About the GSA

What We Do

Our vision and mission is to advocate for all graduate students to the University of Alberta and all levels of government in pursuit of a safe, supportive, respectful, accessible, and inclusive community that fosters the multi-faceted roles played by graduate students.

The GSA fee is assessed for all eligible graduate students. GSA members thus receive access to a wealth of benefits, including:

See the detailed breakdown of the GSA fee and benefits for more information. 

Under Section 58.4(1)(c) of the Labour Relations Code, the GSA 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. For more information about the Graduate Student Assistantship Collective Agreement, please click here.

The GSA advocates for graduate students on issues of importance to them, such as the need to make quality supervision an institutional priority, the creation of guaranteed minimum finding packages, and affordable tuition, among others.

As the official representative body for all masters' and doctoral students at the U of A, the GSA represents over 8,000 graduate students on committees, councils, and boards that regulate and 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.


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What We Are

The GSA as established by the Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) is a non-partisan organization that represents and advocates for graduate students at the University of Alberta, and provides a wealth of services to its members that enrich the graduate student experience. As a separate corporation, it is both a part of the University of Alberta and apart from the institution.

Since 1972 (prior to this, the GSA operated as a Society under Alberta's Societies Act), the GSA has existed under the PSLA as a separate as a not-for-profit corporation to represent graduate students at the U of A to University administration (including the Board of Governors) and government. As a separate corporation, the GSA is governed by a Council, 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 believes that a healthy organization is nurtured through effective relationships with all stakeholders. To sustain the organization's long-term health and excellent reputation, the GSA fosters a culture of respect and professionalism among staff and graduate student leaders, engages in regular review of governance processes, is committed to transparency and accountability, and ensures an annual transition process that facilitates the on-going education of elected graduate student leaders.

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 and the development of capstone projects, theses, or dissertations (in pursuit of which graduate students are charged tuition and fees); academic employment (for which graduate students are paid); the co-creation and writing of scholarly work; contributing to the securing of academic funding; and participation in the community via presentations, conferences, and community engagement. This multi-faceted role takes place in an environment of mutual respect and fairness aimed at developing skills and knowledge for future careers, and is one that merits 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 our colleagues and Triffo Hall neighbours at the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR). FGSR is the home faculty of graduate students and thus it is FGSR which oversees your graduate program in accordance with the regulations of the General Faculties Council (the University's academic governing body). Prospective students should contact FGSR for questions about programs and admissions. 

The GSA, meanwhile, 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 which governs the academic employment of graduate students.