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

During the first two weeks (or six classroom hours) of the beginning of any graduate course, the instructor shall provide to each student a course syllabus which contains all of the required information outlined in Section 1.1 of the University's Academic Courses Policy on Class Delivery, Examinations, and Assessment of Student Learning.

Students shall also be provided with either a copy of, or the website link to, the Guidelines for Academic Conduct, Regulations on Student Academic Misconduct and the Guidelines for Student Appeals in Academic Matters.


Council regulations require the final examination in a graduate course to count for at least 30% of the final grade, unless an ‘Exam Exemption’ has been requested and approved by the CGPS.
To request an Exam Exemption on an existing course, complete GSR 400.4:  Exam Exemption for Existing Course form and submit it to the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee. Forms can be found on the CGPS website


Under exceptional circumstances, on recommendation of the academic unit, and with the approval of the course instructor and the Dean of CGPS or designate, a student may write a supplemental examination in a graduate or undergraduate course for which a passing grade was not obtained (see table in Section 5.8).

A student may write a deferred examination on recommendation of the course instructor, with the approval of the academic unit, and the Dean of CGPS or designate.

Supplemental and deferred exams must be approved by the Dean of CGPS, or a Dean’s Designate. The graduate program administrator contacts the unit’s assigned CGPS Advisor to make the request. The request must be accompanied by a written indication of support/approval from the course instructor, supervisor, and grad chair. Supplemental exam requests must include a rationale indicated extenuating circumstances. 


Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations are not required components of Master's programs. When a qualifying examination and/or a comprehensive examination is a required by the unit for a Master’s program, it must be an approved component of the degree requirements.

The Ph.D. Qualifying and/or Comprehensive Examination may be in written and/or oral form. Each academic unit shall establish and make available clear, written and specific regulations regarding the Qualifying and Comprehensive Examinations. 

The student's Advisory Committee shall inform the student in writing at least 60 days in advance that a Qualifying or Comprehensive Examination is to take place, and they shall provide in detail:

  1. The means of assessment to be used in evaluating the student's knowledge of the field,
  2. The relative grading weight of each means of assessment to be used, and
  3. The criteria on which assessment will be based.

The CGPS must always be advised of the results of a Qualifying or Comprehensive Examination on a pass/fail basis.

A student failing a Qualifying or Comprehensive Examination is permitted a second Examination with permission of the Dean of the CGPS or designate. A second failure automatically disqualifies the student from further work for that particular Ph.D. degree. This failure may be appealed to the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee on substantive or procedural grounds.

In all cases, unless the student and the CGPS are informed otherwise in advance, the Examining Board for all written and/or oral components of the Qualifying or Comprehensive Examination will be all members of the Advisory Committee.


The purpose of the Qualifying Examination, which should be completed in the first year of the student's program, is to satisfy the academic unit the student has the potential to obtain sufficient knowledge of the chosen general field of study to proceed toward candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The content of the examination shall fairly and reasonably reflect material which the student could be expected to know and understand in view of the prevalent and current norms of the discipline and the student's chosen area of research.

The Oral Examination (defence) for the award of the Master's degree at this or other recognized universities may, at the discretion of the academic unit and the CGPS, be accepted in lieu of the Qualifying Examination.


The purpose of the Comprehensive Examination is to determine whether the student has a mature and substantive grasp of the field as a whole.  Normally this examination is scheduled after the student has completed all course requirements and before beginning the doctoral research and thesis. The exam is on topics cognate to the candidate's field of research. A student passing the Comprehensive Examination is deemed a Ph.D. candidate.