All graduate students admitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies must register when they begin their studies. Students must remain continuously registered until the degree is completed, except for periods of time for which the student is away on an approved leave of absence*. Failure to register for two consecutive terms may result in the student being required to withdraw.
Students taking courses outside their degree program are advised to get approval from their supervisor, home program’s graduate advisor, and the course instructor prior to registration. These courses will be held to the policy on academic progress.
Note: Continuous registration includes the summer term.
*Exception: Students in master's programs that are delivered entirely online, and who pay fees per course or per credit, are not eligible for leaves of absence. They can take time away from their studies by not registering in courses. The five-year maximum time in program still applies.
- Regular attendance is expected of students in all their classes, including lectures, laboratories, tutorials, seminars, etc.
- Students may not, concurrently with their University attendance, take studies for university degree credit through any other institution by correspondence, evening or regular session class without the approval of the dean of the faculty in which they are studying at the University.
- The University will provide academic accommodation to students with disabilities in accordance with the British Columbia Human Rights Code, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. See Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities.
- Any request for academic concession must be clearly expressed. See Academic Concession.
- Religious observance may preclude attending classes or examinations at certain times. See UBC Senate Policy J-136, Academic Accommodation for all Students' Religious Observances and for the Cultural Observances of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Students.
Students with a disability who wish to have an academic accommodation should contact the Disability Resource Centre without delay. See Board of Governors Policy LR7, Disability Accommodation Policy.
Students must be officially approved to audit courses. They are expected to complete all course requirements except the final exam, and may be given a failing grade for the course if their performance is not satisfactory.
Students auditing a course may not change to regular status during the term nor may a regular student change to audit status after the normal date for adding and dropping courses.
“Audit” will be recorded on the transcript.
- Student obtains the approval of the graduate program advisor.
- Student downloads and completes the Change of Registration form.
- Program sends the form to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
- Student informs the instructor at the start of the course of his/her intent to audit.
Adding or Dropping Courses
Except in special circumstances, a one-term course may be added to a student's program only within the first two weeks of the term, and a two-term course within the first three weeks of Term 1. If a course is dropped during these periods, no record of the registration in the course will appear on the student's academic record.
The dates given above also apply to students changing from credit to audit status.
Students may withdraw from courses in which they are registered at any time up to the end of the sixth week of class for courses that are offered in a single term, and up to the end of the twelfth week for courses that span two terms. Withdrawals will be noted on the academic record by a standing of "W". Such standings will not be included in computing averages. The withdrawal deadline dates for the current academic year are indicated in the accompanying tables.
The dates for withdrawal given above also apply to students who are auditing courses.
Students may withdraw from courses outside the limits described above only with the permission of the dean of the faculty in which they are registered. In such cases, the instructor should be informed. Such withdrawals will be recorded as "W" on the student's academic record.
Faculties may, at their discretion, limit the number of "W" standings permitted to a student. Any withdrawals in excess of that limit that would normally produce a standing of "W" will result in assignment of "F" for the course or courses involved. Normally, a student may not withdraw from a course more than once.
A student must be registered in all courses being taken for credit. A student who ceases to attend a course, does not write the final examination, or otherwise fails to complete course requirements, and who neither qualifies for a deferred examination (see Deferred Standing), nor has obtained official permission to drop the course, will be given a standing of "F" with a grade which reflects performance in the course. No supplemental examination can be granted under these circumstances.
The student is responsible for the completeness and accuracy of registration as it relates to the regulations of the degree or diploma program in which the student is enrolled.
Courses Outside a Student’s Graduate Program
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies encourages students to take appropriate graduate or undergraduate courses outside their own graduate programs. Consultation should be made in advance from the student's supervisor, home program’s graduate advisor, and the course instructor. Important: the grades students receive in all courses taken for credit will count toward their overall average. These courses will be held to the policy on academic progress. Auditing courses is an alternative to taking them for credit.
Students will be exempted from specific course requirements if the graduate program is satisfied that the student has acquired the knowledge from courses previously taken or from experience. Exemptions do not reduce the total credits required for a degree. In such cases, the program should substitute a more appropriate course. The exemption from the specific requirement must be recorded and will show on the Student Information System.
Adding and Dropping Courses
A one-term course may be added to a student's program only within the first two weeks of the course, and a two-term course within the first three weeks of the course. If a course is dropped within these periods, no record of registration in the course(s) will appear on the student’s transcript.
If a student wishes to add or drop a course outside of these time periods, he or she should complete a Change of Registration form (Add/Drop form) and have it signed by the relevant course instructor and graduate program advisor, then submit the form to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Some flexibility in the interpretation of the regulations is reasonable in the case of graduate courses that do not start on the first day of term. A recommendation to drop a course after the established deadline must be justified in writing by the graduate program advisor.
Students may withdraw from courses in which they are registered at any time up to the end of the sixth week of class for courses that are offered in a single term, and up to the end of the twelfth week for courses that span two terms. Withdrawals will be recorded on the transcript by a standing of W. W standings will not be included in computing grade averages.
Use of the Grade T
A graduate student is expected to register for the thesis over the period required to complete the thesis. A grade of "T" is recorded on the transcript for each session until the thesis is completed. The "T" grade may also be used for graduating essays (in non-thesis master's programs), directed individual study or project courses in which the course requirements extend beyond the normal deadline for the submission of a final grade.
- If the "T" grade is used in a course, the opportunity for an extended deadline for the completion of the course requirements must be available to all students registered in the course.
- In a course in which a "T" grade is used, it is expected that the requirements will be completed in the following term. That is, in the winter session, a first term course would be completed by April 30 and a second term course would be completed by August 31; a summer session course would be completed by December 31.
- If the course requirement is satisfied within a few weeks of the normal deadline, the Dean may approve changing the record from "T" to the assigned grade. Otherwise, the "T" remains on the record and a post-sessional grade for the course is entered (i.e. the student must register in the course in a subsequent session).
- If the time required goes beyond one term, the student must register for and repeat the course in order to obtain credit for it.
- The "T" grade must not be used in lieu of an "incomplete" standing. If a student has a medical excuse for not completing a course requirement, a "Deferred" grade may be used.
Alternative Format Courses and Programs
In addition to being offered by regular means, graduate courses and programs may be made available to students through a range of alternative or non-traditional formats. These alternative formats may include the use of off-campus teaching, distance education, the internet, and the introduction of courses and programs which rely upon shared resources between UBC and other universities. All alternative-format courses and programs must meet regular UBC academic standards and approvals. In addition, they must be consistent with UBC administrative practice as regards courses and program components and programs.
Alternative Format Programs
UBC programs designed primarily to serve off-campus students (whether delivered through traditional classroom methods off campus or by other means) must be consistent with section 14.2 and the Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies Guidelines for the distance Delivery of Graduate Programs.
Programs shared between UBC and other universities or institutions must be consistent with the policies on Shared University Graduate Programs, policies on New Graduate Program Proposals and any relevant multilateral agreements including the Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies Guidelines for the Distance Delivery of Graduate Programs, the Western Deans' Agreement, and the Graduate Exchange Agreement.
UBC courses and other program components designed primarily to be delivered through alternative means (including courses and program components delivered over the internet as well as through traditional distance education) must be consistent with the policy on Curriculum Proposals.
Courses and program components shared between UBC and other universities or institutions (including agreements concerning shared resources) must be consistent with the policy on Curriculum Proposals and any relevant multilateral agreements including the Western Deans' Agreement and the Graduate Exchange Agreement.
All graduate courses to be offered by UBC Access, or by other approved means of distance education, must be authorized by the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. This policy covers both existing courses and new courses. The Dean may seek advice regarding such requests from the Faculty's Curriculum Committee.
There is a growing demand for distance delivery graduate programs offered in a combination of modes, including on-site, on-campus and technologically mediated instruction. Support is given for innovative programs that demonstrate high quality, provide students with genuine professional development and lead to opportunities for further study. Distance graduate programs must meet the same standards of quality that are expected of equivalent programs offered on campus.
In order to achieve this equivalency, the following guidelines have been established related to program, admission, instruction and supervision, and instructional resources:
- The university must make the same commitment to students regarding the availability and method of delivery of a complete program as it makes to students enrolled in on-campus programs.
- The program must include an on-campus component to be defined by the university.
- Course content and contact hours must be equivalent to comparable courses offered on campus.
- Course must not be offered in so compacted a time frame as to preclude opportunities for independent study, reflection and investigation within each course.
- Wherever possible, the same choices of elective courses that are available in equivalent on-campus programs must be offered to students.
- Time limits for program completion must be the same as the limits for equivalent on-campus program.
- Admission criteria required of all students must be no less than those required for equivalent on-campus programs.
- Unclassified or occasional students who are allowed to register in individual courses of the program must meet the same registration criteria as required for courses in equivalent on-campus programs.
Instruction and Supervision
- There must be immediate, on-going interaction both between individual students and the instructor and among students in the delivery of each course.
- Each student must be assigned to a program supervisor/advisor who is a member of the academic staff of the university. The quality of supervision or advising must be no less than that available to students in equivalent programs on campus.
- Qualifications and selection procedures for instructors and supervisors/advisors must be no less stringent than those required for equivalent on-campus program
- Instructional resources (for example, library, computer, media and laboratory resources) necessary for graduate-level study must be available to all students.
This policy was approved by UBC Senate on April 20, 2016.
1. Graduate students who have earned credits outside their current master’s program (e.g., from a different university, in a different UBC master’s program, as an undergraduate, or as an unclassified or Access Studies student) may transfer up to 12 credits or up to 40% of the total number of credits needed for completion of their current program (whichever is more), provided that:
a) the courses were not used to satisfy the requirements of another credential;
b) the courses were not used as a basis for admission to the graduate degree program;
c) at least a B standing (UBC 74%) was obtained in courses considered for transfer;
d) the courses considered for transfer credit have been taken within five years of commencement of the current degree program.
2. The 12-credit (40%) restriction applies to students in UBC-approved Exchange Agreements established by the UBC Go Global Office.
3. An exemption to Provision 1a above may apply where UBC graduate certificate programs ladder into a specifically affiliated UBC master’s degree. In such cases, courses taken to satisfy the requirements of a UBC graduate certificate may be fully transferable to the affiliated master’s program, even if the certificate has been or will be awarded, provided that:
a) The graduate certificate admission criteria are the same as the master’s degree admission criteria. Note that students in a graduate certificate program will need to apply and be accepted to the master’s program.
b) The graduate certificate offers the same courses that comprise part of the master’s course requirements.
c) The passing grade for the graduate certificate program is the same as for the master’s program.
d) The courses that comprise the graduate certificate program are 500-level courses that have been approved by the UBC Senate.
4. No more than 6 credits of transfer credit may be at the undergraduate level (300-/400-level).
5. Requests for transfer credit must be accompanied by a memorandum from the home graduate program/graduate advisor addressed to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The memorandum must provide an academic justification for allowing the transfer credit on a course-by-course basis.
Exemptions for Doctoral Students
From the Calendar: “Doctoral students are not normally eligible for transfer credit. In doctoral programs where there is a prescribed amount of coursework, students may be eligible for course exemptions on the basis of previous courses taken.”
Exemptions for Master's Students
From the Calendar: “Students may be exempted from specific course requirements if the graduate program is satisfied that the student has acquired the knowledge from courses previously taken or from experience. Exemptions do not reduce the total credits required for a degree. In such cases, the graduate program should substitute a more appropriate course. The exemption from the specific requirement must be recorded on the student's academic record.”
Procedure for Requesting Transfer Credits
See policy, point 5: Requests for transfer credit must be accompanied by a memorandum from the home graduate program/graduate advisor addressed to the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. The memorandum must provide an academic justification for allowing the transfer credit on a course-by-course basis.
Unclassified students who are admitted to a master’s program may be permitted to transfer a maximum of 12 credits or 40% of the total number of credits needed for degree completion (whichever is more) towards their graduate degree, provided that doing so complies with the UBC Transfer Credit policy.
Undergraduate students who have maintained an overall B+ (76%) average in their completed third and fourth year courses, and who have completed at least 75% of the third and fourth year requirements for their undergraduate degree, may be eligible to register in graduate courses. Upon admission to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, these credits, to a maximum of 12 credits or 40% of the total number of credits needed for degree completion (whichever is more), may be applied towards a graduate degree, provided that doing so complies with the UBC Transfer Credit policy.
Students in Access Studies who are admitted to a master’s program may be permitted to transfer a maximum of 12 credits or 40% of the total number of credits needed for degree completion (whichever is more) towards their graduate degree, provided that doing so complies with the UBC Transfer Credit policy.
From the Calendar:
"Students may be exempted from specific course requirements if the graduate program is satisfied that the student has acquired the knowledge from courses previously taken or from experience. Exemptions do not reduce the total credits required for a degree. In such cases, the graduate program should substitute a more appropriate course. The exemption from the specific requirement must be recorded on the student's academic record."
UBC's policy on Academic Concession was revised and approved by Senate in September 2019. Please see the Calendar for full information
Note: All requests for Academic Concession that will result in a change to the student’s academic record must be directed to the Dean and Vice-Provost of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
Text from the Calendar:
The University of British Columbia recognizes its moral and legal duty to provide academic accommodation. The University must remove barriers and provide opportunities to students with a disability, enabling them to access university services, programs, and facilities and to be welcomed as participating members of the University community. The University's goal is to ensure fair and consistent treatment of all students, including students with a disability, in accordance with their distinct needs and in a manner consistent with academic principles.
The University will provide academic accommodation to students with disabilities in accordance with the British Columbia Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (U.K.), 1982, c. 11. Provision of academic accommodation shall not lower the academic standards of the University. Academic accommodation shall not remove the need for evaluation and the need to meet essential learning outcomes.