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Graduate Equity Diversity and Inclusivity and Non-Standard Admission Policy

Classification number ACD 1528
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 outline exceptional conditions under which admission to a graduate Program may be considered.


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.

“Disability” means:

  1. any degree of physical Disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device,
  2. a condition of mental impairment or a developmental Disability,
  3. a learning Disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in understanding or using symbols or spoken language,
  4. a mental disorder, or
  5. an injury or Disability for which benefits were claimed or received under the insurance plan established under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.

“Grade Point Average (GPA)” means the weighted average of the grade points awarded on the basis of academic performance during a single semester.

“Indigenous Peoples” means a collective name for the original peoples of North America and their descendants (Government of Canada, 2019).

“President's Equity Taskforce (PET)” means the group tasked with mobilizing a diverse movement of people across the University to create and establish equitable and inclusive practices at (Ontario Tech) within a three-year term (Ontario Tech, 2019).

“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.

Scope and authority

This Policy applies to graduate-level exceptional conditions under which admission may be considered.

This Policy does not apply to undergraduate-level special considerations for admission.

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.


Equity Admissions

  1. Applicants who consider themselves personally or academically disadvantaged for reasons that are beyond their control, may apply as a non-standard applicant.

  2. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may consult with the President's Equity Taskforce in the assessment of the application for admission.

Students with Disabilities

  1. In addition to their application for admission to a graduate Program, the University welcomes supporting documentation from applicants with Disabilities.

  2. The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, in co-operation with Student Accessibility Services, will ensure that each applicant is treated in a fair and equitable manner.

  3. Any documentation should be forwarded directly to the appropriate department by the application deadline.

  4. Applicants should submit relevant supporting documentation to the University's Student Accessibility Services by the application deadline.

Indigenous Applicants

  1. The University is dedicated to accessible education and recognizes that Indigenous Peoples make valuable contributions to learning and discovery.

  2. An applicant who has self-identified as Indigenous to Canada, who has completed an undergraduate degree, but does not meet the minimum GPA for admission to a graduate diploma or master's Program, may be considered for non-standard admission by the Program and School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

  3. Admission may be based on additional factors such as the student history, cultural knowledge, work experience, educational goals and other achievements.

Non-standard Applicants

  1. Non-standard applicant status allows individuals the opportunity to demonstrate academic potential by other than conventional academic means.

  2. Applicants that have completed a baccalaureate degree in a relevant discipline and have not met the normal minimum admission requirements may apply for non-standard admission to a master’s level Program, providing that:

    1. They have a minimum of four years of relevant professional experience; and,
    2. Have graduated no less than four years prior to application for admission.

  3. Applicants who have not earned a baccalaureate degree, may apply for non-standard admission to a master’s level Program, providing that:

    1. they have other relevant academic credentials; and,
    2. 10 or more years of extensive and relevant workplace experience

  4. Non-standard applicants must submit references that specifically make a case that the applicant has an aptitude for research and graduate education.

  5. Non-standard applicants normally cannot receive transfer credit for any Courses.

  6. In addition to meeting all University and Program-specific admission documentation requirements, non-standard applicants must provide a resumé, a one- or two-page statement of academic intent and a qualification portfolio.

    1. The statement of intent should cover the following points:

      • Reasons for wanting to pursue graduate studies; and,
      • Future career goals.

    2. The qualification portfolio should include the following components:

      • An explanation of how activities that they have engaged in, including work or volunteer experience, professional development activities, personal study and interests, have prepared them for success in graduate studies at university;
      • Explanations/documentation for any previous poor academic performance; and,
      • Samples of writing within a professional context (e.g., company reports) that demonstrate their academic potential.

  7. Non-standard applicants without a degree must demonstrate how they have satisfied the equivalent of the bachelor's degree-level expectations that have been established by the Council of Ontario Universities.

  8. By doing this, non-standard applicants without a degree must show how they have the equivalent of a relevant degree at an appropriate level of performance.

  9. These degree-level expectations are available from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

  10. Only a few Programs will consider non-standard applicants without degrees.

  11. Non-standard applicants without degrees may be admitted into a qualifying Program as a transition into full admission.

  12. Individual Programs may request additional requirements and materials from non-standard applicants.

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 Admission Categories and Decisions Policy