Master's Studies—Course-Based

Pathways to a Course-Based Master's Degree

Course-based master’s programs at UAlberta usually include a greater number of courses than a thesis-based program, provide focused and leading-edge course-based learning with a research and—often— practicuum placement components. 

Course-based master’s degrees are becoming increasingly important in the local and global market economies as sectors and organizations seek a more focused and structured application of knowledge to find solutions. 

These degrees are designed to meet the rapidly-growing demand for high-level trained professionals and are a significant way of furthering a working professional education. 

Any master's degree is a remarkable achievement, adding tremendous value both professionally and personally. 

Summary of Requirements 
As a course-based master’s student at UAlberta, you need to complete a number of program requirements—coursework, a capstone research project defined by you and your Academic Advisor, plus any additional requirements defined by your program—within a six year designated timeframe. 

Degree requirements and responsibilities are both academic and administrative. Some are required by the University—Ethics training and the capstone project. Other requirements are defined by your department—including coursework, and, where applicable, practica or comprehensive examinations. 

Your department’s section in the University Calendar—as well as department graduate handbook—define these specific program requirements. 


There are many other resources and academic considerations that thesis-based master's students should take note of. Please read on to familiarize yourself with these:

Academic Advisor
You have one or more Academic Advisors to work with you to plan your academic program and capstone project. If you were not assigned one at the time of admission, please consult with your department. 


Capstone Project
This project will be defined by you and your academic advisor within the guidelines defined by your program. It is normally carried out at the end of your studies, usually over one or two academic terms.


Financial Support
Many students receive financial support in a number of ways, although funding tends to be more limited for students in course-based master’s programs. You may be employed as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant

These contracts of employment are governed by the Collective Agreement for Academically Employed Graduate Students negotiated between the Graduate Students Association and the University’s Board of Directors. 

Another common form of financial support is a graduate scholarship or award. The FGSR administers over 2,000 such scholarships for graduate students. For students in financial distress, we also offer bursaries and emergency funding


Leave of Absence 
Sometimes, medical issues, parental responsibilities, or other emergencies mean that you may need to take some time off from your studies. 

As a graduate student you may apply for an approved leave of absence that keeps your program in good standing without the need for registration, and can be awarded for up to one year at a time. An approved leave of absence does not count against your six years in the program.

Registration Policy
Your program may allow either part-time and full-time registration as your studies progress. Some forms of financial support such as government loans or scholarships may require full-time status. This means a registration of at least 9 credits in each of fall and winter terms. 

In order to keep your program active, you need to register in at least 3 credits in each September to August period.

In many disciplines, part of your research work may be done off-campus. Please speak to your department about off-campus registration where appropriate. You will also pay certain non-instructional fees.


Academic Standing
As a graduate student, you have to maintain good academic standing.


Program Extension
Occasionally, circumstances arise that mean that you need more than six years to complete your degree, unless your department has opted for a shorter time-limit. In such cases, your department may support a program extension


Convocation
To obtain your degree, you must successfully complete at 24 credits of coursework—many programs require significantly more coursework than this minimum. 

The convocation ceremony represents a crowning achievement of your commitment to research and continuing your education. 


The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is here to serve the graduate community and see you through a rich and successful program experience!

Should you have any questions regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance.