What We Are
The Graduate Students' Association of the University of Alberta (GSA) is a non-partisan organization that actively represents and advocates for graduate students at the University of Alberta, with government, and in the broader post-secondary community. Prior to 1972, the GSA operated as a Society under Alberta's Societies Act.
Since 1972, the GSA has existed under the province’s Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) as a separate, not-for-profit corporation to represent graduate students at the University of Alberta to administration (including the Board of Governors) and government. As a separate corporation, the GSA is governed by a Council established by the PSLA, led by Directly-Elected Officers, and managed by a professional staff, that reports regularly to the President, Board, and Council; the GSA also has its own lawyers, auditor, and chartered accountant.
The GSA views graduate students as junior colleagues who contribute to their field of study in pursuit of an advanced degree through collaborative work with the professoriate in research, teaching, and the development of University learning environments. These contributions may be accomplished through: extensive coursework, for which graduate students pay tuition; academic employment, for which graduate students are paid; the co-creation and writing of scholarly work; the securing of academic funding; presentations, conferences, and community engagement; and capstone projects, theses, or dissertations. This multi-faceted position takes place in an environment of mutual respect and fairness aimed at developing skills and knowledge for future careers and is one that provides appropriate remuneration for labour in service of the enhancement of the institution.
If you experience any issues or have any areas of concern during your time at the University, please contact the GSA and we will assist you or direct you to another office that can offer assistance. We are here to help and support you!
How We Are Different From the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research
Many people confuse the GSA with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR).
While the GSA and FGSR are both located in Triffo Hall (just south of Deweys), we have separate offices and separate mandates.
FGSR registers you as a graduate student and it is FGSR which oversees your program according to the regulations of the General Faculties Council (the University’s academic governing body).
The GSA, however, represents all graduate students on-and-off campus to government and University administrators, and negotiates for several services on behalf of graduate students as well as the Collective Agreement governing the academic employment of graduate students.
Visit the FGSR website for more information.
What We Do
Our Vision and mission: To advocate for all graduate students to the University of Alberta and the Alberta Government for a safe, supportive, respectful, accessible, and inclusive community that fosters the multi-faceted roles played by graduate students.
The GSA administers a budget of over $1M, including $900,000 in grants, bursaries, and awards is a founding member of the Campus Food Bank, and has negotiated for a number of services on behalf of graduate students including the GSA Health and Dental Plan, group rate home and auto insurance through TDIMM, and the U-Pass. The GSA also subsidizes additional services through the Career Centre and Writing Resources for graduate students.
Under Section 58.4(1)(c) of the Labour Relations Code, is "the bargaining agent for academically-employed graduate students" and is to act with "exclusive authority" in representing graduate students in negotiating a Collective Agreement.
As the official representative body for all masters' and doctoral students at the U of A, the GSA represents over 7,300 graduate students on committees, councils, and boards that regulate or shape a graduate student’s academic and non-academic life at the U of A. To list a few, the GSA is represented on the Board of Governors, General Faculties Council, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council, the Senate, the Alumni Council, and the various standing committees of these bodies. The GSA also has a GSA Council, a Board, and several standing committees.
The following links provide additional information: