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General Program Guidelines

Starting Your Program Guide

Registration Guide

The most important thing to do before the start of each term is register! As a graduate student, you need to maintain continuous registration for the 12 months of the academic year, which is comprised of three terms (Summer, Spring, and Fall), throughout your program.

Graduate Student Registration Guide 2019 →

International Pre-Departure Guide

Learn about the Canadian Study Permit with the Pre-Departure Guide on the International Student website.

Read the Pre-Departure Guide →

Graduate Student Checklists

Use these program checklists to keep yourself on track.

Graduate Student Checklists →

Student - Supervisor Guidelines

Read up on the the roles and responsibilities of graduate students and supervisors.

Supervisor-Student Guidelines →

Managing Your Program Guide

If you need to extend your program beyond the maximum time limit for program completion, the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies may approve an extension to your time limit for up to 12 months. To request an extension you must submit a completed and signed Statement of Progress and Standing form with rationale for the request attached, including a detailed time line for program completion. You will be required to withdraw from your program if you do not complete your program within the time limit.

MC, MEd, MN, and MSc (Mgt) programs

If you need to extend your program beyond the maximum time limit for program completion, contact the relevant Faculty office for advice on how to proceed with your extension request and registration.

If you are considering transfering from your master's program into the PhD program, please review the following information:

NOTE: For complete admission and degree requirements, see the Graduate Studies Calendar and Course Catalogue.


Academic qualifications for master's transfer route​

Applicants who intend to transfer from a University of Lethbridge master’s degree program to an approved PhD program must satisfy four basic criteria before the University will consider approving the transfer. The applicant must:

  1. be currently enrolled in a master's program at the University, have completed a minimum of 12 months* and a maximum of 24 months of the master's program, and have completed the program’s required coursework;
  2. be in good standing in the master's program;
  3. have demonstrated research and academic excellence; and
  4. agree to work with the same supervisor(s).

Note: When PhD program applicants are admitted by transfer from the master's program, all PhD requirements apply.

Eligible applicants must apply for admission via the online application system, available at www.uleth.ca/future-student/graduate-studies/apply, and by following the process outlined below.

*A master’s student can apply for a transfer before 12 months, but 12 months of the program must have been completed at the time of the transfer to the PhD program.


PhD program application process for master's transfer route

Step 1: Program Committee and applicant complete transfer and evaluation and approval

Required Forms:

Assign Transfer Committee:
The relevant Academic Unit or Department Graduate Education Committee assigns a Transfer Committee to oversee the transfer evaluation and approval. The Transfer Committee consists of a non-voting chair and three (3) members. One (1) member should be from outside the applicant's discipline. The supervisor or co-supervisor may not be a part of the Transfer Committee. The relevant doctoral program committee must approve the assigned Transfer Committee.

Provide evidence of research and academic excellence:
The applicant and their Supervisor provide the Transfer Committee with evidence of research and academic excellence. Acceptable evidence of academic excellence includes completion of all required coursework, GPA, and letters of reference. Acceptable evidence of research excellence may include any or all of the following: publications, posters, and presentations.

Certify that the applicant is worthy of promotion:
The applicant's Supervisor/Co-Supervisors prepares a letter that indicates the applicant is worthy of consideration for transfer to the PhD program without completing an Master’s degree. The Supervisor/Co-Supervisors forward(s) this letter to the Transfer Committee.

Complete transfer examination
The applicant completes a transfer examination that demonstrates the ability to develop, write, and defend his or her research ideas. The transfer examination is set and overseen by the Transfer Committee and approved by the relevant doctoral program committee. The transfer examination has a written and an oral component. For the written component, the applicant must develop a detailed research proposal based upon his or her research program and interests. The oral component may consist of a defence of the proposal. The Transfer Committee forwards the results of the transfer examination to the School of Graduate Studies.

Approve student for transfer:
Based on all available evidence and the results of the transfer examination, the Transfer Committee makes a recommendation to the relevant doctoral program committee indicating whether the applicant should be approved for transfer. If they agree, then the relevant doctoral program committee recommends that the applicant be approved for transfer to the School of Graduate Studies. If approved, the admission process continues at Step 2.

Step 2 - Applicant submits the application online by the application deadline

The following required admission decision documents must be submitted via the online application system, available at www.uleth.ca/future-student/graduate-studies/apply.

  • Unofficial academic transcripts
  • Three references
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Letter of Intent
  • English language proficiency (ELP)

Additional documentation:
If additional documentation is required, the School of Graduate Studies will contact the applicant.

Submission Process:
Completion of the online application form requires uploading the required admission documents, providing referee names and contacts, and paying the application fee by midnight (MST/MDT) on the deadline date. Refer to Table 1: Application Deadlines in the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Programs section of the Graduate Studies Calendar (www.ulethbridge.ca/ross/academic-calendar).

By submitting this application, applicants authorize the University to request transcripts on their behalf from institutions participating in ApplyAlberta (Alberta Post-Secondary Application System).

Step 3 - Applicant arranges for official documents

Official documents, including proof of graduation for the baccalaureate degree and transcripts of all post-baccalaureate work, if any, are required prior to course registration.

Applicants who have attended or are currently attending institutions NOT participating in ApplyAlberta must arrange to have official transcripts sent directly from the issuing institution to the Admissions Office. A list of participating institutions is available at www.applyalberta.ca.

Applicants may also be called for an interview with the relevant doctoral program committee.

Step 4: Admission decision process

The relevant Academic Unit or Department Graduate Education Committee reviews the application and makes a recommendation on admission to the relevant doctoral program committee. The office of the School of Graduate Studies, on behalf of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, unofficially informs the applicant of the doctoral program committee’s decision. Official admission decision will be sent electronically the Admissions Office. Applicants will be notified of their official admission status by the Admissions Office no later than April 1, July 1, or December 1. Successful applicants will be advised of registration procedures at that time.

A student wishing to withdraw from the semester must obtain approval from the respective Graduate Program Administrator and then notify the Registrar’s Office and Student Services (ROSS) by submitting a Complete Withdrawal form which can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office and Student Services (ROSS). The date this form is received by the Registrar will be the official withdrawal date for purposes of fee assessment.

A ‘Complete Withdrawal with Cause’ is available only by approval from the respective Graduate Program Administrator.

Failure to comply with this requirement results in the assignment of failing grades and full assessment of fees — see the Graduate Studies Calendar and Course CatalogueFees, Sections 8.b. Withdrawals and 8.c. Refunds. Grades are not assigned when a student withdraws.

Students are responsible for ensuring that the Registrar’s Office and Student Services (ROSS) receives the request for withdrawal by the relevant deadline. If a student chooses to mail his or her request for withdrawal, then the Registrar’s Office and Student Services (ROSS) recommends that the student use Registered Mail to guarantee delivery.

Students who withdraw or who are required to withdraw must successfully apply for readmission by the appropriate deadline.

Ending Your Program Guide

Thesis Route Guide

Review the School of Graduate Studies Policies & Procedures and Thesis/Project Submission Regulations to familiarize yourself with the formatting regulations and access resources including the Example Thesis document and Thesis title page template. These resources will help you properly shape your thesis document to prepare it for submission.

The Request for Final Thesis Examination form takes time to complete due to the number of signatures and scheduling requirements. The deadline for the submission of the Request for Final Thesis Examination form is 5 weeks (Master's) or 6 weeks (PhD) prior to the scheduled defence date. It is recommended that this form be started 3 to 4 months prior to your defence date to ensure submission by the deadline.

To prepare this form you will need to:
a) Confirm that your supervisor has selected internal/external examiners and a defence chair
b) Set a defence date that works for all parties
c) Book the room and equipment needed for the thesis defence}
d) Acquire the signatures of all Thesis Examination Committee members, including all internal/external examiners and the defence chair

This form is to be submitted to the appropriate graduate program office by the deadline.

A complete draft of your properly formatted thesis document should be submitted with the Request for Final Thesis Examination Form. These items should be submitted to the appropriate graduate program office 5 weeks (Master's) or 6 weeks (PhD) prior to the scheduled defence date.  Health SciencesMaster of Nursing, and Populations Studies in Health graduates must submit their documents to the Program Advisor in Health Sciences.

If you wish to delay the publication of your thesis in the University’s Institutional Repository, you must also submit the Request for Publication Embargo of Graduate Thesis form  alongside the Request for Final Thesis Examination and thesis draft.

It is important to apply for graduation prior to your thesis defence. This will confirm the conferral date that will appear on your official transcript. Keep in mind that your graduation application is free and can be withdrawn at any time if your thesis defence date moves.

Now that the proper forms and thesis drafts have been submitted, begin preparing for your thesis defence. To learn more about how a thesis defence is conducted and assessed, review the relevant sections in the School of Graduate Studies Policies & Procedures. Keep in mind that your program is not finished after your defence as the next 3 steps will show.

Following your thesis defence, you may receive minor or major revisions to your thesis that will need to be addressed and approved by your supervisor and Thesis Examination committee. These revisions need to be addressed before your Thesis supervisor is able to submit the Recommendation of the Award of the Degree form. This process may require multiple rounds of revisions, so be sure to address the revisions in a timely manner to make the process more efficient.

Once your thesis is revised and the corrections are approved, your Thesis supervisor will submit the Recommendation of the Award of the Degree upon completion of all degree requirements. It is advisable to confirm with your supervisor that the form has been submitted.

After you have defended your thesis and revised the thesis document, you will be contacted by either SGS or your Program Advisor when it is time to upload your thesis to OPUS. Follow the step-by-step E-Thesis Submission Guide to submit your thesis document to the OPUS (Open ULeth Scholarship) system.

Project Route Guide

Review the School of Graduate Studies Policies & Procedures and Thesis/Project Submission Regulations to familiarize yourself with the formatting regulations. These resources will help you properly shape your project document to prepare it for submission.

It is important to apply for graduation prior to your project presentation. This will confirm the conferral date that will appear on your official transcript. Keep in mind that your graduation application is free and can be withdrawn at any time if your project presentation date moves.

If your program includes a Project Presentation, now it is time to begin. To learn more about how a project presentation is conducted and assessed, review the relevant sections in the School of Graduate Studies Policies & Procedures. Keep in mind that your program is not finished after your presentation as the next 3 steps will show.

You may receive minor or major revisions to your project paper that will need to be addressed and approved by your supervisor and graduate committee. These revisions need to be addressed before your Project supervisor is able to submit the Recommendation of the Award of the Degree form. This process may require multiple rounds of revisions, so make sure to address the revisions in a timely manner to make the process more efficient.

Once your project and presentation (if required) have been assigned a passing designation, your Project supervisor will submit the Recommendation of the Award of the Degree upon completion of all degree requirements. It is advisable to confirm with your supervisor that the form has been submitted. Master of Nursing students will also require a Project Completion Signature form that will be submitted to the School of Graduate Studies Office.

After you have presented your project (if required) and revised the project document, follow the step-by-step E-Project Submission Guide to submit your project document to the OPUS (Open ULeth Scholarship) system. Master of Nursing graduates must submit their project document to the Program Advisor in Health Sciences.

Capstone Route Guide

Review the School of Graduate Studies Policies & Procedures to familiarize yourself with the formatting regulations. These resources will help you properly shape your capstone response.

It is important to apply for graduation prior to your capstone presentation. This will confirm the conferral date that will appear on your official transcript. Keep in mind that your graduation application is free and can be withdrawn at any time if your presentation date moves.

Members of the Capstone will participate in a symposium in which they will present their final capstone papers. For the symposium, you will perform a 5 to 10 minute oral presentation, followed by a 5 to 10 minute open discussion period. Your instructor will grade your presentation based on the criteria found in the School of Graduate Studies Policies & Procedures.