Summary of Key Rules, Regulations and Committees


There are two registration processes, both of which must be completed; the English Department's internal pre-registration and official University registration.

The English Department conducts an internal pre-registration in order to ensure students meet their program requirements and to ensure courses are organized according to class size. Graduate classes are normally capped at twelve students. Course requests will be allocated on a priority system according to the following criteria: (1) student's declared area of interest; (2) student’s academic standing.

Students are also asked to provide rationale for registration priority on the pre-registration form. Course changes subsequent to pre-registration will be permitted in exceptional circumstances only, and will require the approval of the Graduate Program Chair.

PLEASE NOTE: Students who do change courses during the regular add/drop period following University registration, must complete the add/drop form, have it signed by the Graduate Program Chair, and submit it to the Registrar's Office.


M.A. students normally complete their course requirements before beginning work on their thesis or final M.A. paper, at which time they may enroll in English 890 (thesis) or 891 (M.A. Project/Paper). Courses under the same number may be repeated if the content of each offering is significantly different. On such occasions, students must submit a memo that demonstrates that the course content is significantly different from the previous course of the same number. Registration in duplicate numbered courses must be approved by Graduate Program Chair.

Ph.D. students normally complete their course requirements before commencing work on field examinations (Engl 892/893) and their dissertation (Engl 899).


After successfully completing a specified number of regular SFU English graduate
courses,* graduate students may be permitted, in exceptional cases and at the discretion of the Graduate Program Committee, to take one Directed Reading course in order to pursue a special interest or to satisfy a need.

Those who wish to apply must justify clearly the need and demonstrate that no similar course will be offered during their program. Students must apply in writing to the Graduate Program Committee at least four weeks before the beginning of the term in which they wish to take the course. They must provide a detailed rationale to explain how the course furthers or completes their program of study as well as a careful breakdown of course requirements, including a reading list, frequency of meetings, and assignments. Their request must also include a statement of consent from the faculty member with whom they wish to study.

* MA students will have completed four regular SFU English graduate courses other than English 880 and 881, and PhDs will have completed three.


"A graduate student may apply to take one or more courses at another university for credit towards a degree at this University. Such applications shall be made at least one month before the course or courses start and shall be approved by the student's Supervisory Committee and Graduate Program Committee for final approval. No more than one half of the minimum course work requirement for the Master's Degree may be taken at another university. While taking a course or courses at another university under  these provisions, the student shall maintain registration at this University."

- Regulation 7.2, Western Deans' Agreement


Any semester in which a student does not enroll in a seminar, thesis (898) or field exam (999), she/he must register on-leave, and pay the on-leave fee. Failure to do this may result in removal from the program, or in late registration fees.

The Department has no control over this process, and will recommend a waiver of late registration penalties only in the most unusual circumstances.

Applications for on-leave status must be accompanied by a memo from the student outlining the reasons for the request and acknowledging that they may not make significant use of university facilities including the library and consultations with their supervisor, and that they are ineligible for TA/TM positions and Graduate Fellowships.

The on-leave form must be signed by the student's Senior Supervisor as well as the Graduate Chair.


The following course grades are available to faculty teaching graduate seminars:
A+; A; A-; B+; B; B-; C (barely satisfactory) and (failure).

University regulations require that students maintain a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 (B). If a student's grade-point average falls below this level, she/he will be officially withdrawn from the program unless the Graduate Program Committee considers there to be valid mitigating circumstances.

In exceptional circumstances, a grade for a course may be deferred. The University deadline for clearing a deferral is the end of the following semester. However, the department deadline is the end of the third week of classes of the semester following the one in which the deferred course was taken.


The Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC) is comprised of two elected members from the graduate student body and three elected members of faculty and reports to the Department. Its mandate is to consider courses proposed for inclusion in the graduate curriculum, to consider which courses should be provided in any trimester, to advise the Chair of the Department in the assignment of teaching duties, and to undertake a continuing examination of the program and its purposes.


The faculty members of the Graduate Curriculum Committee form the Graduate Program Committee as provided for in the University Graduate Studies Program. This Committee is responsible for the admission of graduate applicants, the recommendation of fellowships and scholarships, the determination of the academic standing of graduate students, and the approval of field exams and supervisory committees. For the purposes of assessing doctoral applicants, the committee can request assessment by another faculty member in the applicant's area of specialization.


The English Graduate Association (E.G.A.), commonly called the English Graduate Caucus, represents the graduate students' immediate concerns surrounding social and academic issues. All graduate students are automatically members of E.G.A. and are encouraged to participate. The E.G.A. has a "buddy system" for incoming graduate students and provides each new student with a contact person to provide a more personal introduction to the workings of the department as well as the social concerns of those relocating to Vancouver.


The Graduate Issues Committee (GIC) is a branch of the Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS). GIC represents the broader concerns of graduate students in a university setting by lobbying the administration on such issues as tuition and funding levels, library, study space, and academic concerns.

GIC represents graduate students to the SFSS and offers the support of the SFSS to departmental graduate organizations.

GIC meetings are open to all graduate students and your participation is encouraged.


The Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU), Local 6 and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents Teaching Assistants, Tutor Markers, Sessional Instructors, Language Instructors and staff at SFU.

Membership is automatic, though you may withdraw from the union. The purpose of TSSU/CUPE is to negotiate collective agreements with the administration and to ensure fair and decent working conditions for its members. Read the collective agreement to understand the rights and obligations of your employment.

Please visit the TSSU Webpage for more information.