Student Programs

In addition to the information below, students should also consult Chapter IV Degree Regulations for more information on specific regulations defining the Student Program

Establishment of the Advisory Committee

In the case of thesis-based programs, the student's Program of Study is established and supervised by the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee must be established by the department/school, and the “Advisory Committee Appointment” form submitted by the department/school to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies no later than the 20th class day of the student's second registered semester.

In the case of course-based programs, the Graduate Program Coordinator will serve as the student’s Advisor and establish the Program of Study, unless the program requires that students have an Advisory Committee. In such cases, the Advisory Committee must be established and the Advisory Committee Appointment form submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies no later than the 20th class day of the student's second registered semester

Once the Advisory Committee has been approved by the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies), no changes may be made to its membership without the written approval of the department’s Graduate Program Committee and the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies).

See Chapter IV Degree Regulations for additional information on the composition of Advisory Committees.

Establishment of Program of Study

After examining the student's academic record, the Advisory Committee shall arrange a Program of Study appropriate for the fulfilment of the degree requirements. This program of study will be detailed on the "Graduate Degree Program Form". The Advisory Committee will give due consideration to any relevant courses previously completed successfully by the student at a recognized accredited university or college, as well as consideration for any placement examinations successfully completed. The Program of Study will include "Prescribed Studies" - which may include any required courses - on the basis of which the candidate's final academic standing will be determined. The program may also include "Additional Courses", chosen either by the student or recommended for completion by the student's Advisory Committee. See section Academic Standing/Prescribed Courses/Additional Courses.

The Program of Study established by the Advisory Committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Coordinator and submitted to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies before the 20th class day of the student's second registered semester.

Note: for course-based Master's degrees a maximum of 1/3 of the total degree credits may be fulfilled through the successful completion of senior undergraduate courses. Individual Advisory Committees, however may require that a higher proportion of graduate courses be completed to fulfil the degree requirements. For thesis-based Master's degrees, a minimum of 1.5 credits included in the degree program must be graduate-level classes.

See Chapter IV Degree Regulations for more information on the requirements for Program of Study.

Changes to the Established Program of Study

Once the Program of Study is established, changes may be made, subject to the approval of the Advisory Committee, with report to the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies).

Transfer of Academic Credit to a Program of Study

On the recommendation of the student’s advisor and with the approval of the department chair and the Assistant Vice-President (Graduate Studies), a graduate student may take, and receive credit for, graduate courses completed at another university. See section Letter of Permission, Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Plan, Transfer Credit, Leave of Absence.

Seminar Courses, Practica and Internships

Either a numeric grade or a designation of satisfactory (SAT) or unsatisfactory (UNS) may be used in evaluating the student's performance in seminar or practicum courses or internships. See section on Academic Standing/Grade Interpretation.

Major Research Project or Paper for Course-based Master's Programs

In some course-based programs, a Major Research Project or Paper (MRP) may be required as part of the degree requirements. The MRP is assigned a course number and appropriate number of credits by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Board of Graduate Studies. The MRP course may extend over two semesters. A course outline provided to the student at the outset of work should clearly define expectations of achievement and the methods and criteria used in establishing final grades for the major paper or major project course. The student's performance will be indicated through assignment of a numeric grade or a designation of satisfactory (SAT) or unsatisfactory (UNS). 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. A copy of the major paper or project must be deposited in the department or school in which the student is registered.

Auditing Courses

With the consent of the student’s Advisory Committee, the course instructor, and the chair of the department concerned, a student may register for and audit all or part of a course. It is understood that the student will attend the scheduled lectures but will not participate in any evaluative activities, write any examination, or receive any grades. Courses audited by the student shall be noted in the student’s program as “additional courses,” and identified on the transcript as AUD. See section on Academic Standing/Grade Interpretation.

Language of Instruction in Graduate Programs, and Exceptions

The English language is used for instruction, in the writing of examinations, and in text books used at this university. The thesis and other reports must be written and submitted in English. Exceptions to this policy are those programs where language requirements are stated as specific academic program requirements that have been approved by Senate.

Required Completion of an Academic Integrity Course

All graduate students registering for the first time at University of Guelph are required to successfully complete the on-line course UNIV*7100 Academic Integrity for Graduate Students. This course will provide graduate students with a good understanding of academic integrity issues and policies, definitions of academic misconduct, and the expectations of the University of Guelph on these points.

Upon enrollment in graduate studies, all students are registered automatically in the course, which must be completed within the first 20 class days of the semester. A designation of satisfactory (SAT) for successful completion, or unsatisfactory (UNS) for failure or failure to complete the course will be noted on the student’s transcript. See section Academic Standing/Grade Interpretation.

Research Activities at the University of Guelph

Graduate student advisors assume the responsibility of ensuring that research activities related to the student’s academic program comply with University regulations, policies and procedures. The graduate student advisor and student should ensure that if the project involves human participants, or the use of live animals, the project has appropriate approval from the Research Ethics Board, or the Animal Care Committee, as appropriate. The preparation of the documentation required for approval by the Research Ethics Board or the Animal Care Committee takes several weeks. In accordance with the Canadian Council on Animal Care, anyone who is handling animals for purposes of teaching or research must have appropriate training which is provided by the University of Guelph. See section Animal Care Short Course Requirement.

When a project involves risk—including handling dangerous materials—the advisor (and student, as appropriate) should consult with Occupational Health and Safety to ensure compliance with standards of health and safety.

A student whose research involves international travel must consult with the staff in the Centre for International Programs
( to ensure that they have completed the University’s mandatory pre-departure orientation in order to be prepared appropriately to travel outside Canada.

Animal Care Short Course

All graduate students who utilize vertebrate animals in their research and/or who will be Graduate Teaching Assistants in a course involving vertebrate animals must demonstrate that they are familiar with animal welfare issues and adequately trained in animal care and use through completion of UNIV*6600. The overall objective is to introduce aspects of laboratory animal science, animal welfare and animal care, not to provide definitive answers. Specific objectives of the course are as follows:

  1. to familiarize course participants with existing regulations and guidelines to explain the need for them;
  2. to demonstrate the need for understanding animal care and welfare both for protecting the user and the animal from potentially harmful zoonoses and to help improve the quality of research and teaching; and
  3. to put into perspective the moral and ethical obligations to the animal so the user can weigh objectively the costs to animals against benefits gained from their use.

Formal recognition on the graduate transcript is accorded to graduate students who successfully complete UNIV*6600 Animal Care Short Course. This course is offered by the Animal Care Services through the Animal User Training Program of the University of Guelph.


The Animal Care Short Course is mandatory for all graduate students who will utilize vertebrate animals in their research and/or who will be teaching assistants in any course involving vertebrate animals. Students must take this course as early as possible in their program and prior to the commencement of work with live animals. Students wishing further information on this course should contact the Training Director, Animal Care Services, or


The course is offered as computer-based online self-study modules covering topics relevant to animal care.


Following completion of a short online quiz for each training module, Animal Care Services will forward a list of the successful participants to the Office of Graduate Studies. The course will be entered on the students' official record, with a grade notation of SAT (satisfactory).


Please register online through Animal Care Services training program webpage at Choose option Core online modules. For inquires about the course, please contact Dr. Anna Bolinder, Animal Care Services ( or x53110).