Master's Studies (Course-Based)

Master's Studies (Course-Based)


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.

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Some requirements are required by the University: Ethics training, the Professional Development Requirement 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.



Your Academic Journey

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research is here to serve the graduate community and see you through a rich and successful program experience. Here are answers to questions about every phase of your journey.


Laying the Foundation

Registering in Your Program

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. International students may not be eligible to apply for part-time status under their study permit regulations; they should contact International Student Services for more information to determine their eligibility.

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.

Accessing 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.


Pursuing Your Program

Working with an 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.
Maintaining Academic Standing
As a graduate student, you have to maintain good academic standing.
Meeting the Academic Integrity and Ethics Training Requirement

Academic Integrity and Ethics Training is mandatory for all newly-admitted UAlberta graduate students. Each student is normally expected to complete the equivalent of at least eight (8) hours of structured academic activity to meet this requirement.

For detailed information on the requirement, see this page.

Completing the Professional Development Requirement

After consultation with the Graduate Students' Association and consideration of economic job trends, the University of Alberta is the first Canadian university to implement the Professional Development (PD) Requirement (following some of the Ivy League colleges in the United States).

It's an exciting new initiative to help you recognize your talents, pursue your interests, learn professional skills and make the connections that will help you excel in your chosen field. Although it is mandatory for all incoming graduate students, some departments have professional development already incorporated into their programs. Please check with your department to confirm how this requirement is fulfilled in your program.

For detailed information on the PD Requirement, see this page.

Applying for a 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.

For information, see this page; access application forms for regular leaves of absence here and for maternity and/or parental, exceptional and professional leaves here.

Seeking a 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. See this page for information; forms are available here.
Undertaking a 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.


Completing the Journey

Completing Coursework and Applying for 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.