Jun 16, 2024  
University of Alberta Calendar 2024-2025 
University of Alberta Calendar 2024-2025

The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies

Return to: Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies  

Policies and Regulations

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

Graduate students should also refer to the regulations set forth in University Regulations .

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

Officers of the Faculty

Refer to the Contact Us page on the GPS website for a complete listing of the Dean, the Vice-Dean and the Associate Deans

Responsibilities Related to Graduate Programs


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

The student’s fundamental responsibilities include:

  • ensuring that their registration is accurate and does not lapse;
  • submitting appropriate forms on time to their department for signature and processing;
  • paying all fees required by the deadline dates set out in the Calendar;
  • maintaining open communication with their supervisor or advisor and graduate coordinator concerning any problem;
  • in the event of a conflict in the supervisor-student or advisor-student relationship, discussing it with the supervisor or advisor and graduate coordinator in a timely fashion;
  • being aware of the expectations of the supervisor and the department; and,
  • making research results accessible (beyond their appearance in a thesis) to an appropriate audience.
  • If registered in a thesis-based program, the student is also responsible for:
    1. completing the Student-Supervisor Guidelines, with their supervisor, within the first term of study, but no later than 12 months from the student’s program start date, and;
    2. ensuring the completion of the Progress Report at least once annually and no more than once every four months as required to appropriately monitor progress in program.

Students are encouraged to carefully read the Calendar and to contact their department or GPS if they have questions or require clarification about their specific program regulations.

Note: If a student switches streams to a thesis-based stream, they will be required to complete a Student-Supervisor Guidelines form within the first 12 months of their new program, and Progress Reports following the regulations as outlined in the calendar.


The supervisor is essential to the successful completion of thesis-based graduate degree programs. If a graduate student has a co-supervisor, then the term “supervisor” refers to both supervisors.

The graduate student supervisor is directly responsible for:

  • assisting the student in planning a program of studies;
  • assisting in ensuring that the student is aware of all program requirements, degree regulations, and general regulations of the department and the GPS;
  • providing counsel on all aspects of the student’s program;
  • staying informed of the student’s research activities and progress;
  • ensuring that students conduct their research in a manner that is as effective, safe, and productive as is possible;
  • arranging for and attends all supervisory committee meetings and the student’s examinations, and ensuring that these are scheduled and held in accordance with GPS regulations;
  • when going on leave or an extended period of absence, ensuring that the student is adequately supervised by assigning an acting supervisor. (When the student is in a doctoral program, the acting supervisor should be a member of the supervisory committee); and,
  • reviewing the thesis both in its draft and final form, and returning feedback in a timely manner.

The graduate student supervisor will:

  • meet with their thesis-based graduate student(s) and complete with them, and the supervisory committee when established, the GPS student progress report form at least once during a 12 month period (progress reports can be filled out once every four months as required);
  • hold an introductory meeting with all incoming thesis-based graduate students in the first term of the student’s program, and no later than 12 months from the program start date, and complete the Student-Supervisor Guidelines; and,
  • be familiar with the Guidelines for Supervision and Mentorship for Faculty and Administrators resource.

Academic Advisor

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

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

Graduate Coordinator

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

Graduate coordinators must be tenured or tenure-track faculty members.

Graduate coordinators have a duty to ensure that departmental and Faculty rules are administered in a fair and equitable manner.

The responsibilities of the graduate coordinator may include:

  • ensuring that the regulations and requirements of the GPS and the University are met;
  • being the official representative of the department to its graduate students;
  • admitting applicants to graduate programs;
  • acting as an advisor concerning the appointment of supervisors, supervisory committees, and external examiners
  • completing the Supervisor-Student Guidelines with thesis-based students in instances where a supervisor has yet to be appointed after 12 months since the start of the student’s program;
  • acting as an advisor concerning any changes to a student’s status or program;
  • carrying out GPS and University policies relating to graduate students;
  • acting as a liaison between GPS and the unit;
  • coordinating financial support for graduate students, including fellowships and assistantships;
  • monitoring the academic progress of graduate students;
  • providing advice to graduate students on the rules and procedures of GPS and the department;
  • keeping GPS informed of any changes in the student’s program, including student status, course and program changes, scheduling of examination dates; and,
  • initiating and coordinating graduate student recruitment activities.

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

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


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

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

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

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

GPS Council

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

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