There is an expectation of normal progress for all graduate students. Students typically complete the program at different rates. However, unless there are extenuating circumstances known to the department, completing requirements either at a substantially slower rate than the norm or with a sub-par level of work will result in an assessment of insufficient, or even unsatisfactory, progress. If you feel you cannot maintain normal progress for whatever reason, it is imperative you see your Supervisor or the Graduate Chair.

Upon entry, an Interim Supervisor is appointed to each student, and any special course requirements or exemptions are set. Specialized MA students have their project approved and a Supervisory Committee appointed. Thereafter, all students are expected to complete 6 courses per year, 4 if they work as Teaching Assistants.

MA students

An MA degree will normally be completed by the end of the second year. Thesis students should start work on their thesis in the first term of their second year. Non-thesis students should plan to take Phil 899 by the end of their second year. University regulations specify that the maximum number of semesters a Masters student can be registered at SFU is 12, and the MA degree must be finished within 6 calendar years, counting leaves.

Yearly Progress Evaluation

At least once a year each student's Supervisor produces a written Progress Report to be submitted to the Departmental Graduate Committee. This report is signed by the student, and kept in his or her file. Reports written by the Senior Supervisors of students working on a Thesis or Dissertation must include an estimate of completion date as well as some details of the successes and, especially, problems encountered during the preceding year. The Departmental Graduate Committee meets in April of every year to discuss each active student and their Supervisor's report in turn.

There are four possible outcomes of this discussion:

Satisfactory Progress: The student is in good standing.
Satisfactory Progress, but an Interim Progress Report will be required at a specified time, for a specified reason (e.g. to ensure DE grades are removed by then)
Insufficient Progress: The student is put on probation until the next evaluation.
Unsatisfactory Progress: The student is asked to withdraw from the program

Historically, almost all of our students have been judged to be making satisfactory progress.Each student is required to meet with the Graduate Chair to discuss the result of the evaluation meeting and future academic plans.