History + Mission

The Early Years

The first graduate degrees conferred at the University of Alberta at the first Convocation, held May 16, 1911, were two Master of Arts degrees to George Fred McNally and Jennie Stark Hill, and three Master of Science degrees to Clarence Arthur Curtis, James Alexander Fife and Ethelbert Lincoln Hill.

From 1911 until 1955 the University conferred a total of 1,163 graduate degrees, all but seven on the master's level. From 1956 until 1982 the University awarded a total of 11,676 graduate degrees, of which 2,753 were PhD's.

In 1957, the Graduate School became the Faculty of Graduate Studies with first Dean Dr. A.G. McCalla leading the way.

(Excerpt in part from: The Development of Graduate Studies at the University of Alberta, 1908-1983. Arthur G. McCalla.)


The Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies promotes graduate education, establishes and maintains quality standards, leads the strategic graduate planning activities of the University, provides support and services to graduate applicants, students, and graduate programs, and administers numerous graduate scholarships and awards.

The Killam Trusts

A cornerstone of graduate student funding resides in its philanthropic roots. Generous contributions from benefactors, such as the Killam family, have provided students with tremendous financial and research support for decades.

The University of Alberta acknowledges-with gratitude-the invaluable financial assistance that the Killam Trusts have provided the University and its doctoral laureates, postdoctoral fellows, and professors.

Since 1967, the endowment created by the Killam bequest have provided more than $96 million in program funding to the University of Alberta. The value of the Killam endowments as of March 31, 2014 was $105.4 million.


The Naming of Triffo Hall

Triffo Hall is home to the Killam Centre for Advanced Studies, which houses the Faculty of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, the Graduate Students' Association, the Postdoctoral Fellows' office, and the Postdoctoral Fellows' Association.

Originally built in 1915, the structure witnessed both greatness and the effects of age and after a century's worth of facelifts and new tenants, an extensive 2008 renovation saw the unveiling of the newly minted Triffo Hall on April 15, in honour of the $1 million donation from Ronald and Dorothy Triffo.


LEEDing the Way in Environmental Design

On May 2009, Triffo Hall became the first project at the University of Alberta to be registered with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED ®) association.

The renovation of one of the oldest buildings at the University earned a LEED Gold Certification. Sustainable design strategies incorporated the reuse of an existing historical structure, maximal use of daylighting, capture and reuse of rainwater and high performance heating and cooling strategies.