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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Graduate Admission Categories and Decisions Policy

Classification number ACD 1530
Framework category Academic
Approving authority Academic Council
Policy owner Dean, Graduate Studies
Approval date June 2, 2020
Review date June 2023
Supersedes Academic Regulations, Graduate Academic Calendar 2019-2020


The purpose of this Policy is to define graduate-level admission categories and decisions.


For the purposes of this Policy the following definitions apply:

“Course” means a unit of work in a particular subject normally extending through one Semester or session, the completion of which carries credit toward the requirements of a degree or diploma.

“Graduate Program Director” means academic administrators with a graduate faculty appointment within an academic unit and help to ensure the success of the Program and its students.

“Program” means a complete set and sequence of Courses, combination of Courses, and/or other units of study, research and practice, the successful completion of which qualifies the candidate for a formal credential (degree with or without major; diploma), provided all other academic and financial requirements are met.

“Semester” means sixty days of lectures and a final examination period.

“Time-Status” means the declared registration status of a graduate student. Graduate students can be registered full-time or part-time.

Scope and authority

This Policy applies to graduate-level admission decisions and categories of admission.

This Policy does not apply to undergraduate-level admissions, application requirements or related matters. For more information regarding undergraduate-level admission-related policies and procedures please refer to the University’s policy library.

The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, or successor thereof, is the Policy Owner and is responsible for overseeing the implementation, administration and interpretation of this Policy.


Offers of Admission

  1. Offers of admission for regular and qualifying graduate students are based on the recommendation of the graduate admissions committee for each Program.
  2. Offers of admission will include the specific Program of study, start-term and may confirm the student’s intended Time-Status, either Full-Time or Part-Time.

Regular Student

  1. Applicants meeting the minimum admission requirements are considered for admission as a regular student.
  2. Regular student offers of admission are either firm offers with no conditions, conditional offers or offers with additional requirements.
  3. Conditional Admission
    1. Conditional offers of admission may include, but are not limited to:
      • requirements for submitting full official documentation;
      • completing a previous degree or attaining; and/or,
      • a minimum score on an ESL test.
    2. Conditional offers of admission have time limits for the completion of conditions.
    3. The offer of admission will be rescinded if these conditions are not met.
  4. Admission with Additional Requirements:
    1. In exceptional circumstances, applicants who have some minor deficiency may be offered admission as a regular student with additional requirements.
    2. Offers of admission with additional requirements may include, but are not limited to:
      • taking additional Courses to make up for minor deficiencies; or,
      • meeting other minor requirements or standards of performance.
    3. Offers of admission with additional requirements may have time limits.
    4. Meeting additional requirements are required for successful completion or continuation in a Program.

Qualifying Student

  1. In exceptional circumstances, applicants who do not meet the minimum admission requirements may be considered for admission to a qualifying Semester or Semesters.
  2. Applicants must be approved by the Graduate Program Director who will prescribe a Program of study to meet the admission requirements.
  3. During this time, the qualifying applicant will be admitted as a non-degree student until the qualifications outlined have been met and the qualifying student can be moved into regular student status.
  4. Courses taken and other work done during this qualifying period cannot be transferred for credit to the graduate degree or diploma.

Special Graduate Student

  1. In exceptional circumstances, applicants who are non-degree or non-diploma seeking students may apply to take graduate-level Courses for professional upgrading or personal interest.
  2. Applicants must apply through the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and successful students must receive faculty consent prior to registering for the Course.
  3. Normally, Courses taken as a special student cannot be transferred for credit to a graduate degree or diploma.

Deferral of Applications and Offers

  1. A request for a deferral of application or offer must be made in writing to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.
  2. A deferral of application is normally made after an application has been received by the University and before an offer has been made.
    1. Applicants may defer their application for up to one year.
    2. Where an application is deferred, the applicant will not have to reapply but will be reassessed for admissibility on a competitive basis in the relevant admission period.
  3. Applicants who are offered admission may apply to defer their offer of admission for up to one year.
    1. The deferral must be requested before the start of the term in which the student is scheduled to begin.
    2. The deferral of offer specifies the new start-time(s) for the offer; this cannot be more than one year.
    3. Deferrals of offer include a reassessment of scholarships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships and other funding commitments.
    4. An application for deferral of offer may be rejected. In such cases, an applicant will be given the option of a deferral of application for a specified start-time when it will be reassessed for admissibility on a competitive basis in the relevant admission pool.

Refusal of Admission

  1. Due to enrolment limitations and additional requirements in some Programs, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the Program.
  2. The University may, at its sole discretion, refuse admission to an applicant even if the minimum admission criteria have been met.
  3. Refusal of Admission and Academic Upgrading
    1. Applicants who do not meet the minimum admission requirements and who are refused admission may be advised by the Graduate Program Director to complete a prescribed set of undergraduate Courses to upgrade their credentials in the hope of a more favourable consideration of the student's application at a later date.
    2. Students who successfully complete the prescribed set of undergraduate Courses are not guaranteed admission to a graduate Program.
    3. They must resubmit an application to the Program in question and this will be considered with all other applications submitted for that application period.
    4. Courses taken and other work done to upgrade a student's credentials cannot be transferred for credit to a graduate degree or diploma.
    5. Students completing this undergraduate work apply and register as special students as defined by the University's Office of the Registrar.

Monitoring and review

This Policy will be reviewed as necessary and at least every three years. The Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, or successor thereof, is responsible to monitor and review this Policy.

Relevant legislation

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Related policies, procedures & documents

Graduate Academic Calendar
Graduate Admission and Application Requirements Policy
Graduate Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Non-Standard Admission Policy
Responsibilities of Graduate Program Directors, Faculty Advisors, Research Supervisors and Graduate Students Policy