Getting Started

Welcome to the Department of Computing Science! We are located in Athabasca Hall (ATH) and the Computing Science Centre (CSC). The information below aims to assist new graduate students as they join our department. 

Please review this information carefully and take note of any ⇨ action items that need to be completed.

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Before You Arrive

Computing Accounts

You will automatically receive a Campus Computing ID (CCID) from the U of A that provides a secure gateway to University services. In addition, CS students also receive a Computing Science ID (CSID) and email address from the Department.

Bear Tracks

Bear Tracks is the University of Alberta's hub for student and employee information. As a student, you will use Bear Tracks to register for courses, check your grades and pay fees. If you have a scholarship or graduate assistantship, you will also be able to set up direct deposit and view your pay and benefit information. The employee tab will be made visible to you in Bear Tracks before your first pay period.

  • Access Bear Tracks with your CCID

⇨ Register for Courses

The Graduate Student Administrator will notify you when it is time for you to register and computing science graduate courses are made available. All graduate students must complete their registration online (using Bear Tracks) prior to the add/delete deadline.

Full-time thesis-based students must be registered in ★9 credits per term in both the Fall and Winter (6.10 Full-time Registration Policy). You may need to register in thesis sections in combination with regular course registrations in order to achieve ★9 credits of course weight for registration status.

  • THES 903: equivalent to a ★3 credit course
  • THES 906: equivalent to a ★6 credit course
  • THES 909: equivalent to a ★9 credit course

Typical registration for your first year:

Thesis-based Masters Course-based Masters Doctoral
Fall CMPUT 603
+ 2 courses
+ 2 courses
+ 1-2 courses
+ THES 903 if necessary
Winter 2 courses
+ THES 903
2-3 courses
1-2 courses
+ THES 903/906 if necessary

Note: Students in the Statistical Machine Learning specialization must take an extra course.


Students are now assessed tuition fees in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer terms. For more information visit Tuition and Fees on the FGSR website.

Paying Tuition by Payroll Deduction

If you are receiving a Graduate Assistantship, tuition fees for Fall and Winter terms can be paid by payroll deduction. If you wish to pay your fees in a lump sum and NOT by payroll deduction, you must pay your fees by the tuition deadline.

Note: Scholarship students cannot pay fees by payroll deduction.


⇨ Review Scholarship Information

There are a variety of scholarships and awards available to both Canadian and international students. For more information on scholarships relevant to Computing Science graduate students, please visit Financial Support & Awards.

Award holders must visit Managing Your Award and review the Graduate Scholarship Committee Award Winner's Handbook which is available in the FGSR forms cabinet.

Teaching Assistantships

⇨ Submit TA Deployment Form

We ask that new graduate students who have been offered a teaching or research assistantship (TA/RA) fill out the TA Deployment Form at least 5 weeks before the start of term. 

⇨ Register for FGSR Teaching Sessions

All new graduate students are also required to attend five FGSR Teaching Sessions during the week ofAugust 27as part of the Ethics Training Requirement, CMPUT 603 and TA training.

Please register for the following 4 mandatory sessions (for 2018),

Session 2: Ethical Principles in Teaching
Session 3: Your First Class: How to Make it First Class
Session 5: Effective Teaching in the Lab
Session 10: The Code of Student Behaviour in Teaching

plus 1 additional session from the following to complete the requirement.
Session 4: Teaching Presentation Skills
Session 7: Circular Communication in the Classroom
Session 9: Lesson Planning
Session 13: Dealing with Difficult Situations and Students

When You Arrive

Meet with the Graduate Program Administrator

All new graduate students should arrive on campus and report to the Graduate Program Administrator in ATH 2-37 between August 15-31. ⇨ If your arrival will be delayed, please notify us at

For this meeting, you will need to bring:

⇨ A copy of your Study Permit

All foreign students must have a valid study permit. It is the student’s responsibility to keep it current. Payroll will not release any cheques until they have a copy of a valid permit. 

⇨ Your Social Insurance Number (SIN)

All students with TAs or RAs must have a Social Insurance Number. If you do not already have one, gather the required documents and take them to the Service Canada office:

Canada Place Service Canada Centre
9700 Jasper Ave, Main Floor
Edmonton, Alberta
For more information, phone 1-800‐622-6232

⇨ Your ONEcard

The ONEcard is the official University of Alberta identification card used on campus. Graduate students require a ONEcard in order to be granted additional access to buildings/labs. The fee for the proximity ONEcard is $15.

  • You will need government issued Photo ID (driver's license or passport) and your 7-digit U of A ID Number to pick up your ONEcard
  • For quicker pickup, submit your photo online
  • For more information on getting a ONEcard visit the ONEcard office website
  • The ONEcard office is located at 9104 HUB Mall

Offices and Building Access

Graduate student offices will be assigned by the Computing Science Graduate Student Association and will be posted on the CSGSA website

  • You will receive your office key from the Graduate Program Administrator at your initial meeting.
  • Your office should also have a workstation for you to use.
  • Please be sure to mind lab and office guidelines.


Your mailbox is located in ATH 2-21.

  • You will receive your mailbox key from the Graduate Program Administrator at your initial meeting.
  • Mailboxes are for correspondence pertaining to your academic studies only.
  • You can get a personal mailbox from the Post Office in the Students' Union Building.

Introductory Meeting with Advisor/Supervisor

All graduate students should have an introductory meeting with their supervisor at the beginning of their first term to discuss their program and course registration. For M.Sc. students, an interim academic advisor will be appointed by the Graduate Program Administrator for the first two terms but it is the responsibility of the student to find a supervisor prior to the Spring term.


⇨ Attend the Departmental Orientation

There is a mandatory departmental orientation for new graduate students before classes start in late August/early September.

Fall 2019: Orientation will be held in the Computing Science Centre 3-33.

  • What: Mandatory Department of Computing Science New Graduate Student Orientation 2019
  • For Who: Students admitted into our MSc or PhD program for Fall 2019; September start date
  • When: August 29, 2019
  • Time: 2:00 pm
  • LocationCSC 3-33

⇨ International Student Check-In

The International Student Check-In, located at the International Centre, is the first stop for new international students! Pertinent information will be provided to international students to help them settle into their new environment and prepare for a successful academic year. Students will be introduced to campus, the city and connected to other international students by participating in on and off-campus events.

⇨ Transitions Orientation for International Students

The goal of Transitions is for all international students to be academically prepared and aware that help is available to them throughout the academic year. The program includes:

  • Immigration tips 
  • Undergraduate and graduate student sessions on what is expected of them while studying at university
  • Intercultural training
  • How to prepare for Canadian weather, where to shop
  • How to stay healthy, both mentally and physically 

Teaching Assistantships

⇨ Attend TA Training Workshop

All new graduate students must attend the TA Training Workshop in the Fall Term.

Fall 2018: Date, time and location TBA.

⇨ Attend FGSR Teaching Sessions

Attend the FGSR Teaching Sessions you registered for.

Official Documents

If you are required to submit transcripts, degree certificates or other official documents to meet the conditions of your admission, please have your institution send them to:

Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
2-29 Triffo Hall
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6G 2E1

TD-1 (Tax Reduction Forms)

Students employed at the university can complete a TD1 and TD1AB form in order to calculate the appropriate amount of income tax to be deducted. By filling out this form you can claim tuition and education amounts which allows you to be taxed less each paycheque. (Otherwise, you are just taxed on the basic personal exemption and will be reimbursed when you file your income taxes.)

Forms should be returned to:

Payroll and Benefit Services
Human Resources
2‐60 University Terrace
8303 112 Street
Edmonton, Alberta
T6G 1K4

Any further questions can be sent to

For Your Information

Graduate Program Resources

Be sure to review all of the graduate program requirements and timelines.

Computer Systems Orientation

As part of CMPUT 603, you will attend an Introduction Seminar to help you become familiar with the computer systems available here.

eClass Moodle

eClass is a centrally managed Course Management System that many computing science courses use to distribute course materials and collect assignment submissions.


GradDB is the Computing Science Graduate Students' Database used to track and store your progress through our graduate program. You are responsible for keeping your record up-to-date (in cooperation with your supervisor and the Graduate Program Administrator)

  • Access GradDB with your DoCs DB login
  • You are responsible for entering your scholarships, seminars, supervisor/committee information and a yearly progress report
  • If you experience problems with GradDB, please e-mail including the URL of the current page and any error message received

Your Web Presence

As a grad student in our department, you are automatically added to the CS People Directory. Your profile in the People Directory includes your contact information and can be customized to include additional information such as your research area, education, research interests, research summary and a link to your publications/awards.

You are also allocated some web space that is accessible at 

Photocopying & Printing

You have access to a photocopier in CSC 2-28 and printers in CSC 2-28, ATH 1-26, ATH 2-24 and CAB 3-01.

  • There is no charge or quota for photocopying or printing.
  • Photocopying and printing are not for personal use; totals are monitored and misuse is investigated.
  • You will receive the door code for CSC 2-28 when you pick up your office keys.