4. Registration

A candidate whose application for admission has been approved by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must register in the term indicated on the "Offer of Admission". In exceptional circumstances, registration may be deferred for one term, with approval of the program and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The candidate should consult the appropriate program for details about registration.

To be registered graduate students must pay or make arrangements to pay all fees by the established deadline each term (see Office of the Registrar - Fees Refunds).

a) Continuous Registration
Graduate students must maintain continuous registration in the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies in each successive term from initial registration until all requirements for the degree are completed.

b) Maximum Registration Period
The maximum registration period for completing a Master's degree is three calendar years from initial registration and, in the case of a Doctoral degree, six calendar years from initial registration. For students who transfer from a Master's program to a Doctoral program without completing the Master's program, a maximum of seven calendar years from the initial registration in the Master's program will be given to complete the Doctoral degree. For students admitted part-time to an approved part-time Master's program, the maximum registration period is four years.

The student will be withdrawn at the end of his or her maximum registration time limit unless the Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) has approved an extension.

a) Full-Time Student

To be registered as a full-time student according to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skill Development, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • be pursuing graduate studies as a full-time occupation.
  • be geographically available and visit the campus regularly. It is understood that a graduate student may be absent from the University while visiting libraries, attending a graduate course at another institution, doing field work and the like. Normally, if such periods of absence exceed four weeks in any term, the student must obtain written approval from the program Graduate Chair and the Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies).
  • be considered a full-time* graduate student by the graduate program.
  • must have paid, or made arrangements to pay, full-time tuition fees.
  • should not be employed on campus for more than an average of ten hours per week in any term*.

*Full-time graduate students are expected to pursue their graduate degree on a full-time basis and make satisfactory progress toward timely completion of all program requirements. It is not possible, or desirable, for the university to monitor and enforce the employment activities of its graduate students outside the university. However, it is both possible and desirable for the university to ensure that it does not itself create a structural situation that jeopardizes the ability of the graduate student to make full-time progress towards the completion of graduate program requirements. Accordingly, OCGS is committed to the principle that full-time graduate students are employed no more than an average of 10 hours per week on campus.

(from Ontario Council on Graduate Studies, 2017, Principles for Graduate Study at Ontario’s Universities, Resolution 5: “The Principlie on Timely Completion.”)

b) Part-Time Student in Approved Part-Time Program

Students may be admitted as part-time students in approved part-time programs (listed below) as stipulated in the program's regulations.  During the course of study, and with the approval of the program and SGPS, such a part-time registrant may be approved to register as a full-time student; he or she may then register as a part-time student at a later date by meeting the requirements as stipulated in (c) below.  Students who begin as full-time students in programs that have an approved part-time course of study may only change to part-time registration as stipulated in (c) below.

Students registered part-time may take no more than two courses in a term.  Undergraduate courses taken as extra courses or as degree requirements are to be included in the totals above.

Students can enroll part-time in the following established part-time programs:

  • Computer Science M.Sc.
  • Education M.Ed.
  • Engineering Sciences M.Eng.
  • Epidemiology and Biostatistics M.Sc.
  • Family Medicine M.Cl.Sc. & Ph.D.
  • Law LL.M
  • Library and Information Science, M.L.I.S.
  • Media Studies M.A.
  • Music M.Mus. (Music Education)
  • Nursing M.Sc.
  • Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)
  • Pathology M.Sc. & Ph.D.
  • Public Administration M.P.A.
  • Social Work, MSW (King's University College)
  • Theology M.A. (Huron University College)

c) Part-Time Students in Full-Time Programs

Part-time registration in full-time programs may be granted in exceptional circumstances and only with the approval of both the Graduate Program and the Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies). Examples of such circumstances are: admission to another full-time university program or medical or compassionate circumstances that make it impossible for the student to continue to devote full-time attention to his or her program of study. Supporting documentation must be submitted with the request for part-time status.

Part-time status is not to be used as a means for reducing or avoiding tuition fees.  Being beyond the funding eligibility period will not, by itself, constitute grounds for a change from full-time to part-time status. Part-time status may be granted for up to a cumulative total of three terms.

Students registered part-time may take no more than two courses in a term.  Undergraduate courses taken as extra courses or as degree requirements are to be included in the totals above.

d) Thesis Defense Only Student

The purpose of this status is to allow a student who: a) has completed all program requirements (including thesis submission), but b) has not been able to defend his/her thesis before the end of term, to register at the University in the subsequent term without paying tuition fees. Thesis Defense Only registration (TDO) can be held for only one term.

  • This registration category will not require payment of tuition fees; however, students will be required to pay part-time ancillary fees.
  • In order to be considered for TDO status students must upload their thesis electronically.
  • TDO status will be granted to those students who have submitted a thesis by the final official day of term, but have not been able to secure an examination board and/or examination date that falls beforethe end of the term.
  • Programs are required to inform SGPS as soon as possible (and in any case no less than 10 working days before the last working day of the term) when a thesis examination will need to be scheduled into the subsequent term.
  • The thesis examination must be successfully completed, all required revisions done, and the final thesis submitted to SGPS prior to the end of the TDO term. A student who does not meet these conditions will be required to pay part-time tuition for the TDO term and will continue to be registered until the final thesis is submitted.
  • TDO applies only to students in programs that have a thesis requirement.
  • A student will be given TDO status for no more than one term.
  • When the thesis examination is unsuccessful at either the preliminary or examination stages, the student will not have met the TDO conditions and will be required to pay part-time tuition and fees for the TDO term.

e) Non-degree Part-time Student

Non-degree part-time students must meet normal admission requirements. If a student in this category is subsequently admitted to a degree program, no more than 20% of the course requirements for the degree may be credited from courses taken while a non-degree student. Non-degree part-time students are not required to maintain continuous registration. For each term in which they are registered, however, they must inform their Graduate Chair before the start of the next term whether they plan to take courses during that term or whether they plan to withdraw. Without withdrawal, they will receive a tuition bill for the following term, as if they were in a degree program. Once withdrawn, they must apply for readmission to resume their non-degree part-time studies. In such cases, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies waives the readmission fee.

f) Concurrent Degree Student

Students in the following programs will be registered in both programs and are eligible to receive degrees in each:

  • MD-Ph.D.
  • MBA-LLB in Business and Law

Programs may allow students to transfer their registration from the Master's to the Doctoral degree within the same program, without completion of the Master's degree. The Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) will consider such requests on the recommendation of the student's program.

Transfers from the Master's to the Doctoral program must take place before the sixth term of Master's registration, unless the program's OCGS-approved provisions state otherwise.

The Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) may grant a leave of absence for pregnancy/parental, medical or compassionate grounds normally to a maximum of three terms or 12 months, on the recommendation of the Graduate Program.

While on leave, students are expected to be away from normal activities as graduate students (e.g. attending classes, conducting research). However, students and supervisors may negotiate ongoing communication during this period.

The start and finish of the leave may begin or end at any point in the term; normally the leave will coincide with the start and end of terms. Students are advised to consult with their graduate program to make special arrangements especially if taking courses during this period.

The date for degree completion and funding of the degree program will be extended by the duration of the time taken on leave, i.e. one, two or three terms as appropriate.

a) Pregnancy and/or Parental Leave

Pregnancy/Parental Leave is intended to recognize the need for leave at the time of pregnancy, birth or adoption, and to permit a pause in studies in order to provide full-time care in the first year of parenting a new child. Either parent may request up to three terms of leave, which must be started within twelve months of the date of birth or custody.

Provided the student has been a registered full-time graduate student for at least one term and is not receiving additional Tri-Agency benefits, they are entitled to a $1,500 pregnancy and parental bursary per leave.

During a Pregnancy/Parental leave international students can opt into UHIP for up to 12 months.

b) Medical

Graduate students may apply for a medical leave by providing a Medical Certificate completed by a health care practitioner.

During a Medical leave international students can opt into UHIP for up to 4 months.

c) Compassionate

Graduate students may apply for a compassionate leave for care and support of a seriously ill family member. This leave is not intended to cover circumstances related to travel, employment or other financial concerns.

During a Compassionate leave international students are not entitled to opt into UHIP.

Students may apply for a leave of absence by completing an online request via the Graduate Student Web Services Portal. The request is then reviewed by the graduate program. If approved by the program, it is reviewed by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Once on leave, students are not registered with the University nor will they be required to pay tuition and ancillary fees for this period; however, they are entitled to receive/maintain certain benefits as described below.

Financial Benefits:

  • Graduate students may qualify for pregnancy/parental benefits such as paid pregnancy/parental leave or sick leave if they are employed as Graduate Teaching Assistants; consult the GTA Collective Agreement for further information.
  • Graduate Students who are awarded funding through an external agency e.g. Tri-Agency (Research Grant or External Scholarship), OGS etc. may be entitled to certain benefits and should check with the particular granting agency for further information.

Service Benefits:

  • Graduate students while on leave may opt into the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) health plan which includes coverage of prescription drugs, as well as basic dental care and vision coverage.
  • Graduate students while on leave may opt into Campus Recreation Services.
  • Graduate students will retain email and library privileges.
  • Student Health Services are available to those on leave.

Withdrawal from a program can occur in two ways. A student can voluntarily withdraw, following formal notification to the program. Alternatively, the program or SGPS can withdraw a student for failure to meet admission conditions, progression requirements, specified deadlines for completion, or failure to pay fees. Once withdrawn from a program (and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies), the person withdrawn is no longer a student and may not attend classes, receive supervision, or have access to any resources of the University.

Students who have voluntarily withdrawn or who have been withdrawn and wish to complete their program must formally re-apply for admission. Credit for previous work completed must be approved by the program and SGPS.

Students who are withdrawn for non-payment of fees will be considered for admission under the following payment conditions:

  • Any student who has withdrawn or has been withdrawn may be required to pay fees for the terms in which registration has lapsed if admitted.
  • Payment of all fees owing at the time of withdrawal including all penalty fees incurred as a result of the default
  • Prepayment of full fees for the term in which admission is sought
  • These payments must be money order, cash, direct debit, or certified cheque

Fee refunds will be made on a pro rata basis to students who have completed all of their degree requirements, withdraw, or are required to withdraw before the end of a term. Detailed information on graduate tuition refunds is available on the Office of the Registrar's Website.

Scholarships received from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are also subject to pro-rating. Contact the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for details.

Full-time graduate students are expected to be active in the program for all three terms of the university year, as specified in Section 4.03. In addition to statutory holidays (see Sessional Dates) and the week-long closing of the University from late December until early January, normal vacation entitlement is two weeks of vacation during the year, to be scheduled by mutual agreement between graduate student and advisor or supervisor or graduate chair, as appropriate.

Effective January 2013, all incoming graduate students are required to complete the SGPS Academic Integrity module in order to progress beyond the first term of their degree.

This short module is designed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and resources to abide by academic principles during your graduate career and to help combat scholastic offenses.  When finished with the course, students are required to complete a 10-question test designed to evaluate their knowledge of academic integrity. Students have an unlimited amount of opportunities to pass the module, and failure to do so will prevent the student from progressing beyond the first term of their degree.

Eligible students can access the module in the Graduate Student Web Services Portal. Instructions regarding access and how to complete the quiz will be emailed to students the first week of their first term.