Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

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The student will be withdrawn at the end of his or her maximum registration time limit unless the Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) has approved an extension.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

*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:

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.

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:

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.

Duration and Timing of Leave of Absence

Normally, on the recommendation of the Graduate Program, a leave of absence is granted to a maximum of three terms or 12 months. To take into account the leave of absence 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.

Normally, the leave will coincide with the start and end of terms; however, the start and finish of a leave of absence may begin or end at any point in the term. Students who begin a leave mid-term are advised to consult with their graduate program to make arrangements, especially if taking courses during this period. It is also advisable to consult with the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Graduate Student and Supervisor Expectations

Students who are on a leave of absence are not recognized as active students and therefore are not covered by University liability insurances. They are expected to be away from normal graduate student activities, including research, writing, coursework, lab work and studying. Moreover, because of liability issues, students do not have approval to partake in various activities while on leave; for example, data collection, conferences, and any other University sponsored event.

Neither supervision nor student progress is expected while a student is on a leave of absence. If both student and supervisor are willing, ongoing communication may be negotiated. Students may not submit their thesis while on a leave of absence.

Applying for a Leave of Absence

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 for final approval.

While on leave, students will not be required to pay tuition and ancillary fees because they are not actively registered with the University.

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.

 Financial Benefits:

Service Benefits:

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:

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.