Revisions approved Sections 6, 6.1 (removed), 6.2 (renumbered to 6.1)
by CGPS Council January 19, 2024
Implementation January 19, 2024

Unless otherwise stated in the University Catalogue or University Council and college policy on examinations, all University procedures and regulations with regard to courses, examinations and academic performance apply to graduate courses.

Students should refer to the University's Academic Courses Policy on Class Delivery, Examinations, and Assessment of Student Learning.


In exceptional circumstances, a student may write a supplemental or deferred examination in a course for which a passing grade was not obtained (see table in Section 5.8). Requests for supplemental or deferred examinations must be approved by the course instructor and academic unit.

In November 2023, CGPS Faculty Council approved reframing the requirement for a comprehensive examination to a requirement for a doctoral candidacy assessment.  The assessment is to be completed within 24 months from the start of the PhD program to move from a PhD student to a PhD candidate. The policy change will come into effect May 1, 2024.
Revisions approved Sections 6.3 (renumbered to 6.2) by CGPS Council November 23, 2023 Implementation
Implementation May 1, 2024



To ensure that a student is sufficiently prepared to be successful in their doctoral research and dissertation a student must be able to demonstrate to their committee that they have:

  • an adequate grasp of the current state of knowledge in the intended field of research;
  • the potential ability to conduct advanced original research independently using relevant methodologies; and,
  • the ability to communicate in ways appropriate to the field of research and practice.

If applicable, the candidacy assessment may also evaluate a student’s capability to meet other knowledge or skill requirements set by the academic unit for the discipline.


The candidacy assessment will occur within 24 months of initial registration. For students who transfer from a master’s to a doctoral program, the assessment will occur within 36 months of initial registration.

The candidacy assessment is scheduled to occur after the student has completed all course requirements. After satisfying the candidacy assessment, the candidate’s focus will be on completing the doctoral research and dissertation.


The principles of equity, transparency, and consistency will guide the approach to candidacy assessment within academic units.

The format and substance of the work for the candidacy assessment should be designed, to the greatest extent possible, to become a useful constitutive and formative part of the candidate’s doctoral research and dissertation.

The doctoral candidacy assessment may be in written, oral, and/or experiential form, supporting diversity in disciplinary norms and innovation within programs. It may be administered at one time or as parts over time. Examples of formats include but are not limited to the preparation and communication of a dissertation research proposal or grant application; essays, papers, presentations, artistic works, or discussions focused on the state of knowledge in the student’s intended field of doctoral research.

Each academic unit will establish and make available clear, written, and specific procedures that explain the scope, format, timing and criteria for the assessment in the program's guidelines.

The student’s advisory committee must inform the student in writing at least 60 days in advance that a candidacy assessment is to take place, including the academic unit’s procedures as well as preparatory guidance and assessment details specific to the student. At the student’s request, and with the support of the advisory committee, the assessment may be scheduled earlier.

Unless the student and CGPS are informed otherwise in advance, the assessment committee for candidacy will be all members of the student’s advisory committee.


CGPS must always be advised of the results of the candidacy assessment on a satisfied/unsatisfactory basis, and the date when the assessment was completed.

A student who successfully completes the candidacy assessment is deemed a doctoral candidate (e.g., Ph.D. Candidate). The student’s official transcript will note the date when the candidacy assessment was satisfied.

A student who does not satisfy the requirements of their candidacy assessment is permitted a second attempt at the recommendation of the academic unit and with the permission of the Dean of CGPS or designate. A second unsatisfactory outcome will automatically result in a requirement to discontinue from that doctoral program.

An unsatisfactory candidacy assessment, and/or the denial of a second attempt at the candidacy assessment, may be appealed to the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee of CGPS on substantive grounds in accordance with Part IV of University Council’s Procedures for Student Appeals in Academic Matters, or on grounds other than substantive academic judgment limited to those outlined in Part V.B.1.