Important Policies from Graduate General Regulations

The SFU Calendar contains the Graduate General Regulations, which provide a consistent and equitable framework for the pursuit of graduate education at SFU. These regulations are in effect ‘the rules’ for graduate study at SFU. It is your responsibility to review and familiarize yourself with the Graduate General Regulations (GGR).

Continuity of Enrollment

According to GGR 1.4.1, students are required to enroll every term (Fall, Spring and Summer) unless they have been granted a leave of absence from their program (see GGR 1.4.5). Enrollment only in an audit course or a course outside program requirements does not satisfy the requirement for continuity of enrollment. When a student does not enroll and is not on an approved leave of absence, the student is discontinued from their program. Graduate students who are discontinued do not retain their award or scholarship.


(GGR 1.4.8) 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.


(GGR 1.4.9) 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 is discontinued from their program, 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.


Withdrawal from Courses

According to GGR 1.4.4, students may withdraw from a course up to the end of the ninth week in any term. Students withdrawing between the fourth and ninth week will receive a WD notation for the course on their transcript.

Under extenuating circumstances, a student may apply to withdraw from a course after the ninth week. Such circumstances must be beyond the control of the student.


Leave of Absence

(GGR 1.4.5) 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 (students on program extension are not eligible for personal leave)
  2. Parental Leave
  3. Medical or Compassionate Leave
  4. Academic Break (MASc and PhD students are not eligible for an academic break)

The time taken for a personal leave will be counted towards the maximum time allowed for program completion.

The time taken for an academic break, parental, 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.


Course Audit

(GGR 1.4.6) Students may audit graduate courses, with permission of the instructor, supervisor and graduate program chair of the student's academic unit.

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. Such audits are recorded as AU on the student's transcript. If a student does not meet the requirements agreed upon the student will receive an AN. The AN will not count towards the student's CGPA.

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 end of week two of the term. Normally, no further change in enrollment status will be permitted after that date.

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CGPA Required For Continuation and Graduation

(GGR 1.5.4) A student in a master's or doctoral program must maintain a CGPA of 3.0. Under no circumstances will a student, whose CGPA is below 3.0, be awarded a graduate degree.

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. You will be contacted to submit a remediation plan by the end of the first month of next term. The ENSC graduate program committee will evaluate your plan. A letter documenting any outcomes will be issued to you by the end of the second month of next term. 


Retaking a Course

(GGR 1.5.5) 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.



(GGR 1.6) 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 supervisor has been appointed.

The appointment of a supervisor should occur as soon as possible after the student’s admission to the graduate program, but normally no later than the student’s second term. An interim supervisor may be permitted as needed. A supervisor who will be unable to perform their regular duties for more than three months is required to arrange for proper supervision of the student by another supervisor, co-supervisor or committee member during this absence. The graduate program committee and the dean of graduate studies shall be informed in writing of the arrangement.

The supervisory committee mentors and helps the student develop a program of study leading to a degree. The committee reports to the graduate program committee at least once a year on the student's progress. The supervisory committee shall be available to the student for consultation on a regular basis.In master's degree programs with research component and any doctoral program, a supervisory committee must be established.

A co-supervision arrangement may be created when two individuals exercise the degree of supervision and support of a supervisor. When a co-supervision arrangement is created, all documentation must be approved by both co-supervisorsAppointment as co-supervisor recognizes a significant contribution of time, expertise or financial resources. The supervision of the student remains a joint responsibility of the co-supervisors


The minimum composition for the supervisory committee and documents for declaration are found here.


Progress Evaluation for MASc & PhD students and Unsatisfactory Progress

(GGR 1.8.1 and 1.8.2)For master’s and doctoral students, the supervisory committee shall report on the student’s research progress at least once each year (i.e. Graduate Progress Report GPR). This report will be sent, in writing, to the graduate program committee with a copy to the student. 

If unsatisfactory progress is identified by the supervisory committee, the supervisory committee shall make a written report to the graduate program committee, and provide a copy to the student. The student concerned has the right to appear before the graduate program committee when the case is considered and is permitted to bring a support person. The student may submit any materials relevant to the case. The decision of the graduate program committee must be one of three options:

  1. If the student's progress is assessed satisfactory despite the supervisory committee's report, inform the student of satisfactory progress with a letter, and meet with the supervisory committee to review the areas of concern. This option is unavailable if the student's CGPA is below the university minimum.
  2. If the student's progress is assessed unsatisfactory, and/or if the student's CGPA is below the university minimum, inform the student with a letter that includes a remediation plan to attain university minima within three terms.
  3. If the student's progress is assessed unsatisfactory, inform the student with a letter that requires the student to withdraw from the university.

Letters documenting any outcomes must be copied to the dean of graduate studies and the associate director, graduate admissions, records and registration.

In the event there are allegations of academic dishonesty, falsified documents, or misconduct, the graduate program committee may not withdraw a student from their program under this policy. A separate process must be followed as outlined in Policy S10 (Academic Honesty and Student Conduct).

Any decision of the graduate program committee may be appealed to the appeals subcommittee of the senate graduate studies committee, by submission of the APPEAL OF AN UNSATISFACTORY EVALUATION to the dean of graduate studies. The decision of the appeals subcommittee shall be final.


Time Limit for Program Completion

(GGR 1.12) The time limit for students in a 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.


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 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 1.4.5). Extensions are approved by the supervisor, graduate program chair and the dean of graduate studies.

You will see a hold named "Grad Student Time has elapsed" on your goSFU account if you are reaching your time limit next term. You will be contacted by the Graduate Program Assistant to submit the extension form. If you have exhuasted the maximum six terms of extension, a program completion plan must be accompanied with the request. if in doubts, contact the Graduate Program Assistant at

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