Jul 25, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2018-2019 
University of Alberta Calendar 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Return to: Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research  


Policies and Regulations

The University Calendar and the Graduate Program Manual of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (the FGSR) set forth the policies and regulations of the University of Alberta on graduate education at the time of publication.

University deadlines are set out in the Academic Schedule. Please note that graduate student deadlines may differ from undergraduate student deadlines.

Responsibilities Related to Graduate Programs


Graduate students are ultimately responsible for their own programs, and are expected to be familiar with all regulations and deadlines relating to their programs.

The students’ fundamental responsibilities include

  • ensuring that their registration is accurate and does not lapse
  • submitting appropriate forms to the department for signature and processing
  • paying all fees required by the deadline dates set out in the Calendar
  • maintaining open communication with their supervisor or advisor and graduate coordinator concerning any problem
  • in the event of a conflict in the supervisor-student or advisor-student relationship, discuss with the supervisor or advisor and graduate coordinator in a timely fashion
  • in a thesis-based program, providing the supervisor with an annual report for distribution to the supervisory committee
  • being aware of the expectations of the supervisor and the department
  • informing the supervisor or advisor regularly about progress
  • making research results accessible (beyond their appearance in a thesis) to an appropriate audience.

Please read the Calendar carefully. If you are in doubt about the regulations pertaining to your graduate program, consult your department or the FGSR.


If a student has more than one supervisor, then the term “supervisor” refers to the entire group of supervisors. The supervisor is directly responsible for the supervision of the student’s program. The supervisor

  • assists the student in planning a program of studies
  • assists in ensuring that the student is aware of all program requirements, degree regulations, and general regulations of the department and the FGSR
  • provides counsel on all aspects of the student’s program
  • stays informed of the student’s research activities and progress
  • ensures that students conduct their research in a manner that is as effective, safe, and productive as is possible
  • arranges for and attends all supervisory committee meetings and the student’s examinations, ensuring that these are scheduled and held in accordance with FGSR regulations
  • when going on leave or an extended period of absence, ensures that the student is adequately supervised by the provision of an acting supervisor.
    In the case of doctoral students this should be a member of the supervisory committee
  • reviews the thesis both in draft and in final form.

Academic Advisor

The academic advisor is essential to the successful pursuit by the student of the course-based master’s degree. The academic advisor will:

  • provide appropriate guidance to the student in course selection, course changes, and progress within the program
  • meet with a full-time student no less than two times in an academic year and will meet with a part-time student no less than once in an academic year
  • explain the rationale and review with the student any administrative and/or curricular changes that have occurred since their last scheduled meeting and any impact that such changes will have (or potentially might have) on the student’s progress
  • where appropriate, consider a graduate student a junior colleague
  • maintain open communication with the student concerning any problem; and in the event of a conflict in the supervisor-student relationship, discusses the issues with the student and graduate coordinator in a timely fashion.

Graduate Coordinator

The term graduate coordinator refers to an associate chair, associate dean, director, or any other individual officially designated by the head of the unit as being responsible for the unit’s graduate programs.

Graduate coordinators must be tenured or tenure-track faculty members.
Graduate coordinators have a duty to ensure that departmental and Faculty rules are administered in a fair and equitable manner. This often involves going beyond a mere application of the rules, and may entail using moral persuasion on colleagues and students.

However, since the various units within the University contain a variety of graduate programs and operate under a diversity of policies, regulations and customs, the exact role of the graduate coordinator will vary.

The responsibilities of the graduate coordinator may include:

  • ensuring that the regulations and requirements of the FGSR and the University are met
  • being the official representative of the department to its graduate students
  • admitting applicants to graduate programs
  • acting as an advisor concerning the appointment of supervisors, supervisory committees, and external examiners
  • acting as an advisor concerning any changes to a student’s status or program
  • carrying out FGSR and University policies relating to graduate students
  • acting as a liaison between the FGSR and the unit
  • coordinating financial support for graduate students, including fellowships and assistantships
  • monitoring the academic progress of graduate students
  • providing advice to graduate students on the rules and procedures of the FGSR and the department
  • keeping the FGSR informed of any changes in the student’s program, including student status, course and program changes, scheduling of examination dates,
  • initiating and coordinating graduate student recruitment activities.

Relationships between graduate coordinators and the staff and students in their program(s) should be academic. Any personal relationships that alter or affect this academic relationship may constitute a conflict of interest (e.g. familial or intimate relationship, business relationship).

In addition, a conflict of interest may arise when graduate coordinators make decisions concerning students that they supervise. Any possible conflict of interest should be disclosed in accordance with the University of Alberta Conflict Policy – Conflict of Interest and Commitment and Institutional Conflict.


The term “department” refers to a department, a non-departmentalized Faculty, or to an extra-departmental graduate program such as a Centre.

The term “department” also refers to the graduate coordinator or any other individual officially designated as being responsible for the graduate program in the unit.

The department must ensure that supervisors are aware of and are meeting their supervisory or advisory obligations, and in turn, that students are performing satisfactorily.

The department maintains open communication with its students concerning any problem; and in the event of a conflict in the supervisor-student or advisor-student relationship, the graduate coordinator discusses the issues with the student and supervisor or advisor in a timely fashion (see Section 8 of the graduate program manual for further information).

FGSR Council

The FGSR Council is established by the Post-Secondary Learning Act, and operates under delegated authority from the General Faculties Council. The FGSR Council

  • approves minimum University standards on all aspects of graduate education, including minimum admission standards, time limits for the completion of program milestones, and residency requirements
  • approves graduate policy
  • approves the creation of all new graduate credentials and new graduate programs, including graduate programs under the Shared Credential Policy
  • deals with any other such matters as are brought to it from time to time by the Vice-Provost and Dean, FGSR.