Graduate Program Assistant Handbook
The purpose of this website is to assist you in your role as a Graduate Program Assistant at the University of Guelph. The information on this website correlates with your main responsibilities as a Graduate Program Assistant. 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 Chapters I, II and III of the Graduate Calendar, you should do so early in your term.
The applicant is asked to submit their referees (minimum 2, maximum 3) on their application. An email is sent directly to the referees requesting submission on behalf of the applicant (once the applicant has submitted and paid the application fee) within 5 business days (usually the same time the applicant receives their WebAdvisor login information). Once the referee submits the reference, the requirement will be satisfied on the applicant's WebAdvisor required document list and the department will be able to access the submission through WebNow for review.
Recommendation Form: If the applicant is recommended for admission, please include the first and last name of each of the referees as well as the overall rating from each of the assessments in the space provided on the recommendation form; The ratings are listed using both alpha/numeric characters (i.e. Upper 2 %). This is required in order to process the offer of admission.
- if the applicant applies to more than one program, they must use the same references for both applications;
- if the applicant applies to more than one program, the referee must submit two separate references for each application;
- if the applicant chooses to change a referee they must submit their request to firstname.lastname@example.org using the information in reference section of the FAQ section of the OGS website;
- the applicant is not privileged to the information submitted in the referee assessment, you are not entitled to disclose this information to the applicant under any circumstance.
- if a referee submits a reference letter instead of the referee assessment form, and no rating is available, than please add the wording 'see letter' in the rating section of the recommendation form.
Evaluating a Transcript
- The “calculation” is done and recorded using the grading scale of the issuing university (i.e.. if the university uses a 4.3 grading scale, do not translate this to a percentage (%)).
- In order to calculate an offer of admission, we use the last 16-20 (equally weighted courses) to determine the admission average of the application. We do not break a semester rather we include the entire semester in the calculation.
- All university transcripts must be evaluated. If an applicant applies to a doctoral program, both the Master’s and the Bachelor’s transcripts must be evaluated separately. This is important as the calculations, once recorded in Colleague, are used for both admissions and scholarship purposes.
- For international evaluations the International Credential Evaluation tool is helpful to determine Canadian equivalency.
Recommendation Form: Graduate Program Assistants are required to fill out a transcript evaluation for each institution that the applicant has attended (please note: NA can be listed in the required fields for applicants who are refused to the program). Graduate Program Assistants are required to fill out all of boxes for each transcript (this includes: University name, Accredited, Degree, Date Conferred, Attended From and to, average Calculation, Guelph Rating, and notification if Advance Standing documentation has been submitted).
- while uploaded transcripts are acceptable at the time of evaluation, once an offer has been presented an official and final transcript is required to satisfy the conditions on the offer of admission, learn more about what makes a transcript official and final;
- if there is any additional information about the institution it can be added to the comments section.
- if the recommendation is routed back to your department (due to error, incompleteness, clarification) a note will be added to the comments sections for your attention. You will be required to edit the change and resubmit/route the recommendation.
The accreditation of an institution can be identified;
1.Through the INST screen on Colleague. INST indicates if an institution is accredited by searching and selecting the desired institution. You can view the accreditation type indicated in the yellow box.
2.If the institution is not indicated as accredited on the INST screen in Colleague, a check can be completed through the Ontario University Registrar's Association Guide.
If, after accessing both of these options, you can not determine if the institution is accredited, please email your Admission Specialist directly for assistance.
Recommendation Form: once you have determined if the institution is accredited (yes/no) please use the drop down box beside the word accredited in the Transcript Evaluation section of the Recommendation Form. You must select and indicate the appropriate option.
A degree that is conferred means that the degree/program is complete. The applicant will graduate (convocation yet to occur) or has been awarded the degree. The conferred date is usually found at the beginning of the transcript under the degree name, or at the end of the transcript following the courses that were included for credit within the degree.
Recommendation Form: You must insert the degree conferred date into the Date Conferred box in the Transcript Evaluation section of the Transcript Evaluation (if it has taken place).
- If you can not find the degree conferred date, the degree may still be in progress. If in progress, the degree conferred must be a condition on the offer of admission (which you will choose in Admission Recommendation for Program section of the Recommendation form).
Advanced Standing is the opportunity for an applicant to receive credit for a course(s) (up to two) for work they have completed towards the graduate degree they would like to pursue at the University of Guelph. The department has the opportunity to recommend advanced standing to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies in cases deemed appropriate. If granted, the amount of Advanced Standing credit awarded will be listed on their offer of admission.
- After the applicant applies, submits and pays for their application through OUAC, the applicant submits their completed Advanced Standing Credit form to the Graduate Coordinator of the department to which they are applying.
- The Graduate Coordinator must review the course outline(s) of the course(s) identified on the form and determine if the course(s) was used to attain another diploma, degree, certificate (if so, the applicant can not use this course towards their graduate degree at Guelph). If not, the Graduate Coordinator will review the course description submitted by the applicant for the course(s) completed to determine if their department offers an equivalent course. If so, the Graduate coordinator will determine equivalency of the course(s) in their department. If deemed appropriate by the Coordinator, the Coordinator recommends advanced standing to the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies for review by signing the form and forwarding all submitted paperwork to the OGS for review.
- The Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies reviews the application at the time the recommendation of admission is received. If the advanced standing credit is approved, it is noted on the offer of admission.
Recommendation Form: The Graduate Program Assistant must indicate on the Recommendation Form (that this applicant/graduate coordinator are requesting advanced standing) by clicking the check box in the transcript evaluation section. This alerts your Admission Specialist to review the submitted documentation. If this box is not checked appropriately, the Admission Specialist will not be aware the paperwork has been submitted for review and the application will not be reviewed.
- if the offer is processed without consideration of advanced standing, the applicant may be considered for transfer credit after they register in the program.
- for more information please refer to the Advanced Standing section of the graduate calendar.
- Definite: the applicant has completed all required degrees/programs/courses prior to applying, and has submitted all official, final documents required for admission. No official documents are outstanding.
- Conditional: the applicant has uploaded their transcripts (unofficial), or has in progress courses, and/or has not completed the program requirements at the time of recommendation for admission. Types of conditional documents include uploaded/copies of transcripts, degree certificates, English language test results, study permits, etc. In order for an offer to be definite, final and official documentation must be received by the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.
Recommendation Form: If the department recommends this person for admission, either definite or conditional may be checked in the Admission Recommendation for the Program section. If conditional is chosen, corresponding conditions must be selected by the department that reflects why the offer of admission is conditional.
- Please ensure that you that you select the appropriate category (Regular/Provisional/Special) see specifics below and Classification ( Full-time/Part Time) as indicated on the OUAC summary.
Departments may choose to refuse applicants who apply to their program/department. OGS requires that the department select a corresponding reason as to why the applicant was not admitted into their program. Choosing the most accurate refusal reason is imperative to understanding the dynamics of the department and applicants. Each application to your program must have a decision reflective as to why the applicant is not admitted. Applications should not stay dormant in the Graduate Program Assistant queue beyond the 14th class day of the semester to which they have applied.
Recommendation Form: In the Admission Recommendation for Program section, click on the check box beside Refuse. In the drop down menu select the most accurate reason the applicant has been refused by the department. Then click the Add Decision button. All required fields in the Recommendation form must be fill out in order for the Graduate Program Assistant to route the file to the Graduate Coordinator. Mandatory fields can be filled in with NA (not applicable) when refusing a student. Once complete the file must be routed to the Graduate Coordinator for review and sign off. The Graduate Coordinator will route the file (after signed) to the Admission Specialist for processing.
- Applicants who receive a refusal code beginning with the letter R, will receive a standardized refusal email from the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. This email does not contain specific information regarding why they have been refused.
- If the department selects the refusal option FCINC, the applicant is sent a general email indicating that they are no longer being considered to the University because their application is incomplete (they have not submitted all required documents for admission assessment).
- Withdraw application (WAPP) should be used when an applicant chooses to withdraw their application for assessment to the program to which they have applied. No email is sent to the applicant since the request is initiated by the applicant.
- Refusal emails to applicants are generic. OGS does not give specific reasoning as to why applicants have been refused by the department. Rather, OGS redirects applicants to the department for information about why they were refused to the program.
- A list of refusal codes can be found in the WebNow User Guide under the Glossary of Application Status section.
Applicants can be considered (without submitting a subsequent application) for a semester other than the semester to which they applied on the OUAC application summary (as long as an offer of admission has not been created for the applicant).
- Application Moved Early (APME). This is selected when both the department approves and the applicant wishes to move the application to an earlier start term. An email from the student, through the programs Graduate Program Assistant, must be forwarded to the Admission Specialist, requesting the specific change. This request will be added to the students file in Web Now.
- Defer Application (DEFA). This is selected when both the department approves and the applicant wishes to move the application to a later start term. An email from the student, through the programs Graduate Program Assistant, must be forwarded to the Admission Specialist, requesting the specific change. This request will be added to the students file.
Recommendation Form: The Graduate Program Assistant will select either APME/DEFA check box in the Admission Recommendation for Program area of the form. In the drop down menu to the right, they will select the new start term in which the applicant would like to be considered. Click add decision. Once approved and forwarded by the Graduate Coordinator, the Admission Specialist will create a new Recommendation Form reflecting the new start term, and route it back to the Graduate Program Assistant for processing once a decision is made (the original form will be forwarded to the complete queue as the information within the document is not longer valid). A new application will be added to Colleague in XGAS.
- The original entry semester DOES NOT change on the OUAC summary. It will always remain the original entry term selection.
- The applicant does not pay for changing the start term of their application.
- These codes are only to be used when an offer of admission has not been made/created.
- This is the same process if the applicant has made a error in their program selection and chooses to be considered for another program.
- The semester start term can be changed up to the 14th class day of the semester to which they applied (for an application that is Deferred) and up to the 14th class day of the semester to which they would like to enter ( for an application that is moved earlier).
- Regular: The student has met all entrance requirements.
- Provisional: The provisional category will be used for an applicant whose admission qualifications can not be clearly appraised but has met the minimum admission requirements (the provisional category will always be used if the application is seen by the Admission and Progress committee and in some non standard admission applications).The department will outline the provisions that are required to be met in the student’s first/second term at Guelph. The provisions usually include meeting a certain grade percentage in specified classes. The student will be blocked from registering online in future semesters until all provisions have been met. To recommend provisional status on an offer:
- Indicate the provisions to be met on both the Recommendation of Admission form, as well as on the third page of the Funding form (message from the department section).
- Ensure that there is at least one (0.5) graduate level course to be completed in each semester in which the student will be Provisional.
- Outline the grade requirement that must be maintained (i.e.. solid ‘B’ average with no individual grade below 70%).
- Credit weight of the course(s) must be noted in the provisional statement.
- Please refer to the Graduate Calendar for specific information about provisional status.
Language waivers are filled out and recommended at the discretion of the department and must be approved by the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies. Please keep the following points in mind when filling out the language waiver:
- Language waivers are required for ALL applicants who declare that their “First Language” is “French” or “Other”. This includes students who have completed their degree at Guelph or another Canadian institution. The form accommodates these requests without additional language testing.
- There must be appropriate review of the language abilities within the department and documentation to support the method used in the review. Questions or discussions that take place must be outlined briefly in the recommendation form.
- If a department chooses to pursue an English language waiver for an applicant who has provided a language test result that is below our minimum, the specific component that has been failed must be addressed. For example, if a student obtains a score below 21 on the writing component, it is not acceptable to have a telephone discussion with the student to support the waiver.
- The language waiver form must be signed by the Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair. Note: A signatory can not be duplicated on the English waiver. At times when the Graduate Coordinator is also the Department Chair designate, the Associate Dean, Research of the College must sign the English waiver on the Chair's behalf. A total of two individuals must approve (refer to WebNow guide for instructions for 'How to sign the English Language Waiver".
Recommendation Form: In the recommendation to waive English, the department can choose to waive English for a few different reasons. It is important that you select the most appropriate reason declaring why the department would like to waive this requirement. Please click on the check box beside Waive English Language Requirement. After you click this box, the four options will become live and will allow you to select one of the options in the listing. If you choose option two, the department is required to select the country in which the applicant has studied. If the department chooses option three or four, the department must write a letter of support in the box below as to why they support that the student has adequate English capacity to pursue graduate studies. Two levels of signatures must be attained before the application is routed forward to the Admission Specialist.
- Keep in mind that should the language requirement be waived and the language ability of the applicant proves not to be sufficient for graduate study, the department is responsible to assist the student with remedial language training and absorb any associated financial costs.
- If one of the two people in the respective signature boxes will be absent from the University, it is essential that a replacement signatory be assigned in their absence and a request for the change must be submitted to OGS.
Direct Entry to a PhD program:
In order to be admitted from a completed Undergraduate program into a Doctoral program the applicant must have:
- Achieved superior academic record (80% / A- or above) in the last two years of full time equivalent study.
- ‘Outstanding’ assessments by referees.
- Evidence of his/ her research aptitude, capability, and proficiency must be summarized clearly by the department.
- Usually a statement of research by the applicant (depending on departmental requirement).
Recommendation Form: Under Non Standard Admission section of the Recommendation Form, click Direct Entry PhD check box. In the summary box provided, ensure that an adequate letter of support for direct entry PhD is submitted. This letter should include evidence of the applicants research aptitude, capability, and proficiency.
For detailed information about Direct Entry PhD see the graduate calendar.
An alternate admission is granted when a student’s undergraduate grades do not meet the minimum requirements yet the applicant has substantial relevant experience (minimum of 5 years) to compensate for their grades. The department must support the application with a detailed summary of why they believe the applicant will be a successful graduate student.
Recommendation Form: Under the Non Standard Admissions section of the Recommendation Form, click Alternate Admission check box. The department is required to fill out the three content areas with details of why the department supports the recommendation.
Applicants who receive an offer of admission and would like to defer to a future term are required to email their deferral request to the department. If the deferral is supported by the department, the applicant is required to reapply through OUAC by creating a new application (applicant must pay application fee). A change to the application cannot be made once an admission decision has been processed by OGS.
- OGS encourages applicants to accept their original offer of admission (until the second offer is finalized and processed).
- The Graduate Program Assistant sends their Admission Specialist the deferral request/approval.
- Once the department receives the new application with appropriate start term, they will process the offer as usual.
Details of the deferral process can be found on the OGS website.
Process coming soon
The Advisory Committee and Degree Program is established for each student alongside the department. This must be declared by the 20th class day of the student’s second registered semester and must be maintained throughout the student’s program. Registration will be blocked for those students with an incomplete committee, or degree program form. The form can be found from the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies Form and Documents site. More information on the process can be found in the Graduate Calendar.
Student Progress Reports are completed and processed by the 20th class day of the following semester and allows both the committee and the student to monitor the progress of his/her program. The form can be found from the Office of Graduate Studies Form and Documents site. More information on the process can be found in the Graduate Calendar.
Student registration can be completed online registration through WebAdvisor during the add period as outlined on the Schedule of Dates. Late registration must be completed through Enrolment Services by using a Course Waiver form. Department signatures are required on the Course Waiver. The form can be found from the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies Form and Documents site.
For more information regarding registration, including the Full time / Part time registration codes please see https://graduatestudies.uoguelph.ca/current/registration
Academic Change, Governance, Faculty Appointments
If the department is interested in nominating an individual for graduate faculty status, the department must fill out the Graduate Faculty Nomination Form, attain appropriate signatures, include the faculty member's resume (with specific information identified on Nomination Form) and submit it via email to Laurie Winn in the Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies.
Program changes, course deletions/additions/changes can be submitted at any time and will be added to the graduate calendar when approved by Board of Graduate Studies. Please note, all additions, changes and edits to the graduate calendar are published once a year on May 1st.
Colleague Manual: For information regarding Colleague, important Colleague screens, and how to use them.
Graduate Calendar: Outlines the rules, regulations, curricula, programs and fees for each academic year.
Schedule of Dates: A reference to the dates that effect registration, through to program completion for each term.
Office of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies:
General Inquires: email@example.com
Admission Application Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Record Inquiries: email@example.com
Scholarship Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Enrolment Services produces all transcripts, student letters (enrolment letters/completion letters) and completes all in person registration for both Graduate and Undergraduate students. Convocation is also apart of Enrolment Services.
General enrolment inquires, transcript and letter requests: email@example.com
Convocation questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Student Financial Services
Student Financial Services monitors and administers all student fees, payments and refunds as well as the Graduate Settlement. The graduate settlement is completed online, through WebAdvisor, must be completed by a certain date to avoid a late charge, and indicates how the student will be paying for their tuition (ie. through an award, payroll deduction, their own payments etc.).
Graduate Settlement information can be found online.