10. Programs & Supervision

10.1. Advisory Committee

As soon as possible following a student's first registration in his/her program, an advisory committee, including research supervisor, should be named.  Responsibility for naming the members of a student's advisory committee lies with the academic unit Head, Graduate Chair, or designate, in a formal meeting with the academic unit’s Graduate Affairs Committee.  It is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee to assist students in course selection and definition of research area, to provide support and advice, to evaluate regularly the student's progress by meeting at least once yearly, to take appropriate and timely action in view of this progress, and to keep records of this evaluation and all actions taken.

The Master’s Advisory Committee consists of at least three members; the Ph.D. Advisory Committee consists of at least five members, as follows:

  1. Advisory Chair - Shall be the Graduate Chair, Head of the academic unit (Dean in the case of non-departmentalized colleges) or designate
  2. Supervisor - A member of the faculty of the CGPS (adjunct professors included) but cannot be a Professional Affiliate.
  3. Co-Supervisor, if applicable – persons who are not members of the faculty of CGPS may be granted permission to be a co-supervisor by the Dean, CGPS. Co-supervisors share a vote in decision-making at the oral defence, and thus count as one member.
  4. Additional Members - [need a minimum of 1 for a Master’s and 2 for a Ph.D.]. Must be members of the faculty of CGPS, adjunct professors, Professional Affiliates or be granted permission by the Dean, CGPS. The list of faculty, adjuncts, Professional Affiliates can be accessed in PAWS.
  5. Cognate Member - [need 1 for a Ph.D. program]. Must be a member of the CGPS Graduate Faculty from a different academic unit (department/college) than the student and supervisor, or granted permission by the Dean, CGPS. Cognate members will be employees of the university and be eligible to be the sole supervisor of a doctoral student.
  6. The Dean of the CGPS is an ex officio member of the Advisory Committee.

When one of the proposed members of the Advisory Committee is not a member of the Graduate Faculty of the University academic community, the proposed member's CV and a written rationale as to why the person should be involved must be provided.  Please note this is a one-time exception for that person to serve on this one committee.

Postgraduate Diploma students do not require an Advisory Committee.

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10.2. Supervisors on Sabbatical or Other Leave

Supervisors shall ensure that adequate provision has been made for continued supervision and student support during an absence or leave. All such arrangements must be communicated well in advance to the CGPS Dean, academic unit Head and the student. Interim examining and supervisory arrangements to cover a period of absence do not release Supervisors from final responsibility for the adequate supervision of their students.

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10.3. Individualized Student Program of Studies

Within the first year of registration in a graduate degree program, the Advisory Committee shall develop an individualized Program of Studies for all students.  For non-thesis students, the Graduate Chair or designate shall develop the Program of Studies.

The Program of Studies must be approved by the Graduate Chair and submitted to the CGPS for final approval.

When formally approved, the Program of Studies forms a contract between the University and the student such that successful completion of the noted courses and other requirements, passing required examinations and defence of the thesis/exhibition (if applicable) will result in the conferring of the diploma, certificate, or degree.

Changes in course work requirements, supervisor or committee membership, or a significant change in research area, require that a new Program of Studies be submitted to the CGPS.

Undergraduate courses credited towards a graduate program must be senior (300-400 level) courses, as determined by the College which offers the course. The maximum amounts of undergraduate course content allowed to be credited towards a graduate degree are:

  • Ph. D. – 0 credit units
  • Master’s program with ≤ 9 credit units – 0 credit units
  • Master’s program with 10 – 15 credit units – 3 credit units
  • Master’s program with > 15 credit units – 6 credit units
  • PGD – 12 credit units

An academic unit may, on a case-by-case basis, exceed the above guidelines if the Graduate Chair provides to the CGPS a memorandum of explanation which is accepted and approved.

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10.4. Joint/Sandwich Student Programs

Students in joint student programs can be either masters or doctoral students and they shall have an academic supervisor. A supervising committee is not necessary.

Upon completion of the U of S portion of their graduate program, students in a joint student program may request a transcript for any and all courses completed while in attendance at the U of S. Such transcript will state “University of Saskatchewan, in partial fulfillment of a joint student program with “partner institution name”.

Joint students are subject to standard graduate admission requirements. Joint students must be registered, and are subject to applicable tuition and student fees. 

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10.5. Student Transfers

All program transfer requests must be made in writing to the CGPS. These requests must include both the written transfer request from the student, as well as the written approval of the academic unit receiving the transfer student.  The Graduate Chair of the new program shall submit a new Program of Studies, and a new Advisory Committee must be established. Time in program starts from the first class credited towards the certificate, postgraduate diploma or degree sought.

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10.5.1. Transfer from One Academic Unit to Another

Students admitted to a graduate program in one academic unit may transfer to another program at the same level in another academic unit. It is the student's responsibility to communicate with both academic units before any change is made. The student may not begin work in the new program until the transfer has been approved by the CGPS, and until the academic unit to which the student wishes to transfer has indicated formal approval and accepted the student.

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10.5.2. Transfer from or into Postgraduate Diploma

Postgraduate Diploma students who were fully qualified as Master's candidates at the time of admission may transfer into a Master's program at any time.

Postgraduate Diploma students who were not fully qualified as Master’s candidates at the time of admission to the Postgraduate Diploma may, at the invitation of the academic unit, transfer to a Master’s program upon completion of 9 credit units of 800 level coursework with a cumulative academic average of 80% and no grade below 70%.

Master's students may transfer into a Postgraduate Diploma at any time during the program.

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10.5.3. Transfer Between Thesis, Project, and Course-Based Master's Programs

With the approval of their Supervisor, Advisory Committee, and Graduate Chair, students may transfer from a program with thesis to one with project, or vice versa, where this option is available.

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10.5.4. Transfer from Ph.D. Program to Master's Program

With the approval of their supervisor, Advisory Committee, and Graduate Chair, students may transfer from a Ph.D. program to a Master’s program with thesis or project.

Students who have entered a Ph.D. program directly from a bachelor’s degree who are unsuccessful in their qualifying exam or who do not meet the academic standing required for continuation in the program, will be given the opportunity to revert to the master’s degree program in their field, and successful work done towards the Ph.D. degree will be credited towards the master’s degree.

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10.5.5. Transfer from Master's Program to PhD program

Transfer from a Master’s program to a Ph.D. program shall take place after the end of the first year and no later than the end of the second year in the program.

Recommendation for the transfer must be initiated through a formal meeting of the student's Advisory Committee, which shall forward its recommendation through the academic unit to the CGPS. The following conditions must be met:

  1. The student shows great promise both in terms of academic accomplishments and in potential for research.
  2. The student has completed at least 9 credit units at the 800-level, and has achieved a minimum average of 80% and no grade below 70%. 
  3. There is evidence of good writing and oral communication ability.
  4. There is evidence the student has requisite research skills and knowledge to be able to successfully complete a Ph.D. dissertation.
  5. The student has successfully completed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination prior to being recommended for transfer. This examination for the purposes of transfer can only be taken once. A student failing the Qualifying Examination or any part thereof cannot be recommended for transfer.
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10.6. Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence are available to students for compassionate, medical, parenting, educational, and ‘Co-op Program’/Industry reasons. Reasonable accommodation is expected to be made. Leaves of absence from CGPS are normally granted in four-month blocks only, to coincide with the registration terms,  except in the case of maternity, adoption and parenting leave, which may be granted for up to twelve months at once. A maximum of three (3) registration terms of leave totaling one year may be granted to a student, after which the student is expected to either re-engage in his/her program, or withdraw.

The Head of the academic unit or Graduate Chair has the authority to approve a first-time leave request of up to 4 months for compassionate or medical reasons. For maternity, parental or adoption reasons, the leave may be approved for up to 12 months immediately following a birth or adoption. Short-term leaves of less than one month shall also be managed within the home academic unit. Extensions to the initial leave period must be approved by CGPS.

The Dean of the CGPS, or his designate, will consider any petitions from students whose request for leave has been initially denied by the academic unit.

The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree, and tuition is not assessed during the leave. While a student is on leave, all supervisory processes are suspended.  Unless otherwise permitted by the source of funding, financial support offered to a full-time, fully-qualified student is not available to a student on leave.

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10.6.1. Compassionate and Medical Leaves

A graduate student who has developed an illness, who has been the victim of an accident, or who has suffered grave events in his/her life, upon provision of appropriate documentation to the Graduate Chair, may be eligible for medical or compassionate leave. The Graduate Chair should forward these documents and a letter of support to the CGPS for approval. At the end of a medical leave and before returning to active studies, the student may be asked to provide to the Graduate chair and to CGPS a physician’s certificate indicating the condition necessitating the leave no longer compromises the graduate program.

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10.6.2. Maternity, Adopting, Parenting Leaves

A graduate student who is bearing a child, and/or who has primary responsibility for the care of a child immediately following a birth or an adoption is eligible for parental leave. Maternity, adopting and parental leaves may be requested for up to one year in duration, upon receipt of a letter from the student indicating the reason for the leave, and written acknowledgement from the supervisor.

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10.6.3. Co-op Program Leaves and Graduate Studies in Industry

It is the policy of the CGPS to encourage wherever appropriate research and teaching partnerships with the public and private sector.  When students receive offers to spend a period of time in industry or the public sector pursuing research-related activities which are closely linked to their Master’s or Ph.D. Program of Studies, the CGPS will consider granting a four-month leave. Such a leave may be repeated once at a later time in the program. Request for such leaves must provide all relevant details in writing and must be supported in writing by the supervisor and Graduate Chair. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree and tuition is not assessed during the leave.

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10.6.4. Leaves to Pursue Undergraduate Studies

A graduate student that has been offered admission into an undergraduate college at the University of Saskatchewan may apply for a leave of absence from the graduate program for a maximum of two consecutive terms. The letter of application must be accompanied by documentation from the undergraduate college indicating that dual college registration will not be permitted. The student must also provide a detailed plan to completion for the graduate program that has been approved by the graduate program supervisor and graduate chair. For thesis students, a complete draft of the thesis must be complete for the student to be eligible for the leave.

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10.6.5. Vacation

Graduate students are entitled to a minimum of two weeks of vacation per year, in addition to weekends, statutory holidays and regularly-scheduled university closures. Vacation should be scheduled at a time that is mutually convenient to the student and supervisor(s) and/or grad chair as applicable. Students receiving funding with a service requirement must take vacation at a time that does not cause disruption to the service requirements.

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10.7. Annual Progress Reports

The Chair of the Advisory Committee, or Graduate Chair in the case of Postgraduate Diploma students, shall report to the Graduate Dean at least once annually on the progress of the student by completing the progress report.  Any report indicating unsatisfactory progress shall be referred to the Dean of CGPS for further action.  Prior to the final year of study, a Schedule for Completion must be developed by the student and advisory committee, and submitted in PAWS as a Progress Report.

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10.8. Time in Program

Time in program is measured from the beginning of the first term of registration for work which is included in the Program of Studies (this may be course work done at U of S or elsewhere, thesis, project, or practicum), excluding any periods of approved leave.

Program time limits are five years for Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s programs, and six years for Ph.D. Where a student has been suspended from the program for one or more terms because of a penalty imposed through an academic dishonesty ruling, the period of suspension will not count as time in program, subject to University Council regulations on student discipline and appeals.

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10.8.1. Time Extensions

Time extensions may be granted to students who encounter problems while actively trying to finish their program. Employment is not a valid reason for an extension request. Students who have reached the time limit of the program without completing program requirements shall meet with their Advisory Committee. Requests for time extensions shall specifically address the question of why the Schedule for Completion was not followed. While on extension, policy regarding full-time status and payment of tuition and fees shall apply.

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10.9. Student Supports

10.9.1. (CGPS) Academic Accommodation Policy and Procedures for Students with Disabilities

The goal of this policy and its procedures is to ensure that graduate students with disabilities pursue their programs of study in an academic environment where once appropriate accommodations are in place, without undue hardship to the University, all students have an equitable opportunity to succeed.  The College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (CGPS) policy aligns with and is supplemental to the University’s Students with Disabilities: Academic Accommodation and Access policy.  Legislation under the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code informs this policy.  In Colleges or Schools where approved accommodation policies and procedures are in place for students in graduate programs, the stipulations and context of those policies and procedures will be applicable as complementary to the CGPS framework articulated here.


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