SGS Governing Principles (as of July 1, 2022)

VI. Graduate Program Committees

Membership of Graduate Program Committees | Duties and Responsibilities of Graduate Program Committees

For each graduate program, or appropriate group of graduate programs or majors (subject to the approval of Graduate Council), there shall be a graduate program committee (GPC), acting on delegated authority from Graduate Council, for general supervision of the program (see Duties and Responsibilities).


The name, academic areas of oversight, and voting membership of any GPC is subject to the final approval of Graduate Council.


GPC meetings shall be conducted according to Robert’s Rules of Order, and quorum shall be at least 50% of the voting members. Asynchronous discussions and votes facilitated by technology (e.g., via email or SharePoint) are acceptable.

Membership of Graduate Program Committees

Each GPC shall be composed, minimally, of the following six members:

  • Program Committee Chair;
  • three faculty members who are jointly members of the School of Graduate Studies and the Faculties or Schools where the program is delivered; where the Program Committee Chair is not an individual designated by the offering Faculty or School (e.g., Associate Dean or Director) one of these three faculty members will also serve as past chair;
  • one member of the School of Graduate Studies who is not a member of the Faculties or Schools where the program is delivered; and
  • the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (or designate), ex-officio and non-voting member.

The membership of each GPC will be recommended annually by the appropriate Faculty or School council/s (referring to the units delivering the program or programs under the purview of that particular GPC), no later than May 1, to the Executive Committee of Graduate Council.


Terms of GPC members shall normally be for a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years, beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30. In cases where a mid-term vacancy arises the appropriate Faculty or School council shall recommend an alternate member to fill the vacancy. Faculties and Schools are encouraged to appoint members with overlapping terms in order to ensure continuity and to consider disciplinary breadth for committee membership. Members of GPCs will normally have participated in graduate student supervisory activities within the past five years.


Subject to approval by Graduate Council, GPCs may include additional voting members for the purpose of ensuring adequate program representation, effective program administration, and/or for the purpose of accommodating appropriate representation of external professional associations. GPCs may also include standing, yet non-voting, resource members as required.


Chairs shall either be designated (e.g., an Associate Dean or Director) by the offering Faculty or School OR shall be selected from their membership by the appropriate Faculty or School as part of the membership selection process. Chairs selected from the committee membership will preferably have previously served as a member of the committee and are expected to serve a term as chair of a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years. In addition, chairs are expected to serve in the role of past chair for one year immediately following their term as chair2. The duties of the chair include:

  • being familiar with the School of Graduate Studies Governing Principles, the Graduate Studies Calendar and Course Catalogue, the School of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures manual, and the School of Graduate Studies forms and approval processes; and
  • ensuring that the GPC carries out or oversees the duties laid out in the School of Graduate Studies Governing Principles.

Program Committee Chairs are also expected to serve on Graduate Council Executive, Graduate Council and the Program Chairs committee.
The duties of the past chair include:

  • being familiar with the School of Graduate Studies Governing Principles, the Graduate Studies Calendar and Course Catalogue, the School of Graduate Studies Policies and Procedures manual, and the School of Graduate Studies forms and approval processes;
  • mentoring and supporting the chair; and • acting as the chair’s designate for activities involving a perceived conflict of interest.

2 In the transitionary timeframe it is suggested that chairs currently serving two year terms convert the second year of their term to the past chair role.

Duties and Responsibilities of Graduate Program Committees

Each of the GPCs, acting on delegated authority from Graduate Council, or by sub-delegated authority to the graduate program committee Chair, is responsible for the general supervision of the appropriate programs. These responsibilities, include:

  • recommending to Graduate Council any programmatic changes;
  • recommending to the Dean or designate, and assisting as appropriate, on recruiting and marketing initiatives; and
  • recommending to the Dean or designate, and assisting as appropriate, with student orientation, retention, and campus experience.

For Masters and Doctoral programs, the following responsibilities also fall to the GPCs:

  • recommending to the Dean or designate offers of admission to the School of Graduate Studies and admission awards (where applicable) for thesis-based Masters and Doctoral programs;
  • recommending to the Dean or designate approval of credit for any previous courses and/or graduate work, if applicable;
  • recommending to the Dean or designate requests for course substitutions, if applicable;
  • approving the appointment of examiners for examinations in the School of Graduate Studies, and reviewing the conduct and the results of examinations;
  •  reviewing and recommending to the Dean or designate) the outcomes of students’ progress and standing meetings for thesis-based Masters and Doctoral programs, including any recommendation that the student be placed on probation or withdrawn from the program;
  • approving student requests for internal transfer from other graduate majors or programs;
  • approving the composition of and/or changes to the composition of students’ supervisory committees; and
  • recommending graduands to the Executive Committee of Graduate Council for Graduate Council approval

For Certificate and Diploma programs and non-thesis based Masters the following decisions are delegated to the appropriate senior administrator (e.g. Director or Associate Dean overseeing the program):
offers of admission;

  • approval of credit for any previous courses and/or graduate work, if applicable;
  • requests for course substitution, if applicable;
  • students’ progress and standing, including any recommendation that the student be placed on probation or withdrawn from the program;
  • approving student requests for internal transfer from other graduate majors or programs;
  • recommending graduands to the Executive Committee of Graduate Council for Graduate Council approval; and
  • recommending graduands to the Executive committee of Graduate Council for Graduate Council approval.