Within the first year of registration in a graduate degree program, the Advisory Committee shall develop an individualized Program of Studies for all students.  For non-thesis students, the Graduate Chair or designate shall develop the Program of Studies.

The Program of Studies must be approved by the Graduate Chair and submitted to the CGPS for final approval.

When formally approved, the Program of Studies forms a contract between the University and the student such that successful completion of the noted courses and other requirements, passing required examinations and defence of the thesis/exhibition (if applicable) will result in the conferring of the diploma, certificate, or degree.

Changes in course work requirements, supervisor or committee membership, or a significant change in research area, require that a new Program of Studies be submitted to the CGPS.

Undergraduate courses credited towards a graduate program must be senior (300-400 level) courses, as determined by the College which offers the course. The maximum amounts of undergraduate course content allowed to be credited towards a graduate degree are:

  • Ph. D. – 0 credit units
  • Master’s program with ≤ 9 credit units – 0 credit units
  • Master’s program with 10 – 15 credit units – 3 credit units
  • Master’s program with > 15 credit units – 6 credit units
  • PGD – 12 credit units

An academic unit may, on a case-by-case basis, exceed the above guidelines if the Graduate Chair provides to the CGPS a memorandum of explanation which is accepted and approved.

The Program of Studies is entered into Degree Works by the academic unit.  

In Degree Works, there are a series of blocks.  The Planner Block is used to list all the course requirements that are not specific requirements to a program.  For example, if a program requires 3 credit units of Statistics, the specific Statistics course would be listed in the Planner Block. 

The Non-Course course program requirements are completed using the SHANCRS form in SiRIUS.  That is where requirements such as comprehensive exams and ethics approval are listed to display in Degree Works.

Advisory Committee Membership is listed in PAWS.


The Chair of the Advisory Committee, or Graduate Chair in the case of Postgraduate Diploma students, shall report to the Graduate Dean at least once annually on the progress of the student by completing the progress report.  Any report indicating unsatisfactory progress shall be referred to the Dean of CGPS for further action.  Prior to the final year of study, a Schedule for Completion must be developed by the student and advisory committee, and submitted in PAWS as a Progress Report.
Progress reports are submitted in PAWS by the academic unit. Students can view their own individual progress reports through PAWS.


Time in program is measured from the beginning of the first term of registration for work which is included in the Program of Studies (this may be course work done at U of S or elsewhere, thesis, project, or practicum), excluding any periods of approved leave.

Program time limits are five years for Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s programs, and six years for Ph.D. Where a student has been suspended from the program for one or more terms because of a penalty imposed through an academic dishonesty ruling, the period of suspension will not count as time in program, subject to University Council regulations on student discipline and appeals.


Time extensions may be granted to students who encounter problems while actively trying to finish their program. Employment is not a valid reason for an extension request. Students who have reached the time limit of the program without completing program requirements shall meet with their Advisory Committee. Requests for time extensions shall specifically address the question of why the Schedule for Completion was not followed. While on extension, policy regarding full-time status and payment of tuition and fees shall apply.

Thesis-based and project-based students who have reached or will soon reach the time limit of the program without completing program requirements, should meet with their supervisor to discuss a plan and timeline for completion, using the Request for Extension Discussion Guide. Once a plan has been drafted, it should be distributed to the advisory committee, and an advisory committee meeting should be scheduled to discuss, finalize, and approve the plan. The plan must also be approved by the program's Graduate Chair.

Approved plans must be submitted to the CGPS by a staff or faculty member from the student's academic unit via the Request for Extension to Time in Graduate Program eForm in the CGPS Service Desk

Course-based students, as well as project-based students who do not have a supervisor and committee, should meet directly with the Graduate Chair to discuss an extension and submit their request.

Only one extension request will be allowed per student, so it is important to plan accordingly and mutually commit to achieving the timelines submitted.  A request for extension to time in program may not exceed 8 terms for Master’s students, and 9 terms for Ph.D. students.

Examples of topics which should be discussed while developing the plan and timeline are:

  • Addressing challenges which have impeded the student’s progress and timely completion
  • Expectations for working together while on extension, for example:
    • How often the supervisor and student will meet
    • How often the committee will meet
    • Expectations surrounding communication, corrections, and feedback

The outcome of the meeting should be that a detailed, reasonable, achievable plan and timeline to completion is finalized and agreed upon by the student, supervisor, and committee.

Once your extension has been approved and processed by CGPS, you and the appropriate contacts in your academic unit will be notified via e-mail from the CGPS Service Desk.

Students who are on extension are responsible to continue maintaining continuous registration, and paying applicable tuition and fees.

Please note that any of the following may result in a request being returned:

  • Submission of an incomplete form
  • Insufficient detail/rationale provided in request for extension
  • Insufficient/unsatisfactory information for plan and timeline to completion


All program transfer requests must be made in writing to the CGPS. These requests must include both the written transfer request from the student, as well as the written approval of the academic unit receiving the transfer student. The Graduate Chair of the new program shall submit a new Program of Studies, and a new Advisory Committee must be established. Time in program starts from the first class credited towards the certificate, postgraduate diploma or degree sought.


Students admitted to a graduate program in one academic unit may transfer to another program at the same level in another academic unit. It is the student's responsibility to communicate with both academic units before any change is made. The student may not begin work in the new program until the transfer has been approved by the CGPS, and until the academic unit to which the student wishes to transfer has indicated formal approval and accepted the student.


With permission of the graduate chair, Master's students may transfer into an existing Postgraduate Diploma at any time during the program.

With permission of the graduate chair, Postgraduate Diploma students who were fully qualified as Master's candidates at the time of admission are eligible to transfer into a Master's program at any time.

With permission of the graduate chair, Postgraduate Diploma students who were not fully qualified as Master’s candidates at the time of admission to the Postgraduate Diploma are eligible to be recommended for transfer to a Master’s program provided the following condition is met:

  • The student has completed at least 9 credit units at the 800-level, and has achieved a minimum average of 70% and no grade below 60% in those 9 credit units.

Any recommendation to transfer from a postgraduate diploma to a master’s program shall be forwarded by the academic unit to the CGPS.  Maximum amounts of undergraduate course content eligible for credit within a Master’s degree shall be applicable to students transferring from a Postgraduate Diploma to a Master’s program.


With the approval of their Supervisor, Advisory Committee, and Graduate Chair, students may transfer from a program with thesis to one with project, or vice versa, where this option is available.


With the approval of their supervisor, Advisory Committee, and Graduate Chair, students may transfer from a Ph.D. program to a Master’s program with thesis or project. Requests for transfers should come from the academic unit by using the Graduate Student Transfers eForm in the CGPS Service Desk.

Students who have entered a Ph.D. program directly from a Bachelor’s degree who are unsuccessful in their qualifying exam or who do not meet the academic standing required for continuation in the program, will be given the opportunity to revert to the Master’s degree program in their field, and successful work done towards the Ph.D. degree will be credited towards the Master’s degree.


Transfer from a Master’s program to a Ph.D. program shall take place after the end of the first year and no later than the end of the second year in the program.

Recommendation for the transfer must be initiated through a formal meeting of the student's Advisory Committee, which shall forward its recommendation through the academic unit to the CGPS using the Graduate Student Transfers eForm in the CGPS Service Desk. The following conditions must be met:

  1. The student shows great promise both in terms of academic accomplishments and in potential for research.
  2. The student has completed at least 9 credit units at the 800-level, and has achieved a minimum average of 80% and no grade below 70%. 
  3. There is evidence of good writing and oral communication ability.
  4. There is evidence the student has requisite research skills and knowledge to be able to successfully complete a Ph.D. dissertation.
  5. The student has successfully completed the Ph.D. Qualifying Examination prior to being recommended for transfer. This examination for the purposes of transfer can only be taken once. A student failing the Qualifying Examination or any part thereof cannot be recommended for transfer.


The adequacy of the project or thesis is decided by an examining committee consisting of the Supervisor, other members of the Advisory Committee and other persons as appropriate. The thesis, project or publishable paper presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree must:

  1. Deal in an academically satisfactory way with a definite topic related to the major research field
  2. Demonstrate ability on the part of the candidate to do independent study and investigation
  3. Be written in good scholarly style and conform to the requirements of a style manual approved by the academic unit
  4. Comply in presentation features with specifications of the CGPS. Regulations regarding the preparation, submission, and examination of Master's and Ph.D. theses are published in the Catalogue.

A Ph.D. thesis, based upon original investigation, must demonstrate mature scholarship and critical judgment on the part of the candidate, as well as familiarity with tools and methods of research in the candidate's chosen research field.

Theses may be produced in either the traditional style or the ‘manuscript’ style, which consists of a manuscript, or cohesive series of manuscripts, written in a style suitable for publication in appropriate venues

Issues of copyright must be addressed should one or more of the manuscripts be accepted for publication or already in print.

All Master’s thesis students and Ph.D. students are required to submit their thesis or dissertation in electronic form.

Provision can be made for restricting access to a completed thesis for one year, with the possibility of up to two, one-year extensions. Access may be restricted completely, or allowable for only on-campus use.

Format guidelines and templates can be found on the Students website.

Academic units which require students to provide a bound copy of the thesis or dissertation must establish a written and published policy regarding the submission of bound copies for storage within the academic unit or the personal library of the supervisor.

Access restrictions must be requested in writing to the CGPS, and agreed to by both the student and the supervisor. Requests for extensions of the restrictions must be made well in advance of the release date.


All graduate students must fulfill the ethics requirements in accordance with policy 5.2. If students are conducting research with animals or humans, they must secure ethics approval from the appropriate ethics committee of the Office of Research Services.

The online graduate ethics course is GSR 960.0. Some students, depending on their program or course taken, may complete the graduate ethics course in a separate, facilitated session. For example, international students attending the GSR 981 will have access to a face-to-face facilitated version of the Graduate Ethics course.

For detailed information please refer to https://vpresearch.usask.ca/researchers/ethics1.php.


In addition to coursework, examinations and research, a student may be required to complete one or more non-credit safety courses.

Examples of possible required ‘safety’ courses are: Biosafety, Chemical Safety, Radiation Safety, Hazardous Waste Management/WHMIS, UCACS Education and Training Program (Animal Care) etc.