Graduate Program Manual

5.12 Categories of Graduate Students

(FGSR Council, 2005/09/16)

Degree Students

Degree students are those who are registered in a GFC-approved program leading to a master's or doctoral degree granted by the University of Alberta.

Postgraduate Diploma or Certificate Students

The postgraduate diploma or certificate program is a specialized formal program of course work designed for persons who have had previous work experience. Applicants must meet the general admission requirements of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR).

Qualifying Graduate Students

This category is used for those students whose academic background entitles them to serious consideration for admission to graduate studies but who are considered to be inadequately prepared to enter a graduate program in the subject area they have chosen. Generally, students who hold a three-year bachelor's degree from the University of Alberta (or an equivalent qualification from another recognized institution) and students who have graduated from a four-year degree program, but who are entering a new field, may be admitted as qualifying graduate students.

Qualifying graduate students are registered in the FGSR and as such are subject to the regulations of the FGSR; however, they are not considered to be candidates for a degree.

Students should be advised that neither the courses taken nor the fees paid during a qualifying period will be credited toward a subsequent degree program, since the qualifying period is, by definition, a basis of admission.

Qualifying graduate students must achieve at least the FGSR minimum admission requirement of a cumulative GPA of 3.0 with no grade less than C+.

A qualifying year normally will not exceed 30 course weights (5 full course equivalents). Courses taken during a qualifying year will be specified by the department.

If the applicant’s admission GPA meets the FGSR minimum, the department’s requirements for the qualifying period will appear as a note at the bottom of the admission letter. It is up to the department to monitor the fulfillment of these requirements.

Completion of the work in a qualifying period does not automatically entitle the student to proceed toward a degree program. However, upon satisfactory completion of a qualifying period the department may recommend to the FGSR a change of category to a master’s or doctoral degree program.

Students who are not eligible for admission to the FGSR as qualifying students should consult the appropriate undergraduate Faculty regarding admission to that Faculty to clear course deficiencies. They may apply for admission to the FGSR at a later date.

Special Graduate Students

Special graduate students are those who in every respect are eligible for admission to the FGSR, but who wish to take graduate level courses for credit without proceeding toward a graduate degree at the University of Alberta.

Special graduate students are not candidates for a degree at this University. Admission as a special graduate student does not imply eligibility for admission to a degree program in any department.

Special graduate students must apply to the department which offers the course(s) and be admitted each year in which they wish to register. An admission is valid for one calendar year from the student’s start date.

These applicants complete the official Application for Graduate Admission form and require the same documentation as degree applicants. In addition, the department must complete a Manual Registration form approving the specific course(s) to be taken for credit. If the courses are from more than one department, all departments must sign the Manual Registration form. Courses for audit are not permitted.

Special graduate students may take only graduate level courses. Individuals wishing to take undergraduate courses should contact the Office of the Registrar.

Special graduate students are not permitted to register in thesis or departmental project courses, nor to audit courses.

(FGSR Council, 1988/02/19)

Visiting Graduate Students

This category is used for students who are registered in a graduate degree program at another university or college, who have obtained written permission in advance from their home university and the University of Alberta department to take one or more courses for transfer of credit toward that degree program.

This includes visiting students on formal exchanges and under the Western Deans’ Agreement (see below). Visiting graduate students must apply to the department and be admitted each year in which they take courses. An admission is valid for one calendar year from the student’s start date.

Applicants complete the Application for Visiting Graduate Student form and submit it to the department along with a letter of permission from the Dean of Graduate Studies of their home university. This letter should confirm that the applicant is currently registered in a graduate degree program at the home university, and should state the specific University of Alberta courses that will be accepted for credit toward the student's degree program.

The University of Alberta department must indicate on the form the specific course(s) to be taken. The Department approves the admission and submits the application to FGSR.

The FGSR reviews the completed file to ensure that the applicable documentation is included. Once the admission has been processed, the Department registers the student in the courses. Exception: RSCH 900 must be added by the FGSR.

Visiting Graduate Students on Formal Exchanges

A visiting (incoming) graduate student who is on a formal student exchange must complete the Application for Visiting Graduate Student form and a Permission to Participate form. The University of Alberta department must indicate on the form the specific course(s) to be taken. The Department approves the admission. This form is available online in the FGSR Forms Cabinet under "Admissions".

The FGSR reviews the completed file to ensure that the applicable documentation is included. Once the admission has been processed, the Department registers the student in the courses. Exception: RSCH 900 must be added by the FGSR.

For information on University of Alberta students participating in a formal exchange, see Section 6.7: U of A Students on Formal Exchanges.

Visiting Graduate Students Under the Western Deans’ Agreement

The Western Deans' Agreement is a long-standing agreement between universities offering Graduate programs in western Canada. For a list of the participating institutions and for further information go to http://wcdgs.ca/western-deans-agreement.html

The Agreement originally was conceived to assist graduate students at Western Canadian universities in taking courses required for their graduate degree programs that were not available at their home university. Over the years, some of the universities have modified this view somewhat in relation to their own programs. The University of Alberta still subscribes to the original intent.

  • Graduate degree students, currently registered and in good standing at one of the listed western Canadian universities, who wish to take a University of Alberta course(s) will need to complete an official Western Deans’ Agreement (WDA) form, including all required signatures. This form is available on the WDA website at www.wcdgs.ca/western-deans-agreement.html.
  • By signing the WDA form, the student's home department is providing written assurance that the course(s) listed on the form: (a) is not available at the home university; (b) is required for the student's program; and (c) will be credited toward the student's graduate degree program upon successful completion.
  • The University of Alberta does not place restrictions on the number of courses that may be taken under the WDA; however, the FGSR at the University of Alberta reserves the right to limit that number. Before applying, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that the course(s) the student wishes to take will be recognized as part of the graduate degree program by their home University. If acceptable to the home University, the courses can be taken as audits.
  • For each course requested under the WDA, authorized signatures from the department(s) offering the course(s) at the University of Alberta are needed. The department is under no obligation to accept a student into a particular course.
  • For courses taken at the University of Alberta, students will be assessed only Non-Instructional fees by the University of Alberta. If a course requires additional expenses under University of Alberta policy, the department will require that the student pay these.
  • If students are not eligible for consideration under the WDA, they may be eligible to apply as Visiting graduate students. The Application for Visiting Graduate Students form is available in the FGSR Forms Cabinet and department deadlines must be observed.

For information on University of Alberta students participating in a WDA exchange, please see Section 6.8: Western Canadian Graduate deans Agreement (WDA) Students of the Graduate Program Manual.

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