Canadian cultural patterns regarding worldview, non-verbal
communication and communication styles shape the character of
the Canadian academic culture. Some features of the Canadian
academic culture are described below. During your courses watch
for how these features play out in the day-to-day interactions among
students and between students and instructors. Compare these
features to your home country’s academic culture. What are the
differences and similarities? What about the Canadian system might
be particularly challenging to you? Some features of the Canadian academic
- Students are expected to compete yet be helpful to each other.
- Students are expected to manage their time and be responsible
for their own learning.
- It is the student’s responsibility to ask for clarification and
- Don’t be embarrassed to say that you don’t understand
- If you don’t want to ask questions in class, all
professors have set office hours when you can meet with them.
- In oral and written work, the standard writing and presentation
style is to have a clear thesis statement, followed by paragraphs
developing this thesis and including formulations of one’s
opinion, leading to a conclusion summarizing the central
- Criticism of work is expected and is not intended as a put down
- While not mandatory, class attendance is often essential for
successful completion of a course.
- Most professors supplement
and clarify textbook information during class time.
Innovative approaches to problem solving are valued and
intellectual disagreements are expected.
- Individuals are expected to participate in class discussions.
- Immediate answers to questions are not always possible and it
is acceptable for someone in authority to say “I do not know”
or “I’ll have to check that and get back to you.”
- Handing in a difficult assignment that may not be your best
work is preferred to not doing it at all.
- Independent thinking and equal individual contributions to
group assignments are valued.
- A mix of gender in work groups is expected.
General Academic Regulations
Be aware of the University’s expectations and your
rights as a student. It is strongly recommended that
you become familiar with rules and regulations set in the University
of Alberta Calendar; not knowing the regulations does not give you
a pardon or excuse. It includes important information on:
- academic program requirements
- academic schedule
- final deadlines for withdrawal from courses without academic
- deadlines for registration and fees
regulations specific to your program
deferral and re-examination rules
evaluation procedures and grading
You can view the code of student behaviour here. It
includes pertinent information on academic offences such as
plagiarism and cheating, as well as non-academic offences,
disciplinary and appeal processes.
The University of Alberta is dedicated to the highest level of academic integrity. Therefore, academic offences such as plagiarism, cheating, aiding and abetting, and falsifying admission documents are taken very seriously. Consequences for academic offences can range from failing an assignment, or the entire course, to being expelled from the university.
The University of Alberta defines plagiarism as the submission of words, ideas, images or data of another person as one’s own in any academic writing, essay, thesis, research project or assignment in a course or program of study. Having someone else represent you at an exam, using unauthorized material at exam time or working together on individual assignments constitutes cheating. You must know the proper format for footnotes and bibliographies (including internet resources) and check whether you are allowed to use notes, dictionaries, texts or calculators in examinations. If you are unsure, consult your instructor or supervisor. A detailed list of academic offences is included in the Code of Student Behaviour.