Office of the Registrar and Student Awards


Graduate Program Regulations

204 Graduate Program Regulations

    The minimum requirements for all graduate programs are set by the Council of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research of the University of Alberta. In this calendar the minimum requirements acceptable are outlined under the respective headings. Students should note that the department offering the graduate program may impose additional requirements.

204.1 Master's Degrees

    Two types of master's degree programs are offered—thesis-based and course-based. Most departments and Faculties offer a master's program with thesis. Many offer course-based programs in addition to the thesis-based route. In such programs the emphasis is on coursework, supplemented by a capping exercise. Details may be obtained from the departments concerned.

    The regulations outlined below apply to all master's degree programs.

204.1.1 General Regulations Governing Master's Programs


Course Requirements: Considerable variation is permitted in the balance between research and course requirements for the master's degree. Thesis-based master’s students may only take undergraduate courses for credit to satisfy their graduate program requirements when such courses are necessary and approved by the department offering the graduate program. Thesis-based master’s students may not take for credit to satisfy their graduate program requirements any undergraduate course in their field of specialization and/or major area of study. In course-based programs, all coursework must be at the graduate level.


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


Language Requirement: It is a requirement in some departments offering master's degrees that students show proof of proficiency in a language other than English. (For specific information on language requirements see the detailed program information under the appropriate departmental entry in §205.)

    Master's degree candidates in programs that do not have a language requirement, who are planning to proceed to a doctoral degree, are advised to take note of any language requirement for that degree in advance. See also §203.7.


Supervision: Each student in a master's program shall have a supervisor, whether the student is in a thesis-based or course-based program. The Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is ultimately responsible for approving the appointment of a supervisor and, if it exists, a supervisory committee. See also §203.10.

204.1.2 Thesis-based Programs

    All candidates for a thesis-based master's degree must submit the results of their research in the form of a thesis conforming to Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research regulations.

    An examining committee of at least three faculty members who are normally full-time (one from a department other than that in which the student is registered), must be approved by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at least three weeks before the examination. The Department must notify the examiners of the examination date and ensure they receive a copy of the thesis at least three weeks in advance, so that they may have adequate time to appraise the thesis. The committee will review the thesis and conduct an oral examination designed to test the candidate's knowledge of the thesis subject and of related fields. It is the responsibility of the supervisor (or a member of the departmental staff officially designated to do so), and not the student, to arrange the candidate's examination, ensuring that it is scheduled and held in accordance with Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research regulations. The Dean (or Associate Dean or Dean's designate), Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, may participate fully in the examination. Persons other than the examiners may attend with the approval of the Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, or the chair of the committee. If a final oral examination is adjourned, the examining committee shall decide upon a date for reconvening the examination and shall inform the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and student in writing. The final date set for reconvening shall be no later than six months from the date of the examination. A final decision of the examining committee must be made within six months of the initial examination.

    The decision of the examining committee will be based both on the content of the thesis and on the candidate's ability to defend it.

    Immediately after the oral examination, departments should advise the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research of the examining committee's decision on a Report of Completion of Final Oral Examination form.

204.1.3 Course-based Programs

    All students in a course-based master's degree program must complete the required coursework and a final capping exercise. The intent of the capping exercise is to demonstrate the candidates' ability to synthesize the varied information accumulated through the program. For those course-based master's programs where the capping exercise is a research project, the project will be evaluated by the student's supervisor and normally at least one evaluator. The supervisor is responsible for maintenance of Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and departmental standards for the project. The student is responsible for producing a report of the project or some other finished product to be deposited in the department.

    It is the responsibility of the department to verify and notify the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research that all courses, the capping exercise, and any other program requirements have been successfully completed by submitting a Report of Final Completion for Course-Based Master's.

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Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
 200The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
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 204Graduate Program Regulations
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Open Studies

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