Graduate programs and research areas are often defined by the administrative unit within which the graduate student or supervisor is appointed. Often fields define specific areas of research within the unit; in other cases, the research conducted is “at the edge” of the normal understanding of the administrative unit’s commonly understood focus. Graduate research fields are used to better define a student’s research concentration when the broader program definition is insufficient to appropriately represent (to academic and professional audiences) the student’s focus. Examples of existing research fields at Waterloo include several in the Master’s programs offered in Applied Mathematics, Computer Science and Civil and Environmental Engineering.   

Research fields are specified at the time of application. Academic units who wish to employ research fields are encouraged to include specific course requirements that support the learning outcomes associated with that field. An assessment of whether or not the student’s completed research warrants the field designation should be completed by the Department or Faculty at the time of degree completion.

Graduate research fields:

  • are reported to Quality Council as part of the major modification report;
  • may be specified by the student when applying to a program or unit;
  • may have a corresponding unique set of required and elected courses;
  • should not require additional academic accomplishments beyond the normal degree requirements;
  • should be a recognized area of research;
  • are recognized on the student’s transcript but not on the diploma.