Identifying your program requirements
Program requirements vary across programs and disciplines. Requirements include courses, seminars, internships, practicums, and a thesis. It's important for you to become familiar with your program's requirements and document them in your Independent Development Plan.
You can find your program requirements by following the link and selecting the name of your program. Your program requirements page will instruct you on the number of courses, required courses, and permitted electives you can choose from in your program.
Interpreting your program requirements
Something important to keep in mind is that every college, program, and discipline has a different history, traditions, and program requirements. As such, different requirements may use slightly different language (e.g., complete dissertation and successful oral thesis defence vs thesis defence).
Program requirements can be:
- Directed Research
- Comprehensive Exam
- Thesis 994/Dissertation 996
Unless otherwise specified by a special program/tuition structure, all graduate degree students must be continuously registered every term throughout their program. There are three terms in the graduate student academic year you are required to register in (Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer).
Courses fall under two main categories required and electives. Required courses are specific mandatory courses that are required in order to apply to graduate from your program. Elective courses allow you to choose within a specific discipline or any graduate course as outlined in your program requirements.
Courses offered over a single term are worth 3 credit units, whereas courses running over two consecutive terms (September to April) are worth 6 credit units. Some courses will require a prerequisite course - meaning the latter course will require completion of an earlier course (the prerequisite) before you can enroll in the latter course.
Planning your program route
When planning your program make sure you are completing the necessary required zero credit classes (990.0, 960.0, 996.0) alongside your credit program requirements and elective courses. On top of your seminar coursework, you should be registered in one to three for-credit courses. Thesis and doctoral students must be registered for their research course every term.
Short ethics courses (required once)
- GPS 960.0 Introduction to Ethics and Integrity - Required in your first term
- GPS 961.0 Ethics and Integrity in Human Research, if research involves human subjects
- GPS 962.0 Ethics and Integrity in Animal Research, if research involves animal subjects
Program seminar course (required every Fall/Winter term)
- Every term you will be required to register and participate in your program 990.0 seminar. The content and structure of the seminar vary across programs and disciplines.
Research course (required every Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer term) - 996.0 (PhD), 994.0 (Master's Thesis), 992.0 (Master's Project)
Required & Elective Courses
- Check your program requirements page for program-specific required courses and elective courses
- For some programs, courses will be decided upon in consultation with your advisory committee
- Qualifying exam
- Comprehensive exam (comps)
- Complete your dissertation and successfully orally defend the thesis
If you are uncertain of what you should be registering in or have questions about a unique program requirement, reach out to the administrator or Graduate Chair in your academic unit for assistance.
Now it's time to record what courses you are planning to complete and when. Remember to talk to your department if any courses are offered on a limited basis (e.g. only every 3rd year for some), you will want to complete these classes when offered to avoid program delays.
Complete degree before the deadline
Your time limit for your degrees starts with the first term of registration – make sure you’re within your time limit!
- Postgraduate Diploma and Master's degree students have five (5) years to complete their degree.
- Ph.D. students have six (6) years to complete.
- If you transfer from a Master’s to a PhD, you must remember that your timeline will continue from the start of your Master’s degree to a maximum of six (6) years.
In extenuating circumstances, an extension to the time in the program may be available. If you think you may need an extension, speak with your supervisor or the Graduate Chair in your academic unit. More information about extensions to time in the program, and how to apply for them.
Monitoring your program progress
As soon as possible following a student's first registration in a program, an advisory committee, including a research supervisor, should be named. It is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee to advise students appropriately to ensure progress is made toward the completion of their degree.
During the Spring/Summer months of every academic year, graduate students are required to submit annual progress reports to their department. Your grad admin will reach out to you with further instructions around this time.
USask has an in-house tool to help you monitor up-to-date academic progress toward the completion of your degree called Degree Works
- Check progress towards your degree with a listing of classes completed and classes required
- Explore what course requirements would be needed if you changed your program
- Devise a long-term plan for degree completion to ensure the courses you plan to take in future terms will fulfill your degree requirements
- Explore your progress with future courses included
- Check your average
Completing your program and successfully convocating
In order to be eligible to graduate and participate in convocation, you must first:
- Have met all program requirements within timelines;
- Have the thesis (if applicable) successfully completed and defended and necessary documentation electronically submitted (ETD) prior to the stated deadline listed in the Academic Calendar;
- Be registered in the term in which program requirements were completed, including the defence and completion of necessary revisions to the thesis (if applicable);
- Ensure all outstanding fees are paid to the University.
- Apply to graduate
- Make sure your personal info is up-to-date and prepare for convocation (order gown and tickets, etc.)
6. Optional Program Components
Early in mapping, your independent development plan considers if International Experiences are desirable components of your graduate student experience.
Within your graduate program at USask, you can participate outside of Canada in various areas including exchange programs, teaching abroad, research abroad, or other internships and practical training opportunity. Identifying this route early on can help match timelines between these opportunities and your program timelines. Connect with the International Student and Study Abroad Centre to discover what is possible in your program.
Take your learning outside the classroom through practicum and internship opportunities. Certain programs have applied learning opportunities built into their program, check your program requirements for more information.
Whether your program has a built-in practicum/internship component or not, graduate students can partner with local organizations for applied learning opportunities through various Mitacs Programs. To learn more ask your supervisor or reach out to the Mitacs program directly.