Satisfactory Progress Guidelines for MA Students

All MA students must complete the minimum program requirements listed in the SFU Academic Calendar

Required Coursework

All entering students are initially admitted in the MA Course Option. The normal class schedule is:

Fall Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


MA students are expected to receive a grade of C or higher in each course and maintain a minimum 3.00 CGPA.


1. ECON 798 is a two-week math review course offered prior to the start of the Fall term (in the last week of August and the first week of September). It is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. Students are allowed up to two attempts to pass the course by the end of the Fall term. Depending on the student’s background, ECON 798 may be waived with the approval of the Graduate Program Chair.

2. Any economics graduate course (ECON 8xx or 9xx) offered in the respective term and different from the required MA courses (ECON 798, 802, 807, 835, 836 and 899) is eligible. The course must be taken for credit. With the prior approval of the Graduate Program Chair graduate elective courses may be also taken outside the Department or outside SFU.

For courses taken at UBC or the University of Victoria there are no additional fees, in accordance with the Western Deans’ Agreement (submit the following form):

3. Students wishing to apply for the Arts Co-op program (job internship) should refer to The program’s application deadline is usually in October. Students who are offered a job in the Co-op program normally work during the Summer term, or during the Summer and Fall terms, and must return to complete the MA program in the following term.

Program Options

Before the end of the Spring term, students who satisfy all following criteria:

  • Excellent academic performance (minimum 3.50 GPA at the end of the Spring term)
  • Clearly identified research plan or proposal
  • Written consent by a faculty member willing to serve as senior supervisor on the proposed research

may apply to the Graduate Program Chair to switch from the default MA Course Option to one of the following:     

  • MA Project Option 
  • MA Thesis Option

Students admitted in the MA Project Option are required to take one graduate elective course in the Summer term and enroll in ECON 999 (instead of ECON 899) in the Summer and Fall terms (the 3rd and 4th terms of the program). The MA Project must be completed and defended by the end of the student’s fourth term in the program (normally Fall).

Students admitted in the MA Thesis Option are required to enroll in ECON 991 (instead of ECON 899) in their 3rd, 4th and 5th term (normally, Summer, Fall and Spring). No additional electives are required. The MA Thesis must be completed and defended by the end of the student’s 5th term in the program (normally Spring).

Satisfactory Progress Guidelines Violations 

At the end of each term all MA students are evaluated according to the Satisfactory Progress Guidelines (SPG) defined in this document. Students in violation of the SPG are referred to a review by the Graduate Program Committee (GPC). The GPC will convey its decision in a formal letter addressed to the student and copied to the Dean of Graduate Studies. The possible consequences of a SPG violation include: probation, suspension of financial support, requiring the student to withdraw from the program.

Failure to Maintain minimum 3.00 cgpa

The minimum 3.00 CGPA requirement is a university-wide regulation that all graduate students must satisfy at all times to remain in good academic standing. If a student fails to meet this requirement, the student may only be allowed to continue in the program if the Graduate Program Committee writes a letter to the Dean of Graduate Studies recommending forbearance. The Dean has the right to decline such requests.

It is not uncommon for some students to find the first term of the Economics MA program overwhelming. In the past, most students have been able to recover from a poor first semester. The department is willing to give the student the opportunity to redeem themselves, as long as the student clearly understands the risks involved. The main risk is that the student may not be able to raise their deficient GPA to the 3.00 minimum required to graduate by the end of the third term of the program. Except in cases of extenuating circumstances, students are not allowed to retake graduate courses or extend the program duration.

In addition, any student violating this criterion will be placed on a low-priority list for funding, including TA-ships.

Failing a Graduate Course

Unless there are extenuating circumstances (for example, medical or compassionate), a student who receives a failing grade in a graduate course will be required to withdraw from the program.

Other Violations

All other SPG violations will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the GPC. Violations of SFU’s Academic Integrity Policy do not fall within the jurisdiction of the GPC and will be handled at the university level:


Students have the right to appeal any GPC or Graduate Program Chair decision directly affecting them. Appeals must be addressed to the Senate Graduate Studies Committee and submitted in writing via the Dean of Graduate Studies office.