Program Reviews

Reviews of Graduate Programs by Graduate Studies

The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies participates in all external reviews on a regular basis, about once every five or six years. The Faculty is able to provide much of the graduate-related information which can be included in a unit’s self-study report. Units, on the other hand, are better able to provide information on external graduate student scholarships, publications and teaching records. Once the self-study report is complete, one of the Associate Deans of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will meet with the review committee. The Faculty must also receive a copy of the review committee’s report.

Guidelines for External Reviews

Please review the unit guidelines for program reviews. As noted in the guidelines, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies will work with units to provide data to be included in the self-study document. Please allow up to 6 weeks for data to be delivered, and submit requests with sufficient processing time.


If your department is about to undergo an external review, please contact the Graduate Executive Assistant at with regard to the data that Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are able to provide for inclusion within your self-study.

Steps in the Program Review

The steps in the program review are as follows:

  1. The Review Committee makes a site visit (usually one day) to meet with the director (or other leader), other administrators, faculty members, graduate students and others as appropriate.
  2. The Committee submits a report in confidence to the Dean within 4 to 6 weeks of the date of the visit. This report is made available to the President's Office and to the academic staff involved with the program(s), subject to the restrictions or deletions imposed by Senate guidelines.
  3. The program chair or department head prepares a written response, which is also forwarded to the President’s Office. The report and the written response may be discussed at one or more meetings between the Dean and representatives of the unit in order to formulate and implement appropriate actions. At least a month before the site visit, the program chair or department head should make available copies (one for each member of the review team, two for the Dean’s office, and one for Vice-President Academic) of the following self-study material:
    • Background Information: An account of the history of the program and, where applicable, of the Graduate Program, school of Faculty which provides the resources for the program. Calendar entry for the program; other program description (if any); copy of previous review or accreditation report, if any; account of any significant changes made in the program in the past 5 years.
    • Program Mission and Objectives and Relationship to Other Programs or Units on Campus.
    • Enrollment statistics by Year and by Degree for Previous 10 Year Period. Include breakdown by sex, Canadian vs. Study Permit student and, where relevant, by discipline. Give the number of degrees awarded each year. Provide data on time-in-program of students, and on attrition or completion rates. Where applicable, give titles of theses and names of corresponding supervisors.
  4. Provide information on where graduates of the program have found employment or have gone after graduation.
  5. Provide information on the resources available to the program:
    • Faculty: names, rank, affiliation, time available
    • Support Staff
    • Supplies and expenses and other budget
    • Financial support to students (teaching assistantships, scholarships, research assistantships, other)
    • Library resources
    • Equipment such as computers, laboratory equipment, etc.
    • Space (area, location, types of space)
    • Other
  6. Provide teaching evaluations and other information relating to the quality of the program such as awards, career achievements, publications resulting from the program, etc.
  7. Provide a statement regarding admissions standards and procedures.
  8. Provide course descriptions and statements regarding any other significant requirements of the program (e.g. comprehensive examination, language requirements, final oral exam). Describe internal procedures used to monitor academic progress.
  9. Describe practices used for advising students, for assuring feedback from students and for handling grievances.
  10. Provide a critical self-appraisal listing the strengths and weaknesses of the program.
  11. Provide an account of the specific plans for the program for the next 5-year period.
  12. Provide a curriculum vitae for the program director or co-ordinator and for faculty members with major roles in the program.
  13. Provide copies of other material as appropriate (e.g. brochures, information provided to prospective students, etc.) and of any items requested by the review committee.

Terms of Reference of Program Review Committee

The Program Review Committee will consider the following when reviewing the graduate program:

  1. The Committee will assess the health and vitality of the program. What are its strengths and weaknesses?
  2. Is the program fulfilling an important mandate? Are its objectives appropriate ones? Should the focus be narrowed or broadened?
  3. Are the admission criteria and procedures adequate to assure that the entering students have the appropriate backgrounds and quality?
  4. Is the quality of the courses assured?
  5. Is the quality of graduate student supervision adequate to assure an excellent program?
  6. Is the monitoring of academic standards and evaluation of students adequate?
  7. Are students taking too long to complete the program? If so, how could this be rectified? Is the attrition rate too high? If so, why?
  8. Does the program provide sufficient intellectual challenge and learning or training that it justifies the degree? Is there adequate breadth and depth?
  9. Is the quality of the faculty adequate to provide intellectual leadership and challenge?
  10. Do procedures exist which foster good governance of the program?
  11. Are the facilities, space and other resources adequate to support the program?
  12. Provide recommendations and other comments as appropriate.