6. Program Design

Last Revised June 2, 2021

Graduate Course:
A graduate course is the study of a particular topic, group of topics or area of specialization within a wider discipline/subject area, normally extending through one term or session, and can be one of the basic building blocks of qualification for a graduate degree.  Graduate courses are designed to meet substantive discipline graduate learning outcomes and normally utilize the student/instructor format.  Grades are assigned that contribute towards the student’s academic average; grades assess the level of mastery of the topic(s) or areas of specialization. 

A milestone is a learning activity that must be successfully completed in order to fulfill the requirements for the graduate degree. If grades are assigned, they do not contribute to the student’s academic average.

For information on course outlines click here.

In addition to the Academic Handbook, Examinations, Course Outlines Senate regulation linked above, graduate course outlines must include the following information:  
Graduate Course Level Learning Outcomes/Objectives  
Provide a list of course learning outcomes/objectives. Course learning outcomes/objectives should align with the graduate program’s learning outcomes. Contact your graduate chair/administrator, or SGPS, for a copy of the program learning outcomes. Ideally, students should be able to see how course learning outcomes/objectives are addressed through course requirements, activities and assessments.   

Course Timeline and Format  
Include an anticipated timeline of the content areas, or topics and/or other learning activities, covered over the course duration, as well as the format (face-to-face, online, hybrid) used to deliver the content. Instructors should make every effort to follow the stated timeline. Normally, instructors cannot change the format of instruction during the course.   

Enrollment Restrictions  
All course outlines must include one of the following two statements regarding enrollment restrictions:  

Enrollment in this course is restricted to graduate students in (Insert name of program(s)).   


Enrollment in this course is restricted to graduate students in (Insert name of program(s)), as well as any student that has obtained special permission to enroll in this course from the course instructor as well as the Graduate Chair (or equivalent) from the student’s home program.  

Health/Wellness Services  
All course outlines must contain the following statement:   

Students who are in emotional/mental distress should refer to Mental Health Support at https://www.uwo.ca/health/psych/index.html for a complete list of options about how to obtain help.  

Accessible Education Western (AEW)   
All course outlines must contain the following statement:   

Western is committed to achieving barrier-free accessibility for all its members, including graduate students. As part of this commitment, Western provides a variety of services devoted to promoting, advocating, and accommodating persons with disabilities in their respective graduate program.  
Graduate students with disabilities (for example, chronic illnesses, mental health conditions, mobility impairments) are strongly encouraged to register with Accessible Education Western (AEW), a confidential service designed to support graduate and undergraduate students through their academic program. With the appropriate documentation, the student will work with both AEW and their graduate programs (normally their Graduate Chair and/or Course instructor) to ensure that appropriate academic accommodations to program requirements are arranged.  These accommodations include individual counselling, alternative formatted literature, accessible campus transportation, learning strategy instruction, writing exams and assistive technology instruction. 

Graduate courses are numbered from 9000 to 9999.

All courses added or dropped by the student must be approved by the Graduate Chair of the student's program and by the Graduate Chair of the department offering the course (if the course is not from the student's program). Courses may not normally be added and dropped after the specified deadline dates.

Deadline dates for adding or dropping a course will normally be calculated according to the table below. A course that has been dropped by the last date specified for adding a course shall be expunged from the records. A course that has been dropped after the last date specified for adding a course but before the last date specified for dropping a course without academic penalty shall be recorded as "WDN". A course that has not been dropped in accordance with the above regulations and that has not been completed satisfactorily by the student shall be recorded as "F", failures.

Weight of Course Last Day to Add Last Day to Drop
0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 One month from the official beginning of the term in which the course begins Two months from the beginning of term in which the course begins
0.25 10 Business days 50% of the way through the course

The student must declare an intention to audit a graduate course by the enrolment deadline for the term, using the Graduate Course Audit Form. The student must have the instructor's signed approval to audit the course, as well as approval from the Supervisor (if applicable) and Graduate Chair. An Audit requires regular attendance and any other obligations as stated by the course instructor in the Comments/Expectations section of the Graduate Course Audit Form. If these requirements are not met, the audit will be removed from the student’s record at the instructor's request.

After the enrolment deadline, a student may not make a change from auditing a course to taking it for credit, or vice versa, within a given term. A student may, in a subsequent term, enroll in a given course for credit that has previously been audited.

Graduate courses delivered online may not be audited without special permission from the program.

When a course previously completed is repeated, both marks will appear on the official transcript, but only the last mark obtained is used for all academic purposes, even if it is lower than the previously obtained mark.

When a student does not complete work for a one-term half course or a two-term full course by the grade submission deadline, a grade of INC appears on the transcript. The INC will be changed to a grade if the work is completed by the grade submission deadline for the term following the one in which the INC was awarded. If a grade is not submitted by this deadline, the INC becomes a Failure.

A numerical grade submitted for an INC grade, or an F grade resulting from an INC, is final. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will not consider a subsequent revision of either grade except on documented medical or compassionate grounds.

The INC grade does not apply to full courses that are longer than two terms (in these courses the interim grade of IPR stands until the student completes the course).

Graduate Students may take undergraduate courses without additional charge only if needed for their degree requirements and with the approval of the Graduate Chair and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Graduate students taking undergraduate courses must follow the undergraduate regulations, as stipulated in the undergraduate calendar under 'add/drop deadlines'.

To register in an undergraduate course, you must use the Graduate Student Taking Undergraduate Course Form. Undergraduate courses, or combined courses in which undergraduate students predominate must be less than one-third of the student's total course requirement for the graduate degree. Graduate students may not take an undergraduate course at a Western-Affiliated University College (with the exception of programs whose home unit is an Affiliated University College).

All graduate courses with an enrolment of three or more students are subject to an evaluation designed by the program and completed by students. This evaluation should occur at the end of each offering of the course and should include elements that are designed to provide an evaluation of both the course and the effectiveness of the instructor. The results of such evaluations will be made available to the course instructor and the Chair or director of the instructor's home unit. Programs are encouraged to make the results of these evaluations available to students who might be considering taking the same course in the future.

At the time of the student's admission, a program may reduce its requirements if it is satisfied that the student has completed equivalent work that has not counted toward a previous degree.