All Graduate students at SFU are required to be registered in every semester until they graduate. In order to register for a term, a student must register in at least one course. (Dropping all courses later in the term does not affect a student's registration status for the term.) Normally this would be a graduate course, or if course work is completed, PHIL 998, PHIL 898, or PHIL 899 (dissertation, thesis, or Professional Paper preparation). It may, however, be an undergraduate course.

If, for some reason, you plan not to register for a term (for financial reasons, for example), make sure you discuss your plans with the Graduate Chair. In order to continue in the program after a term in which you failed to register, you must apply to be reinstated and pay a fee.

If a student plans to be away from campus for a given term, he or she needs to apply to register On Leave (forms on the Graduate Studies web site).

The course work for each semester requires the approval of the Graduate Chair. Students who fail to obtain such permission and file the appropriate form with the Departmental Secretary by the end of the second week of classes will have their registration cancelled. It is expected that students consult their Supervisors in devising a program of study for each term prior to seeking the Graduate Chair's approval.

Available courses

There are five kinds of courses a graduate student can take:

  1. Scheduled Graduate courses;
  2. Graduate courses based on a 300 or 400 level courses. To take such a course, the student makes an agreement with the instructor, before the start of the term, regarding any additional regular meeting times and the extra requirements needed to make the course count as a Graduate Course. The Department Manager assigns the course an appropriate number;
  3. Directed Reading courses. These courses are set up with individual faculty members on specific topics and/or readings at the student's initiative. Once arrangements are made for such a course, the Department Manager finds an appropriate course number for it. Ideally, more than one student would participate in a Directed Reading Course or a Graduate course based on undergraduate courses. To this end, the department strongly encourages students to try to find others interested in the proposed topic and faculty members to announce projected directed reading courses and Undergraduate course Graduate extensions;
  4. Scheduled 300 and 400 courses as such with permission of Departmental Graduate Committee. Minimum grade of A- is required and there is a limit of 1 per MA, 2 per PhD.
  5. Courses at other Western Canadian Universities (including UBC) under the Western Dean's Agreement.

The department urges students to complete as much as of their coursework as possible without using options 2 and 3.

Some Graduate Students may be required, at admission, to complete a certain number of upper division undergraduate courses as part of their degree. Qualifying students will typically be taking undergraduate courses as well and, at any rate, any Graduate courses they take while they are qualifying will not count towards their future degree.

Graduate students are strongly encouraged to complete their major assignments early enough so that revisions, taking into account the instructor's comments, are possible before the final grade is assigned.

Courses in other departments

Graduate students can take courses offered by any department at SFU or at other Western Canadian universities. To enroll in such a course, permission of the Departmental Graduate Committee is needed (please contact the Departmental/Graduate Secretary for procedural details). Such a permission is normally granted if the course is relevant to the student's program of study.

The department feels, however, that the integrity of the Graduate degree requires that our students complete a certain number of Philosophy courses. Interdisciplinary work is encouraged, but it necessarily involves some work in addition to the philosophical requirements. Thus, except in the case of Specialized MA students, outside courses will not normally count towards satisfying degree requirements unless they have significant philosophical content. To have an outside course count towards degree requirements, the student must file a separate appeal to the Graduate Chair and include the course syllabus with the application.

Deferred Grades

The department recognizes that it is sometimes difficult for a Graduate student, especially one who is working as a Teaching Assistant, to find sufficient time to complete major papers toward the end of a term. Instructors will make every effort to be flexible, and students are urged to make arrangements with them to finish the course in time. Should this prove impossible, a deferred grade (DE) can be granted at the discretion of the instructor. It is very important, however, that this be the exception rather than the rule, and that DEs be removed in a timely manner.

Please note that Dean of Graduate Studies policy mandates that after the end of the first calendar month of the term following the granting of a DE, the DE grade converts to an F, unless a different grade is submitted by then. Any change of grade or extension of DE status after the DGS deadline requires documentation of extenuating circumstances, letters of support from both the course instructor and the Graduate Chair, and the approval DGS. Such approval is anything but routine.

Students who ask for a DE grade should, at that time, arrange with their instructor a date at which all work will be submitted. There is an expectation that this date will be no later than the end of the first week of classes of the following term. In any case, the date must be long enough in advance of the DGS deadline to allow the instructor the time required to assess the work. This would normally be one week prior to the deadline.