On behalf of the University of Waterloo Senate, the Senate Graduate & Research Council (SGRC), considers and approves the following:
- proposed minor changes to existing graduate programs
- new graduate courses and milestones (non-course degree requirements), the inactivation of graduate courses and milestones, and revisions to existing graduate courses and milestones
SGRC reviews and makes recommendations to Senate regarding:
- new graduate programs (Academic Program Reviews website)
- the deletion of graduate programs
- major modifications to existing graduate programs (Academic Program Reviews website)
Changes to graduate programs (major and minor)
The following are the required approval steps to make changes to a graduate program. These changes may include admission requirements, course or milestone requirements, changes to fields or specializations, or the introduction of a new program option, such as co-op. All program changes require the completion of the Graduate Studies Program Revision Template (docx) .
Questions regarding the template or process can be directed to Trevor Clews, Academic Officer.
- A department/School representative (Graduate Coordinator/Officer/Chair) completes the Graduate Studies Program Revision Template, detailing the proposed changes to the program, the rationale, and updated Calendar copy.
- Changes to courses and milestone requirements may also require the submission of the SGRC Graduate Studies Course/Milestone Form (instructions below).
- Once department/School-level approval for the program changes has been received (although departments are welcome to contact GSPA even earlier to discuss proposed changes), the department representative forwards the template to the Academic Officer in GSPA (Trevor Clews). The Academic Officer will review the proposed change(s) with subject matter experts in the GSPA to ensure that any possible implementation issues or outstanding questions are addressed early in the approvals process. Feedback about the proposed change(s) will be sent to the department by the Academic Officer.
- Following review by GSPA, the template is submitted (by the department/School) for Faculty-level approval according to Faculty procedures.
- Upon receiving Faculty-level approval, the approved template is submitted to the Assistant University Secretary (Kathy Winter), to be added to the next SGRC agenda. Items for the SGRC agenda must be received at least 10 days before a SGRC meeting.
- Major program changes will also require Senate approval (see below for details on major vs. minor program changes).
Implementation of changes
Following approval of the program changes at SGRC or Senate, the Academic Officer will notify the department representative and will update the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC) based on the approved effective date (all changes requested must be for future terms and will be implemented according to the GSAC publication dates outlined above). The Academic Officer will ensure implementation of program changes within GSPA (e.g. GSPA website, graduate online application system, Quest, etc.). Departments are responsible for updating their own websites according to the effective date of the changes.
Major vs. minor program changes
Certain changes to a graduate program are characterized as Major Modifications under the University’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP). The Academic Program Reviews website provides further details, including examples of Major Modifications. Major modifications require Senate approval, and are reported to the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance in an annual report.
The Graduate Studies Program Revision Template requires that departments indicate whether or not a change is Minor or Major. Any questions relating to whether a change is Minor or Major can be referred to Trevor Clews in GSPA.
Completing the SGRC Graduate Studies Course/Milestone Form
The completion of the SGRC Graduate Studies Course/Milestone Form (docx) is required in the following circumstances:
- When a program change (above) results in a change to a course or milestone. For example, a Graduate Studies Program Revision Template may indicate the removal of a milestone, which will also require the SGRC Graduate Studies Course/Milestone Form to be submitted.
- If a new course is being created or revisions are being made to a course or milestone which do not impact the program requirements in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar (GSAC), only the SGRC Graduate Studies Course/Milestone Form is required. Examples include a change to a course description which does not result in a change to the program requirements in the GSAC, or a new elective course which does not need to be listed in the program requirements in the GSAC.
Completion of the form requires detailed information including effective date/academic term. Please see the Quest Glossary of Terms for definitions of the required fields on the form.
Courses vs. milestones
- Have a subject code, course number, title, description, credit weight and grading basis. Grades assigned to courses at the graduate level can be numerical, credit/no credit or Audit.
- May or may not have requisites (prerequisites, corequisites, antirequisites).
- May be cross-listed with another graduate course.
- May be held with an undergraduate course (this information does not appear in the course catalogue).
- Appear on the student record in the term in which they have enrolled in the course.
- Are assigned a grade and calculated in the GPA on the student’s unofficial transcript only (averages are not included on official transcripts).
- Normally worth a single credit (0.50) but may be worth up to 2.00 credits.
- Non-course degree requirements (e.g., thesis, comprehensive exams, master's research paper, internship).
- Not term driven, i.e. are not “scheduled” at a set time or term.
- Appear at the bottom of the student’s academic record, typically indicating “in progress” until completed.
- Do not typically follow the same structure as a course (e.g. regular meet times); credit weight is not required.
- May or may not be graded, but if they are, the grade does not calculate in the student’s average on the unofficial transcript (averages are not included on official transcripts).