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Current Student Resources

Our long-term commitment to you begins with your acceptance into our program. Many elements of Western play a central role in coordinating the services and support you and your program may need within your graduate academic career at Western.


Leave of Absence

Reference: Graduate Regulation 4.06

If you need to apply for a leave of absence due to medical, compassionate, or pregnancy/parental grounds you can do so through the secure Graduate Student Web Services Portal.

After submitting an application for leave, your request will be forwarded to your home program for approval and finally to The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for approval and processing.  Once a decision has been made, you will receive notification via your Western e-mail address.

Part-time Status

Reference: Graduate Regulation 4.04

Students registered part-time may take no more than two courses in a term.  Undergraduate courses taken as extra courses or as degree requirements are to be included in the totals above.

Part-time registration status falls into two specific categories:

  • Part-time student in approved part-time program
    • Students may be admitted as part-time students in approved part-time programs as stipulated in the program's regulations.  During the course of study, and with the approval of the program and SGPS, such a part-time registrant may be approved to register as a full-time student; he or she may then register as a part-time student at a later date by meeting the requirements as stipulated below.  Students who begin as full-time students in programs that have an approved part-time course of study may only change to part-time registration as stipulated below.
  • Part-time student in full-time program
    • Part-time registration in full-time programs may be granted in exceptional circumstances and only with the approval of both the Graduate Program and the Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies). Examples of such circumstances are: admission to another full-time university program or medical or compassionate circumstances that make it impossible for the student to continue to devote full-time attention to his or her program of study. Supporting documentation must be submitted with the request for part-time status.

Part-time status is not to be used as a means for reducing or avoiding tuition fees.  Being beyond the funding eligibility period will not, by itself, constitute grounds for a change from full-time to part-time status.
Part-time status may be granted for up to a cumulative total of three terms.

If you would like to apply for part-time status you can do so through the secure Graduate Student Web Services Portal.

Master's to Doctoral Transfer

Reference: Graduate Regulation 4.05

Programs may allow students to transfer their registration from the Master’s to the Doctoral degree within the same program, without completion of the Master’s degree. The Vice-Provost (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) will consider such requests on the recommendation of the student’s program.

Transfers from the Master’s to the Doctoral program must take place before the sixth term of Master's registration, unless the program’s OCGS-approved provisions state otherwise.

Collaborative Programs

A collaborative program is intended to provide an additional multidisciplinary experience for students enrolled and completing the requirements in one of a number of participating programs.

Students register in the participating degree program, and must meet the admissions requirements of that home program, and meet its degree requirements plus those of the collaborative program.

The degree conferred is that of the home program, and the completion of the collaborative program is indicated by a transcript notation and/or adjunct qualifications to the degree (e.g., MA in Political Science with Migration and Ethnic Relations).

Graduate Course Audits

Reference: Graduate Regulation 6.04

The student must declare an intention to audit a graduate course by the enrolment deadline for the term, using the Graduate Course Audit Form.  The student must have the instructor’s signed approval to audit the course, as well as approval from the Supervisor (if applicable) and Graduate Chair.  An Audit requires regular attendance and any other obligations as stated by the course instructor in the Comments/Expectations section of the Graduate Course Audit Form.  If these requirements are not met, the audit will be removed from the student’s record at the instructor’s request.

After the enrolment deadline, a student may not make a change from auditing a course to taking it for credit, or vice versa, within a given term.  A student may, in a subsequent term, enroll in a given course for credit that has previously been audited.

Graduate courses delivered online may not be audited without special permission from the program.

Undergraduate Course Enrollment

Reference: Graduate Regulation 6.07

Graduate Students may take undergraduate courses with the approval of the course instructor, the student’s supervisor (if applicable), the Graduate Chair, and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. If the course is required for the graduate degree, there will be no additional charge. If it is not required for the degree, the graduate student will be charged, per undergraduate course. Graduate students taking undergraduate courses must follow the undergraduate regulations, as stipulated in the undergraduate calendar under “add/drop deadlines."

To register in an undergraduate course, you must use the Graduate Student Taking Undergraduate Course Form. Undergraduate courses, or combined courses in which undergraduate students predominate must be less than one-third of the student's total course requirement for the graduate degree.

Residency Reclassification

For information on obtaining permanent residency, please refer to the following Immigration Options chart.

Permanent Residency Assistance

The Government of Canada has announced a new initiative to assist international students studying at the Doctoral level in Canada, as well as recent international graduates of a Canadian PhD program, to apply as Federal Skilled Workers. Amongst these changes, international doctoral students who have completed 2 years (6 terms) of their program may now be eligible to apply for permanent residence through the Federal Skilled Workers program, eventually allowing students to gain valuable Canadian work experience and contribute to the nation’s economy.

Community Legal Services (CLS)

Western's Community Legal Services (CLS) offers legal services to assist you with:

Applications for Permanent Residency

  • Federal Skilled Worker Application (for temporary residents with work experience)
  • Canadian Experience Class Application (for Graduates with a Canadian degree)
  • Sponsorship of Member of Family Class (by a permanent resident)
  • Sponsorship of Spouse or Partner in Canada Class (by a permanent resident)
  • Study and Work Permit matters
  • Complications with obtaining or extending a Study Permit or a Work Permit.

Immigration Group Information (IGI) sessions are scheduled monthly, and students can register via CLS Scheduler. Individual appointments with the lawyer or CLS caseworker can be arranged subsequent to attendance at an information session. CLS Immigration services may also include assistance in drafting and swearing affidavits and preparing notarized copies of your documents in preparation for the above services.

For further information, please visit Western's Community Legal Services (CLS) or call 519.661.3352.

Application Reimbursement

In addition to these services, the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Research Development Services provides a fund to help cover the costs of applying for permanent residency. Once you have paid the application fee, please bring documentation from the Central Intake Office in Sydney, Nova Scotia as well as documentation from the Immigration Regional Program Center in Buffalo, NY with your file number on it to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies office and we will reimburse you the $550 application fee.

Residency Update

Students who wish to update their residency status with the University must provide proof of this status change to The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Upon confirming your changed residency status (via Record of Landing or Permanent Resident Card), your tuition charges will be reduced to the domestic rate (plus UHIP until OHIP is obtained). Please note the deadlines each term to present landing documentation in order to have the current term's tuition rates reduced.

International Student Services

International students are invited to visit International Student Services (WSS room 4100) for help with immigration questions (re: study/work permits, temporary resident visas, spousal permits, U.S. visas, etc.) and other government regulations (e.g., Social Insurance Number, Income Taxes, etc.). Email:, Phone: 519.661.2111 ext 85908.

Thesis Defense Only

Reference: Graduate Regulation 4.04(d)

If you have completed all degree requirements (including thesis submission) but have not defended your thesis prior to the end of the current term, you are eligible to continue your registration into the next term in Thesis Defense Only (TDO) status.  This additional term makes the completion of your thesis possible while not requiring you to pay tuition fees (ancillary fees still apply, and UHIP where applicable).  This status may apply for a maximum of one term.

In order to be considered for TDO, Doctoral students must submit the examination copies of their theses to the SGPS office, and Masters students must submit the examination copies of their theses to their Program office.  Normally doctoral students must submit a completed thesis approximately 7 weeks prior to the last day of term; Masters students must submit a completed thesis approximately 4 weeks prior to the end of term.  Specific dates may be found in the Thesis Regulation Guide.  TDO will be granted to those students who have submitted a thesis by the published deadline, but have not been able to secure an examination board and/or examination date that falls before the end of the term.

Students who meet all TDO criteria do not need to apply for a change to this status; SGPS will be contacting these students and their Graduate Program individually.

Apply to Graduate

Reference: Graduate Regulation 9.00

The University holds regular Convocation ceremonies in the Spring (June) and in the Fall (October) of each year and an In Absentia convocation in February. Degree completion, for purposes of Convocation, requires the following:

  • Program's submission to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of grades for all course requirements.
  • Acceptance by the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies of the final submission of the thesis (if applicable).
  • Program's notification to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies indicating degree completion.

If you are in the final term of your program, you are required to apply to graduate via the Student Center. Students' application for graduation may only occur during the term in which they intend to complete the requirements of their degree. Applications must be submitted prior to the end of that term to ensure eligibility.

To apply, access the Student Center. The Graduation link will be in the left hand menu. Select "Apply for Graduation" and then follow the instructions to complete the process.

Voluntary Withdrawal

Reference: Graduate Regulation 4.07

If it is necessary for you to withdraw from your graduate program you can do so through the secure Graduate Student Web Services Portal under Change of Registration.  The request will be forwarded to The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for processing.  Once withdrawn from a program (and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies), you are no longer a student and may not attend classes, receive supervision, or have access to any resources of the University.

Fee refunds will be made on a pro rata basis to students who withdraw before the end of a term. Detailed information on graduate tuition refunds is available on the Office of the Registrar's Website. Scholarships received from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are also subject to pro-rating. Contact the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for details.

Exchange Opportunities

Our exchange agreements with partner institutions across the globe provide Western students with the opportunity to study at more than 50 universities around the world.

Graduate Regulations