can find the most up-to-date fee information on the Office of the University Registrar website.
Are there any additional fees for program materials, such as course guides/ texts?
This online program is supported by digital course materials, or “e-books” that are also available in hard cover formats. Students in the Graduate Diploma program have several options for purchasing the required course materials for the program. Click HEREto review a PDF of the digital textbook bundle that is available for the Fall 2022 semester. Students will receive an email in advance of the study term about the required course materials.
Are students eligible for Government Student Financial Assistance?
This program is not eligible for government student assistance. Queen's Law has partnered with RBC to offer a student line of credit for both full-time and part-time studies, which includes preferential pricing, and interest-only payments during enrolment, and a 24-month grace period. For more details, please visit our Tuition and Financing page.
Will I receive a partial refund if I pay my full enrollment at the beginning of the term, but I am unable to complete the courses and/or withdraw?
Will completing the Graduate Diploma ensure that I can write the national Entry-to-Practice Exam and become a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant?
Entry into and completion of the GDipICL is one of the requirements to qualify for the Entry-to-Practice Exam (EPE). Completion of the program, however, does not immediately guarantee EPE registration; prospective and current students are encouraged to review the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultant’s EPE requirements website for more information.
Please note: as of February 25, 2022, GDipICL program graduates are not required to pass an English language proficiency test (ELPT), as previously set outlined as a primary requirement to write the EPE, as completion of the program satisfies any previous language proficiency requirement.