Department of Educational Policy Studies

Master's Programs

The majority of this information is in addition to the regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Prospective students should familiarize themselves with the applicable regulations contained in the current University Calendar. In cases of dispute, the official reference is the Calendar.

Master's program routes

There are two routes to the master’s degree:

  • Course-based route
  • Thesis-based route

All master's applicants are admitted to the course-based route. Once admitted, students will meet with their assigned Program Advisor to begin planning their coursework and overall program of study. Students may subsequently apply to be admitted to the thesis route in accordance with Department policy governing this procedure. See Grad Student Resources for further information on how to transfer from course-based to thesis-based.

Residence requirement

There is no residence requirement for either the course-based or thesis-based master's route. Both can be completed on a part-time basis.

Program delivery

Although some coursework is available via distance learning, both program routes are campus-based rather than distance-based. To complete required coursework, therefore, all students must be able to attend the University of Alberta campus.

Program structure

Each student's program includes study in core areas, an area of specialization, research methods, electives, and a thesis or capping exercise.

Course-Based Route: Students must complete a minimum of 11 three-credit courses (*33) and EDPS 900 (*3), which is a "culminating capping exercise." See Guidelines to Course-based Master's Capping Exercise for further details.

Thesis-based Route: Student must complete a minimum of 8 three-credit courses (*24) and a thesis.

For students who have completed an acceptable post-degree diploma in the Faculty of Education or equivalent that includes graduate-level coursework, the program normally will be reduced by up to a maximum of *6 for the thesis route and a maximum of *9 for the course-based route. The amount of reduction will be determined by the number of graduate-level courses that were completed as part of the diploma program. This option is only available if the courses were not use as part of the entrance GPA into the graduate program.

Transfer from a Course-Based to a Thesis-Based M.Ed. Program: See "Transfer from a Course-Based to a Thesis-Based M.Ed. Program" under Grad Student Resources for the procedures.

Course offerings

The list of courses to be offered year by year is available through the University of Alberta Bear Tracks system. Students may undertake a supervised individual study course if permitted by their specialization program and only with prior departmental approval. Permission will not be granted if the proposed content is available through regular course offerings.

Capping exercise and thesis

Capping Exercise: The capping exercise (EDPS 900) is the culminating course in the course-based master's program. The capping exercise is a research inquiry that may fall into one of the following categories:

  • analysis of a work-based program
  • critical literature review
  • scholarly paper
  • development of professional or organizational resources
  • evaluation of a program and/or policy

Thesis: All students in a thesis-based master's route shall present a thesis embodying the results of their research on a topic approved by their Supervisor or supervisory committee. In accordance with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) regulations, the final oral examination will be on the thesis and matters related to the thesis.


To keep their program active, students taking the course-based route must register in coursework (or in MREG 800: Maintaining Registration) for at least one term in each September to August period.

Students enrolled in the thesis route must register in coursework and/or thesis for all four (4) terms of an academic year (Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer) until their program is completed. Students are automatically registered in THES 906 for Spring/Summer terms by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Additional courses taken in Spring and/or Summer terms will NOT eliminate the THES registration in the same term(s). Fees for the additional course registration will be over an above the normal program fee outlined for that term. Students must be registered in the term that they defend their thesis.

Please note: upon switching to the thesis-based route, if a student registers full-time, at the beginning of their thesis-based program, they must continue as full-time students until completion of that program.

Please refer to the current Graduate Fees Guide for further details.

Academic integrity and ethics training requirement

Graduate students will be required to complete this training while also completing EDPS 581.

To meet this requirement, students must:

The GET course is offered in modules and all modules must be completed with a 100% result. If required, students can repeat the modules to obtain the 100% result.

Per Department Council's motion February 2014, students are required to complete the GET portion of this requirement during the same term they are completing the course portion (EDPS 581). Once students have completed the GET requirement, they are required to print out the results sheet called 'User Report' (by following the printing instructions given in the course) and submit it to the Graduate Administrator of Educational Policy Studies.


Any student that has completed, in a previous degree at the U of A, the GET portion of this requirement will NOT be required to complete it again. But they will still be required to complete the course portion of the requirement.

Length of program

Thesis-based master's students must complete all the requirements within four years of the term in which they first register in their program. Course-based master's students must complete all requirements within six years of the term in which they first register in their program.

Advisors and supervisors

When students enter the master's program an advisor will assist them for the selection of courses and in the overall planning of their program. All students in the thesis-based master's program must have a Supervisor - a member of academic staff - who will supervise their thesis research and the production of their written thesis. Once appointed, a thesis Supervisor assumes the role, held formerly by the course-based Program Advisor, of helping the student plan the balance of his/her coursework, etc.

Academic standing

For all master's students, the pass mark in any course taken while registered in the FGSR is a grade of C+. All students, moreover, must maintain a minimum cumulative program grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 throughout the course of the program.(In cases where the cumulative GPA falls between 2.3 and 2.7 the department may recommend continuation in the program for a specified probationary period; in any case, convocation may not take place with a cumulative GPA of less than 2.7.)

Additional notes

Successful completion of the MEd does not make the degree-holder eligible for teacher certification. Also, successful completion of the MEd does not guarantee admission to the Department's doctoral program.