VIII. Examinations

There are five types of examinations for graduate students:
1. Course Examinations;
2. Qualifying or Preliminary Examinations;
3. Comprehensive Examinations;
4. Thesis Proposal Examinations (Defences); and
5. Thesis Examinations (Defences).
This section deals with 1, 2, 3, and 4. Thesis examinations are covered in Section 10.

8.1 Course Examinations

There are no supplementary examinations for graduate students. For further information on the grading scheme and the regulations governing examination grading see section 7.6.2.

8.2 Qualifying or Preliminary Examinations

Some programs require Qualifying or Preliminary Examinations. These occur early in the program (often within the first year) and are sometimes used to assess the transfer of a student from a Master’s to a Doctoral program. The exam may take the form of the presentation and defence of a research project, or it may involve a written or oral examination.

8.3 Comprehensive Examinations

These examinations in the candidate’s area of study are part of Master’s degree programs in some academic units and all PhD degree programs. Refer to particular academic units entries for details. It is the responsibility of academic units to make the necessary arrangements for these examinations. Comprehensive exams should only be taken after the completion of all required coursework.

The comprehensive examination may be oral, written, or both and covers subjects relevant to the general area of the candidate’s research and teaching competency. Academic units are required to set out their rules on PhD examinations in writing and to give a copy to each PhD student on or before registration for the comprehensive examination. Failure to pass will result in academic dismissal. However, on the recommendation of the academic unit a student may be reinstated and permitted to repeat the examination (once) within twelve months of reinstatement. The Faculty of Graduate Studies must be notified immediately upon the successful completion of the examination process, and the result becomes part of the student’s official record.

8.4 Thesis Proposal Defence

Thesis programs require a formal defence of a thesis proposal/proposition. Such defences are considered a form of graduate examination. The thesis Proposal Defence may be oral, written, or both. During such an examination a student should defend a proposed thesis question and the method(s) required to answer that question, and prove that they have the depth of knowledge needed to answer the question. Academic units are required to set out their rules on Thesis Proposal Defences in writing and to give a copy to each student well before the examination.

8.5 Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

See the Accommodation Policy for Students in the University Regulations section of this calendar.