Learning Outcomes and Quality Assurance

Research-Based Degree Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes are statements of what graduate knows and is able to do after completing a degree. Defining learning outcomes for research-based graduate degree programs enables clear communication of expectations to students and takes the perceived subjectivity out of assessment. Learning Outcomes also provide students with a vocabulary to explain to potential employers the skills and attributes they bring.

Learning Outcomes are a necessary part of a healthy learning environment. They are also currently required to propose new programs in Alberta and are used by Advanced Education to determine program differentiation and by Campus Alberta Quality Council in program review. All University of Alberta programs are expected to have defined learning outcomes when they next undergo program review.

Research-based programs are distinct from course-based programs in that the majority of learning, development and assessment occurs outside formal coursework. It is important that programs capture these learning outcomes and communicate early to students how they are developed through the research experience and assessed. The list below provides a set of tools to support research-based programs in defining and articulating their learning outcomes.


Quality Assurance

The Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) is committed to excellence and innovation in graduate education. The quality of programs has an impact on the future of graduate students and on the delivery of research and scholarship by graduate students to the University’s mission for the public good.

The stakeholders of graduate programs are able to monitor the quality of programs and progress made toward implementing changes through a regular and transparent review process that brings assessment and advice from external experts.

Graduate Programs are cyclically reviewed under the auspices of the Office of the Provost and Vice President (Academic) as part of a suite of quality assurance processes.

Program reviews are anchored by a self-study that requires reflection on the current state of the program and aspirations for the future.  The Vice-Dean works in conjunction with the Provost’s quality assurance team to facilitate the review process on behalf of FGSR.  Programs undergoing review are invited to use the overview of FGSR in preparing the self-study.

Quality Assurance Framework

    Student Satisfaction