ST65 – Student Files, Graduate

Records of graduate student academic history, performance and achievements, and academic support received in graduate degree programs.

This records class is a Personal Information Bank.

Related Records | Responsible Unit | Information Steward | Information Confidentiality Classification | Retention | Disposition | Authority | Retention RationaleVersion Information

Content & Scope

Graduate student files document a student's academic history and fulfilment of program requirements. Many of the documents provide the authorization for updates to the official student record maintained in the student information system (Quest). The files document, for example, the basis for admission, personal information changes, enrolment, achievement of program milestones (such as comprehensive examinations, breadth requirements, graduate seminars, internships and practica), thesis requirements, participation in various programs including co-op, the Ontario Visiting Graduate Student Program and international exchange programs, and program completion.

This records class excludes student discipline, grievances, and appeals, and the records of graduate students as academic employees.

The records include: admissions documents, change of name forms and supporting documentation, copies of citizenship and visa documents; change of enrolment/status/voluntary withdrawal forms, drop/add forms, change of supervisor forms, petitions for extension of program time limit; student progress reports and milestone completion forms; records of comprehensive and thesis examinations, including nomination and approval of examining committees, approval of subjects for examination, examination answer papers, CVs of examiners, non-disclosure agreements, external examiners' reports, notices of defence; evaluations of work terms, internships, and participation in other practical experience opportunities; Ontario Visiting Graduate Program applications, exchange applications, and transcripts from host universities; intent to graduate/program completion forms; and related correspondence.

Related Records

  • For the official student record maintained in Quest, see ST70 – Student Information System.
  • For records related to graduate student discipline, grievances, and appeals, see ST85 – Student Discipline Case Files, ST88 – Student Grievances Case Files, and ST80 – Student Appeals Case Files.
  • For the records of graduate students as academic employees, see HR26 – Employee Files (Teaching/Research Assistants, Postdoctoral Fellows) and HR20 –  Employee Files (Other Faculty).

Responsible Unit

  • Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.
  • Co-operative and Experiential Education.
  • Faculties, academic departments and schools.

Information Steward

  • Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs: graduate student records received and maintained by Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.
  • Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education: records of students’ participation in co-operative and experiential education programs.
  • Dean of the relevant faculty: all other records.

Information Confidentiality Classification

  • Highly Restricted: copies of citizenship and visa documents, supporting documents for change of name forms.
  • Restricted: all other records.


  • Graduated students: 2 years after graduation.
  • Withdrawn/inactive students: 2 years after last registration. Faculties, academic departments and schools may retain the parts of the file which would inform readmission decisions for a longer period.


It is highly recommended that the files be retained no longer than 7 years and that they be weeded of all documents not needed for readmission purposes. In particular any highly sensitive information, such as verification of illness forms, in the file should be securely destroyed once the initial 2 year period of inactivity has passed.


Secure Destruction.


Responsible Units should document the disposal/destruction of official records using the University records destruction form or equivalent documentation, to verify that we are following our records retention rules.


University of Waterloo Act, 1972.

Retention Rationale

The retention period is based on operational use.

Approval Date

26 July 2010