Please note:  

To view the Spring 2017 Academic Calendar go to http://www.sfu.ca/students/calendar/2017/spring.html

Graduate General Regulations

1.1 Degrees Offered

Listed under each faculty.

1.2 Administration of Graduate Studies

Dean and Associate Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

The dean is responsible for the general supervision of graduate work at the University and chairs the senate graduate studies committee.

Director, Graduate Admissions and Records

The director is responsible for enrollment of students, assessment of fees, maintenance of records, and other administrative duties.

Committees

The committees responsible for the supervision of graduate students are the supervisory committee, graduate program committee, the faculty graduate studies committee and the senate graduate studies committee. The functions of these committees in relation to individual students are as follows.

Supervisory Committee (see 1.6.4)

The student’s supervisory committee helps the student define and develop a program of studies and reports on the student’s progress to the graduate program committee. The supervisory committee forms part of the student’s final examination committee.

Graduate Program Committee

The graduate program committee is responsible for recommending admission, reviewing the student’s progress and arranging for the supervision and examination of the student. For most graduate programs, the graduate program committee is the departmental graduate studies committee. In the Faculties of Business Administration and Education, the graduate committee is the faculty graduate studies committee.

Faculty Graduate Studies Committee

This committee makes recommendations to the senate graduate studies committee on such matters as awarding of degrees, examining committees for doctoral candidates, changes to established programs and establishment of new programs.

Senate Graduate Studies Committee

This committee has the final authority on admissions and the administration of senate regulations which concern graduate work. This committee serves as the graduate program committee for students enrolled under special arrangements.

The administrative officers of the University who are responsible for the supervision of graduate students are the director, graduate admissions and records, and the dean of graduate studies. They and the chairs of graduate program committees are available to students for consultation.

Graduate Studies Information

A wide range of additional information on graduate studies at Simon Fraser University may be found on the University's website at www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies. In addition, most departments offer publications describing their graduate programs. These are available directly from the departments and are usually posted on the department's web sites.

Back to Top

1.3 Admissions

1.3.1 General

A student may seek admission to a graduate diploma, master’s or doctoral program. A student who is not qualified to enter a specific program may seek admission to the University as a qualifying student under the provisions of paragraph 1.3.6.

For admission to post baccalaureate programs, refer to the undergraduate section of this Calendar.

Before applying for admission, the student should obtain information about admission requirements and procedures. This information can be obtained from the websites of departments and faculties, or by contacting the appropriate program’s graduate secretary.

Applicants meeting the minimum University requirements for admission given below are not assured admission into any graduate program. Most graduate programs have admission requirements in addition to the minimum. Furthermore, programs must restrict admission to students whose interests are compatible with available resources and faculty expertise.

1.3.2 Admission to a Graduate Diploma Program

The minimum University requirements for admission to a graduate diploma program are as follows:

    a) a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University, or its equivalent from a recognized institution;

    b) a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5/4.33, or a grade point average of at least 2.67/4.33 (B-) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses, provided minimally 24 credits of appropriate course content for the program applied for have been completed within those 60 credits;

    c) submitted evidence, usually references from qualified referees, of the student’s ability to undertake advanced work in the area of interest.

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications than in (a) when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of study.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee. Students whose native language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the graduate program committee as to their capability in English. (See also 1.3.12)

Back to Top

1.3.2a Admission to a Graduate Certificate Program

The minimum University requirements for admission to a graduate certificate program are as follows:

    a) a bachelor’s degree from Simon Fraser University, or its equivalent from a recognized institution;

    b) a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5/4.33, or a grade point average of at least 2.67/4.33 (B-) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses;

    c) submitted evidence, usually references from qualified referees, of the student’s ability to undertake advanced work in the area of interest.

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications than in (a) when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of study.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee. Students whose native language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the graduate program committee as to their capability in English. (See also 1.3.12)

1.3.3 Admission to a Master’s Program

The minimum University requirements for admission to a master’s program are as follows.

    a) a bachelor's degree from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent from a recognized institution;

    b) a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0/4.33 (B), or a grade point average of at least 3.33/4.33 (B+) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. All graduate work is also considered. Individual graduate programs may set a higher admission grade point average;

    c) submitted evidence, usually references from qualified referees, of the student’s ability to undertake advanced work in the area of interest. In addition, some programs also require completion of entrance examinations such as the GMAT and GRE, and/or the submission of other material.

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualifications than in (a) or (b) when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee. Students whose native language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the graduate program committee as to their capability in English. (See also 1.3.12).

Back to Top

1.3.4 Admission to a Doctoral Program

The minimum University requirements for admission to a doctoral program are as follows.

a) either

    i) a master’s degree from Simon Fraser University or its equivalent from a recognized institution

    ii) a bachelor's degree, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5/4.33 or a grade point average of at least 3.67/4.33(A-) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. All graduate work is also considered. Individual graduate programs may set a higher admission grade point average. Students admitted directly from a bachelor's degree must complete at least 50% of the course work units required for the relevant department's master's program if no course work is required as part of the doctoral degree

    iii) completion of at least 75% of the course work units required for the relevant department’s master’s program, with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5. All graduate courses, whether completed at this University or at an equivalent post-secondary institution, shall be considered in the calculation. A student wishing to be admitted under this category (transferred to PhD) must have completed all of these requirements and initiated the transfer request within the first 6 semesters at SFU. As per graduate general regulation (GGR) 1.12.1, initial enrollment in the doctoral program will be the initial enrollment as a master's student.

and

b) submitted evidence that the applicant is capable of undertaking substantial original research. Normally, such capability will be judged from letters of reference from qualified referees, and the completion of a master’s thesis or other scholarly work.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the graduate program committee. Students whose native language is not English may be required to satisfy the University and the graduate program committee as to their capability in English. (See also 1.3.12)

1.3.5 Admission Under Special Arrangements

Exceptionally able applicants who wish to work for a master’s or doctoral degree outside or between existing programs at Simon Fraser University may apply to work under special arrangements. A student applying for special arrangements must have a well developed plan of studies in an area that can be shown to have internal coherence and academic merit, and in which the university has appropriate expertise and interest among its faculty members.

Graduate students applying or working under special arrangements are required to conform to Senate regulations for graduate students. However, there are additional regulations which concern only those applying or working under special arrangements. For more details, go to the Special Arrangements (SAR) website. 

Students working under special arrangements may be required to complete a selection of courses from existing programs.

Back to Top

1.3.5a Cohort Special Arrangements

Cohort-based special arrangements programs are designed to meet the educational needs of specific student groups in fulfilling the requirements for a graduate credential (certificate, diploma or master's degree) where these needs cannot be met within existing programs. Each program will be comprised of a curriculum and a set of program requirements recommended by each program’s graduate program committee, approved by the faculty graduate studies committee and by the senate graduate studies committee. Students may undertake this program only through specific admission to the cohort program. Admission criteria, credential requirements and any other special conditions for a particular cohort special arrangements program must be approved in advance by the senate graduate studies committee; these may not be below the minimum admission and graduate credential requirements of regular graduate programs. In some instances, tuition fees may differ from the regular graduate fee schedule published in the Calendar, and will be announced separately.

1.3.6 Admission as a Qualifying Student

Qualifying admission may be offered to applicants who are deemed not yet ready to begin their graduate work. The applicant normally will have completed a bachelor's degree but may have a cumulative grade point average well below the University minimum admission requirements, or may have substantial deficiencies in their academic preparation for direct admission to the program. Qualifying students will typically be working to make up deficiencies in their background to begin graduate work in their area of interest. An offer of qualifying admission must be accompanied by a set of expected requirements to be completed within one year. The requirements normally will consist of between 12 and 30 units of specified undergraduate courses and will include the required grade for each course. Applicants who require less than 12 units of undergraduate work to demonstrate their academic preparedness, or to provide the necessary background for the particular area of study should be considered for regular admission. A minimum of 12 units is established to ensure that an adequate amount of work is required. The maximum of 30 units ensures that the required work can be completed within one year.

If these requirements are met within the stipulated time frame then the qualifying student will be admitted to the degree program for which the qualifying offer of admission was given. If the student fails to complete the specified courses or to achieve the required grades, either additional courses will be required or admission to the graduate program will be denied.

The minimum University requirements for admission as a qualifying student are as follows.

    a) a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent

    b) submitted evidence of academic ability, usually in the form of references from qualified referees

Back to Top

1.3.7 Admission as a Non-degree Student

Normally, a non-degree student at the graduate level has at least a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, is admitted in order to complete specified courses, but is not seeking a degree from this University. A non-degree student will not be permitted to enrol in undergraduate courses.

Application is through the graduate program committee in the department in which the student wishes to work; applicants are advised to contact the department before submitting an application (see 1.3.1). Transcripts of previous university work (or proof of obtaining a degree) will be required at the time of application, but letters of reference will not necessarily be required.

No credit will be given towards any degree offered by the University for courses completed as a non-degree student except, under unusual circumstances, on petition to the senate graduate studies committee.

1.3.8 Conditional Admission

Conditional admission may be offered to an applicant who does not meet the minimum academic admission requirements but who is deemed to be substantially ready to undertake a graduate program. For example, an applicant who has completed the degree required for admission to the graduate program, but whose academic average is slightly below the minimum required for admission to that program, may be considered for conditional admission. An offer of conditional admission will specify the graduate courses that the applicant must complete and the grades that are expected in order to be granted regular admission. These courses should be completed no later than the end of the second term of enrollment. Graduate courses taken while admitted conditionally may be applied to the student's graduate program requirements.

Back to Top

1.3.8a Admission to an Accelerated Master's

The minimum University requirements for eligibility for an Accelerated Master's are as follows:

a)   Enrollment in a Simon Fraser University undergraduate bachelor's program and the completion of 90 undergraduate credits with a minimum CGPA of 3.67/4.33;

b)   Submitted evidence from qualified referees of the student's ability to undertake advanced work in the area of interest.

Students must satisfy any additional requirements set by the graduate program committee.

A maximum of ten graduate course units, used either as electives or upper division required courses at the bachelor's level, can be applied to the requirements for the master's degree.

1.3.9 Admission as an Exchange Student

Bona fide graduate students at other universities who wish to complete courses at Simon Fraser University, not leading to a degree at this University, will be admitted to complete specific graduate courses on the recommendation of the chair of the department (or equivalent officer) and the dean of graduate studies at the other university, and with the permission of the appropriate graduate program committee and the dean of graduate studies at Simon Fraser University.

Back to Top

1.3.9a Admission as a Visiting Researcher

Simon Fraser University accepts visiting research students under the terms of the Canadian Graduate Student Research Mobility Agreement. For details, see Visiting Research Students on the Graduate Studies website.

1.3.10 Application for Admission

Application is through the online application system: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/future/application_process.html. Completed applications and accompanying materials must be submitted to the department before the deadline specified by the department. Applicants are advised to check with the appropriate department as to the prevailing application procedures and deadlines for the graduate program in which they are interested. Applicants are advised that deadlines for applications for awards and teaching assistantships may be earlier than the deadlines for application to a graduate program.

All decisions on graduate admissions are made by the senate graduate studies committee, on recommendation from graduate program committees. Decisions on admissions shall be final. Final approval of admission for non-degree students or exchange graduate students is by the dean of graduate studies.

Retention of Documents

The documents which students supply to support admission applications will be retained for three terms following the term to which application is made. Then, application forms, transcripts and other materials related to applications will be destroyed. Irreplaceable documents will be returned to the applicant if requested at the time of application. All other documents become the property of the University

Protection of Privacy

Simon Fraser University gathers and maintains information used for the purposes of admission, enrollment and other fundamental activities related to being a Simon Fraser University community member and to attending a public post-secondary institution in the Province of British Columbia. When submitting an application for admission, all applicants are advised that the information they provide and any other information placed into the student record will be protected and used in compliance with British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (1992).

All British Columbian applicants will be asked to provide their BC personal education numbers (PEN) at the time of application. All others will be assigned a PEN by the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education, Training and Technology. Its uses are restricted to research and program evaluation. No identifiable personal information will be released.

Back to Top

1.3.11 Application to Complete a Second Master’s or Doctoral Degree

Students who have a master’s or a doctoral degree (either from Simon Fraser University or another university) can apply to complete a second master’s or doctoral degree under the following constraints.

  1. no course work completed for the first degree shall count towards the second.
  2. none of the research done for the first degree shall be used for the second.
  3. none of the enrollment terms for the first degree shall count towards the enrollment terms for the second degree.

1.3.11a Application to Complete a Non-joint Concurrent Graduate Degree

Students who are currently registered in a master's or doctoral degree at Simon Fraser University can apply to complete a second master's or doctoral degree concurrently under the following constraints:

    a) no course work completed as part of the first degree shall count towards the second degree;

    b) none of the research done in the first degree shall be used in the second degree;

    c) none of the enrollment terms for the first degree shall count towards enrollment terms in the second degree;

    d) to apply to and enrol in a second graduate non-joint degree program concurrently, approval of the original program of enrollment must be obtained and the program being applied to must be informed prior to admission that the student is already enrolled in another degree program at SFU;

    e) the GGR's related to maximum duration for degree completion continue to apply and no extensions will be given due to being registered in more than one program;

    f) annual progress reviews must be completed for each program;

    g) all university regulations apply independently for each program including the application of tuition fees (i.e. fees will be charged for tuition for each program but ancillary fees will only be charged for each term of registration);

    h) a student may choose to apply for a personal leave from one of the programs while completing requirements for the other program (see 1.8.4). (Please note that personal leave terms still count towards the maximum time limit for degree completion);

    i) student financial support may be provided by either department following consultation between the two units.

1.3.12 English Language Competence

English is the language of instruction and communication at the University. Accordingly, an applicant whose primary language is not English must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies in the chosen field. Applicants normally will be required to achieve a minimum score of 7.0 on the International English LanguageTest System (IELTS - the academic NOT the general test) with a minimum of 6.5 in each section. The Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL) may be used as an equivalent test provided a score of 93 or better is achieved with a minimum of 20 in each section (TOEFL-internet based exam), or TOEFL 580 and the Test of Written English(TWE) 5.0 (paper-based). All test scores are valid for a period of two years from the date of the test. Some graduate programs have higher English Language Proficiency requirements as described elsewhere in this Calendar.

International applicants whose primary language is not English will not be required to complete an English-language test if they have completed a degree at an institution where the language of instruction and examination was in English in a country where English is the primary language.

An applicant requesting a waiver of the English language proficiency test should do so in writing and submit it with their application. The dean of graduate studies, in consultation with the department, will make determinations in these cases. It should be noted that in order to maintain a high academic standard, very few waivers are granted. Therefore, it is recommended that those applicants whose primary language is not English submit an English language proficiency test with their application.

Back to Top

 

1.4 Enrollment

Students are enrolled in one of two different types of programs. In ‘per term fee’ programs, students are charged a standard fee for each term of enrollment. In ‘per credit fee’ programs, students are charged a fee based on the number of units completed. (See Graduate Fees for current tuition fee rates.) All students are in per term fee programs except for students in per credit fee programs as listed under Graduate Fees.

1.4.1 Date of Entry

University regulations permit graduate students to enter programs at the beginning of any term, unless a program requires students to start in a specific term.

1.4.2 Enrollment

Enrollment begins two months before the start of each term and must be completed by the Friday preceding the start of classes; see Academic Dates. Students are allowed an additional two weeks to finalize their enrollment, without financial penalty. The course or research-related work for which the student enrolls must have the approval of the chair of the graduate program committee and of their senior supervisor, once the senior supervisor is appointed. In addition, enrollment for courses completed outside the student's department must have the approval of the course instructor. Students intending to go on leave are required to apply for a leave of absence (see 1.8.4).

1.4.3 Continuity of Enrollment

All graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment unless they have been granted a leave of absence from their program (see 1.8.4). Enrollment in an audit course only does not satisfy the requirement for continuity of enrollment. When a student is not enrolled and is not on an approved leave of absence from their program, the student is considered to have withdrawn from the University. Graduate students who are withdrawn from the University do not retain their award or scholarship.

1.4.4 Enrollment Requirements

The enrollment requirements are a University minimum. Terms of approved leave will not count towards this minimum. Individual programs may require more than the minimum.

The enrollment requirement for a master's student is normally a minimum of three full-time terms (or equivalent). The enrollment requirement for a doctoral student is a minimum of five full-time terms.

A full-time term is defined in the graduate tuition section of this Calendar.

1.4.6 Course Audit

Graduate students may audit graduate courses, with permission of the instructor, senior supervisor and graduate program chair of the student's department. Such audits are recorded as AU on the student’s transcript.

Prior to enrollment, the student and instructor must agree on the requirements for auditing the class. These requirements must include regular attendance at class meetings, completion of readings and participation in class activities.

Audited courses will not count toward degree requirements.

A student may change enrollment status in a course from audit to regular enrollment, or from regular enrollment to audit until the deadline for late enrollment for the term. Normally, no further change in enrollment status will be permitted after that date.

1.4.7 Co-operative Education

Co-operative Education integrates work experience and graduate studies. The name reflects the co-operative relationship among the University, employer and student. Practical experience from work terms is related to the student's major interests within the graduate program. A number of graduate programs have been approved, by the relevant graduate program committee, for co-operative education (co-op).

Interested students should consult the Co-operative Education website.

The application to enroll in co-op is subject to departmental approval. Each department has a specific course for the co-op work term or practicum.

1.4.8 Reactivation

Students who are not enrolled or on leave (see 1.8.4) by the end of the 6th week of classes within a term, will be discontinued from their program. Students who have not reached the time limit for their program and are discontinued from their program, may apply for reactivation in the same term in which they were discontinued and be retroactively enrolled. Applications for reactivation are submitted to the relevant graduate program committee for consideration and approval by the graduate program chair.

1.4.9 Readmission

Students who have passed the deadline for reactivation, and are within the time limit for their program plus three terms of possible extension time, can apply for readmission through the regular admission process for new students. When a student’s program is discontinued, the time away continues to count towards the time limit and possible extension time for program completion. Students who are readmitted to their program maintain the same start date and time limit from when they were first admitted to the program.

Back to Top

1.5 Graduate Grading Systems and Policies

1.5.1 Normal Grading System

The following grades are used at the graduate level in the University.

A+ = 4.33 point (in use since 2002-3)

A = 4.00 points

A- = 3.67 points

B+ = 3.33 points

B = 3.00 points

B- = 2.67 points

C+ = 2.33 points (in use since 2002-3)

C = 2.00 points

F = 0 points

IP = 0 points

CO = 0 points

N = 0 points

A student in a master’s or doctoral program must maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0 in courses completed at Simon Fraser University. The CGPA is the cumulative average of the grade points earned in the Simon Fraser University graduate courses completed towards a graduate certificate, diploma, or towards a master's or doctoral degree.

A student in a certificate or diploma program must maintain a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 2.5 in courses completed at Simon Fraser University. Courses graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis are not included in the grade point average.

When a student is working on a thesis, extended essay or project as part of the requirements for the degree, the notation IP (in progress) shall be entered on the transcript. IP is not a grade and is not used in calculating the student’s CGPA.When a thesis, extended essay or project is completed, the notation CO shall be entered on the transcript. CO is not a grade and is not used in calculating the student’s CGPA.

A graduate student who fails to complete the required work in a course by the end of the term will receive a grade of 'N' or incomplete. For the purposes of calculating the CGPA, an N grade has a numeric value of 0.0.

Where circumstances warrant an extension to allow a student additional time to complete the course requirements the course instructor may defer the grade, in which case, a grade of DE shall be entered. All course work for such deferrals must be completed, and the course grade must be submitted, by the last day of the first month of the next semester. Students granted a DE grade are responsible for making satisfactory arrangements with their instructors for completion of outstanding course requirements. If the grade is not received by the deadline, the DE grade will be converted to an N.

In the case of illness or other extenuating circumstances, a deferral (DE) may be extended. Where illness is involved, a certificate from the student's physician is required. This certificate should indicate the dates and duration of the illness and should describe the impact it had on the student's ability to fulfill the academic requirements of the course, and any other information the physician considers relevant and appropriate. For exceptional circumstances other than illness, appropriate documentation, depending on the situation, will be required. The course instructor and the graduate chair must approve the extension. The request for an extended deferral and supporting documentation must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies with a final deferral date. The maximum extension allowed is the end of the term following the term in which the course was taken. No extensions will be granted beyond one subsequent term. If a student is unable to complete the course work by the end of the term following the term of initial enrollment in the course due to extenuating circumstances in the subsequent term, a request for a course withdrawal under extenuating circumstances(WE), with the required documentation should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies. If a final grade has not been submitted and a request for a withdrawal from the course under extenuating circumstances has not been approved by the end of the term following the term in which the course was initially taken, the DE will be converted to an N.

A course that is dropped before the end of the third week of the term will not be recorded on the student's transcript. A course that is dropped within the fourth to ninth weeks (inclusive) will be recorded on the transcript with the notation WD. No course may be dropped after the end of the ninth week and before the end of the semester, except in extenuating circumstances approved by the director, graduate admissions and records. Courses dropped under extenuating circumstances will receive a WE notation. See Academic Dates for dates that apply each term. WD and WE grades carry no credit value and are not used in GPA calculations.

Back to Top

1.5.2 GN Notation

The notation GN (grade not reported) may be used if circumstances beyond the control of the University make it impossible for grades to be assigned for a course. The notation has no numerical equivalent and does not affect either the term grade point average or cumulative grade point average.

1.5.3 Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading (S/U)

With the approval of the senate graduate studies committee, a department may require that a designated course be graded satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) for all students in the course.

An individual student may request permission to complete a course on an S/U basis by applying with the supervisory committee. If that committee concurs, the request will be submitted to the graduate program committee for final approval. If the course is outside the student’s department, the approval of the other graduate program committee must also be obtained.

Having enrolled in a course on any grading basis, a student may not change to another grading basis for that course.

None of the student’s minimum course work requirement under 1.7.2 may be completed S/U. Neither an S nor a U will count in the CGPA, but the grade received shall be recorded on the transcript.

Back to Top

1.5.4 CGPA Required For Continuation and Graduation

A student in a master’s or doctoral program is required to maintain a CGPA of at least 3.0. A student in a graduate diploma or graduate certificate program is required to maintain a CGPA of at least 2.5. Failure to meet the minimum CGPA is evidence of unsatisfactory progress and the matter will be considered by the graduate program committee as required under the Procedure for the Review of Unsatisfactory Progress in 1.8.2.

Under no circumstances will a student, whose CGPA is below 3.0, be awarded a graduate degree.

Under no circumstances will a student with a CGPA below 2.5 be awarded a graduate diploma or graduate certificate.

1.5.5 Graduate Students Retaking a Course

A graduate student may apply to the graduate program committee to retake a course to improve a grade. At most two courses may be repeated with no course being repeated more than once.

The grades for each instance of a retaken course are recorded on the student's transcript with notation that the course was retaken to improve the grade. The better grade is used in calculating the CGPA. Units for a retaken course are counted only once toward the total units required for the degree.

1.5.6 FD Notation

The letter grade FD (fail, academic discipline) is given by the chair of the department when a student has committed academic dishonesty (see Policy S10.01 Appendix 3). The grade will remain on a student’s transcript until two years following graduation at which time it will convert to F.

1.5.7 AE Grades

Aegrotat standing (AE) may be awarded in an incomplete course on medical or compassionate grounds by the registrar acting on the recommendation of the instructor or department chair. Written evidence must substantiate such a request, given that the course requirements have been substantially fulfilled. This evidence normally must be received by the registrar or department within 96 hours of a scheduled final exam or within 96 hours of the last day of term lectures for which such standing is requested. Courses for which aegrotat standing is awarded are not included in the GPA calculation.

1.5.8 Student's Record after Awarding Degree

When Senate awards a graduate student's credential, the student record is normally considered closed for purposes of grade changes, degree standing and all changes to transcripts and parchments. The exceptions to this would be when there is an appeal pending that had been started prior to the awarding of the credential, or an administrative error on the part of the University.

1.5.9 Grade Point Average

The grade point average (GPA) is a method of expressing the student’s performance as a numerical average. Each letter grade is assigned a numerical equivalent, which is then multiplied by the unit value assigned to the course to produce the grade point. Grades without a numerical equivalent are not included in the calculation of the grade point average.

Term grade point average (GPA) is computed by dividing the total grade points earned by the total units completed in the term to the second decimal place.

 

Letter Grade

Numeric Value

Units

Grade Point

course 1

A

4.00

3

12.00

course 2

A+

4.33

3

12.99

course 3

B-

2.67

3

8.01

course 4

C

2.00

3

6.00

course 5

F

0.00

4

0.00

Total

16

39.00

term grade point average: 39/16 = 2.44

Back to Top

1.6 Supervision

1.6.1 General

When a graduate student has been admitted, the graduate program committee will exercise general supervision and provide academic advice for the student through the chair of the graduate program committee or a faculty member designated by the chair, until a senior supervisor has been appointed when appropriate.

Back to Top

1.6.2 Supervision of a Qualifying Student

A qualifying student comes under the general supervision of the graduate program committee, exercised through the chair of that committee or a faculty member designated by the chair.

1.6.3 Senior Supervisor

For degrees that culminate in a thesis, the senior supervisor must be a 'tenure-track' Simon Fraser University faculty member at the rank of assistant professor or above. Associate members may serve as the senior supervisor in their affiliated academic units at the discretion of the academic unit 's graduate program committee. Adjunct faculty members may not serve as the senior supervisor but can be co-supervisors.

For degrees that culminate in a project examined by two readers, extended essay, field or comprehensive examination, the senior supervisor must be a Simon Fraser University faculty member deemed to be qualified by the academic unit's graduate studies committee and approved by the dean of graduate studies.

In consultation with the student, the graduate program committee will appoint a senior supervisor as soon as possible after admission to the graduate program. Normally, this appointment shall be made no later than the beginning of the second term of full time equivalent enrollment after the student’s admission. The senior supervisor is the person principally responsible for supervising the student throughout the degree program. A senior supervisor must hold the rank of assistant professor or above at Simon Fraser University.

A senior supervisor who is planning to be off campus for more than three months shall arrange for proper supervision of the student during this absence. The graduate program committee and the dean of graduate studies shall be informed in writing of the arrangement.

A senior supervisor is not required for students in a graduate diploma or certificate program. The director of a diploma or certificate program is responsible for roles normally assigned to the senior supervisor (e.g. advising students, signing forms).

Back to Top

1.6.4 Supervisory Committee

A supervisory committee is not required for students in a graduate certificate, diploma, or degree program that culminates in an extended essay, field or comprehensive examination, or project examined by two readers.

In degree programs in which there is a requirement for a thesis or a project (examined as per 1.9.1), a supervisory committee must be established. For students in master’s degree programs that culminate in an extended essay, field or comprehensive examination, or project examined by two readers, the senior supervisor alone may comprise the supervisory committee.

Where a supervisory committee requires members in addition to the senior supervisor, the senior supervisor, in consultation with the student, shall recommend the composition of the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee consists of the senior supervisor and at least one other person. Normally, this recommendation shall be made during the same term in which the senior supervisor is appointed.

At least one member of the committee (in addition to the senior supervisor) must normally be a faculty member or an adjunct professor or a research associate at Simon Fraser University. When deemed appropriate by the faculty graduate studies committee and the dean of graduate studies, other member(s) of the supervisory committee may be other suitably qualified person(s). A recommendation for a supervisory committee that includes a person who is not a faculty member at Simon Fraser University should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of that person.

The composition of the supervisory committee, for which the senior supervisor is chair, shall be approved by the graduate program committee and sent to the dean of graduate studies for final approval. It shall be sent to the faculty graduate studies committee for information.

The supervisory committee is responsible for helping the student develop a program of study leading to a degree and for reporting to the graduate program committee at least once a year on the student’s progress towards completing the degree requirements. The supervisory committee shall be available to the student for consultation on a regular basis.

Back to Top

1.6.5 Co-supervision

A co-supervisor may be designated when a member of the supervisory committee exercises a degree of supervision and support similar to that of a senior supervisor. Normally, a co-supervisor will be appointed if:

    a) the person is a Simon Fraser University faculty member holding the rank of assistant professor or above (see 1.6.3); or holds an appointment as an adjunct professor (see policy A12.08) at Simon Fraser University in the same department as the student and senior supervisor; or holds an appointment as an associate member (see policy A12.07) at Simon Fraser University in the same department as the student and senior supervisor; and

    b) the department graduate program committee satisfies the faculty graduate studies committee and the dean of graduate studies that the level of supervision and/or support to be provided by the co-supervisor is greater than normally expected from regular members of a supervisory committee.

Reasons for approving co-supervision will vary, but could include: co-investigator with the senior supervisor of a research grant funding the student’s research; providing significant supervision in a field outside the senior supervisor’s area of expertise; supervising a laboratory where the student undertakes research.

Appointment as co-supervisor recognizes a significant contribution of time, expertise or financial resources. However, the supervision of the student remains the responsibility of the senior supervisor, who must perform all of the activities normally expected of a senior supervisor. The co-supervisor will not take on any of the administrative responsibilities of the senior supervisor. The co-supervisor may not substitute for the senior supervisor, except under circumstances described in 1.6.3.

Co-supervisory status is recommended by the department graduate program committee to the faculty graduate studies committee. Departments and faculties are responsible for setting criteria and standards appropriate to their disciplines. If the faculty graduate studies committee supports the appointment, it shall be forwarded to the dean of graduate studies for approval. Status as co-supervisor will be noted on all relevant documents, and on the approval page of the thesis.

Co-supervisory status may be terminated by the dean of graduate studies if either condition a) or b) (above) is no longer met, or if the co-supervisor is unable to comply with Simon Fraser University policies and procedures relevant to graduate supervision.

It is the responsibility of the co-supervisor to inform the department chair (at Simon Fraser University) or employer (off campus) status as co-supervisor.

Back to Top

1.6.6 Change in the Supervisory Committee

Continuity of supervision is important in all graduate work. As a consequence, a change in supervisory committee, especially a change in senior supervisor, may be made only on the basis of strong reasons.

A request for a change in the supervisory committee may come from the student or any member of the supervisory committee. It shall be sent to the graduate program committee accompanied by the reasons, in writing, for the proposed change. If the graduate program committee concurs in the request, it shall be sent to the dean of graduate studies for final approval.

1.6.7 Human Subjects Ethics Review

All research plans involving human subjects must receive ethics approval. Copies of the policy (R20.01), procedures and forms for this review may be obtained from the Office of Research Ethics (http://www.sfu.ca/ore.html) or from the University web site (www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/research.html.)

Back to Top

1.7 Program Requirements

Minimum program requirements are defined in 1.7.1, 1.7.2, 1.7.4., and 1.7.5. See 1.7.6 for regulations concerning courses completed at other institutions. There is an enrollment requirement for all master and doctoral programs (see 1.4.4).

1.7.1 Program Requirements for the Graduate Diploma and Certificate

Diploma students must complete the University minimum requirement of 22 units of graduate course work. Certificate students must complete a minimum of four graduate courses (maximum five courses) for a minimum of 12 units of graduate course work. A graduate program committee may require graduate or undergraduate work in addition to the minimum requirements, either on an individual basis or, with Senate ratification, for all students in the program.

Back to Top

1.7.2 Program Requirements for the Master’s Degree

Master’s students must complete the University minimum requirement of 30 graduate units, in one of the following ways:

    a) Successfully complete a minimum of 12 units of graduate course work plus a thesis that is examined as per 1.9.1.

    b) Successfully complete a minimum of 20 units of graduate course work plus a project that is examined as per 1.9.1.

    c) Successfully complete a minimum of 24 units of graduate course work plus two extended essays, or a project, that are examined by two readers.

    d) Successfully complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate course work. A capstone (e.g. project, examination, portfolio, extended essay) is not required but may be added to the program.

Not all of these options are available for every program. 

1.7.4 Course Requirements for the Doctoral Degree

There are no University course requirements for the doctoral degree. However, a student’s supervisory committee, graduate program committee or the faculty graduate studies committee, may require a student to complete specified courses or units as part of the degree program.

1.7.5 Doctoral Thesis

All doctoral programs require a doctoral thesis based on substantial original research.

Back to Top

1.7.6 Courses in Master’s and Doctoral Programs

The following rules apply to the minimum course work requirement:

One half of the minimum course work required for a credential (i.e. certificate, diploma, degree) must be completed at this University.

None of the University minimum may be courses completed in order to qualify for admission.

None of the University minimum may be undergraduate courses.

A graduate student may apply for transfer credit towards a credential at Simon Fraser University, for graduate courses completed at another university while enrolled at SFU. To receive transfer credit, the following conditions apply: 

a) Application shall be made at least one month before the course/courses start and shall be approved by the graduate program committee and be sent to the dean of graduate studies for final approval.

b) The student shall maintain normal enrollment, not enrollment on leave, at Simon Fraser University while completing the course/courses at another university under these provisions. 

c) The minimum grade required is a B, although the grade achieved will not be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.

A graduate student may apply to receive advance credit towards a credential at Simon Fraser University for:

• graduate courses completed prior to admission;

• graduate courses completed towards another credential.

To receive advance credit, the following conditions apply:

a) The courses must have been completed within three years of starting the Simon Fraser University program.

b) The courses must not have been applied toward the requirements for a previously completed credential, unless this is permitted in the Senate approved program requirements.

c) The courses must not have been completed while the student was admitted as a qualifying student.

d) Advance credit for courses from a certificate/diploma may comprise no more than 50 percent of the course requirements for a graduate degree; or advance credit for courses from a degree may comprise no more than 50 percent of the course requirements for a graduate certificate/diploma.

e) Application for advance credit must be approved by the graduate program committee and the dean of graduate studies, either before admission or retroactively within the first year of enrollment.

f) The minimum grade required is a B, although the grade achieved will not be included in the calculation of the cumulative grade point average.

Back to Top

1.8 Progress, Withdrawal and Leave

1.8.1 Progress Evaluation

For master’s and doctoral students, the supervisory committee shall report on the student’s progress at least once each year. This report will be sent, in writing, to the graduate program committee with a copy to the student. The evaluation of student progress in course work will rely in part on their maintenance of a CGPA of 3.0, as required by graduate regulation 1.5.4.

For graduate diploma and certificate students, a progress review will be initiated if the CGPA drops below 2.5.

1.8.2 Review of Unsatisfactory Progress

If a student’s progress appears to be unsatisfactory, the supervisory committee or the chair of the graduate program committee shall make a written report to the graduate program committee, and provide a copy to the student. That committee shall consider whether the student’s progress has been satisfactory. The graduate program committee, on consultation with the supervisory committee, if one has been appointed, may:

    a) require the student to withdraw, or

    b) inform the student of the unsatisfactory progress and require the student to improve in specific ways in a specific period of time.

The student concerned has the right to appear before the graduate program committee when the case is considered, and may submit any materials relevant to the case. A student who is required to withdraw shall be informed, in writing, with copies to the dean of graduate studies and the director, graduate admissions and records. If required to improve within a specific period of time, the student shall be informed in writing as to what precisely is required, with copies to the dean of graduate studies and the director, admissions and records.

Any decision of the graduate program committee under the provisions of this section may be appealed to the senate graduate studies committee through the dean of graduate studies. The student has the right to appear before the senate graduate studies committee when the case is heard. The decision of that committee shall be final.

Back to Top

1.8.3 Withdrawal from Courses and from the University

Permission of the senior supervisor and the chair of the graduate program committee is required to withdraw from a course. If the senior supervisor is not yet appointed, or if the student is in a graduate diploma or certificate program, permission of the chair of the graduate program committee is required. If such permission is granted, a student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty up to the end of the ninth week of classes in any term.

Under extenuating circumstances, a student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty during the tenth to the 12th week of classes. Such circumstances must be beyond the control of the student (e.g., medical or financial crisis); under such circumstances, therefore, 898 (Master’s Thesis Research), 899 (PhD Research) or a similar course may be added, as appropriate. Permission of the senior supervisor and the chair of the graduate program committee is required.

A student may withdraw from the University at any time by notifying the chair of the graduate program committee and the director, graduate admissions and records.

A student who has withdrawn from the University and who wishes to re-enter shall apply for readmission under the same conditions as any other applicant.

1.8.4 Leave of Absence

Graduate students are required to maintain continuous enrollment. When students find it necessary to interrupt their studies, they must apply for a leave of absence. During a leave of absence graduate students are not enrolled and normally should not use any of the University's facilities or resources, or undertake academic or research work related to the program from which they have taken a leave of absence. Typically a leave of absence begins on the first day of an academic term and approval for the leave is obtained before the term begins. Students in their first term should apply for an admission deferral rather than a leave of absence. A retroactive request for a leave of absence will not be allowed unless there are documented extenuating circumstances (see 1.8.3).

Awards for which the terms and conditions are established by SFU will be interrupted at the onset of the leave of absence and will resume at the termination of the leave period, provided the student returns to full-time study at that time. The duration of the award will not be changed from the time the award was initiated. Awards for which the terms and conditions are not established by SFU will be paid according to the terms and conditions established by the donor or granting agency.

There are four types of leave:

  1. Personal Leave
  2. Parental Leave
  3. Medical/Compassionate Leave
  4. Academic Break

Personal Leave

A personal leave can be taken for any reason, other than those defined below, but the time taken will be counted towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. All program requirements, academic unit expectations, and deadlines will remain the same. Responsibility for approving a personal leave resides with the student's senior supervisor (or faculty advisor) and the chair of the student's graduate program committee. The maximum number of terms that are permitted for a personal leave is three.

Parental Leave and Medical/Compassionate Leave

The time taken for a parental or medical/compassionate leave will not be counted towards the maximum time allowed for program completion. The maximum time limit will be adjusted accordingly but all other program requirements and academic unit expectations will remain the same. Students are required to submit supporting documentation. Responsibility for approving a parental or medical/compassionate leave (including family care) resides with the dean of graduate studies and should have the support of the student's senior supervisor (or faculty advisor) and the chair of the student's graduate program committee.

The maximum number of terms that are permitted for a parental leave is three for each childbirth or adoption (including twins, triplets, etc.). The maximum number of terms that are permitted for a medical/compassionate leave is normally three terms per reason. A student may apply for an extended leave of absence for a medical reason (see 1.8.5).

Before students return from a medical leave, documentation from their clinician may be requested to confirm that they have recovered sufficiently to return to their course of study. If medical documentation is submitted for reasons related to a physical or mental disability, the student has a legal entitlement to disability accommodation.

Academic Break

An academic break (or scheduled break) can be taken when no courses are offered for a student's program within a particular term, or there is a scheduled break within a program (e.g. summer term). Students in a thesis program are not eligible for an academic break. The time taken for an academic break will not be counted towards the maximum time allowed for degree completion. The maximum time limit will be adjusted accordingly but all other program requirements and academic unit expectations will remain the same. Responsibility for approving an academic break resides with the student's senior supervisor (or faculty advisor) and the chair of the student's graduate program committee. The maximum number of terms that are permitted for an academic break is one term per year with no consecutive academic breaks.

SUMMARY TABLE

Category Reason Characteristics Limit
Personal Leave Any reason other than those defined below
  • no fee
  • counts towards time limit
  • departmental approval
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed
Maximum 3 terms
Parental
  • Childbirth
  • Adoption
  • no fee
  • doesn't count towards time limit
  • dean of graduate studies approval
  • requires supporting documentation
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed
Maximum 3 terms for each childbirth or adoption (including twins, triplets, etc.)
Medical/Compassionate
  • Medical
  • Bereavement
  • Family Care
  • no fee
  • doesn't count towards time limit
  • dean of graduate studies approval
  • requires supporting documentation
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed
Normally a maximum of 3 terms per reason.
Academic Break (or scheduled break)
  • Course availability (no courses offered for program within that term)
  • Scheduled break within a program (e.g. summer term)
  • no fee
  • doesn't count towards time limit
  • departmental approval
  • SFU scholarships/awards are interrupted during leave; duration of the award will not be changed
  • international students may be eligible to work full-time off campus
  • Maximum 1 term per year with no consecutive academic breaks.
  • Students in a thesis program are not eligible for an academic break.

1.8.5 Extended Leave of Absence

Graduate students may apply for an extended leave of absence, beyond the three term limit, for medical/health reasons. It is recommended that students discuss with their supervisor/faculty advisor whether it is in their best interest to temporarily discontinue their program and then apply for readmission when their circumstances have been resolved. Responsibility for approving an extension to a leave of absence rests with the dean of graduate studies and should have the support of the student's senior supervisor (or faculty advisor) and the chair of the student's graduate program committee.

Students completing the requirements for a master's program past the normal completion time, as the result of an extended leave, may be required to repeat courses or complete additional courses at the discretion of their graduate program committee. Responsibility for approving these additional degree requirements rests with the dean of graduate studies and the chair of the student's graduate program committee.

Students completing the requirements for a doctoral program past the normal completion time, as the result of an extended leave, may be required to repeat courses, complete additional courses, and/or repeat their comprehensive/candidacy examinations at the discretion of their graduate program committee. Responsibility for approving these additional degree requirements rests with the dean of graduate studies and the chair of the student's graduate program committee.

Back to Top

1.9 Preparation for Examinations

Master’s Students

1.9.1 Examining Committee for a Master’s Degree Candidate

Each candidate for a master’s degree shall be examined on the thesis, extended essays, field or comprehensive examination, or project. The nature of the examination and the composition of the examining committee of a student's extended essay, field or comprehensives, or project examined by two readers, shall be as designated by the appropriate faculty graduate studies committee with the approval of the dean of graduate studies.

Examination of projects (as per 1.9.1) for all graduate programs shall be as for the examination of theses with the same requirements for committee composition unless a different examination process has been designated by the appropriate faculty graduate studies committee with the approval of the dean of graduate studies.

Examination of projects (as per 1.9.1) for all other graduate programs shall be as for the examination of theses with the following exceptions: when the project is live, taped or filmed, only one presentation is required for examination, and only one recording is required for deposition in the library. The one copy deposited in the library shall be the property of the University. The student shall have the right to copy the original, and the right to borrow it for external showing at the discretion of the librarian.

Where such an examination is required for a thesis the examining committee shall have the following minimum composition.

    a) the chair of the student’s graduate program committee, or designate, who shall be a non-voting chair of the examining committee. If the chair of the graduate program committee is also on the student’s supervisory committee, the chair shall designate a member of faculty at this University, who is not a member of the student’s supervisory committee, as chair.

    b) all members of the student’s supervisory committee.

    c) a member of faculty at the university, or a person otherwise suitably qualified, who is not a member of the student's supervisory committee. For those seeking a degree under special arrangements, this person shall be from outside the University. For a thesis examination in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, a master's examiner may not be a member of the same department as the one granting the degree, unless a waiver is granted by the Dean of Arts and Social Sciences or designate.

1.9.2 Preparation for Examination of Master’s Thesis

Preparation for the examination of a master’s thesis shall not take place until the thesis is substantially complete and in the required format. See the Thesis Assistance website for information.

The candidate’s supervisory committee shall make a recommendation to the chair of the graduate program committee concerning the date, place and time of the thesis examination and the composition of the examining committee in conformity with 1.9.1.

Upon approval of the chair of the graduate program committee, this recommendation, with the thesis title and an abstract, shall be sent to the director, graduate records and admissions for entry into the University's records. The examining committee composition shall reach the director at least four weeks before the examination date. At this time, the chair of the graduate program committee will notify the University community of the intended time and place of the examination.

At least two weeks before the date of the thesis examination, a digital copy of the completed thesis shall be distributed to the examining committee by the chair of the graduate program committee. Department rules may require earlier submission of the completed thesis.

If the date or place has been changed, the chair of the graduate program committee will notify the University community.

The examination of the thesis shall take place under the regulations for thesis examination given in 1.10.1.

Back to Top

Doctoral Students

1.9.3 Examining Committee for Doctoral Thesis

Each candidate for a doctoral degree shall be examined on the thesis. Each examining committee shall have the following minimum composition:

    a) the chair of the graduate program committee, or designate, who shall be a non-voting chair of the examining committee. If the chair of the graduate program committee is also on the student’s supervisory committee, the chair shall designate a member of faculty at the University, who is not a member of the student’s supervisory committee, as chair.

    b) all members of the student’s supervisory committee

    c) a member of faculty at the University or a person otherwise suitably qualified, who is not a member of the student’s supervisory committee. For a thesis examination in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, normally the ‘internal external’ examiner will not be a member of the same department as the one granting the degree.

    d) an external examiner who shall be specifically qualified in the field of the thesis and not be a member of faculty at the University

1.9.4 Preparation for Examination of Doctoral Thesis

Preparation for the examination of a doctoral thesis shall not take place until the thesis is substantially complete and in the required format. See the Thesis Assistance website for information.

The candidate's supervisory committee shall make a recommendation to the chair of the graduate program committee concerning the composition of the examining committee (in conformity with 1.9.3) and the date, location, and time of the thesis examination. Upon approval of the chair of the graduate program committee, this recommendation, along with the thesis and all relevant documentation, shall be sent to the dean of graduate studies for final approval. These items shall reach the dean of graduate studies no later than six weeks before the examination date.

Once approved, the dean of graduate studies shall formally invite the external examiner and distribute digital copies of the completed thesis to the examining committee. Any changes to the date of the examination must be approved by the dean of graduate studies.

The examination of the thesis shall take place under the regulations for thesis examination given in 1.10.1.

1.9.5 The Role of the External Examiner

The external examiner should be a distinguished scholar with particular research and supervisory experience in the field of the thesis research. The examiner shall be free from potential conflict of interest which may arise, for example, from research collaboration with the student or prospective employment of the student. Whether the external examiner will participate in person or in absentia, including the possibility of a conference telephone connection or similar means, will be determined by the dean of graduate studies who will take into account the departmental views.

The external examiner shall be asked to report on the thesis.  This report will normally be submitted two weeks before the examination date to the dean of graduate studies. If the report states that the thesis is ready for examination, a copy shall be sent to the chair of the graduate program committee by the dean of graduate studies for distribution to all members of the examining committee before the examination. The contents of the report will not be communicated to the student. If the report recommends that the examination be postponed, the dean shall send a copy to the senior supervisor and the chair of the graduate program committee. The chair of the graduate program committee and the senior supervisor will inform the student of the content of the report. Following discussions with the student and the supervisory committee, the chair of the graduate program committee shall report to the dean whether the examination will take place as scheduled or be postponed.

Once the examination has taken place, and if the thesis is passed, the external examiner shall send a brief report to the senior supervisor which indicates the general quality of the thesis. That report (which may be either a copy of the initial report to the dean of graduate studies or a report prepared after the thesis examination) shall accompany the recommendation for award of the degree.

In the event of examination in absentia, the report of the external examiner should be quite extensive and give a specific recommendation as to whether the thesis ought to pass, fail, or be subject to revision as under 1.10.2. The report may contain specific questions the external examiner would like posed to the candidate. The report shall be copied, by the dean of graduate studies, to the chair of the examining committee, for distribution to all members of the examining committee before the examination. Specific questions raised by the external examiner in that report shall be directed to the candidate during the examination by members of the examining committee selected by the chair of the examining committee.

1.9.6 Notification of Doctoral Thesis Examination

Once the examination has been approved by the dean of graduate studies, the chair of the graduate program committee is responsible for notifying the candidate, examining committee, faculty dean(s), and the University community of the approved date, location, and time of the thesis examination. This notification should happen no later than two weeks before the examination date. If there are any changes to the date, location, and/or time of the thesis examination, the chair of the graduate program committee is responsible for informing the candidate, examining committee, faculty dean(s), and the University community. The dean of graduate studies is responsible for notifying the external examiner of any changes.

Back to Top

1.10 Examinations

1.10.1 Thesis Examination

The candidate shall give an oral account of the research on which the thesis is based and defend the thesis itself. The candidate must be prepared to answer questions on the field of the research and related fields.

Thesis examinations are open to the University community. Copies of the thesis abstract shall be made available to all those attending the examination. The chair of the examining committee shall allow proper opportunity for questions on the thesis to come from persons who are not members of the examining committee but are attending the examination. The dean of graduate studies or designate shall have the right to attend all phases of the examination.

After the chair of the examining committee is satisfied that all relevant questions have been answered, the examining committee shall meet in camera to classify the thesis.

1.10.2 Classification of the Thesis

There are four possible outcomes of the thesis examination.

  1. the thesis may be passed as submitted
  2. the thesis may be passed on the condition that revisions be completed to the satisfaction of the senior supervisor
  3. the examining committee may defer making judgment if it judges that the thesis could pass after additional work by the candidate. A thesis upon which judgment is deferred shall come forward for re-examination within a period specified by the examining committee. The examining committee may require formal re-examination under section 1.10.1 or may reach its decision by examination of the revised thesis. The examining committee may not defer judgment a second time.
  4. the thesis may be failed. In this case, the candidate is required to withdraw from the University.

The decision of the examining committee is by simple majority vote except that, in the cases of doctoral candidates or candidates enrolled under special arrangements, the classification of the thesis may not be at a higher level than that of the external examiner. A decision to pass the thesis or to defer making judgment may not be reached on a tie vote of the examining committee. If at first a majority vote to pass the thesis cannot be reached, and subsequently, if a majority vote to defer judgment cannot be reached, the thesis will be failed.

1.10.3 Recommendation for the Award of the Degree

When a student has successfully defended the thesis and made any minor revisions required, the supervisory committee shall recommend award of degree. This recommendation goes for approval respectively to the graduate program committee, the faculty graduate studies committee, the senate graduate studies committee and senate, which has the final authority to award the degree.

The title of the thesis, extended essays, professional paper or project(s) will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

1.10.4 Submission of the Thesis to the Library

If the examining committee has required minor revisions to a thesis, these will be completed as soon as possible after the examination and checked by the senior supervisor. A digital copy of the final draft of the completed thesis shall be sent to the library together with a memorandum from the senior supervisor certifying that all required revisions have been made. The thesis will be deposited into the library's institutional repository. 

When the library's assistant for theses has checked the thesis and accepted the format, the representative will notify the director of graduate programs, admissions and records. No degree will be approved by senate until the director of graduate programs, admissions and records has been so notified.

Back to Top

1.11 Publication of Thesis

When the thesis is submitted to the library, the student shall authorize the copying and publication of the thesis as follows.

1.11.1 Partial Copyright License

Except as noted in 1.11.3, the student shall sign a partial copyright license which grants to the University a non-exclusive worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free license to reproduce, convert, publish, archive, communicate and distribute the thesis. Multiple copying is not permitted without written permission from the author except that, if the author is unobtainable, the dean of graduate studies may give this permission.

1.11.2 Reproduction

Except as noted in 1.11.3, the student shall sign an agreement form authorizing Library and Archives Canada to reproduce the thesis and to sell microfilm copies on request.

1.11.3 Postponement of Publication

The results of research conducted at Simon Fraser University should be available freely to the public, and it is expected that theses will be placed in the institutional repository immediately following final revisions. It is the responsibility of graduate students to ensure that this policy is communicated clearly to relevant individuals and organizations outside the university prior to the initiation of any research project.

A postponement will delay the inclusion of a thesis in the institutional repository and from copying for a period of 12 months from the date of examination of the thesis, in order to protect confidential commercial information, patentable material, pending application, or where immediate commercial publication is anticipated. At the time of the thesis examination, Thesis Postponement of Publication Request Form shall be signed by the student, the senior supervisor, and the dean of graduate studies. The thesis and all pertinent forms shall be submitted to the library along with the postponement document. A copy of the thesis shall not be sent to Library and Archives Canada during the restricted period. 

In rare and exceptional circumstances a postponement of publication may be extended for an additional 12 month period. Requests for such extensions should be submitted 60 days prior to the expiration of the current postponement using the Thesis Postponement of Publication Request form. This form should be accompanied with documented evidence justifying the extension. 

1.11.4 Publication of the Thesis by the Student

None of the clauses above preclude the student from publishing the thesis in any form at any time.

Back to Top

1.12 Time Limit for Program Completion

1.12.1 Time Limit

The time limit for students in a graduate certificate, diploma, or master's program to complete all of the requirements is nine terms from the start of the program. The time limit for students in a doctoral program to complete all of the requirements is 18 terms from the start of the program, or in the case of a student who has transferred from a master's into the doctoral program, without completing the master's, 18 terms from the start of the master's program.

The time limits for program completion are not intended to be the normal times for completion. These limits take into account a wide variety of extraordinary circumstances and events that may delay completion. It is expected that most students will complete their program before reaching the time limit. Individual academic units may specify their expectations of normal program completion times as a guide for determining whether a student's progress is satisfactory.

Some students may find it necessary to interrupt their studies by taking a leave of absence. The time taken for a parental leave, medical/compassionate leave, or academic break will not be counted towards the time limit for program completion. The time for a personal leave will be counted towards the time limit (see 1.8.4).

Students with long-term disabilities should discuss their situation with the Centre for Students with Disabilities early in their graduate studies or as soon as possible after the condition is diagnosed. The Centre will assist the student, and their department, in developing a plan for program completion, which may include an extension beyond the normal time limits. Such plans must be approved by the dean of graduate studies.

1.12.2 Extensions

Students may apply for an extension to the time limit if they are enrolled in a master's or doctoral program and need more time to complete the program requirements. A single extension may be for one to three terms, and students may be granted more than one extension. A master's and doctoral program can be no longer than the time limit plus six terms of extended time. Extensions may be less than the maximum of six terms and must meet the criteria established by the academic unit. Students should contact their academic unit to confirm the specific extension policy for their program.

Applications for an extension must be submitted no later than the term in which the time limit or current extension expires. Extensions are not available to students who are discontinued from their program. Students are required to maintain continuous enrollment throughout their extension and are eligible to go on medical/compassionate or parental leave (see 1.8.4). Extensions are approved by the senior supervisor, graduate program chair and the dean of graduate studies.

Back to Top

 

1.13 Award of the Degree

1.13.1 Application for Graduation

Every candidate for a graduate degree is responsible for applying for graduation online through sis.sfu.ca.

1.13.2 Award of the Degree

Award of the degree is by resolution of senate.

1.13.3 Transcripts

Certified official transcripts of the student’s graduate academic record may be obtained from the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies. Only individually signed copies with the University seal are valid. For further information on cost refer to Graduate Fees.

Back to Top

1.14 Convocation Ceremony

Convocation is held twice annually. Graduates from the previous fall and spring terms convocate in early June, while graduates from the summer term convocate in October.

Back to Top

1.15 Class Interruption

Simon Fraser University makes reasonable efforts to ensure that its classes and courses of instruction proceed on a regular basis and without interruption. Faculty have certain discretion to cancel or change the timetable for their classes; they will endeavor to give reasonable notice of any cancellation or change. Simon Fraser University will not be responsible for cancellation or change of any class. Neither will Simon Fraser University be responsible for the interruption or termination of any class or course of instruction which results from fire, riot, labour disruption or any other event which occurs despite the University’s efforts, or for failure to give notice of the interruption or termination. See policy GP4 for details.

Back to Top

1.16 Graduate Student Appeals

Graduate students are advised to seek informal resolution of problems through discussions with their supervisor, graduate program chair, department chair or faculty dean, and the dean of graduate studies.

1.16.1 Grades

May be appealed to the instructor, department chair and, in some cases, faculty dean in accordance with academic policy T 20.01.

1.16.2 Progress Evaluations

May be appealed to the senate graduate studies committee (See 1.8.2 Review of Unsatisfactory Progress).

1.16.3 Admission

Applicants who meet or exceed minimum requirements for admission are not assured of admission to any graduate program (see 1.3.1 General)

Normally, admission decisions may not be appealed (see 1.3.10 Application for Admission). In exceptional circumstances, unsuccessful applicants may appeal to the Senate Appeals Board. The Board will only review the fairness of admissions procedures and will not review an applicant’s credentials.

Appeal forms are available at http://students.sfu.ca/forms/.

1.16.4 Other Appeals

Appeals of decisions on enrollment, graduation, entry/re-entry to a program or any matter relating to academic standing (other than review of unsatisfactory progress) are referred to the senate appeals board. Appeal forms are available at http://students.sfu.ca/forms.

Back to Top