On May 13th, 2013, the Graduate Faculty approved the learning outcomes stated herein as providing the necessary minimal conditions for a successful graduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan. These outcomes embody a required set of achievements and capabilities for graduates of a graduate program at the University of Saskatchewan, but specific programs may expect further (additional or more advanced) outcomes at their discretion and upon approval by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.


Post-Graduate Diplomas are designed to provide graduate-level instruction and knowledge to those having a prior undergraduate-level of understanding in that field of study. As such, the programs are designed to provide a well-rounded knowledge of the chosen field, and to facilitate the practical application of that knowledge. They are diplomas, aiming to cultivate and encourage expertise and practice within a professional credential. P.G.D. programs require an applicant to have competence in the field of study, including at minimum a specialized bachelor’s degree and an average of 65% over the last two years of study. Some departments and professional colleges may require professional experience and credit for particular undergraduate courses related to the proposed program. A P.G.D. program consists of 30 credit units of course work.


The Postgraduate Degree Specialization Certificate program is designed for practitioners in the field of study who already possess a graduate degree. The P.G.D.S.C. aims to provide participants with advanced knowledge and skills at the forefront of a field of study based on a thorough understanding of both effective practices within the field of study and the theory behind those practices. As a requirement for admission, a P.G.D.S.C requires a recognized Master’s or Doctoral degree in a relevant field of study, with a 70% average for coursework completed within that degree, as well as a background in a profession associated with that field of study.


Students admitted to a Master’s program will have completed an undergraduate degree and will have demonstrated excellence in a particular field of study. Each Master’s program will introduce students to advanced levels of research and scholarship within a related field of study. These degrees are at least one full year in length, and should be able to be completed within two years. Master’s programs are designed such that graduates will have learned about the value of and gained experience in conducting research, and they will be conversant in the current state of a given field of study. Some Master’s graduates pursue further study at a doctoral level, and the experiences and knowledge gained during the Master degree are often important elements in eligibility for admission to a doctoral program. Others pursue a Master’s degree as an end in itself.

Master’s degrees generally are either research- or professionally-oriented. Research-oriented Master’s degrees aim to produce graduates who have a good understanding of the current issues in their chosen field of study, and who have the skills to engage in critical evaluation and research within that field. These graduates have skills that are transferable to positions of leadership and responsibility in society at large. Graduates of research-oriented Master’s degrees are prepared for doctoral training as academic professionals within that discipline.

Professionally-oriented Master’s degrees seek to produce graduates with a good understanding of current issues and methods in their chosen discipline, who are capable of applying this understanding in practical or professional contexts. Professional degrees are less focused on preparing students for further study at a doctoral level.

Master’s programs are designed in one of three general forms: course-based, thesis-based, or project-based. A thesis-based program requires the defense of a thesis on a subject that allows the student to make some contribution to knowledge within the discipline, as well as related scholastic activities, including a number of courses. A thesis-based degree will prepare a graduate for further research in the field of study, and serves to equip a graduate to make contributions to knowledge within a field of study. A thesis-based Master’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan will require the completion of at least 9 credit units of graduate course work.

A project-based Master’s program can serve the needs of students who wish to obtain advanced knowledge in a specialized field, but who do not require traditional research training. The project (which could be a publishable paper) is usually smaller in scope than a thesis, and is expected to be completed in 4-6 months. A project-based Master’s program includes a minimum of 24 credit units of course work, and may include up to 30 credit units of course work. A minimum of 18 credit units of that work must be at the graduate level - some programs may require that more (or all) courses be at the graduate level. The project portion of the program is generally worth between 0 and 6 credit units, depending on the program.

A course-based Master’s degree provides graduates with a broader background in the field of study, with a much greater dependence on coursework. Aside from the research activities embedded within the coursework, the program has few activities specifically dedicated to conducting research or reporting results. Compared to the thesis-based and project-based programs, there is less focus on preparing a student to conduct independent study and research. A course-based Master’s program includes at least 30 credit units of course work with at least 24 credit units completed at the graduate level.


Graduates of doctoral programs will demonstrate exceptional aptitude within an area of study (often having completed a master’s degree prior to admission) and will operate at a professional level either within the academic profession, or in related, applied contexts. Doctoral programs will cultivate a thorough understanding of the subject matter, autonomy, creativity, sound judgment skills, ethical maturity and academic integrity, exceptional written and oral communication skills, and analytic thinking skills. Doctoral programs may require varying amounts of coursework; written and/or oral exams in relevant or essential aspects of the discipline; an internship; and satisfactory defense of an original contribution to knowledge presented in the form of a dissertation or acceptable substitute at a level commensurate with professional work in the area of study. A doctoral program is expected to be able to be completed in four years.