Master's Degree by Coursework


Admission to a master’s degree program as a regular student is granted, on the recommendation of the department concerned, to:

  • the holder of an honours baccalaureate or its equivalent, as set out in the Admission Requirements of the specific program; or
  • a student who has satisfied the requirements for transfer from the provisional student category.

Individual programs may have additional admission requirements. Before applying, applicants are responsible for consulting the specific program in this calendar regarding such requirements.

Minimum Duration

At least two semesters of full-time study must be devoted to the master’s degree program if the student is admitted as a regular student. However, some programs may require a longer minimum duration period. A student admitted as a provisional student requiring two semesters in that category, must spend at least one additional semester as a regular full-time student. For a student registered part-time, the minimum duration period is four part-time semesters.


Normally, the program must be completed within six semesters (see Program Duration Policy). However, some programs may require completion of degree requirements within a briefer time period.


The student's program is established and progress kept under review by the academic unit in which the student is enrolled (see Enrolment and Registration). The day-to-day responsibility will rest with the Advisor, who will be the Graduate Program Coordinator by default unless otherwise established. Individual programs may require that students have an Advisory Committee, which will consist of at least one graduate faculty member in addition to the Advisor. In such cases, the Advisory Committee must be established and the Advisory Committee Appointment form submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies no later than the 20th class day of the student's second registered semester.


A master’s degree by coursework at the University of Guelph requires that students demonstrate a reasonable mastery of a concentrated area/field of study. This is shown by the achievement of satisfactory standings in courses, as determined by the program.

Prescribed Studies

The number of course credits will not be fewer than 3.5. The prescribed studies will include coursework that has research components, such as research papers, to develop the student's analytic, interpretive and communication skills. In some programs, a major essay, practicum or research paper accounts for 0.5 or 1.0 of the total credits required. A maximum of 1/3 of the credits may be taken from senior undergraduate courses. The student must obtain an overall weighted average grade of at least ‘B-' in the prescribed courses (see Establishment of Program and Prescribed Studies).

Individual programs may require more than 3.5 graduate course credits and/or may allow fewer than 1/3 senior undergraduate courses. Students are responsible for consulting the specific program in this calendar regarding any such requirements.

Additional Courses

In addition to the prescribed studies students may take ancillary courses that support the specific discipline. These courses may be at either the undergraduate or the graduate level.

Major Research Project or Paper

A Major Research Project or Paper (MRP) normally demonstrates a synthesis, application, and effective communication of knowledge acquired across graduate level courses through the discussion of a meaningful question or application within the area/field of study. MRPs might include a critical review of the literature, analysis of a theoretical or substantive problem, and/or production of a tool or set of resources for community/industry use.

A course outline provided to the student at the outset of MRP work should clearly define expectations of achievement and the methods and criteria used in establishing final grades for the MRP course. MRPs may involve mentorship by/partnership with external (community, industry) experts. All evaluations will be completed by a member of the graduate faculty, and at least two graduate faculty members will contribute to the assessment of at least 50% of the final grade.

Program Regulations

Individual programs may have regulations in addition to those described in this section and/or this calendar. Students are responsible for consulting the specific program in this calendar regarding any such regulations. University regulations, as specified herein, take precedence and may not be overruled by any program regulation.