The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is working to ensure that existing and incoming graduate students, and applicants stay informed of the University’s response to the evolving global impact of COVID-19. The University is continuing to update our COVID-19 page with recent information, answers to FAQs and other resources.
Existing Students: see UPDATE FROM THE AVP GRADUATE STUDIES. For international students with questions relating to your study permit, please connect with your international student advisor; if you have gone abroad or intend to go abroad, and you have new immigration or travel concerns, please consult with your international student advisor.
Incoming Graduate Students: Students expecting to start summer'20 should have received an email outlining your options; if not, please email us. Students expecting to start fall'20 should count on doing so, at least until told otherwise. If you have questions or concerns about meeting the conditions on your offer letters, please email us.
Applicants: We continue to process applicants and issue of offers of admission.
The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is committed to supporting our students. We will work with you to ensure minimized disruption for all current and incoming students.
Graduate Program Coordinator Handbook
The purpose of this handbook is to clarify your role as a Graduate Program Coordinator at the University of Guelph and to organize relevant information in a manner that corresponds to your main responsibilities as a Coordinator. Many of your responsibilities are defined through Senate policies and procedures as documented in the Graduate Calendar and as referenced in this guide. The Graduate Calendar is the definitive guide to University of Guelph policies, procedures and guidelines and takes precedence over the contents of this handbook. If you have not already read the General Regulations (Chapter II), General Information (Chapter III) and Degree Regulations (Chapter IV) in the Graduate Calendar, you should do so early in your term.
ADGS – Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
ADR – Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies
AVPGS – Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies
AWOL – Absent Without Leave
A&P – Admissions and Progress Committee
BGS – Board of Graduate Studies
GAM – Graduate Admissions and Marketing
GPA – Graduate Program Assistant
GPC – Graduate Program Coordinator
GPPC – Graduate Programs and Policies Committee
LOA – Leave of Absence
LOP – Letter of Permission
MPD – Maximum Program Duration
OGPS – Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
PGO – Postdoctoral and Graduate Operations
POS – Plan of Study
RTW – Required to Withdraw
SAS – Student Accessibility Services
Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies
The Assistant Vice-President, Graduate Studies (AVPGS) oversees the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) and all aspects of graduate education in the more than 90 graduate programs offered at the University of Guelph. The AVPGS has the responsibility to:
- provide the necessary leadership to enable the University to achieve the highest possible standards in graduate studies.
- provide strategic leadership in the development of graduate programs.
- ensure implementation of the policies and directions determined by the Board of Graduate Studies (BGS).
- submit faculty recommendations of degree candidates to Senate who have satisfied the minimum degree requirements.
- advocate to upper administration for graduate studies as the Chair of Graduate Studies Council.
- participate in various administrative councils to promote graduate student interests.
- represent the University in various external agencies and jurisdictions affecting graduate study.
Associate Dean, Graduate Studies
The Associate Dean, Graduate Studies (ADGS) reports to the AVPGS and has the responsibility to:
- play a role in the promotion of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
- contribute to setting appropriate priorities and guiding values.
- develop and deliver workshops and seminars for graduate faculty, staff and students.
- promote a student-centred learning environment.
- chair the Admissions and Progress Committee (A&P) of the BGS.
- provide consultation to students and faculty on student progress.
- conduct investigations of graduate student academic misconduct in collaboration with college Deans (or designated Associate Dean).
- build positive relationships with students, faculty and staff across the University, and thereby enhance the learning environment for graduate students.
- contribute to the visibility and profile of the OGPS.
Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (OGPS) partners with academic departments to:
- maintain academic standards and the integrity of graduate programs.
- admit high quality students to the University of Guelph, from Canada and internationally.
- provide funding to assist graduate education.
- assist graduate students with the successful completion of their academic studies.
OGPS, located on the 3rd floor of the University Centre, is the administrative centre for most aspects of graduate students’ academic life. The staff within the OGPS provide a number of services and links for admission counselling, financial counselling, external transcript evaluation, problem resolution, e-thesis approval and advice on program issues and internal and external scholarship applications.
Guidelines and procedures for appointment of postdoctoral associates are also overseen by the OGPS, but are not covered in this handbook as they do not apply to GPCs.
Director, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Reporting to the AVPGS, the Director, OGPS, provides leadership to and is responsible for the operation and administration of the Office of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Studies in coordination with the Office of Registrarial Services and other academic and administrative units. The Director oversees graduate marketing and communications, admissions, enrolment, postdoctoral services, internal and external reporting, academic records, awards, systems, student services, fiscal management and the resources of the OGPS. The Director coordinates support with universities sharing joint graduate programs; provides analysis, opinion and academic administrative support for various graduate committees and subcommittees; and provides analysis, opinion and support for University policy development and changing academic and/or administrative practices in all areas of graduate study, including research, graduate enrolment management, funding, and other related internal and external University activities.
Manager, Postdoctoral and Graduate Operations
Reporting to the Director, OGPS, the Manager, Postdoctoral and Graduate Operations is responsible for the management, operational requirements, and training of our Graduate systems, (ImageNow/WebNow, Gryph Forms), as well as University reports on student data. The Manager, PGO will foster communication and provide support to postdoctoral scholars, university administration and faculty at the University, to ensure the identification and the equitable treatment of postdoctoral scholars, and foster a productive climate for postdoctoral training. Acting as an internal business analyst, the Manager, PGO ensures the operational effectiveness and excellence of OGPS processes, including the supervision and assignment of work to the records team. The Manager, PGO is the back up to the Director, OGPS
Manager, Graduate Admission and Marketing
Reporting to the Director, OGPS, the Manager, Graduate Admissions and Marketing is responsible for the management of graduate admissions, promoting graduate studies to prospective graduate students, and developing/maintaining communications with prospective graduate students through to the receipt of their offer of admission from the University. The Manager, GAM is accountable for all aspects of managing, adjudicating and executing graduate admission policies and processes including all transcript evaluations (domestic and international), recommendation forms, and funding form activities between the Admission Specialists and graduate program offices. The Manager, GAM provides support for training of admission procedures to all graduate programs, and manages and develops digital, social print media and marketing strategies (including event activity). In addition, the Manager, GAM represents the OGPS at recruitment-related meetings and events, and liaises with Guelph's graduate departments to support development and implementation of recruitment strategies and events.
Manager, Graduate Curriculum
Reporting to the AVPGS, the Manager, Graduate Curriculum is responsible for management duties related to graduate curricula at the University of Guelph such as supporting ongoing processes of new graduate program development and guiding proposals through internal and external governance and approval processes (e.g., Senate, OUCQA, MTCU); advising academic units and colleges on curriculum and instructional design-related matters with respect to student learning outcomes and assessment; ensuring accuracy of program and course information in the Graduate Calendar; and supporting related workflow processes such as major modifications to existing programs, course changes, etc. In addition, the Manager, GC undertakes initiatives and research to support strategic planning and graduate growth, providing advice to the AVPGS and the Director, OGPS.
Executive Secretary to the AVPGS
The Executive Secretary to the AVPGS provides secretarial and administrative services to support the function of the AVPGS, the ADGS and the Director, OGPS and is recording secretary for various subcommittees of the BGS. Responsibilities also include facilitating the submission of graduate faculty nominations, new course and course revision proposals, program changes and new program proposals to the subcommittees of the BGS; and assisting in scheduling for the AVPGS, the Director, OGPS and the ADGS. The Executive Secretary also shares joint coordination of the yearly publication of the electronic calendar with Enrolment Services.
Graduate Awards Officers
The Graduate Awards Officers are the University external liaison for all provincial, national and international graduate student scholarship/funding agencies and have overall responsibility for the coordination of University-wide internal awards competitions, external awards competitions and scheduling of the meeting for various awards committees, through to the shared processing and maintenance of graduate award records and statistics. Awards information and financial advice, and assistance to departments, faculty, and students is provided by the Graduate Awards Officers, ensuring that the awards process is carried out according to terms and conditions, and University policy.
Graduate Records and Postdoctoral Officers
Reporting to the Manager, PGO, the Graduate Records and Postdoctoral Officers are the secretaries for A&P and prepare and review appeals for academic consideration and extensions beyond Maximum Program Duration. They are widely responsible for monitoring student registration/status (AWOL, Leaves/Withdrawals, Readmission, Letter of Permission, Program/Study Option Transfers) and progress (student progress reports, plans of study). They also collaborate with Institutional Analysis and Research on assembling government reporting data through Colleague.
The Graduate Records and Postdoctoral Officers coordinate and process advisory committee forms, exam request forms, student e-thesis submission, and coursework graduation requirements, and liaise with departments to ensure student needs are met. They also process Postdoctoral Fellow Appointments and communicate with faculty and departments regarding PDF Terms & Conditions and the LMIA exempt process for hiring international postdoctoral scholars. The colleges of L, CEPS, COA and CSAHS are serviced by one Records Officer, while the colleges of CBS, OAC and OVC are serviced by the other.
Distributed Analyst III
Reporting to both the Manager, PGO and CCS (Computing and Communications Services), the Distributed Analyst III is responsible for developing and converting graduate forms and workflows into a digital platform (GryphForms), and meets with students, staff, and faculty to ensure that a comprehensive solution is created, tested, and released.
Graduate Admission Specialists
Reporting to the Manager, GAM, the Admission Specialists are the subject experts on all matters related to admissions, and the use of Colleague and ImageNow/WebNow for implementing the admission process from application to the final offer of admission. This includes providing information and advice on University requirements, policies and procedures to prospective students, faculty and department GPCs and GPAs, training GPAs to evaluate transcripts, verifying the authenticity of academic credentials, administering admission decisions, verifying language scores and reviewing final documents. The colleges of L, CEPS, and CSAHS are serviced by one Admission Specialist, while the colleges of CBS, COA, OAC and OVC are serviced by the other. Identification of the college-specific Graduate Admission Specialist may be obtained from the contact list on the OGPS website.
Marketing Support Assistant
Reporting to the Manager, GAM, the Marketing Support Assistant (MSA) helps implement projects related to graduate recruitment and the promotion of graduate studies at the University. They assist in the development of all print marketing materials (departmental one pagers, graduate studies viewbook, topic-specific one pagers) and ensure all newly established university brand guidelines are followed, as well as organize and collect grad student faculty profiles for promoting graduate studies at the University. The Marketing Support Assistant also helps maintain the OGPS website and supports implementation of an integrated social media strategy geared at promoting graduate studies to prospective students while engaging current students in matters related to their graduate programs. The MSA is also responsible for event planning such as the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT).
Graduate Service Assistant
Reporting to the Manager, GAM, the Graduate Service Assistant is the external face of the OGPS and provides information to prospective or current students, faculty, staff and the general public. They provide information to clientele in person, by phone and by email, including answers to queries about all aspects of graduate studies and the University in general. The Graduate Service Assistant also provides support for communication projects related to recruitment, admissions and social media (departmental onepagers, graduate studies viewbook, topic-specific one-pagers, social media accounts), and assists with distribution of hard copy and electronic documents. They also create and revise- AODA-compliant PDF forms.
Associate Deans, Research and Graduate Studies
Reporting to the Deans of each College, the Associate Deans, Research and Graduate Studies (ADR) provide leadership in raising the College’s research profile, strengthening its research culture, activity and scholarly output, developing research centres as funds allow, managing graduate level funding, and identifying and facilitating areas of graduate growth and improvement throughout their College. The ADRs provide a key link between their College and the AVPGS, the Vice-President Research, and the GPCs from each department/school in the college.
The following are intended as broad guidelines for faculty members who are serving as Graduate Program Coordinators (GPC). Many of the GPC activities and responsibilities outlined in this section are described in more detail in the later sections of this handbook.
GPCs must be familiar with the rules and regulations pertinent to study at the University of Guelph as printed in the Graduate Calendar, and should be aware of significant changes to said regulations as they are approved by Senate.
It is imperative that GPCs notify OGPS of who has signing authority in their absence if they plan to be away for any extended period.
With respect to the admission of applicants to the graduate program, the GPC has the responsibility to:
- evaluate application files, including transcripts.
- assist with course selection for those applicants who have been counselled to complete upgrading.
- assign upgrading requirements for applicants who may meet University minimum admissions standards but who do not meet departmental standards.
- approve and recommend, on behalf of the departmental Graduate Program Committee, admission of new graduate students, which includes signing all forms pertaining to admission. Forms include: “Recommendation for Admission Form”, “Recommendation to Waive English Language Requirements”, “Funding Form” etc.
- submit, on behalf of the departmental Graduate Program Committee, an appeal and supporting documents to A&P when the OGPS has rejected an applicant whom the Department wishes to admit.
Once a student has been admitted to a graduate program, the GPC has the responsibility to:
- facilitate the establishment of the student’s Advisory Committee and academic program, and submission of the “Advisory Committee” form to OGPS by the 20th class day of the student’s second registered semester.
- facilitate the Graduate Faculty nomination process and approve submissions on behalf of the departmental Graduate Program Committee.
- monitor graduate student progress by ensuring that Semester Progress Reports are completed and submitted each semester.
- submit the Semester Progress Report Audit List to OGPS each semester. Many units review these forms at the meeting of their Graduate Program Committee each semester.
- assist graduate students and faculty with dispute resolution and refer students and faculty to appropriate personnel in more complex and difficult situations.
- be sensitive to the various needs of troubled students, both domestic and international, and refer them to counselling services if necessary.
- make recommendations to A&P on behalf of the departmental Graduate Program Committee in the event of special academic situations that may arise from time to time. These may include requests to transfer programs, recommendations for dealing with course failures, time limit extension requests, extended leave of absence requests, etc.
- schedule or organize masters defences, doctoral qualifying examinations, and doctoral defences, ensuring that the OGPS receives notification of upcoming qualifying examinations and defences, and that final paperwork following the qualifying examination or defence is submitted to the OGPS.
- chair the Graduate Program Awards Committee and make recommendations as required by the terms of the award.
On an ongoing basis, the GPC has the responsibility to:
- review proposed course changes, deletions and additions, major modifications, and new programs within the five Division Committees (I – Humanities, II – Social Sciences, III – Human and Animal Sciences, IV – Plant Sciences, V – Physical and Engineering Sciences).
- submit course changes, additions and/or deletions on behalf of their program/unit.
- prepare documentation for the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) for cyclical review of existing graduate programs.
- submit calendar changes and updates.
Graduate Program Assistant
The Graduate Program Assistant (GPA) assists the GPC in all activities that support the recruitment, admission, progress and program completion of graduate students in the program. A separate GPA handbook is available on the OGPS website.
The Graduate Calendar is the official document of the University that identifies the policies governing the University, its programs, and its students and faculty. The current Graduate Calendar can be found on the University website.
The Graduate Calendar is a Senate-approved document and all changes are approved at meetings of Senate.
Board of Graduate Studies
The Board of Graduate Studies (BGS) considers and reports to Senate on proposals for the establishment of a new program for a graduate degree or diploma, recommends admission standards for appointment to the Faculty of Graduate Studies, makes recommendations on matters of graduate educational policy, recommends University graduate admission requirements, approves candidates for graduate degrees, approves graduate course deletions and additions, and performs other tasks as outlined in the BGS bylaws. For a description of the role of the BGS and its bylaws, refer to the Senate BGS Bylaws.
The BGS has two standing sub-committees, which both meet monthly throughout the year:
- Graduate Programs and Policies Committee (GPPC)
- Admissions and Progress Committee (A&P).
Committee on Graduate Programs and Policies (Program Committee)
- Chair, BGS or designate (Chair),
- Assistant Vice-President Academic,
- up to six other general members, half of whom must also be members of the BGS,
- one (non-voting) staff from the OGPS, who shall be the recording secretary.
The committee is free to engage other faculty, administrative staff or graduate students as non-voting participants on a continuing or periodic basis, as it finds appropriate, to assist with the fulfilment of its responsibilities.
The GPPC advises the BGS on the following matters by providing preliminary scrutiny and/or preliminary drafts of policy proposals for consideration by the BGS. In this context, the GPPC:
- reviews proposals for the addition, deletion or amendment of graduate programs and courses in light of Senate-approved learning objectives, recommendations from the Division Committees, and external academic quality standards.
- refines proposals as necessary before bringing them to the BGS for consideration.
- periodically reviews policies concerning appointment to Graduate Faculty, and advises the BGS on the need for amendment as appropriate.
- reports on its activities at each meeting of the BGS.
Subcommittees of the Graduate Programs and Policy Committee
To fulfill the responsibilities of the BGS, two sub-committees have been established:
(1) Graduate Program Committees and (2) Division Committees.
(1) Graduate Program Committees:
Graduate Program Committees are subcommittees of the Committee on Graduate Programs and Policies.
Each academic unit (department, school or interdepartmental group) offering graduate education shall establish a Graduate Program Committee consisting of members of the Graduate Faculty and including graduate student representation. The student representative(s) shall be elected by the graduate students or named after consultation with the graduate students in that program. Normally, the chair of each Graduate Program Committee shall be the GPC of the relevant graduate program. Graduate student representatives shall be recused for discussions on the progress of students in their individual programs.
The Graduate Program Committee shall oversee the graduate program(s) of the academic unit including the curriculum and the students in their individual programs. The Committee is responsible for keeping the affiliated program curriculum under ongoing review, assessing the degree of achievement of its learning outcomes as required by University and external quality assessment processes, initiating and/or responding to proposals for curricular change, and initiating action, as necessary, according to University academic governance processes.
Informed by relevant Senate policies, each Graduate Program Committee also oversees the progress of students in the graduate program(s) under its purview. Assistance to the Committee with interpretation of Senate policies is provided by the AVPGS, who in turn may seek further guidance from A&P and/or the BGS.
(2) Division Committees
A Division Committee exists for each of the following: the humanities, the social sciences, human and animal sciences, the plant sciences, and the physical sciences. The Division Committees allow for interdisciplinary consideration of proposals for addition, deletion or amendment of graduate programs and courses. Normally, new program proposals or significant program or course revisions will be reviewed first by the relevant Division Committee(s) for comment prior to consideration of the proposal by the BGS or its committees.
The number and composition of Division Committees are informed by the interdisciplinary review framework and program groupings in place for the purposes of provincial graduate program quality control processes, and the University’s own array of graduate programs. The GPC of each program is a member of one Division Committee and may ask to be appointed to other Divisions relevant to their program.
The current Division Committee structure is provided below. As required by changes to the University’s graduate program offerings or provincial program quality review frameworks, the AVPGS will advise the BGS on the need for amendment to the current structure.
Division 1 – HUMANITIES. Art and Visual Culture, Creative Writing, English, European Studies, French, History - Tri-University Program, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Philosophy, Literary Studies/Theatre Studies in English, Studio Art, Theatre Studies.
Division 2 – SOCIAL SCIENCES. Business Administration, Capacity Development and Extension, Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy, Economics, Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, Geography, International Development Studies, Landscape Architecture, Marketing and Consumer Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Public Issues Anthropology, Sociology, Rural Planning and Development.
Division 3 – HUMAN AND ANIMAL SCIENCES. Animal and Poultry Science, Biomedical Sciences, Biophysics, Clinical Studies, Environmental Biology, Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, Food Science, Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, Integrative Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Neuroscience, Pathobiology, Population Medicine, Psychology, Public Health.
Division 4 – PLANT SCIENCES. School of Environmental Sciences, Integrative Biology, Land Resource Science, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Plant Agriculture.
Division 5 – PHYSICAL SCIENCES. Biophysics, Chemistry, Computing and Information Science, Engineering, Geography, Land Resource Science, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics.
Division Committees shall consist of the GPCs of departments participating in the Division Committee or their designate.
Each Division Committee shall consider proposals for modification of the degree programs for which it is responsible and of courses which are a part of those programs. The Division Committees will report thereon to the Graduate Programs and Policies Committee.
Admissions and Progress Committee
Ten members are appointed annually to the Admissions and Progress Committee (A&P) by the Chair of the BGS in consultation with the ADGS for a one-year renewable term. At least half of the members of A&P must also be members of the BGS and broadly represent different programs across the University. The membership consists of:
- the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (normally Chair),
- three graduate students (one of whom will be the President of the Graduate Student Association),
- three faculty members (at least one tenured),
- one representative from the Office of Student Affairs,
- two (non-voting) staff from the OGPS, one of whom is the recording secretary,
- a Vice-Chair is to be elected by the Committee from among its members.
The A&P shall:
- keep under review policies regarding admission of applicants and progress of graduate students in their programs of study.
- take action on behalf of the BGS with respect to unsatisfactory progress and special requests by graduate students.
- report to the BGS an on annual basis.
The actions of A&P are informed by Senate policies regarding admission of applicants and progress of graduate students. Its decisions are subject to appeal to the Committee on Student Petitions. Additional details on preparing cases for submission to A&P are provided in Section 12.
In most programs, graduate recruitment is the responsibility of the GPC, the GPA and members of the graduate faculty working in collaboration with the Manager, Graduate Admissions and Marketing in OGPS.
Departmental Recruitment Tools
Each department has a one-page recruitment brochure. This brochure is updated annually (May-July) and is used to promote graduate programs to prospective students by each program as well as through recruitment efforts by the OGPS. GPCs are asked to review the one-pager each year and submit any changes required to ensure the program is accurately advertised to prospective students. Edits, printing and the creation of a PDF of department one-pagers is facilitated through the OGPS. Departments are contacted each Spring/Summer to begin the review of their one-pager for the upcoming recruitment cycle.
Prospective students commonly ask about three broad areas of research: Health Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Human Nutrition. Many graduate programs at the University of Guelph encompass research in one of these areas. In order to communicate graduate programs effectively, OGPS maintains three topic-specific one-pagers outlining programs that facilitate research in each respective area. Each year, GPCs are asked to review these documents to ensure their program is accurately reflected in each topic-specific one-pager (if applicable).
GPCs have access to information about planning, organizing and facilitating their departmental graduate recruitment strategy. By reviewing general recruitment principles and understanding effective recruitment strategies, this website offers suggestions on how to incorporate faculty in departmental recruitment efforts; plan internal recruitment events, offers suggestions on how to create an effective communications strategy from prospect to registered student; and email templates to communicate with various cohorts of prospective students. GPCs are encouraged to review the Admissions Support section of the Faculty and Staff section of the OGPS website.
Graduate Studies Preview Day - Annual Recruitment Event
Each year, usually in October, OGPS plans Graduate Studies Preview Day to promote graduate programs to prospective graduate students. OGPS invites interested students from the University of Guelph, as well as Universities in Ontario and across Canada to attend this event. Each department hosts a booth representing their program and discusses graduate opportunities in their department with the prospective student visitors. GPCs are strongly encouraged to attend this event.
General Admission Requirements
The General Regulations (Chapter II) in the Graduate Calendar provides the definitive requirements for general admission to the University of Guelph. Current requirements are noted here.
Applicants must have completed a 4-year Honours Baccalaureate degree or equivalent from a recognized post-secondary institution with a minimum of a B- average over the last two years of full-time equivalent study.
Applicants must have completed a 4-year Honours Baccalaureate degree, or equivalent, from a recognized post-secondary institution with a minimum B- average over the last two years of full-time equivalent study.
Applicants are usually required to have completed a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from a recognized post-secondary institution and must have achieved a minimum overall B average in their Master’s program. Applicants must demonstrate strong potential for research.
Applicants who have successfully completed an Honours Baccalaureate/ undergraduate degree may apply directly to a doctoral program on their initial application for admission. The applicant must have achieved a superior academic record in the last two years of full time equivalent study.
Additional Admissions Requirements
Some departments may have additional or higher admission qualifications, which should be indicated on the Department’s website.
Student’s whose first language is not English are required to provide documentation certifying that they have passed an English Language Test.
Note: Departments can choose to waive the English Language requirement with substantiated evidence that the applicant has proven English Language ability. The Department must fill out the English Language Waiver in ImageNow/WebNow and provide a letter to support admission of the student. These documents should be forwarded, along with the recommendation for admission, to the OGPS via ImageNow/WebNow.
For more information about General Admission Requirements, consult the General Regulations (Chapter II) in the Graduate Calendar.
GPCs are commonly asked about equivalency of a degree from a university in a different country. The International Credential Guidelines can be used as a quick reference to determine whether a degree from a university in a different country is equivalent to a 4-year Honours degree here at the University of Guelph. This link can be shared with prospective students.
GPAs have access to a similar site with specific notes about the degree from that country and its equivalency to a degree from the University of Guelph. GPAs should review the Ontario University Registrar’s Association (OURA) website.
Non-Standard Admissions Cases
Detailed information for students who do not meet the minimum University Admissions requirements may be found in the General Regulations (Chapter II) of the Graduate Calendar in the sections on Upgrading, Alternate Admissions and Non Standard Admission to the University of Guelph.
For Admissions to a Master's Program:
Students who have not completed a 4-year Honours degree (or equivalent) or who do not meet the minimum admission average must complete additional courses (commonly referred to as upgrading) in order to be considered for admission to a Master’s program at the University of Guelph.
For Admissions to a Doctoral program:
Students interested in pursuing a Doctoral program who do not meet the minimum admissions requirements are also required to upgrade their Master’s degree.
Students from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh:
Students who have completed a 3- or 4-year degree from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh commonly do not meet the minimum University of Guelph admission requirements. Students from these countries have various upgrading options, depending on their individual situation. Contact the Manager, GAM for more information.
Further Notes on Upgrading:
Students interested in upgrading commonly seek advice from the Department with regard to the selection of courses. Recommended courses must meet the specifications outlined in the Graduate Calendar.
Students who upgrade are not guaranteed admission to a graduate program at the University of Guelph.
Students who are required to upgrade their credentials must be admitted as non-degree students through Undergraduate Admission Services:
Alternate admission may be applied for applicants who do not meet the normal University admission requirements in one of two ways:
- insufficient academic preparation.
- academic preparation of insufficient quality.
The GPC is responsible for organizing the supporting documentation when seeking admission of such applicants.
Recommending an Applicant for Admission
The University of Guelph has a decentralized admissions process which is administered via the online ImageNow / WebNow system (webnow requires Java) or Experience Apps (no Java required). New GPCs should enroll in one of the training sessions offered by the OGPS to familiarize themselves with ImageNow/WebNow/Experience Apps. Each department reviews the applicants that have applied to their program via ImageNow/Webnow and subsequently recommends applicants they want to admit to the OGPS, which reviews the applicant file. If it has been evaluated correctly, and all necessary documents are present, OGPS extends the official Offer of Admission to the applicant.
In order for the recommendation to be processed by OGPS, the Department must conduct a full evaluation of the applicant file, complete the necessary forms online and forward the file to the OGPS using the ImageNow/Webnow system.
Necessary Documents for Recommending an Offer of Admission to OGPS
Below is a list of necessary documents. Note: the GPC’s signature is required on many of these documents.
Recommendation for Admission
- is located in ImageNow/WebNow
- must be filled out completely
- must be dated and signed by the GPC
- is located in ImageNow
- must be filled out completely, indicating the level of funding per year (3 semesters/year)
- must be dated and signed by the GPC
Transcript Evaluation Form
This form must be completed and forwarded using ImageNow/WebNow, along with relevant documentation. The GPA usually evaluates the transcript and fills out the form.
Transcripts and Original Documents
- are only required once an offer of admission is made.
- must be sent to the OGPS in the original envelopes.
English Language Waiver
- is included as a section of the Rec.Form in ImageNow/WebNow
- must be completed in full if the option is chosen
- requires signatures of the GPC, Chair/Director, and the ADR.
The OGPS will evaluate the file.
In the event there are any errors within the recommendation, the file will be routed back to the GPC, who must un-sign it. The GPC or GPA must correct the errors, after which the GPC re-signs the forms and routes the file back to the Admissions Specialist for processing.
If the student is admitted to the program, the OGPS will process the offer, and send an email to advise the GPA that the offer has been made to the student. The GPA will then be advised by email if the student accepts or rejects their offer. Each applicant has 21 days plus an automatic 14 day extension to accept their offer of admission. This is an automated process and cannot be altered.
If the OGPS rejects an applicant, the GPC is responsible, on behalf of the Departmental Graduate Program Committee, for the submission of any appeal and supporting documents to the Records Officer for evaluation by A&P.
Accepting an Offer of Admission
Students log in into their WebAdvisor account to accept or decline their offer. The student is responsible for meeting any admission conditions outlined in the offer.
Deferring an Offer of Admission
A student who has received an offer admission must seek the approval of the Department to which they have been admitted to defer their offer until a later term. The student must reapply through OUAC by creating a new application, and must pay the application fee. Approval of a request to defer is at the discretion of the Department.
Other Helpful Links:
New and returning graduate students can find detailed information about registering for a semester and choosing courses using WebAdvisor.
Provisional and Special Students
Provisional students or special students who are in a non-degree program are not permitted to use WebAdvisor to register, although they may still use WebAdvisor for everything else. Students in either of these situations must complete the Graduate Course Waiver Request form* and submit, either by mail or in person, to their department for signatures and subsequent submission to Enrolment Services, 3rd floor UC.
*Note: The GPC must review and sign all requests made using this form.
Financial statements are available on WebAdvisor following the course selection period for all preregistered students approximately four to six weeks prior to the beginning of each semester (in the summer semester this may only be two weeks). Payment of the account by the published deadline will complete the registration process. Late payment will result in the assessment of late fees. Failure to make appropriate payment arrangements by the end of the add period for the semester will result in the cancellation of enrolment (de-registration) for that semester. Reactivation of the term may only be approved with full payment or upon approval by Student Financial Services.
Students wishing to register in any undergraduate course or course for audit must submit a Graduate Course Waiver Request form* to Enrolment Services.
Note: The course instructor and the GPC must review and sign this form.
Students registered in multi-semester courses must register in each semester in which they are actively engaged in course requirements, unless otherwise stated in the course description.
Failure to Register
Failure to register or receive prior permission for a leave of absence (LOA) will be regarded as withdrawal from graduate studies at this university. Students are expected to register each semester and those who fail to do so are considered AWOL (absent without leave) and will be notified by the OGPS that they need to register or request an LOA, prior to the government reporting date for that semester (February 1, June 30, November 1). The OGPS will also notify the GPA of all students who are AWOL. If a student’s file is closed as a result of unauthorized absence, they must apply for readmission using the Application for Readmission form*. If readmitted, the student will be required to conform to current regulations.
Students who are financially deregistered and fail to make arrangements with Student Financial Services to become re-registered are considered AWOL, and their file will be closed if they do not resolve their student status.
*Note: The GPC must review and sign this form.
Transfer between Full-Time and Part-time
Transfer from Full-Time to Part-Time
The application for Transfer to Part-time Study form* is required for full-time graduate students who wish to transfer to part-time study, either permanently or temporarily. A full-time student may be allowed to transfer to part-time status if demanding circumstances relating to personal health issues, family responsibilities, or employment exist. Documentation of these circumstances must be submitted with the form. A Graduate Course Waiver Request form* and a new Funding form* are also required.
*Note: The Advisor and the GPC must review and sign all three of these forms.
Transfer from Part-Time to Full-Time
The application for Transfer to Full-time Study form* is required for part-time graduate students who wish to transfer to full-time study, either permanently or temporarily. A Graduate Course Waiver Request form* and a new Funding form* are also required.
Applications to transfer between part-time and full-time are time sensitive as the student may be charged a tuition penalty depending on when the application is received. The Graduate Refund Schedule can be found on the Student Financial Services website. To ensure the student is not penalized financially, the forms should be submitted no later than the 5th class day each semester.
*Note: The Advisor and the GPC must review and sign all three of these forms.
Completion Period of Students Who Transfer Between Full-Time and Part-Time
Completion periods for all Full-Time and Part-Time degree programs have been established according to the Program Duration Policy (Section 11). The semesters remaining in the program of students who transfer from Full-Time to Part-Time during the completion period will be weighted by the ratio of total semesters allocated for a program that is fully Part-Time and fully Full-Time (e.g. 11:6 for Masters, 20:12 for Doctoral). The same principle will apply to students who transfer from Part-Time to Full-Time during their completion period. GPAs have access to a table showing the combination of Full-Time and Part-Time semesters in "blended" programs.
Leave of Absence
Students are expected to register in each consecutive semester of study until graduation. They must be registered in each semester in which they are actively engaged in course work or research, including any semester in which they have any contact with University faculty/staff or use of University facilities in connection with their degree program. Students must apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) using the LOA request/withdrawal form*, which must be submitted to the OGPS. Requests may be approved for up to three consecutive LOAs. Further leave(s) may be granted subject to review and recommendation by the Department and approval of A&P. If a student finishes their program requirements in the semester immediately following an LOA, that student will not be eligible for an Early Completion Rebate, which means they will be charged for the full semester tuition and fees.
LOA requests from students who are blocked from registering because they have reached the end of their Program Completion period, or Maximum Program Duration will not be considered until the student has submitted a Plan of Study or received an extension from A&P.
Students requesting an LOA once the semester has begun are required to complete both section B and section C of the LOA request/withdrawal form. Withdrawal is necessary to cancel the student’s registration. LOA requests are time sensitive when a student has registered because the refund is calculated based on the day the LOA request/ withdrawal form is received by the OGPS. The Graduate Refund Schedule can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
*Note: The Advisor and the GPC must review and sign this form.
A student who receives an Incomplete (INC) must complete the course in the next registered semester, at the end of which the INC must be replaced by a grade. If a final grade is not submitted, the INC will automatically be converted to an Incomplete: Failure (INF). If the student is not registered in the semester in which the course is completed, any submitted grade will not be accepted and the student will receive INF as a final grade. Students do not register for the incomplete course again; when a grade is received, it will replace the INC grade originally recorded. Requests to permit the extension of INC courses are considered by A&P and may be approved for documented medical or compassionate reasons.
Note: Grades must be reported on a Graduate Grade Change form, which must be signed by the course instructor and department chair, and submitted to Enrolment Services in the Office of Registrarial Services.
Note: Students cannot graduate from their degree program if there is an INC, MNR or INF designation on their transcript. Thus, students are encouraged to check WebAdvisor to ensure that their course record is complete well before they are ready to defend their thesis.
When it is necessary to take action with respect to unsatisfactory performance by a graduate student, the following process applies. The Advisory Committee makes a recommendation to the departmental Graduate Program Committee which forwards a recommendation to the OGPS. The AVPGS ensures that the student is aware of the Department's recommendation and is offered the opportunity to make a submission. The recommendation of the Department and any submission from the student are considered by A&P, which makes a decision on behalf of the BGS.
At any stage of the above process, a graduate student may request a reconsideration. It is hoped that communication with the Advisor, the GPC and A&P will be forthright and constructive.
Should a student wish to voluntarily withdraw from the University, the OGPS must be notified. Students are required to complete the LOA request/withdrawal form, which is available on the OGPS website under Forms & Documents. The student may submit the withdrawal notice to the OGPS without departmental signatures. In this case, the OGPS will obtain the appropriate signatures from the Department.
If the student withdraws from their program before the 40th class day, the semester will be removed from their record. If the student withdraws after the 40th class day, and will not complete some or all of the courses in which they are registered, a notation of Withdrawn: Failure (WDF) will be recorded on the transcript. The student may appeal this decision by submitting a request for academic consideration (late drop), which must be supported by the Department. If the request is approved, a notation of Withdrawn: No penalty (WNP) will be recorded for each course that was not completed. When a student withdraws from the program, a refund is calculated based on the day the withdrawal form is received in the OGPS. The Graduate Refund Schedule can be found on the Student Financial Services website.
Any changes to a student’s program require submission of an Application for a Study Option/ Degree Program Transfer*. This applies to changes in degree (e.g. Master’s to PhD) or study option (e.g. thesis-based to course-work) within the same graduate program (e.g. HIST, IBIO). Other documentation may be required and is outlined in General Regulations (Chapter II) in the Graduate Calendar. Students who wish to change to a different program (e.g. IBIO to MCB), regardless of degree type, are required to follow the regular "Application for Admission" policies and processes. Students must withdraw from their current program before they can be admitted to the new program, but are advised to wait until OGPS has accepted the recommendation for admission from the new program.
*Note: The GPC must review and sign this form.
The role and responsibilities of Departments, Advisors, Advisory Committees and the responsibilities of graduate students are clearly presented in General Information (Chapter III) of the Graduate Calendar in the Policy on Responsibilities of Advisors, Advisory Committees and Graduate Students and Graduate Student-Advisor Mediation Procedures.
For purposes of consolidating relevant material in this guide, portions of the Graduate Calendar are provided here.
Responsibilities of the Department
The development and maintenance of a high-quality graduate program is of key importance to every department in the Faculty of Graduate Studies. Therefore, it is in each department's best interest to encourage and support effective graduate advising.
The Chair/Director may assign the responsibilities of the Department, in whole or in part, to the GPC and they may be shared by the Graduate Program Committee. If such a designation of responsibilities occurs, that division of responsibilities should be clearly outlined and publicly available. In the case where the GPC is the faculty advisor, the responsibilities of the GPC with respect to departmental advising duties will be carried out by the Chair/Director or his/her designate. Where the Chair/Director is the faculty advisor, his/her Departmental Responsibilities with respect to advising will be carried out by the GPC or his/her designate.
The Department will:
- assist the Advisor and student in determining appropriate deadline dates and regulations associated with review, examination and submission of the thesis or research project as specified in the Graduate Calendar and/or the OGPS and the Department or School.
- make information available to faculty and students about current courses, areas of faculty expertise, and pertinent information not already outlined in the Graduate Calendar. This information may be available through the Department website, graduate handbook or occasional flyers.
- set up procedures that match students and advisors, with the matching to be completed as quickly as possible, and no later than 6 months after initial registration.
- approve the advisory committee/graduate degree program form by the middle of the student's second registered semester.
- establish procedures by which the GPC and, if appropriate, the Graduate Program Committee can monitor progress of graduate students through reports by the Advisor, student, and appropriate others, and to communicate this progress to all involved parties.
- investigate situations where an Advisory Committee has not met for two or more consecutive semesters. In addition, investigate perceived irregularities in student/Advisor/Advisory Committee relationships.
- require the GPC to meet with the student, the Advisor and the Advisory Committee if a student has received an “Unsatisfactory” evaluation report for two consecutive semesters. The lack of progress and any possible remedial measures will be discussed at this meeting.
- maintain a list of scheduled faculty leaves and, where warranted, assist in making satisfactory arrangements for advising the student when the Advisor is on leave or on extended absence from campus. Depending on the length of the absence, it may be necessary to make arrangements for an interim Advisor.
- encourage the interaction of graduate students with other students and faculty, and the development of a professional identity through research seminars, posting of conferences, and other means.
- inform the OGPS should there be unresolved concerns about either the Advisor's effectiveness or the student's performance.
- allow students to change Advisors if their research interests shift or develop in a new direction, and if the change can be reasonably accommodated by the Department.
- work with all parties to mitigate any negative consequences if an Advisor or Advisory Committee member withdraws because of a conflict of interest.
Responsibilities of the Advisor
An Advisor's primary task is to guide and inspire his or her students to reach their scholarly potential. The Advisor should promote conditions conducive to a student's research and intellectual growth, providing appropriate guidance on the progress of the research and the standards expected. As part of good supervisory practice, an Advisor is expected to:
- facilitate the student's intellectual growth and contribution to a field of knowledge.
- guide the student, with the assistance of the Advisory Committee, in the development of a program of study.
- assist in the development and execution of a research program or project.
- be reasonably accessible to the student via telephone, electronic communication or in person for consultation and discussion of the student's academic progress and research problems. What constitutes "reasonable accessibility" may vary according to discipline, stage of research, etc. However, an Advisor must be in contact with the student frequently enough to be able to make an informed judgement on the student's progress every semester.
- thoroughly examine written material submitted by the student, make constructive suggestions for improvement, and inform the student of the approximate time it will take for submitted written material to be returned with comments. Normally, comments should be returned to the student within two weeks, although circumstances such as absences from campus or unusually heavy workload may require the Advisor to take longer than two weeks to review the student's work. Timing of submission and review should be negotiated between student and Advisor.
- advise the student as to the acceptability of the draft thesis or research project prior to submission to the Advisory Committee. If the Advisor believes the thesis or research project is not ready for submission or will not be ready within a particular time, the Advisor should so indicate with written reasons to the student. In cooperation with the Chair/Director or GPC, the Advisor may help organize qualifying and final examinations.
- assist the student in learning about all appropriate deadline dates and regulations associated with thesis review, examination and submission, as specified in the Graduate Calendar and/or by the OGPS and/or the Department or School.
- give ample notice of extended absences from campus such as research leaves, and make satisfactory arrangements for student advising when the Advisor is on leave or on extended absence from campus. Where a faculty member knows prior to the start of the program that he/she will be on leave for part of a student's program, the student should be informed at the outset. Depending on the length of absence and the stage of the student's program, it may be necessary to make arrangements for an interim Advisor.
- make available the research resources necessary for execution of the student's thesis or major paper research, within the norms appropriate to the discipline and the limits of the material and human resources of the University.
- advise the student of regulations designed to provide him/her with a safe environment. These include relevant safety and/or workplace regulations as well as policies designed to protect individual rights and freedoms.
- alert the student to any personal risks that may be encountered in the course of the research and provide training, guidance and adequate equipment appropriate for those risks.
- comply with any commitment of financial support made to the student as part of the offer of admission. In the event that expected financial support becomes unavailable, the Advisor will work with the Department and OGPS to ensure support for the student.
- acknowledge, in accordance with University policies, the contributions of the student in presentations and in published material, for instance through joint authorship.
- immediately disclose to the Chair/Director any conflict of interest that arises with the student. Conflicts of interest will arise when there are sexual, romantic, or familial ties between the Advisor and student or when there are irreconcilable interpersonal conflicts. In such cases, it is expected that the faculty member will withdraw as the student’s Advisor. Conflicts of interest may also arise when the Advisor or student have a financial interest in the outcome of a research project. In these cases, the decision as to whether withdrawal is appropriate should be made in consultation with the Chair/Director.
- chair the Advisory Committee. Responsibilities are to:
- hold regular Advisory Committee meetings with the student, normally no less than once per semester
- submit a semester progress report, developed with the Advisory Committee, and signed by all members of the Advisory Committee and the student, to the Departmental Graduate Program Committee and to OGPS every semester.
- formulate a plan of action with the student and the Advisory Committee to address any problems that have been identified when the student receives an evaluation of “Some Concerns” or “Unsatisfactory”.
Note: A "Satisfactory" evaluation represents normal progress on course work and research. A "Some Concerns" report is compatible with an expectation for successful completion of the program, but indicates some specific concerns regarding the student's current performance and/or progress on course work, research or both. An "Unsatisfactory" report is a clear indication of concern about the student's ability to complete the program. Such concern may be based on poor performance in course work, research or both. Unsatisfactory progress could include failure to meet agreed research milestones, including the timely preparation of a research proposal.
Responsibilities of the Advisory Committee
Members of an Advisory Committee can do much to enhance the academic experience of a student, allowing the student to take advantage of a range of expertise in the discipline. The specific responsibilities of an effective Advisory Committee are to:
- encourage the student's intellectual growth to become a competent contributor to a field of knowledge. In this context, the Advisory Committee must provide constructive criticism and provocative discussion of the student's ideas as the program develops. The Committee should ensure that the student is exposed to a wider range of expertise and ideas than can be provided by the Advisor alone, including directing the student as appropriate to consult with experts outside the Committee.
- be reasonably accessible to the student for consultation and discussion of the student's academic progress and research problems.
- attend regular meetings of the Advisory Committee with the student, normally no less than once per semester.
- develop, with the student's involvement, and formally approve a list of courses that will constitute the program of study, no later than the middle of the second semester. The program of study is not considered final until it is also approved by the departmental Graduate Program Committee and the OGPS. Such approval will not normally be withheld if the proposed program meets the published program requirements.
- in consultation with the Advisor, confirm and approve semester progress reports.
- formulate a plan of action with the student to address any problems that have been identified when a student receives an evaluation of "Some Concerns" or "Unsatisfactory".
- inform the student of the approximate time it will take for submitted written material to be returned with comments. If the expected time exceeds the normal two-week period, for instance because of absence from campus or an unusually heavy workload, the student and the Advisor should be provided with an estimate of the time required.
- thoroughly review and comment on drafts of written material, and inform the student whether or not a research project is complete, or a thesis is ready for submission for the final examination committee. If additional work is required, feedback to guide the student in satisfactory completion of the work should be provided.
- immediately disclose to the Advisor and the Chair/Director any conflict of interest that arises with the student. Conflicts of interest will arise when there are sexual, romantic, or familial ties between the Advisory Committee member and the student or when there are irreconcilable interpersonal conflicts. In such cases, it is expected that the faculty member will withdraw from the Advisory Committee. Conflicts of interest may also arise when the Advisory Committee member or student have a financial interest in the outcome of the research project. In these cases, the decision as to whether withdrawal is appropriate should be made in consultation with the Chair/Director and the Advisor.
As noted above, responsibilities of graduate students are identified in the Policy on Responsibilities of Advisors, Advisory Committees and Graduate Students, and Graduate Student-Advisor Mediation Procedures General Regulations (Chapter III) in the Graduate Calendar.
Guidelines for appointing graduate faculty can be found on the BGS policy webpage. Members of regular graduate faculty are appointed from among the faculty members of the University, on the recommendation of the Department Chair/Director of a school (or his/her designate) to the BGS. Faculty members in departments without graduate programs may be appointed as graduate faculty in another department. Faculty who hold Adjunct Faculty appointments and are involved in graduate teaching or advising must also be approved as Graduate Faculty.
Graduate Faculty Categories
There are three categories of Graduate Faculty:
Regular Graduate Faculty are tenured and tenure stream faculty at the University of Guelph. Contractually-limited appointments are not included in this category: see Special Graduate Faculty. In most cases, Regular Graduate Faculty are expected to hold a PhD or the most senior degree in their particular area of expertise with an appropriate level of scholarship. Exceptions to this guideline must be accompanied by justification to the BGS outlining the nature and extent of the experience or other training that equips the nominee for appointment to Regular Graduate Faculty. To retain active status, individuals nominated to Regular Graduate Faculty must be involved on a regular basis with aspects of graduate education including advising students (as principal advisor or as co-advisor) and examining students and teaching graduate courses. Departments, programs and schools are expected to provide support in the form of mentoring for faculty newly appointed to the University, especially individuals who do not possess previous experience advising students. As part of the commitment to mentoring, a newly appointed Faculty Member may be required to serve as co-advisor linked in the early part of his/her career with a more experienced Faculty Member. Such decision shall normally not extend beyond three years from the date of appointment, and shall be reviewed by the Dean in his/her annual meeting with the Faculty Member. The Dean shall decide, in consultation with the Faculty Member, when the Faculty Member may commence serving as principal advisor. It is expected that the performance of Regular Graduate Faculty will be assessed as an integral part of the Promotion and Tenure process. Where there are substantiated concerns in the Faculty Member’s performance in aspects of graduate education, the Faculty Member may continue to hold active Regular Graduate Faculty status; however, restriction(s) may be placed on some or all of their graduate education activities.
Associated Graduate Faculty are appointed to serve as co-advisors and may participate in all other aspects of graduate education, but they may not serve as primary advisors. Associated Graduate Faculty status is not normally for members of the tenure stream of faculty at the University of Guelph, but rather for individuals who are a Professor Emeritus/Emerita, University Professor Emeritus, or hold a senior academic degree in their particular area of expertise and have appropriate research experience. Tenure track Faculty Members who are not engaged in all aspects of graduate education may hold this status if they continue to be involved in some aspect of graduate education. Associate Graduate Faculty should have experience serving on graduate student advisory committees. Departments, programs, and schools are expected to provide support for Associated Graduate Faculty that is appropriate to their particular situation, graduate student advisory experience, and role(s) in the graduate program. Appointments are for a 4-year term, renewable upon application and a satisfactory performance review conducted by the host program, department, or school.
Special Graduate Faculty are appointed for specific tasks in support of graduate programs, such as teaching graduate courses and serving on advisory and/or examination committees, but they may not serve as advisor or co-advisor. The roles and responsibilities of the nominee must be defined at the time of nomination, and each revision of the roles and responsibilities must be submitted for approval by the BGS. Although senior academic qualification and experience is desirable for Special Graduate Faculty, this is not essential. The term will be consistent with the nature of the appointment.
With rare exception, graduate students are not permitted to serve as graduate course instructors. They are also not permitted to serve as members on either the advisory or examination committee of another graduate student. Research associates and postdoctoral fellows may not be nominated as advisory committee members for students supervised by their faculty advisor and/or supervisor.
Note: Special Graduate Faculty who were appointed to serve on a doctoral student’s Advisory Committee may be appointed to their PhD qualifying exam committee. However, appointments of Special Graduate Faculty for the sole purpose of serving as an examiner on a student’s PhD qualifying exam committee are not normally approved.
GPCs play a central role in mediating many of the conflicts that may arise while students are completing their graduate degrees. Mediation procedures for the resolution of disputes related to graduate students and advisors are found in General Information (Chapter III) in the Graduate Calendar.
Disputes involving faculty behaviour are not the responsibility of the GPC. Such cases should be brought to the attention of the Chair/Director and will be dealt with according to faculty policies.
Requirements for each degree granted by the University are found in Degree Requirements (Chapter IV) in the Graduate Calendar. These university-level requirements are minimum requirements. Individual degree programs may have additional and/or more stringent requirements than those described in this section.
Each program must adhere to the Graduate Calendar description of the qualifying examination and thesis and must request the appropriate forms from the OGPS prior to each qualifying examination and thesis examination. These forms will be signed by all required parties, including the GPC. If the GPC believes there may be a conflict of interest with respect to proposed examiners, his/her signature may be withheld. Matters of this type should be resolved through the Dispute Resolution process, beginning with discussion between the GPC and the Chair/Director.
Graduate students are expected to complete their program within the prescribed completion period, as indicated in the offer of admission. Details of the program duration policy may be found in General Regulations (Chapter II) in the Graduate Calendar.
Students who have not completed their studies within the prescribed period will be required to submit to the Graduate Records Officer an approved Plan of Study (PoS) indicating the work required to complete the degree and the anticipated completion date of the degree. Please note that PoS will only be approved to the end of Maximum Program Duration (MPD), even if the PoS indicates that more time is required to complete the program.
If a student does not complete their program by the end of MPD, they will be withdrawn from the program for failure to complete. Should the student wish to appeal the withdrawal from the graduate program and continue beyond MPD, they are required to submit an appeal for a time extension to A&P. PoS and appeals for extension beyond MPD must be submitted on the appropriate forms*.
*Note: The advisor, advisory committee, GPC and ADR must review and sign these forms.
The number of semesters remaining in the degree program of students who transfer between Full-Time and Part-Time status during their completion period will be weighted by the ratio of total semesters allocated for a program that is fully Part-Time and fully Full-Time (e.g. 11:6 for Masters, 20:12 for Doctoral). The same principle will apply to students who transfer from Part-Time to Full-Time during their completion period. A table indicating the number of semesters remaining in the completion period under these circumstances is provided on the OGPS website.
The Admissions and Progress Committee (A&P) considers all requests from students and departments regarding admissions and progress of graduate students that fall outside normal policies, which have been summarized in previous sections. Additional detail on the types of requests that are submitted to A&P, and the information required by the Committee to make fair and reasonable decisions is provided below. All necessary forms are available on the Forms & Documents page of the OGPS website.
A&P meets on the third Thursday of every month. All case documentation, including forms (with required signatures) and supporting documents provided by the student and the Department, must be received by the appropriate Graduate Records Officer (email@example.com for Lang, CEPS, CSAHS or firstname.lastname@example.org for CBS, OAC, OVC) no later than 12 noon on the preceding Thursday. Earlier submissions are greatly appreciated as the meeting package is distributed to A&P members on Tuesday, and the case load for individual meetings can be substantial.
If A&P considers a case to be incomplete due to lack of adequate documentation for extenuating circumstances (e.g. illness), or insufficient information from the Advisor and/or GPC, the case may be tabled until receipt of the missing information. This will delay a decision for at least one month. Such delays may negatively impact the student’s ability to register for a particular semester, because registration is not allowed after the government reporting date (February 1, July 1, November 1). In such cases, the student will be withdrawn. Please note that requests for a LOA from students who require an extension to remain in their program will not be considered until an appeal has been submitted to and approved by A&P.
All decisions made by A&P will be communicated in a letter from the Chair of A&P to the student, and copied to the GPC, the GPA and in most cases, the Advisor. If the student receives a negative decision, they may request a re-evaluation of the A&P decision within 10 days if they have any new information or documentation that was not previously available to A&P. These procedures are outlined in the Appeals of Decisions section of the General Regulations (Chapter II) in the Graduate Calendar. The new documents must be submitted to the Graduate Records Officer.
If the student has no new information to submit to A&P, they do have the right to appeal the negative decision to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions within 10 days of receiving the decision from A&P. The student should contact the Judicial Officer (extension 54247 or email@example.com) to discuss this option.
When a student’s academic performance or background preparation do not meet minimum university requirements for admission to a graduate program, the Department may request admission as a non-standard admission or under Alternate Admissions criteria (Section 5). Such requests must be evaluated by A&P.
The GPC is responsible for assembling the documentation to support a request for admission under alternate criteria. If the applicant is considered to be a non-standard admission, and the Department strongly supports their admission to graduate studies, the Department must complete the Non Standard Admission section of the Recommendation Form (ImageNow/WebNow) and provide a summary supporting the admission of the applicant. The Advisor and Department are required to review the applicant's academic history and/or employment history, and adequately explain why they believe the applicant will be a successful candidate in their graduate program.
If the applicant falls into the category of Alternate Admission, the Department is responsible for providing adequate information regarding the applicant's relevant experience, highlighting information provided by the applicant's referees, and explaining why the potential advisor and Department believe the applicant will be a successful candidate in their graduate program.
Students who are approved for Non Standard or Alternate Admission will be admitted as provisional students.
Extended Leave of Absence
Requests for a Leave of Absence (LOA) exceeding 3 consecutive semesters must be evaluated by A&P. In such cases, A&P requires adequate documentation from the student to confirm the grounds for an extended LOA, and strong support from the Department, including a brief statement describing the impact (if any) of an extended delay on the student’s ability to successfully complete their program.
In many cases, the issues requiring a student to take an extended LOA do not have a definitive resolution (e.g. illness, family circumstances). In such cases, the GPC is encouraged to discuss with the student the option to permanently withdraw from the program, and to apply for readmission when they are fully ready to resume their studies (see below).
If a request for an extended LOA is made early in the student’s program, the best option may be for the student to withdraw, and then apply for readmission to resume their studies when they are able.
Note: requests for a LOA prior to or during the first semester are not approved, and the student must be withdrawn from the program. This does not preclude the student from applying to the program again in the future.
Circumstances may arise in a graduate student's program that prompt a request for changes that fall outside normal policy, such as requests for an extended LOA (beyond 3 consecutive semesters), an extension of a INC course privilege beyond 1 semester, or a change in course records (late add, late drop). More details on acceptable grounds for academic consideration are provided in General Regulations (Chapter II) of the Graduate Calendar.
A Petition for Academic Consideration must be initiated by the student, and requires submission of the petition form, along with supporting documentation to the Graduate Records Officer. Although not specifically required, petitions should generally include a statement from one or both of the student’s Advisor/Course Instructor and the GPC supporting the request and indicating the impact (if any) on the student’s ability to successfully complete the graduate program. If A&P feels that there is insufficient documentation to support the petition, they may table the case and request additional information.
Departments should be aware that students are not legally required to divulge the details of medical or psychological conditions that form the basis of their petition to the Department or to A&P. However, it is expected that documentation from a qualified medical professional, confirming the existence of the condition, and how it may have affected the student’s performance will be submitted to support a petition based on medical or psychological grounds. Students have the option of submitting original medical documentation to an Advisor in Student Accessibility Services (SAS) who will provide a letter to A&P confirming the existence of the condition, and how it may have affected the student’s performance.
Plan of Study
As per the Program Duration Policy (Section 11), students who have not completed their studies within the prescribed period are required to submit an approved Plan of Study (PoS) indicating the work required to complete the degree, and the anticipated completion date of the degree. This form must be signed by the student, the Advisor, all other members of the Advisory Committee, and the GPC, and submitted to the Graduate Records Officer.
It is important that the plan be feasible, as any future submissions (second PoS for doctoral students, appeal for extension past MPD) will be evaluated in relation to the first plan. A&P encourages GPCs to comment on the feasibility of all PoS. Please note that PoS will only be approved to the end of MPD, regardless of the anticipated time required for the student to complete their program. Students who must submit a PoS in a particular semester (e.g. 7 for Masters, 13 for PhD) are blocked from registering for the subsequent semester until the completed document is received by the Graduate Records Officer. Failure to submit a PoS at least 10 days before the government reporting date in the blocked semester will result in withdrawal from the program. This does not preclude the student from applying for readmission (see below).
Note that the number of semesters beyond the Program Completion Period to MPD is the same for both Part-Time and Full-time students (3 semesters for Masters and DVSc, up to 6 semesters for PhD). Transferring to Part-Time status may be beneficial to the student if they are no longer receiving a stipend or scholarship, as it reduces the cost of tuition and fees. However, this does not increase the time available to complete the degree after the completion period has been reached.
Extension beyond Maximum Program Duration
When a student reaches the semester of MPD, registration for the subsequent semester will be blocked, and they will be withdrawn at the end of the semester if they have not completed all program requirements or scheduled a thesis defense.
Students may appeal withdrawal by submitting an Appeal for Extension Beyond MPD. The request must include:
- a plan for completion with a timeline,
- a description of progress made since the previous PoS,
- an explanation of delays that prevented completion according to the PoS, with an indication that these issues have improved or been resolved.
It is important that the Advisor, the GPC and the ADR comment on the feasibility of the plan, and indicate their support for it. Lack of sufficient support for the request from the Department may lead A&P to table the case until the required information is provided. If the appeal is not approved before the government reporting date, the student will be withdrawn. This does not preclude the student from applying for readmission (see below). However, the application for readmission requires approval of both the Department and A&P (see below).
- Submission of a completed request for a thesis defense scheduled early in the blocked semester, indicating the defense date and including all required signatures, obviates submission of a full appeal for extension.
- LOA requests from students who are blocked from registering will not be considered until the student has received an extension.
- It is the responsibility of the student to remember to submit another Appeal for Extension Beyond MPD if they are not able to complete their program during the approved extension period.
Voluntary Withdrawal after the Last Class Day
Students who wish to permanently withdraw from their program are encouraged to discuss their decision with their Advisor and/or GPC, but are not required to do so. The Graduate Records Officer will obtain signatures on the withdrawal form if it is submitted directly to OGPS by the student.
Students who withdraw after the last class day, and who will not complete some or all of the courses in which they are registered, will receive a notation of Withdrawn: Failure (WDF) on the transcript unless they appeal this decision to A&P by submitting a Petition for Academic Consideration (late drop). This appeal must be supported by the Department. If the request is approved, the notation, Withdrawn: No penalty (WNP) will be recorded for each course that was not completed.
Requests to late drop courses that were completed in the final semester, and for which final numerical grades have been submitted, will be denied unless there is a very compelling reason, such as documented compassionate grounds involving medical or family circumstances that negatively impacted the student’s performance. In such cases, A&P will generally approve a change to WNP for all courses in which the student was registered that semester.
When students voluntarily withdraw from their graduate program, or are withdrawn for failing to register, pay tuition, or complete within MPD, they may apply for readmission using the appropriate form, which must be signed by the GPC. Note that a funding form, signed by the Advisor and GPC is also required, and the student will be required to pay the normal application fee.
If the student was within the program completion period at the time of withdrawal, and there is support from the Department, readmission will often be approved by the Graduate Records Officer on behalf of A&P. However, if the student has reached, or is beyond the completion period, the application will be evaluated by A&P, and must include:
- a plan for completion with a timeline
- a description of progress made since a previous PoS (if any),
- an explanation of delays that prevented completion according to the PoS, with an indication that these issues have been resolved (if applicable).
It is important that the Advisor, the GPC and ADR comment on the feasibility of the plan, and indicate their support for it. Negative decisions on readmission are not subject to appeal to the Senate Committee on Student Petitions, unless the basis of the appeal is procedural unfairness or bias on the part of A&P.
Required to Withdrawal
When it is necessary for a department to request that a student be required to withdraw (RTW) from their graduate program due to unsatisfactory performance in coursework, research and/or degree requirements (qualifying exam, thesis defense), the following process applies.
- In the case of unsatisfactoru progress in coursework or research, the Advisory Committee makes a recommendation to the Graduate Program Committee which forwards a recommendation to the OGPS via the Graduate Records Officer. There is no form for this; a letter from the GPC with supporting documentation is sufficient.
- The AVPGS ensures that the student is aware of the Department's recommendation and is offered the opportunity to make a submission within 10 days of receiving notification.
- The Department is offered the opportunity to respond to the student’s submission.
- The recommendation of the Department and any submission from the student are considered by A&P, which makes a decision on behalf of the BGS at its next regular meeting.
In order for A&P to make a fair and reasonable decision, sufficient supporting documentation must be included with the RTW request. The following documents are required for a complete submission:
- a letter from the GPC making the request to OGPS summarizing the case and providing additional input based on deliberations of the Graduate Program Committee. Any steps that were taken by the Department to help the student improve their performance should be described.
- the letter from the Advisory Committee to the GPC outlining the reasons for the RTW request. A letter from the Advisory Committee is not required when a student fails a second Qualifying Exam or Thesis Defense as the report submitted to OGPS indicating that the student failed constitutes a recommendation to BGS that the student be required to withdraw.
- a copy of all Semester Progress Reports, including any plans of action that were given to the student if the evaluation was Some Concerns or Unsatisfactory. In general, an RTW request based on poor semester performance should not be initiated until the student has received at least 2 consecutive Unsatisfactory Semester Progress Reports.
- a copy of the written reports that were issued to the student after the first and second unsuccessful attempts at a PhD Qualifying Exam or a Thesis Defense, as appropriate.
Funding on Admission
The GPC has signatory responsibility on the funding form for each admitted graduate student. Funding is contingent upon the student maintaining satisfactory progress. Funding may consist of a variety of sources. However, if the source of income is employment as a GTA, GSA or Sessional Lecturer, the number of GTAs or GSAs per semester or academic year must be specifically addressed (Canadian Union of Public Employees - CUPE Local 3913 Units 1 & 2 agreements). The semester or year in which an appointment as a Sessional Lecturer takes place must also be addressed on the funding form. Details are indicated on the Graduate Student Guaranteed Income/Funding Form.
All graduate scholarships are listed by college in Graduate Awards & Financial Assistance (Chapter XI) of the Graduate Calendar. External scholarships and university-wide internal scholarships are administered through the OGPS, while all other graduate scholarships are administered through Student Financial Services. The Graduate Awards Officers in the OGPS (firstname.lastname@example.org) are the contacts for any questions regarding graduate scholarships.
Departments/programs are responsible for vetting the applications for Tri-Council, Ontario Graduate Scholarships and various other external scholarships, prior to submission to the OGPS.
The OGPS and Student Financial Services provide a number of resources to assist students with financial difficulty. OSAP/Financial Counsellors in Student Financial Services are available by appointment for students who require financial counselling. Students in financial difficulty are required to use specific forms found in the Forms & Documents section of the OGPS webpage.
Domestic Need Assistance:
This assistance is intended for the domestic student with financial need. The bursary is provided at the beginning of and during the winter semester, however, counsellors are available in Student Financial Services on a year round basis should a student have dire need. The student must submit an assistance application form to Student Financial Services by January 10th of each year. A link to the form can be found on the OGPS Forms & Documents webpage.
International Need Assistance:
This assistance is intended for the international student with financial need. Bursaries are awarded throughout all three semesters. The student must submit an application form, which can be found on the Student Financial Services webpage, to the International Student Advisor.
Financial Assistance Form:
A request for financial assistance form is available on the Forms & Documents page of the OGPS website, and is intended to lead students to all possible sources of financial assistance. The GPC or Chair/Director must review and sign the form.
GSA/University Compassionate Bursary:
Students in unexpected emergency/ compassionate situations should submit an application form, available on the GSA website, to Student Financial Services. This bursary, of up to $2000, typically assists students who may incur unexpected costs, such as the death of an immediate family member or injury for which there is no coverage.
Responsibility for documenting and reporting academic misconduct cases lies with the course instructor or research supervisor and the Chair/Director of the department or school. The Chair/Director may choose to delegate to the GPC the responsibility for reviewing and reporting allegations to the College Dean (or designated Associate Dean). All allegations are investigated jointly by the ADGS and the College Dean (or designated Associate Dean). Details on academic misconduct may be found in the General Regulations (Chapter II) of the Graduate Calendar.
The University’s Safe Travel Policy applies to any activity undertaken outside of Canada by the University’s students in connection with their academic work or any other activity officially organized under the auspices of the University (“University Activities”). Refer to the Centre for International Programs website for details on this policy and other information relevant to travel outside Canada. For information on financial support for graduate student travel, refer to travel awards listed on the Forms & Documents page of the OGPS website, and travel awards offered by each college.
Note: Activities organized by student associations (i.e. GSA, CSA) or student clubs are not addressed by this policy.
The University Activities covered by the Safe Travel Policy include but are not limited to:
- Field Trips
- Credit Courses
- Research projects
- Exchange programs
- Semesters Abroad
- Letters of Permission
- Co-op placements
- Scholarly Conferences
- Organized sport competitions or other extracurricular activities
There are many groups that provide academic and personal well-being support services for graduate students. Among them are:
Below is a list of forms that must be signed by the GPC before submission to the OGPS. Forms without links are available on the Forms & Documents page of the OGPS website. The list is not guaranteed to be exhaustive, and may change from time to time as circumstances require.
Graduate Admissions forms
- Advanced Standing Credit Application
- Graduate Funding Form (required for degree transfers, etc.)
- Request to Waive Graduate Minimum Stipend
Board of Graduate Studies
- Graduate Faculty Nomination
- Non-Active or Restricted Graduate Faculty Status
- Proposal for Graduate Course Change
- Proposal for Graduate Course Deletion
- Proposal for Graduate Course Addition
- Advisory Committee Appointment & Graduate Degree Program
- Appeal for Extension of Maximum Program Duration
- Application for Readmission
- Course Add/Drop / Course Waiver Request
- Full-Time Distant Fee Status Application
- Full-Time / Part-Time Transfer Application
- Graduate Student Progress Report (now online as Gryph form)
- International Study Option Application
- Leave of Absence and Withdrawal Application
- Letter of Permission Request
- Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Application
- Plan of Study
- Transfer Credit Application
- Transfer Application (Study Option/Degree Program Transfer)
Thesis and Program Completion
- Doctoral Final Examination Arrangements
- Examination Request Form