Program Stages


Pre-Arrival Phase  Program Phase Program Completion
Application Submission
Admissions Offer 
Accept Offer 
Plan Your Program
Locate Funding

Coursework Started
Form Advisory Committee 
Coursework Completed
Thesis Proposal
Data Collection 
Data Analysis 
Exam (PhD Only)

Manuscript Writing 
Thesis Requirements
Feedback From Committee
Thesis Defence
Application to Convocation 
Dissertation Submitted



Pre-Arrival Phase  Program Phase Program Completion
Application Submission
Admissions Offer 
Accept Offer 
Plan Your Program
Locate Funding

Coursework Started
Manuscript Writing
Coursework Completed

Capstone Paper
Application to Convocation 



Pre-Arrival Phase  Program Phase Program Completion
Application Submission
Admissions Offer 
Accept Offer 
Plan Your Program
Locate Funding

Coursework Started
Manuscript Writing
Coursework Completed

Capstone Project
Application to Convocation 


Program Requirements

While each program differs in what your program requires - we know that successful completion of your grad degree will put you on a path to land the most in-demand jobs. Find your program requirements.

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).

Register for your 990's every term.

Something important to keep in mind is that every college, program, and discipline has different histories, 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). Some courses will have a prerequisite - meaning you need to complete the course with the prerequisite before the 'requirement' can be completed. 

Required Coursework for all Graduate Students

  • 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
  • 990.0 Seminar  - often you will have a seminar class
  • 996 (PhD), 994 (Master's Thesis), 992 (Master's Project) - Research Course 
  • If you are project-based, you will also pull in fieldwork
  • Plus any other 800-level coursework required by your program, or that your committee advises

For PhDs

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 its time to record what courses you are planning to complete when. Remember to talk to your department if any courses are offered on limited basis (e.g. only every 3rd year for some), you will want to complete these classes as soon as possible.

Complete degree before deadline

Your time limit for your degrees starts with the first first term of registration – make sure you’re within your time limit!

  • Postgraduate Diploma and Master 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 time in 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 program, and how to apply for them.

As soon as possible following a student's first registration in a program, an advisory committee, including research supervisor, should be named.  

It is the responsibility of the Advisory Committee to advise students appropriately to ensure progress is made toward completion of their degree.

USask has in 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

In order to be eligible to graduate and participate in convocation, you must first:

  1. Have met all program requirements within timelines;
  2. 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;
  3. Be registered in the term in which program requirements were completed, including the defence and completion of necessary revisions to the thesis (if applicable);
  4. Ensure all outstanding fees are paid to the University.
  5. Apply to graduate
  6. Make sure your personal info is up-to-date and prepare for convocation (order gown and tickets, etc.)

Progress Delays

Students may switch between a thesis, capstone, or course-based option within their program1 if a student is able to meet the below criteria:

  • Student received approval from their Supervisor, Advisory Committee, and Graduate Chair,
1 An important note, students may transfer from a program with thesis to one with project, or vice versa, only where this option is available. For example, some program do not allow a course-based option.

Transferring to another Graduate Program/Department requires:

  • Submitting your transfer request in writing to the CGPS
  • Written statement from department approving transfer into academic unit 
  • A new Program of Studies submitted from your new Graduate Chair, as well as a new Advisory Committee must be established
  • You transfer is now complete2

2 Your 'time in program' will start from the first class credited towards the certificate, postgraduate diploma or degree sought.

Disruptions happen. To work through a solution talk to your supervisor, your grad chair, consult your committee and talk to the CGPS!

General Requirements

All graduate students
  • Be aware of all program requirement and ask questions on requirements unclear to you. Your responsibility to manage your thesis, capstone papers, and program progress;
  • Conform to institutional, discipline and graduate program requirements, including those related to deadlines, thesis or citation style, 
  • Maintain registration in all three terms annually throughout your program duration (unless otherwise specified by your program),
  • Ensure your study permit documents are kept up-to date (International students),
  • Show dedicated efforts to participate in creating an educational affirming environment for all,
  • Check your PAWS email regularly and read for important information and updates,
  • Conduct oneself in alignment with USask's, CGPS's, College's, and Program's policies.

Thesis focused:

  • Alongside your supervisor, you need to develop a plan to approach your thesis and adhere to the outlined plan to program completion. 
  • Complete the Student-Supervisor Agreement.
  • Meet regularly with your supervisor and provide the necessary information.
  • Ensure you meet with your supervisory committee at least once a year.

At the University of Saskatchewan, academic integrity and honesty are expected of every student in class participation, examinations, assignments, research, practica and other academic work. Students must complete their academic work independently unless specifically instructed otherwise. The degree of permitted collaboration with or assistance from others should be specified by the instructor.

The university also will not tolerate student misconduct in non-academic interactions where this misconduct disrupts any activities of the university or harms the interests of members of the university community.

Academic integrity is a critical value and policy that you need to orient yourself with. We encourage all students to check out the below library resource and the Lab HUB Academic Integrity Module.

When you earn a graduate degree from a program the institution is supporting that the student can perform at a certain performance level. As such, most programs have a residency requirement, meaning you are required to complete the majority of course work for your degree from your graduate department.

Review your program requirements to identify the required courses to take. Check to so see if the course requires additional courses within the program or open electives. Remember before enrolling in the course, all electives require approval from your supervisor and program administrator. If planning you are planning to take courses from another instituion to fulfill an elective requirement, begin the process early as it can be long.  

It is your responsibility to stay up to date on your required deadlines. Remember your deadlines can shift slightly from year to year, so make sure to stay on top of the below five deadlines every year:

  1. Registration date in PAWS 
  2. Course registration deadline
  3. Course withdrawal deadline
  4. Payment due dates 
  5. Graduation Application Deadlines *towards program completion

Stay up to date on various deadlines through the institutions' Academic Calendar.



Students are provided annual program progress reports from their departments that the student is required to complete. Every department handles this process differently. Typically, course-based programs do not require submitting a report as students reports are always digitally up to date. However, thesis students will often need to document progress made towards their thesis/dissertation project. The reports can include other details such as new publication/presentations or number of advisory committee meetings. These reports are delivered back to your graduate department, which are then collected and submitted to the CGPS.

Course Requirements

The syllabus is a document that outlines all information required to that instructors' offering of that university course. Each course syllabus is unique to the connect course and includes the course name, description, location, course activities, and assignments. The syllabus is a contract between you and your instructor and cannot be changed after the course starts unless the entire class agrees.

Rubrics are assignment guides that indicate grading allocations to different section of an assignments requirements. Not all instructors use these.

What your grades mean. Relationship between Literal Descriptor and Percentage Score

Percentage Literal Descriptor Description
90-100 Exceptional

A superior performance with consistent strong evidence of:

  • a comprehensive, incisive grasp of subject matter;
  • an ability to make insightful critical evaluation of information;
  • an exceptional capacity for original, creative and/or logical thinking;
  • an exceptional ability to organize, to analyze, to synthesize, to integrate ideas, and to express thoughts fluently;
  • an exceptional ability to analyze and solve difficult problems related to subject matter
80-89 Very Good to Excellent

A very good to excellent performance with strong evidence of:

  • a comprehensive grasp of subject matter;
  •  an ability to make sound critical evaluation of information;
  •  a very good to excellent capacity for original, creative and/or logical thinking;
  • a very good to excellent ability to organize, to analyze, to synthesize, to integrate ideas, and to express thoughts fluently;
  • a very good to excellent ability to analyze and solve difficult problems related to subject matter
70-79 Satisfactory to Good

A satisfactory to good performance with evidence of:

  • a substantial knowledge of subject matter;
  • a satisfactory to good understanding of the relevant issues and satisfactory to good familiarity with the relevant literature and technology;
  • satisfactory to good capacity for logical thinking;
  • some capacity for original and creative thinking;
  • a satisfactory to good ability to organize, to analyze, and to examine the subject matter in a critical and constructive manner;
  • a satisfactory to good ability to analyze and solve moderately difficult problems related to the subject matter


(Failure for a Phd)

A generally weak performance, but with some evidence of:

  • a basic grasp of the subject matter;
  • some understanding of the basic issues;
  • some familiarity with the relevant literature & techniques;
  • some ability to develop solutions to moderately difficult problems related to the subject matter;
  • some ability to examine the material in a critical & analytical manner
<60 Failure
  • An unacceptable performance

 Passing Grades

The standards below are the minimum acceptable grades for passing a graduate course. Individual academic units may establish a higher standard through a formal application process to the CGPS.

PGD Master's Ph. D.
Undergraduate Class 60% 70% None allowed
Graduate Class 60% 60% 70%
Cumulative overall average needed 65% 70% 70%

Checking Your Grades

Make sure to check out the grading system guide for instructions on how to interpret all language on your transcripts.