Jun 13, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2022-2023 
University of Alberta Calendar 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Admissions

Return to: Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research  

Please note [Apr. 7, 2022] - ADDENDUM. Alternate criteria for English Language Proficiency were added.  See Amendments to the Calendar  for more information.

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 .

Indigenous Applicants

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

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

In accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research admission policy, Indigenous applicants may be considered for admission on the basis of their life experience. The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research advocates the admission of Indigenous 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 units of course weight 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, where the language of instruction is English;
  • 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.

In exceptional circumstances, and on the recommendation of an academic unit, the Dean of FGSR may consider an applicant who holds a degree(s) from an institution where English is not the primary language of instruction but who has demonstrated English language proficiency through one or more of the following:

  • Successful completion of a subsequent certificate, diploma, or equivalent credential from an academic institution recognized by the University of Alberta, where the language of instruction is English.
  • Attainment of a professional certification/designation from a recognized/accredited organization that requires its own demonstration of English language proficiency.
  • Demonstrated applied professional experience of a minimum of five (5) years where English is the principal language for spoken, written, and oral communication.

EAP 550

The English Language School [EXT]  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.

Funding offers are only guaranteed for the entry term that is stated on the offer letter. If a student does not register in the term noted, then they risk forfeiting the funding offer due to the availability of the funding, the rules of any funding-granting agencies, and the discretion of the department and supervisor. Note: there may be additional conditions required by the student’s academic unit. Students should check with their academic unit for further details.

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.

If an applicant whose admission at the U of A is conditional based on completing another degree program, or another degree program is a prerequisite of their admission to the new program, and the applicant has not yet completed their previous degree program at the time they submit their application or accept their offer of admission, they must have done so by the time they first register in their new program at this university (see Conditional Admission to a Concurrent Graduate Program ). If they have not, their application will be subject to a reassessment.

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.

Failure to Maintain Active Registration

If students fail to maintain active registration, their program of study will be cancelled by FGSR (See Maintenance of Registration ).

When a graduate student’s program is cancelled, the student - supervisor/supervisory committee relationship is dissolved. Students without an active program are no longer entitled to supervisory advice/guidance/feedback on their program of study nor are supervisors and/or supervisory committee members required to provide it. Similarly, course based Master’s students are not entitled to advice/guidance/feedback from program advisors.

Further, and where relevant, any data a student collects while unregistered as a graduate student cannot be used for the purpose of their own thesis research since ethics approvals lapse when program registration lapses.


If a student intends to resume work on their program, they must apply for readmission and have their program reassessed in accordance with the regulations in force at that time. Readmission is not guaranteed. If a student is recommended for readmission by their department, the student will pay a readmission fee, which will be assessed in addition to standard program fees in effect at the time.

For thesis-based programs, when a student submits their request for readmission to complete their program, a request to reappoint the supervisor and reconstitute the supervisory committee must also be submitted, and is subject to approval by the Dean, FGSR.

Students who are readmitted for the purpose of completing their degree program must be registered full time until their final program requirement(s) are completed.

Knowledge Currency

Students seeking readmission ten (10) or more years after their initial program start date must demonstrate knowledge currency in their field of study. This may be accomplished through professional practice or other applied means. Appropriate documentation is required to demonstrate knowledge currency, which could include evidence the student is working as a professional in their field or a letter from the supervisor explaining how the student has remained current.

The Department, in consultation with the student’s supervisor, may also provide a recommendation that explains the student’s familiarity with current theories, methods, and advances in the field of study. This recommendation should also indicate if the present requirements of the graduate program would still be met with the student’s knowledge currency at the time of readmission.

Students who have not remained current or cannot demonstrate currency in their field of study will be required to complete one or more of the following:

  • repeat required courses, or equivalents, offered at the time of readmission;
  • repeat comprehensive exams (or qualifying exams as specified by the student’s program);
  • repeat the candidacy exam.

Completion of one or more of the noted program requirements will ensure a student is knowledgeable in their field and that the research they complete and upon which their degree is conferred is current.

A request can be made to the Dean, FGSR, to consider an exception. Appropriate documentation and a clear rationale submitted by the supervisor and approved by the Graduate Coordinator are required to support the request.

Revised Admission–Changes to Admission Start Date

If a student submits an application but cannot be physically present on their proposed program start date, the academic unit has the discretion to change the applicant’s proposed start term for up to one year from the original start date. Such a change would constitute a deferral and the above noted policies regarding deferrals will apply accordingly. See Graduate Admissions.

A student who defers their original program start date by 12 or more months will fall within a new fee cohort in accordance with the Province of Alberta’s legislation. Should this be the case, the student’s tuition will be assessed in accordance with a revised tuition and fee guarantee for that academic year.

Normally, if the academic unit wants to extend the start date beyond one year (i.e. greater than 12 months), the applicant will complete a new Application for Graduate Admission, thus providing any new information on their education pursued/completed since the first application; another application fee will be required to process the new application.

Requesting a Revised Admission Start Date

If the student’s request for a revised admission date is made to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), the FGSR will forward the student’s request to the academic unit. If the academic unit agrees to the student’s request, it will send a memo to FGSR noting that approval and the revised program start date. The FGSR will then send the student a revised admission letter.

If the student’s request for a revised admission date is made to the academic unit and is subsequently approved, it will send a memo that notes the approval and revised program start date to the FGSR. The FGSR will then send the student a revised admission letter.

Graduate Programs

Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research