Nov 23, 2020  
University of Alberta Calendar 2020-2021 
    
University of Alberta Calendar 2020-2021

Regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research


Return to: Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research  

Please note [May 6, 2020] - ADDENDA (in blue text below) was added to Registration Status and Time Limit for Completion of Graduate Programs. See Addenda and Errata  for more information.



The general Faculty regulations outlined below apply to all graduate students. Faculty regulations specific to particular degree programs are found under the appropriate program heading in Graduate Programs .

Application for Admission

Graduate applications are submitted to the departments offering the program via the online portal.

Application deadlines specific to particular degree programs are found under the appropriate program heading in Graduate Programs .

Applicants are required to upload documents from all accredited postsecondary institutions that they have attended. See Application Requirements for Academic Documents on the FGSR website for further information on the criteria for uploaded documents to be accepted.

Transcripts uploaded on the online application portal are considered to be unofficial documents.

Reference letters are collected under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Post-Secondary Learning Act. They are required by the University to evaluate applicants for admission to a graduate program and for scholarship and other funding purposes. Reference letters are considered to be supplied in confidence and will be used only by individuals and committees who evaluate applicants.

Individuals applying to graduate programs are subject to the University of Alberta Code of Applicant Behaviour .

Aboriginal Applicants

The University of Alberta is committed to the recruitment, retention and graduation of Aboriginal students. The University also recognizes that Aboriginal applicants have traditionally been under represented in higher education and strives towards having the University's Aboriginal student population attain a level that is at least proportionate to the Aboriginal population of the province.

For the definition of an Aboriginal applicant, please see Definition of Aboriginal People for the Purpose of Admission  of the University Calendar.

In accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research admission policy, Aboriginal applicants may be considered for admission on the basis of their life experience. The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research advocates the admission of Aboriginal applicants by individual departments.

Graduate Program Entrance Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research are outlined below. Departments and non-departmentalized Faculties may impose additional admission requirements. See Graduate Programs .

Admissions to graduate programs are made on a competitive basis. Even though an applicant may satisfy the minimum admission requirements, acceptance into a graduate program is not guaranteed.

In making its admission decisions, the University of Alberta strives to optimize the students' opportunity to succeed academically, while maintaining a high standard in its graduate programs.

Academic Requirements

Applicants for admission must have obtained a University of Alberta baccalaureate degree or an equivalent qualification from another recognized academic institution.

Qualified applicants with a three-year undergraduate degree from a Bologna-compliant or another recognized research-intensive university will be considered for admission in the standard way.

Applicants will not be admissible to a doctoral degree program at the University of Alberta if they have previously obtained a similar or identical degree.

The minimum Admission Grade Point Average (AGPA) required for admission to a graduate program is 3.0, equivalently, a letter grade B, on the 4-point scale from the University of Alberta, or an equivalent standing. Many graduate programs have higher minimum AGPA requirements. See Graduate Programs .

The admission GPA will be calculated on the last ★60 of graded coursework completed at the time of application, or on the equivalent of the last two years of full-time graded coursework.

In exceptional cases, applicants who do not meet the minimum admission requirements but who have demonstrated significant life experience may be considered for admission. Admission on the basis of life experience requires the recommendation of the department offering the program and is subject to approval by the Dean, FGSR.

English Language Requirement

Since English is the primary language of instruction and communication at the University of Alberta (except for Faculté Saint-Jean), proficiency in English is a prerequisite for graduate admission.

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission either by:

  • Possession of a degree or its academic equivalent from an academic institution recognized by the University of Alberta, in which the language of instruction is English;
    or
  • A satisfactory score on an approved English language examination as described below.

Notwithstanding the above, graduate programs reserve the right to require a further demonstration of English language proficiency.

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research recognizes four English language examinations:

  • the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL);
  • the International English Language Testing System (Academic IELTS);
  • the Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) Assessment;
  • the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic).

The FGSR minimum acceptable scores are:

  • TOEFL: total score of 90 with a score of at least 21 on each of the individual skill areas (internet-based) or equivalent;
  • Academic IELTS: 6.5, with at least 6.0 on each test band;
  • CAEL: overall 70 with at least 60 on each subtest;
  • PTE Academic: 61 with a minimum band score of 60. Applicants who take the Pearson test must request that this University be given access to their score.

Individual graduate programs may require higher scores. Consult the appropriate departmental information in Graduate Programs .

EAP 550

The English Language School  in the Faculty of Extension offers EAP 550 (Academic English for Graduate Admission) which may provide an alternate method of satisfying the FGSR minimum acceptable score.

Applicants interested in this course must contact their prospective graduate program to verify language proficiency requirements.

If applicable, departments may consider the following options in utilizing EAP 550 to satisfy the English language requirement for an application for admission:

  • the applicant successfully complete EAP 550 with a result of CR before applying to a graduate program, OR
  • the applicant be conditionally admitted to a graduate program subject to the successful completion of EAP 550 prior to the start date of the graduate program

In no case will the applicant be registered in the FGSR until the EAP 550 course has been successfully completed.

Graduate Admission

The decision to admit an applicant to a graduate program is made by that program.

Official Admission Letters are issued by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Offers of admission are only valid for the term and program specified on the admission letter.

Once admitted, students are required to provide official transcripts from all accredited postsecondary institutions that they have attended. See Admission with Conditions.

In order to be eligible for scholarships, students must provide official transcripts from all accredited postsecondary institutions that they have attended.

Official documents must be sent directly from the postsecondary institution to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

All documents submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in support of an application for admission become the property of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and will not subsequently be released or copied except to other University of Alberta offices, at the request of the student.

In accordance with the University's Admissions Policy, all admission decisions are final and there is no formal appeal to any body or person within the Faculty or the University.

Graduate students are not required to pay a tuition deposit.

Admission with Conditions

In certain circumstances, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research or the academic unit may impose conditions on an applicant's admission. Such circumstances include academic qualifications that are difficult to assess or below the minimum standards required by the program.

The conditions will be clearly stated in the admission letter followed by the statement that if the student fails to satisfy the stated conditions by the required deadlines, the student may not be allowed to continue in the program.

Examples of admission conditions include:

  • receipt of official documents from all accredited postsecondary institutions
  • successful completion of a specific English Language Proficiency test.
  • the requirement to take a specific set of courses, and achieve certain grades, or grade point averages, within a specified time.

An applicant who has met some or all of their admission conditions prior to arrival at the University of Alberta may request confirmation of the fact from the FGSR.

In the absence of exceptional circumstances, students admitted with conditions will not be permitted to register in 900-level project courses until the conditions have been cleared.

In no circumstances will students admitted with conditions be permitted to register in directed reading courses until the conditions have been cleared.

If a student meets all of the conditions of admission, they may continue in the program; if not, the department will recommend, in writing, one of the following to the Dean, FGSR:

  1. That the deadline for meeting the unfulfilled condition(s) be extended, with no new conditions being imposed.
  2. That the student be granted another term with conditions. This recommendation must include (a) an indication of how the Failure in or Failure to Complete a Course in the first term of registration will be managed (see Failure in or Failure to Complete a Course or Research Work of the University Calendar) and (b) specification of a minimum number of graduate-level courses which are to be taken by the student and the minimum academic performance required.
  3. That the student not be permitted further registrations in the program. This written recommendation to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research must include a rationale for this decision.

Any student who does not meet the conditions of a second term of registration will not be permitted to continue in the program.

Readmission

Students who fail to keep the program active through required registration will be considered to have withdrawn from their program. See Maintenance of Registration.

If they wish to resume work on their program, they must apply for readmission and have their program reassessed in terms of the regulations in force at the time of reapplication. There is no guarantee of readmission. If a student is recommended for readmission, a Readmission Fee will be assessed in addition to the fees assessed in the usual manner.

University of Alberta Staff as Graduate Students

University of Alberta staff may be considered for admission to graduate programs provided the academic unit has reviewed the case and established that conflict of interest between the candidate's role as staff member and as graduate student will be absent or minimal.

Classification of Graduate Students

The classification of students is generally determined upon admission to a program on the basis of the student's previous academic background. Graduate students at the University of Alberta are classified as one of the following:

  1. Qualifying graduate students are those whose academic background entitles them to serious consideration for admission to graduate studies but who are considered to be inadequately prepared to enter a graduate program in the subject area they have chosen.
    Qualifying graduate students are registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and as such are subject to the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research; however, qualifying students are not considered to be candidates for a degree.
    Normally, a qualifying period will not exceed five full course equivalents (★30). Courses taken during a qualifying period will be specified by the department concerned. Completion of the work in a qualifying period does not automatically entitle the student to proceed toward a degree program. However, upon satisfactory completion of a qualifying period the department may recommend to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research that the student be reclassified as a master's or doctoral degree student. Students should note that neither the courses taken nor the fees paid during a qualifying period will be credited toward a subsequent degree program. See Criteria for Transfer Credit.
  2. Degree students are those who are registered in an approved program leading to a master's or doctoral degree granted by the University of Alberta
  3. Graduate diploma students and graduate certificate students are those who are registered in an approved program leading to a graduate diploma or certificate granted by the University of Alberta. Such students must meet the general admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. These can normally be completed in one academic year of full-time study.
  4. Special graduate students are those who take graduate level courses for credit without proceeding toward an advanced degree at the University of Alberta. Such students must meet the general admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Special graduate students are not candidates for a degree at this University and will not receive any residence or fee credit toward a subsequent degree program for the work completed as a special graduate student.
    In addition, the numbers of courses allowable for transfer credit is limited (see Transfer Credit, Course Exemption, and Credit by Special Assessment).
    Admission as a special graduate student does not imply eligibility for admission to a degree program in any department.
    Individuals who wish to study under this classification must apply and be admitted each year in which they take courses.
    Special graduate students require a written recommendation from the department concerned to register in a course. They are not permitted to take courses for audit.
    Only graduate level courses may be taken by special graduate students.
  5. Visiting graduate students are those who are registered in a graduate degree program at another university or college, who have obtained written permission in advance from the home and host institutions to take one or more courses, including RSCH 900 - Graduate Research .
  6. Postgraduate medical education  (PGME) students have the option of paying fees to the Graduate Students' Association (see Graduate Instructional and Non-Instructional Fees ).

Registration

Departments and Faculties are responsible for ensuring that their students have been advised to consult with their supervisor or program advisor. The supervisor or other designated department advisor should counsel the student concerning registration in courses, a combination of courses and thesis or department-designated project course, or thesis or project only, whichever is appropriate for that student. If coursework is necessary, the supervisor or advisor should assist the student in selecting the courses required for the graduate program.

All graduate students in degree programs in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research must consult with their department and discuss their program with their supervisor or advisor prior to registering or changing their registration.

Students are responsible for the completeness and accuracy of their registration. They are also responsible for adjustments in registration.

All graduate students are considered to have confirmed their registration when they register.

Registration Procedure

Once newly-admitted and continuing graduate students in degree programs have determined their program requirements in consultation with their departments, they register using the Bear Tracks web registration system. See Registration  and Fees Payment Guide  for University regulations on registration in courses, re-registration in courses, changes in registration, cancellation of registration and auditing courses. See Academic Schedule  for registration deadlines.

Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research deadline dates may differ from undergraduate deadline dates (see Academic Schedule  and End-of-Program Registration Deadlines for Thesis-based Students).

There may be academic record and fee implications for withdrawing from courses. See Registration  and Fees Payment Guide .

Registration Status

A student's registration status is determined automatically by the total units of course weight (including a project or a thesis where appropriate) in which the student is registered for credit in a given term. Audited courses are not included in the calculation of registration status.

Courses extra-to-degree are included in the calculation of registration status.

Registration Status for Course-Based Students

For full-time status, students must be registered in ★9 or more for credit in the Fall and Winter Terms, and in ★6 or more for credit in the Spring and Summer Terms.

Registration Status for Thesis-Based Students

Students in thesis-based programs will be admitted as full-time students. If a department wishes to admit a thesis-based student on a part-time basis, they must inform FGSR at the time of admission so that FGSR can code the student's registration and fee assessment, accordingly.

In thesis-based programs, time spent in a laboratory or library engaged in research or writing a thesis/practicum, or engaged in research elsewhere, counts towards the registration status; appropriate registration in THES must be added/maintained.

Full-Time Status for Thesis-based programs (Admitted prior to Fall 2011)

For full-time status, students must be registered in ★9 or more for credit in each of the Fall and Winter Terms. Students will be considered full-time during the Spring and Summer terms with no further registration, provided they were registered full-time in the preceding Fall and Winter terms.

Full-Time Status for Thesis-based programs (Admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter)

For full-time status, students must be registered in ★9 or more for credit in each of the Fall and Winter Terms, and in THES 906 (★6) in every Spring and Summer Term of the program. See Graduate Project Course and Thesis Registration for further information on THES 906.

Changing from Full-Time to Part-Time Status

Under certain circumstances, students who have begun their programs may request a change from full-time status to part-time status (see criteria below). For those programs who do not permit part-time registration, students will be required to follow those regulations and thus are ineligible to apply for part-time status.

To be eligible for a change to part-time status, students must demonstrate one of the following:

  • an offer of full-time employment, or,
  • medical/family/other circumstances that now prevent them from working on their program full-time.

A change to part-time status should be carefully considered by the student in consultation with their supervisor. If a change to part-time status is deemed appropriate, the student and supervisor will submit the request using the Part-Time Status form to the Department for approval.

Requests for change to part-time status must be submitted to FGSR by the registration deadline of that term so that FGSR can code the student's registration and fee assessment, accordingly.

Students may not change to part-time status more than once within their program. Once a student changes to part-time status, they may return to full-time status once, but cannot subsequently revert back to part-time.

Students may not change to part-time status for financial reasons.

Requests for retroactive part-time status changes will not be accepted.

It is important to note that all students in thesis-based programs must satisfy the Minimum Registration Requirements of their program.

Students with approved part-time status must register in THES 906 in every Spring and Summer term, but will be assessed part-time fees.

International Students and Part-Time Status

International Students may not be eligible to apply for part-time status under their study permit regulations; they should contact International Student Services for more information to determine their eligibility.

Graduate Student Employment and Part-Time Status

Part-time students are eligible to hold GTAs and GRAs, in accordance with the GSA collective agreement. Note, however, that students who have signed a Letter of Appointment for a GTA and/or GRA may not be eligible for part-time status. Students should contact their departments for further information.

Maximum Time in Program While Registered Part-Time

Understanding that a change to part-time status is meant to facilitate a change in a student's life where they are no longer able to work on their program full-time, maximum allowances for program completion still apply.

Time in program will be adjusted when a student changes to part-time status as follows:

  • For every year (12 months) a Master's student is registered as part-time, they will receive an additional four (4) months in time to complete their program;
  • For every two (2) years (24 months) a PhD student is registered as part-time, they will receive an additional four (4) months to complete their program.
     
  • Maximum allowable time to complete a thesis-based Master's program part-time is six (6) years;
  • Maximum allowable time to complete a PhD program part-time is eight (8) years.

If a student is nearing the end of the maximum allowable time in program while registered part-time, they are required to submit an extension request to the Dean of FGSR following the same procedures used for full-time students.

All extension requests are considered on a case-by-case basis and should include a clear explanation for the request and a detailed timeline explaining how the student will complete the remaining requirements of their program.

Part-Time Status and Awards/Scholarships

Part-time students are not eligible for most scholarships or awards administered by FGSR. For those students holding a scholarship and/or award while registered full-time, a change to part-time status may affect their eligibility to continue doing so. In these instances, students should consult Section 12 of the FGSR Scholarships & Awards Manual for direction. Normally, the "Forgiveness Policy" (Section 12.5) would preclude a student from having to repay a portion of a scholarship and/or award that may be affected by a change to part-time status.

Maintenance of Registration

Course-based Programs: In order to keep their program active, students in course-based degree programs must register in and successfully complete a minimum of ★3 of coursework for at least one term in each September to August period.
Other registration patterns for students in exceptional circumstances will be considered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students who fail to keep the program active as described above will be considered to have withdrawn from their program.

Thesis-based Programs (Admitted prior to Fall 2011):

In order to keep their program active, students in thesis-based master's and doctoral programs admitted prior to Fall 2011 must register each year in the Fall and Winter Terms.

Students who have registered in Fall and Winter Terms and are working only on thesis research during May through August do not need to register for the Spring and Summer Terms.

Other registration patterns for students in exceptional circumstances will be considered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students who fail to keep the program active as described above will be considered to have withdrawn from their program.

Thesis-based Programs (Admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter):

In order to keep their program active, students in thesis-based master's and doctoral programs admitted in Fall 2011 and thereafter must register each year in each consecutive term (Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer).

Other registration patterns for students in exceptional circumstances will be considered by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students who fail to keep the program active as described above will be considered to have withdrawn from their program.

M REG 800 Maintaining Registration

Eligible students who are not registered in any courses in a given term, and are not working on thesis or project research, but still wish to maintain their status as graduate students register in M REG 800 - Maintaining Registration . This results in a part-time registration status.

Students registered in M REG 800 are off-campus students.

Students who require a leave of absence from their program should refer to Approved Leave of Absence.

Minimum Registration Requirements

Course-Based Master's Program:
Over the duration of their program, students in course-based master's programs must successfully complete a minimum of ★24. Only approved transfer credits from the University of Alberta may count towards the ★24 minimum requirement. Notwithstanding the above, students are required to fulfil the department's program requirements (often more than the minimum ★24) as approved by Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council and as stated in the department's graduate program requirements. See Graduate Programs .

Thesis-Based Master's Programs

  • Admitted before Fall 2011: Over the duration of their program, students in thesis-based master's programs admitted before Fall 2011 must successfully complete a minimum of ★24, which may consist of a combination of courses and thesis research. Only approved transfer credits from the University of Alberta may count towards the ★24 minimum requirement. Notwithstanding the above, students are required to fulfil the department's thesis-based program requirements as approved by Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council and as stated in the department's graduate program requirements. See Graduate Programs .
  • Admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter: Over the duration of their program, students in thesis-based master's programs admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter must pay the equivalent of at least one full year of program fees; see Graduate Instructional and Non-Instructional Fees . Notwithstanding the above, students are required to fulfil the department's thesis-based program requirements as approved by Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council and as stated in the department's graduate program requirements. See Graduate Programs .

Doctoral Programs:

  • Admitted before Fall 2011: Over the duration of their program, students in a doctoral program admitted before Fall 2011 must successfully complete a minimum of ★36, which may consist of a combination of coursework (where required) and thesis research. Only approved transfer credits from the University of Alberta may count towards the ★36 minimum requirement. Notwithstanding the above, students are required to fulfil the department's doctoral program requirements as approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council and as stated in the department's graduate program requirements. See Graduate Programs .
  • Admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter: Over the duration of their program, students in a doctoral program admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter must pay the equivalent of at least three full years of program fees; see Graduate Instructional and Non-Instructional Fees . Notwithstanding the above, students are required to fulfil the department's doctoral program requirements as approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council and as stated in the department's graduate program requirements. See Graduate Programs .

Graduate Project Course and Thesis Registration

Research Project Registration for students in the course-based master's route normally involves registering in the appropriate 900-level course. Registration in this is restricted to students in a course-based graduate degree program. Consult the department course listings in the University Calendar for the appropriate section. Qualifying graduate students may not register in graduate-level project courses. Students who have not cleared their Admission Conditions may not register in graduate-level project courses.

Thesis Registration is restricted to students in thesis-based graduate degree programs. Qualifying, Special, and Visiting graduate students may not register in THES. The specific thesis registration selected by the student will depend upon the amount of time during the term(s) that the student will devote to work on their program.

THES 919: For students admitted to their graduate program prior to Fall 2011 and who have met their minimum registration requirements, there is a special full-time thesis designation (THES 919) which is assessed at a reduced fee. Registration in this section of Thesis will provide the student with full-time student status but at a substantially lower Instructional Fee.

Students should consult with their department to determine if they are eligible to register in THES 919.

THES 906 in Spring/Summer terms: For students admitted to their graduate program Fall 2011 and thereafter, registration in THES 906 in both the Spring and Summer terms is mandatory, in addition to registration requirements in Fall and Winter terms. For any courses taken in the Spring and Summer terms beyond THES 906, additional course fees will be assessed.

Off-Campus THES registration: Graduate students in thesis-based programs who live more than 80 kilometers from Edmonton can request off-campus  THES registration by contacting the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

End-of-Program Registration Deadlines for Thesis-based Students

Thesis-Based Programs (Admitted prior to Fall 2011): If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research after the Fall Term Convocation deadline, the student must register for Fall Term, but does not need to register in Winter Term. If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research after the last working day in January, the student must register both for the Fall and Winter Terms. If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research during the May through August period, the student must be registered both for the Fall and Winter Terms immediately preceding. This enables the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to award credit for the thesis. Thesis-based programs are not recorded as complete until the thesis and accompanying documentation have been submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Departments that require a thesis-equivalent may have special submission procedures. See Graduate Programs . See Convocation for information about convocation.

Thesis-Based Programs (Admitted Fall 2011 and thereafter): If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research after the Fall Term Convocation deadline, the student must register for Fall Term, but does not need to register in Winter Term. If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research after the last working day in January, the student must register both for the Fall and Winter Terms. If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research after the May add/delete deadline and by the end of June (refer to Academic Schedule, Dates, and Deadlines ), the student must register for Spring Term, but does not need to register in Summer Term. If the Department submits a student's Thesis Approval/Program Completion form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research after the July add/delete deadline and by the end of August (refer to Academic Schedule, Dates, and Deadlines ), the student must register both for the Spring and Summer Terms. This enables the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to award credit for the thesis. Thesis-based programs are not recorded as complete until the thesis and accompanying documentation have been submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Departments that require a thesis-equivalent may have special submission procedures. See Graduate Programs . For information about convocation see Convocation.

Courses Extra-to-Degree

Students may wish to take courses that are not necessary to or an integral part of their graduate program. Courses must be designated as extra-to-degree at the time of registration in the courses. Designation as extra-to-degree is subject to approval by the Dean, FGSR.

The FGSR does not include these courses when calculating the student's GPA for continuation in the graduate program or convocation (see Academic Standing).

Courses extra-to-degree are included in the calculation of registration status (see Registration Status)

Registration in More than One Degree Program

A student who has a conditional admission to a doctoral program subject to successful completion of the master's degree, but has not yet completed the master's program, may for one term register in both the doctoral program and the thesis or project required to complete the master's degree.

Extensions beyond the first term may only be granted by the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), and only if an extraordinarily compelling case is made by the department.

Coursework taken towards the second degree program must be declared as extra-to-degree at the time of registration.

Students who have been approved to register in more than one program (e.g. PGME students also completing a graduate program) must contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research office for approval to register in the graduate degree program. Registration in more than one program requires the knowledge and consent of the department(s) and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

Registration at the Completion of the Program

A student may not register in courses that continue beyond the time of submission of evidence of completion of the program. Once the program is complete, the student's name is placed on the convocation list and the student is no longer considered to be in that program.

If students wish to continue taking courses after their program is complete, they should contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) for information about admission as a Special graduate student, or alternative types of registration under which they could take courses.

Transfer Credit, Course Exemption, and Credit by Special Assessment

Transfer Credit

Transfer Credit refers to the formal transfer of credit for a course(s) which has been earned outside the program.

Requests for transfer credit are subject to recommendation from the department and approval of the Dean, FGSR.

Transfer credit can be granted for both graded courses and for courses with grades of Credit (CR).

Criteria for Transfer Credit

 The criteria that must be met before transfer credit will be considered are:

  • the department agrees that the course in question is applicable to the degree program;
  • the student achieves a grade acceptable to the department and the FGSR;
  • the course has not been used to satisfy admission requirements for the program;
  • the course was not taken during a qualifying period for the program (see Qualifying graduate students);
  • the course was not taken as part of any previously awarded credential;
  • the course is less than six years old;
  • the course is a graduate-level course

The FGSR reserves the right to deny transfer credit for courses taken far enough in the past that the material could be considered out of date.

Course Exemption

Course Exemption refers to the reduction in required credit weights of a student's program at the discretion of the department offering the program. The program will not be reduced by more than the value set out below in Limits for Transfer Credit and Course Exemption. For course-based master's degrees, the FGSR minimum requirement of ★24 must still be met. See Minimum Units of Course Weight Registration Requirements.

Limits for Transfer Credit and Course Exemption

Thesis-based programs: The total credit weight required for any thesis-based program will not be reduced by any combination of Transfer Credit and Course Exemption from the requirement set out in Graduate Programs  by more than ★6.

Course-based programs: The number of courses nearest to, but not exceeding, 1/3 of the total units of course weight of a student's program can be met through transfer credit and/or course exemption.

For course-based master's programs, only approved transfer credits from the University of Alberta may count towards the FGSR minimum requirement of ★24. See Minimum Units of Course Weight Registration Requirements.

Exceptions

For students who have commenced an equivalent graduate program at a recognized university and are relocating to the University of Alberta, consideration will be given to departmental recommendations for transfer credit which exceeds the limit stated above.

In exceptional circumstances and with the explicit prior approval of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, up to 1/2 of the total units of course weight for the program may be met through transfer credit and/or course exemption.

Laddering

For the laddering of graduate certificates and diplomas into a course-based Master's degree see Laddering of Freestanding Graduate Certificates and Diplomas into a Course - based Master's Degree.

Credit by Special Assessment

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research does not accept credit by special assessment.

Change of Program

Within a graduate program, students may change program category to a different degree or change to a different department(s). All changes of program are subject to recommendation by the Department and approval by the Dean, FGSR.

In the event of a change of program, all applicable coursework, credit granted, residence, fee requirements and time spent from the initial term of admission to the graduate program will apply to the subsequent program.

Coursework that is not applicable must be declared as extra to degree at the time of the change of program category.

A change in program category may result in a change in fee requirements.

Approved Leave of Absence

Leaves of absence are leaves from one's academic studies. The time limit for completion of the degree will be extended by the duration of any approved leave of absence.

There are four grounds for granting a leave of absence from an academic program: medical, parental, professional (experience or development), and compassionate.

Authority to grant medical and parental leaves resides with the department. A leave of absence for compassionate reasons or professional leave may only be granted by the Dean, FGSR

A departmental decision not to grant a medical or parental leave may be appealed to the FGSR. The FGSR will only consider an application for a leave of absence, or an appeal of a negative departmental decision, that is supported by documented compelling reasons. Decisions of FGSR are appealed through the FGSR academic appeals process.

A medical, compassionate or professional leave of absence is approved/granted for up to one year at a time. A parental leave is approved for up to 20 months. The leave periods must coincide with full terms. There can be no registration during the leave of absence.

A student must return from an approved leave of absence by the specified date indicated on the application form in order to continue in the program of studies. Students in thesis-based programs must register in the term in which they return from the leave. Students in course-based programs must register for at least one term in the academic year following their return from the leave.

The student's place in the program of studies is maintained during an approved leave of absence. Readmission to the program will not be required.

Students may end a leave of absence early providing the start coincides with the beginning of a term.

For further information on Approved Leave of Absence, see 7.11 of the Graduate Program Manual.

Academic Integrity and Ethics Training Requirement

The University of Alberta expects graduate students, as members of the University community, to uphold the highest degree of ethical practice in the conduct of their education, research, and professional activities. Students are responsible for understanding and following the various policies and practices mandated by the University (including, but not limited to, the Code of Student Behaviour, the Discrimination and Harassment Policy, the Research and Scholarship Integrity Policy, the Animal Ethics Policy, the Standards for the Protection of Human Research Participants, and the Conflict of Commitment and Conflict of Interest Policy), FGSR-specific guidelines and expectations, departmental guidelines and expectations, Tri-Council or other funding bodies ethical requirements, and any ethical codes mandated by the students' professional governing body. Ethics training is a critical part of the education of all graduate students and in addition to their required ethics training students are expected to seek opportunities to broaden their knowledge of ethics and good practice early in their programs. Like all members of the University community, graduate students should be aware that they will be held accountable for their actions under these various codes even if they have not yet completed their required ethics training or are acting on the advice of others. 

Graduate degree requirements include a mandatory component that provides training in the areas of academic integrity and ethics.

The normal requirements of this training component will include participation in activities such as workshops, presentations, discussion groups and course work related to each of the following areas:

  1. Intellectual Property Guidelines for Graduate Students and Supervisors.  See Graduate Program Manual - 10. Intellectual Property.
  2. The University of Alberta Research and Scholarship Integrity Policy https://policiesonline.ualberta.ca/PoliciesProcedures/Pages/Research.aspx
  3. The relevant Tri-Council and Canadian Council on Animal Care requirements for ethics approval for research-including emphasis on the limitations of the requirements, i.e., for which areas of research is ethics approval necessary.

To fulfil these requirements, each student is normally expected to complete the equivalent of at least eight hours of structured academic activity for this training component. Students should consult the department for guidance about specific requirements for ethics training and refer to the FGSR website at https://www.ualberta.ca/graduate-studies/current-students/academic-requirements/ethics.

Professional Development Requirement

The University of Alberta considers professional development to be an important component of any graduate student's program of studies. Professional development is the active acquisition of skills, knowledge, and mindset to fully realize one's strengths and potential in all environments. It sets up individuals for success in achieving their goals while giving them the ability to meet, exceed and adapt to personal, career, and societal responsibilities within the context of a changing world.

All graduate students at the University of Alberta are required to submit an individualized professional development plan to the department for their program of studies within 12 months of the program's commencement for master's students and within 18 months of the program's commencement for doctoral students. The department may extend the time to complete the IDP to up to 24 months for part-time master's students and 36 months for part-time doctoral students.  The plan is a career and skills assessment document that allows graduate students to consider their future careers and goals in an organized way and to map their participation in professional development activities in conjunction with their academic activities. 

Templates for an Individual Development Plan are available from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Graduate students are also required to spend at least eight hours on completing the activities proposed in their plan by time of program completion for master's students and by year three for doctoral students. Graduate students should consult directly with their department (or Faculty where non-departmentalized) as to specific professional development requirements.

All graduate students must submit evidence of the completion of this requirement to their department.

Graduate students may be required to meet the Professional Development requirement through program-specified means in certain graduate programs; students may also fulfill the Professional Development requirement through their program. See Graduate Programs .

A graduate student in any program may seek exemption from the Professional Development Requirement with the approval of their supervisor (if thesis-based), the graduate coordinator, and the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

For more information go the FGSR website at https://www.ualberta.ca/graduate-studies/professional-development/professional-development-requirement.

Academic Standing

Explanation of Grading System

The University of Alberta uses a letter grading system for most courses. For students registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research the normal passing grade is C+ (see Minimum Faculty Requirements below). In addition, some courses are offered on a credit/no credit (CR/NC) basis.

The grade distribution according to the four-point system is as follows:

Course Grades Obtained by Graduate Students
Descriptor Alpha
Grade
Grade Point Value  
Excellent A+ 4.0  
A 4.0  
A- 3.7  
Good B+ 3.3  
B 3.0 Minimum admission GPA
Satisfactory B- 2.7 Min. Academic Standing GPA
C+ 2.3 Minimum Course Pass Mark
Failure C 2.0  
C- 1.7  
D+ 1.3  
D 1.0  
F 0.0  

The grade equivalencies for graduate students according to the letter grade as well as detailed information about grade remarks can be found in Evaluations Procedures and Grading System under '4. Assigning Grades' and '5. Final Grades and Remarks'.

For the purpose of promotion and graduation, FGSR defines the cumulative grade point average (CGPA) as the average of all graded courses, including failed grades, taken for credit towards a degree program. Grades for courses designated as extra to degree are not included in this calculation. All courses that are not necessary to or an integral part of a graduate program must be designated and approved by FGSR as extra to the degree at the time of registration.

Failure in or Failure to Complete a Course or Research Work

Satisfactory performance in the coursework component of a graduate program entails completion of all courses taken as part of the student's program requirements (i.e., courses designated as extra to the student's program requirements are excluded). Normally, the minimum acceptable passing grade in individual courses is C+ (see Minimum Faculty Requirements below); however, some departments may require higher grades.

Graduate students are not permitted to take reexaminations. Regardless of their category, students who do not obtain an acceptable grade, or fail to complete a course that is required as part of their graduate program, must have the approval of the department and the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research to retake the course and must obtain a passing grade. Alternatively, students may take an alternate course recommended by the department and approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, but they must also obtain a passing grade.

In calculating a student's CGPA, the original failing grade will be included. The failing grade and the grade achieved for the repeated or substitute course will appear on the student's transcript. A Grade of IN5 is counted as a numeric grade of 0.0 in the computation of the CGPA.

A student whose course and/or research work is unsatisfactory may at any time be required to withdraw.

Deferred Final Exams

In certain circumstances, graduate students may apply for a deferred exam for courses in which they were absent from or will be absent from the scheduled final exam.  See Absence from Final Exams .

Requests for Deferred Examinations are subject to approval by the Dean, FGSR.  The Deferred Final Examination request form is available in the FGSR Forms Cabinet.

The policy on Deferred Examinations does not apply to candidacy or final oral exams for thesis-based programs.  See Conduct of Examinations  for further information.

Grades of Incomplete (IN)

In exceptional cases only, the instructor may assign a grade of Incomplete (IN) to a course. If a grade of Incomplete is assigned, the instructor must indicate on the Grade Report form the date by which the course requirements will be met. If a grade of Incomplete is assigned on the Grade Report form but no date for completion is indicated, the Incomplete will be changed to a grade of Incomplete Fail (IN5) by the FGSR.

Time Limits on Incomplete Grades

Maximum time limits on Incomplete (IN) grades:

  • April 30 for Fall term courses (September-December);
  • August 31 for Winter term (January-April) or two-term courses of Fall/Winter;
  • October 31 for Spring term courses;
  • December 31 for Summer term courses or two-term courses of Spring/Summer.

The FGSR may consider written department requests for extensions beyond these time limits only under exceptional circumstances.

If an Incomplete has not been cleared by the date shown on the Grade Report form, it will be changed to Incomplete Fail (IN5) by the FGSR.

Repeating Courses

  • Students may not repeat any successfully completed university course or course for which transfer credit has been awarded, except with the written approval of the Dean, FGSR.
  • Only one re-registration for credit or audit will be permitted in any failed university course, except with the written approval of the Dean, FGSR.
  • Only one re-registration for credit or audit will be permitted in any university course in which a student has received a final grade of W, except with the written approval of the Dean, FGSR.
  • If a student contravenes regulations listed above, the Dean, FGSR may withhold credit or indicate the course as extra to the degree on the registration that contravenes the regulation.
  • Students may repeat a first-term course in the second term, if it is offered, as long as the student complies with regulations listed above.
  • Students may re-register in the 900-level capstone courses and in thesis (THES) as often as is required.

Students are responsible for monitoring the number of times they have repeated a course.  Withdrawals (W) from courses will be considered together with failing grades when a faculty is restricting the number of multiple registrations in a course.

Grade Grievances and Appeals

Grade grievances and appeals for course grades are within the jurisdiction of the Faculty that teaches the course and cannot be subsequently appealed to FGSR.

Minimum Faculty Requirements

Regardless of the student's category, the pass mark in any course taken while registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is a grade of C+.

All students in degree programs (including time spent as a qualifying graduate student) or diploma or certificate programs must maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.7 throughout the course of the program. (In cases where the cumulative grade point average falls between 2.3 and 2.7, departments may recommend the student be required to withdraw, or continuation in the program for a specified probationary period; in any case, convocation shall not take place with a cumulative grade point average of less than 2.7.)  Notwithstanding the above, a student whose cumulative grade point average falls below 2.7 may be required to withdraw.

The above are minimum grades and grade point averages acceptable to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Individual departments may require higher grades than these. See Graduate Programs .

Academic Probation

Academic probation is used to address deficiencies in program or performance standards relevant to a student's particular program of studies such as CGPA, or progress in research. The conditions attached to a period of academic probation are designed to meet the specific needs of a student's academic situation.

When a student's term or cumulative grade point average falls between 2.3 and 2.7 or the minimum required by the program (See Graduate Programs), departments may recommend to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research continuation in a graduate program on academic probation for a specified period.

Change of Category

Departments may recommend a change of category to FGSR for doctoral students to master's programs due to poor academic performance.

When this occurs following the doctoral candidacy examination, please refer to Decision of the Candidacy Committee for details.

Required to Withdraw

Departments may recommend to FGSR that students be required to withdraw on academic grounds. Reasons for the recommendation include:

  • Failure to maintain adequate academic standing; failure to meet requirements set out in a conditional admission; candidacy or final oral examination failure; or expiry of program time limit. Requests to require to withdraw for these reasons must be documented in the academic record or student's file: for example, grades, exam reports, etc;
  • Failure to make satisfactory academic progress in other aspects of the program, such as adequate progress in research. Requests to require to withdraw for these reasons should be supported by evidence that the process of feedback, assessments and warnings has been followed;
  • Failure to complete the practicum component of a graduate program, if that practicum component is an integral part of the program;
  • Failure of the department to secure alternate supervision for a thesis-based student following dissolution of a supervisory relationship (see Resolving Conflicts in Supervisor-Student Relationships) as it is an academic requirement that thesis-based students have a supervisor (see Appointment of the Supervisor(s)).

The following considerations apply:

  • Cannot require to withdraw except for just cause;
  • Students shall be given adequate warning, feedback and timelines related to what is the nature of the inadequate progress, what special performance would be required to rectify the inadequacy, and what is the timeline for demonstration of the required improved performance;
  • Student should be given an opportunity to respond in writing to any warning given;
  • Meetings with appropriate advisors (members of supervisory committee; Chair's designate, etc.) may assist the process of providing adequate warning and advice.

The decision to require a student to withdraw rests with the Associate Deans, FGSR. Students may appeal to the FGSR Academic Appeals Committee. For details, see Appeals and Grievances.

Language Requirement

It is a program requirement in some departments that students show proof of proficiency in one or more languages other than English. Programs with a second language requirement may accept ASL (deaf language). (For information on specific language requirements see the detailed program information under the appropriate departmental entry in Graduate Programs .)

Residence Requirement

Master's Programs: Residence requirements for master's programs are established and monitored by the department. Most course-based master's programs have no residence requirements. See Graduate Programs .

Doctoral Programs: Residence supports two important objectives in these programs:

  1. A doctoral program provides students with significant contact with the University of Alberta, through time spent on campus and through interactions with the faculty and graduate students at the University.
  2. A doctoral program educates the student as an independent researcher and scholar in an academic discipline, through activities such as course work, participating in seminars, involvement in teaching, interactions with faculty members and other graduate students, and research under the direction of a faculty member.

The default residence requirement for the PhD and DMus programs is two academic years (where an academic year is defined as the eight-month period from September through April), and 12 continuous months for the EdD.

Specific residence requirements to support these objectives will be established by the department. Changes or exceptions to departmental residence requirement are to be submitted to the Dean of the department's Faculty for approval.

When a department changes a student's status in the middle of a program, the time spent as a master's candidate may count toward the residence requirement. Time spent as a qualifying graduate student does not count toward the residence requirement.

The University of Calgary and the University of Alberta have an agreement allowing, under certain conditions, PhD students at one institution to take up to one year of their two-year residence requirement at the other institution. Contact the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research for further information.

Graduate diploma and graduate certificates: There is no Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research residence requirement for graduate diplomas or certificates

Time Limit for Completion of Graduate Programs

The time limit (or the maximum period of time permitted to complete the requirements for a degree) is calculated from the start of the term in which the student first registers in that specific program or, if transferring from another program, the start of the first term of the first program.

Any time spent registered in Maintaining Registration (M REG 800 ) is counted in the time limit for completion. Any time spent as a qualifying graduate student is not counted in the time limit for completion. The time limit for completion of the degree will be extended by the duration of any Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR)-approved leave of absence.

The time limit for completion of a thesis-based degree will be extended if a student has been registered as part-time status at any point in their program. See Registration Status for further information.

Thesis-based Master's: Candidates must complete their program within four years of the term in which they first register as candidates in the master's program. In the case of students transferring from a course-based or other program, the beginning of the program is the term of initial registration in the first program.

Course-based Master's: Course-based master's students have six years to complete their program unless the department has opted for a shorter time limit for its course-based master's program. In the case of students transferring from a thesis-based or other program, the beginning of the program is the term of initial registration in the first program. Consult the department listing in Graduate Programs .

Doctoral degree: Candidates must complete their program within six years of the term in which they first register in a doctoral program. In the case of master's students who are reclassified as doctoral students, all degree requirements must be completed within six years of the time they first register as master's candidates.

Graduate diploma and graduate certificate: Candidates must complete all the requirements within four years of the time they first register in the graduate diploma or certificate program.

Extensions

Program Extensions

In exceptional circumstances a student who has failed to complete all the requirements for the degree within the appropriate period specified in Time Limit for Completion of Graduate Programs may be considered for a program extension.

The Department has the delegated authority to approve the first program extension. Authority for the approval of a second and subsequent program extensions rests with the Dean, FGSR.

All requests for program extensions will only be considered if there are well-documented reasons specific to a particular type of research that precludes completion within the time limit, or if there are sufficient and substantial unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the student and/or supervisor which prevent completion of the program within the time limits.

Program extensions may be considered for up to one year at a time. 

Doctoral Program Three-year Progress Requirement Extensions

In exceptional circumstances a student who has failed to meet the doctoral program three-year progress requirement, as specified in Doctoral Program Three-Year Progress Requirements, may be considered for an extension.

The Department has the delegated authority to approve the first extension to the doctoral program three-year progress requirement.

Under exceptional circumstances an additional extension may be granted. Authority for the approval of a second and subsequent doctoral program three-year progress requirement extensions rests with the Dean, FGSR.

All requests for an extension to the doctoral program three-year progress requirement will only be considered if there are sufficient, and substantial unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of the student and/or supervisor which prevent completion of the program within the time limits.

The doctoral program three-year progress requirement extension may be considered for up to one year at a time.

Convocation

There are two convocations each year, normally held in June and November. Students must apply for graduation on Bear Tracks (https://www.beartracks.ualberta.ca) in accordance with the deadlines published in Academic Schedule, Dates, and Deadlines .

In order to convocate, students in thesis programs must complete all coursework and submit their thesis to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research by the deadline dates specified in the Academic Schedule. Departments that require a thesis-equivalent may have special submission procedures. See Graduate Programs . For further details on thesis submission refer to the Thesis Requirements and Preparation page on the FGSR website.

Students in course-based programs must complete all program requirements prior to the deadlines set out in the Academic Schedule. It is the responsibility of the department to forward a completed Report of Completion for Course-based Master's Degree form to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research by the deadline dates specified in the Academic Schedule, to ensure that the student's name will be included in the convocation list.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property Guidelines for graduate students and supervisors Guidelines for Ownership of Research Materials and Guidelines for Authorship are available in Section 10 of the Graduate Program Manual.

Appeals and Grievances

Student grievances of an academic nature sometimes arise. Students in the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research are advised first to approach the instructor or supervisor concerned; in most cases, the issue can be resolved at this level. If the matter is not resolved, students are advised to see the department chair. Departments are encouraged to have internal appeal procedures. Where these exist, they should be followed before moving the matter to the Faculty level. The Dean or Associate Dean may be approached by students for advice in these matters.

The Academic Appeals Committee of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research hears and determines appeals from appellants of decisions of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research which affect academic standing.

The Committee shall have no jurisdiction to hear an appeal with respect to:

  1. The academic judgements inherent in marks or grades awarded in individual courses;
  2. The examination decisions of Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research;
  3. Decisions to refuse admission or readmission to the Faculty;
  4. Decisions relating to the granting of credit for courses taken or to be taken outside the University of Alberta.

For further information regarding appeals procedures at the Faculty level, students should consult the appeal regulations available from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. All formal appeals of a decision of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research must be initiated within 15 working days of the student's receipt of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research decision.

Grade grievances initiated by graduate students are not within the jurisdiction of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, but rather within the jurisdiction of the Faculty from which the graduate student had taken the course in question.

Additional information on appeals and grievances found in Appeals and Grievances  of the University Calendar.

Course-based Master's Programs

Course Requirements: In course-based programs, all coursework must be at the graduate level.

Residence: Residence requirements are established and monitored by the department.

Language Requirement: It is a requirement in some departments offering master's degrees that students show proof of proficiency in a language other than English. (For specific information on language requirements see the detailed program information under the appropriate departmental entry in the Graduate Programs  section of the Calendar.)

The student is responsible for successfully completing all course work and the capping exercise. Where the capping exercise involves a project, the student is responsible for producing a typed report of the project or some other finished product to be retained by the department.

It is the responsibility of the department to:

  • verify that all courses and the capping exercise have been successfully completed before recommending a student for graduation; and
  • submit to the FGSR a Report of Completion of Course-based Master's Degree form.

This information must be received and verified by the FGSR before the student's name is placed on the convocation list.

Failure to meet the deadlines in the Academic Schedule will result in a delay in awarding the degree.

Laddering of Freestanding Graduate Certificates and Diplomas into a Course - based Master's Degree

Laddering of freestanding graduate level certificates and diplomas into a master's degree means that a student who holds specific certificates or diplomas may be able to use the courses from the certificate to receive advanced standing in a course-based master's degree.

The program will specify the certificates and/or diplomas that may ladder into a master's degree. Completion of a certificate and/or diplomas does not guarantee admission to a master's program. Certificates and/or diplomas may be used for both the basis of admission and laddered into the course-based master's degree.

Once admitted to the master's program, the graduate courses taken in the certificates and/or diplomas may be recognized as advanced standing toward the master's degree. To be incorporated into a master's degree the student must indicate the request at the time of application to the master's program. Except where otherwise specified by a program, courses must be taken within the five years prior to admission to the master's program. Certificates and/or diplomas from other institutions may also be eligible for laddering providing they do not exceed ★9 in credits or, for course-based masters programs with more than ★24 required credits, 1/3 of the total credit weight of the program in combination with any individual transfer-credits from other institutions. In exceptional circumstances and with the explicit prior approval of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, up to ½ of the total units of course weight for the program may be met through laddering of certificates from other institutions in combination with transfer-credits from other institutions. 

Where presenting graded-courses, the student must have obtained individual grades in these courses that are sufficient for credit in the master's program and meet other quality assurance considerations of the master's program outlined in the program-specific section of the calendar at the time of admission.

To receive the master's degree, the student must complete the University's Ethics and Professional Development requirements as well as any remaining master's program requirements including the master's capping exercise. Other master's requirements may be waived if there is an explicit exemption in the department's section in the calendar for the master's program.

The student will pay tuition and associated fees for the time registered in the master's program.

Thesis-Based Master's Programs

Course Requirements: Considerable variation is permitted in the balance between research and course requirements for the master's degree. Thesis-based master's students may only take undergraduate courses for credit to satisfy their graduate program requirements when all of the following conditions are satisfied. The courses must be:

  • necessary;
  • not in the student's field of specialization and/or major area of study; and
  • approved by the department offering the graduate program.

Residence: Residence requirements are established and monitored by the department.

Language Requirement: It is a requirement in some departments offering master's degrees that students show proof of proficiency in a language other than English. (For specific information on language requirements see the detailed program information under the appropriate departmental entry in Graduate Programs .)

Doctoral Degrees

The essential requirement for a doctoral degree is the planning and carrying out of research of high quality leading to an advance in knowledge in the student's field of study.

Program Requirements

A doctoral degree is awarded upon successful completion of a doctoral degree program. All departments are responsible for developing and publishing a clear statement of all program requirements to be completed by the student in addition to the thesis. These requirements will vary from department to department, but will likely include a number of required and optional course requirements, the academic integrity and ethics requirement, a candidacy examination requirement, and in some disciplines, written comprehensive examinations.

Doctoral Program Three-year Progress Requirement

All program requirements, other than the thesis, must be completed within three years of the commencement of a student's program. Students who change from a master's program to a doctoral program, without the need to complete the master's program as part of an acceleration or fast-track, have four years to complete the doctoral program progress requirements from the term of initial registration in the master's program. For part-time doctoral students who change to a full-time doctoral program, or who remain as part-time doctoral students throughout the program, the department will determine the appropriate time period. The three-year rule does not apply to doctoral programs offered by the Departments of Educational Psychology, English and Film Studies, and Philosophy; nor to the doctoral program in Medical Sciences (Orthodontics) offered by the Department of Dentistry: students in these programs must consult the published department-specific regulations. For doctoral students in individualized interdisciplinary programs, the time limit for the completion of all program requirements, other than the thesis, must be specified in the individualized program proposal. For all doctoral programs, the time limit for completion remains six years.

The Degree of PhD

Admission: Students may be admitted to a doctoral program if they hold a bachelor's or a master's degree, or equivalent, from an approved academic institution. Admission is contingent upon approval of the department and the availability of: suitable supervision; suitable courses of study; and adequate library, laboratory and other facilities.

Course Requirements: Doctoral degree students may only take undergraduate courses for credit to satisfy their graduate program requirements when all of the following conditions are satisfied. The courses must be:

  • necessary;
  • not in the student's field of specialization and/or major area of study; and
  • approved by the department offering the graduate program.

Residence Requirements: See Residence Requirement of the University Calendar.

Language Requirement: A department may require a student to demonstrate a knowledge of one or more languages in addition to English. Where this is the case, the student must satisfy the language requirement before being allowed to take the candidacy examination. See also Language Requirement of the University Calendar.

Combined Program for the Degrees of MD and PhD

The MD/PhD combined program is intended for exceptional students who are seriously committed to a career in medical research. Highly qualified students wishing to pursue a career of teaching and research in either basic medical science or in clinical medicine may enrol in a program of approximately six years' duration leading to the acquisition of both an MD and a PhD degree from the University of Alberta. To be eligible for the combined program, students must already have been admitted to the MD program. Students are admitted to the combined program on the recommendation of the MD/PhD Committee.

Students entering the MD program from a preprofessional medical or a bachelor's program, and who are interested in applying to the MD/PhD program, should do so in their first year of medical school. For these students, admission into the program begins after completion of the second year of the MD program. Alternately, students who are transferring from a University of Alberta graduate program to the MD program are eligible to enrol immediately in the combined program. The most common route is for students to complete the first two years of the MD program, apply for and be admitted into the PhD program, and when the PhD is completed, return to the final two years of the MD program. Students pursuing the combined program will be assessed fees for both the MD and the PhD programs.

The Degree of DMus

The regulations pertaining to doctoral degrees also apply to the Doctor of Music degree; exceptions and special conditions are noted in Music  of the University Calendar.

The Degree of EdD

The degree of Doctor of Education attests proficiency in a program of graduate study in which the emphasis is upon preparation for competent professional performance. The general regulations for the EdD degree concerning admission, residence requirements, the candidacy examination and final oral examination (based largely on the thesis) are the same as those for doctoral degrees, with the following exceptions:

  1. Several years of successful teaching and an MEd degree or its equivalent are prerequisites for admission into the EdD program;
  2. The program emphasizes breadth in educational theory, practice and research rather than intensive specialization in a particular area;
  3. The student's program may make provision for supervised field experience;
  4. The minimum period of continuous residence is 12 months of full-time study at the University of Alberta, unless otherwise noted in the departmental listing in Graduate Programs .

Shared Credential Master's and Doctoral Degrees

The University of Alberta Shared Credential Policy governs the creation of agreements with national and international partners which lead to the awarding of what are sometimes known as joint or dual degrees.

Students must be admitted into a regular master's or doctoral program first before being admitted to a shared credential degree.

Please consult your department for information regarding possible shared credential agreements in which your department may be participating.

Individual Interdisciplinary Studies

An individual, interdisciplinary graduate program may be appropriate where a proposed area of study for an individual student cannot be effectively accommodated within a single department.

There should be strong reasons for establishing an individual program rather than operating within the context of a current program.

There is no obligation for departments to offer an interdisciplinary program to a student. However, departments may consider creating a program for an individual student if they are prepared to provide an appropriate program and if they have adequate supervision, facilities, and other resources necessary to offer such a program.

Both the home and conjoint department will be designated on the degree. Departments may also propose an individual specialization at the outset of the program.

The template for Individual Interdisciplinary Studies proposals is found at Individual Interdisciplinary Program available in Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research - Forms Cabinet.

Diplomas and Certificates

It is the responsibility of the department to:

  • verify that all the requirements of the diploma or certificate have been successfully completed before recommending a student for graduation;
  • submit to the FGSR a Report of Completion of Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate form.

This information must be received and verified by the FGSR before the student's name is placed on the convocation list.

Failure to meet the deadlines in the Academic Schedule will result in a delay in awarding the diploma or certificate.

University of Alberta offers both Embedded and Freestanding Certificates. Graduate students cannot receive an embedded undergraduate certificate as part of their program of studies, with an undergraduate certificate being one that contains courses primarily at the 300- and 400-level.

Information regarding graduate diploma and certificates is provided under the appropriate departmental listing in the Graduate Programs  section of the Calendar.

Certificates and/or diplomas may be eligible for laddering into course-based master's programs.