Academic Appeals

Appeals regarding evaluation, grading, and academic standing will be managed according to Student Appeals in Academic Matters.

The first formal step in grievance procedure is to be taken within 30 days of the alleged grievance. 

Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence are available to students for compassionate, medical, parenting, educational, and ‘Co-op Program’/Industry reasons. Leaves of absence are normally granted in four-month blocks to coincide with the registration terms (Sept 1 to Dec 31; Jan. 1 to Apr 30; May 1 to Aug 31). Maternity, adoption, and parenting leave may be granted for eight or twelve month blocks.

The Head of the academic unit or Graduate Chair has the authority to approve a first-time leave request of up to 4 months for compassionate or medical reasons. For maternity, parental or adoption reasons, the leave may be approved for up to 12 months immediately following a birth or adoption. Short-term leaves of less than one month should also be managed within the home academic unit. Extensions to the initial leave period must be approved by CGPS.

Requests for leaves should be discussed as early as possible with supervisors so that appropriate accommodations can be made prior to the beginning of the leave. Requests should be made in writing by the student for a minimum leave of four months to a maximum leave of twelve months. The Dean of the CGPS, or his designate, will consider any petitions arising from students whose request for leave has been denied by the supervisor or academic unit.

The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree, and tuition is not assessed during the leave. While a student is on leave, all supervisory processes are suspended.

Compassionate, Medical Leaves

A graduate student who has developed an illness, who has been the victim of an accident, or who has suffered grave events in his/her life is deemed, upon provision of appropriate documentation (letter from student, from Supervisor, and from physician or other health professional if applicable) to the Graduate Chair, to be eligible for medical or compassionate leave. The Graduate Chair should forward these documents and a letter of support to the CGPS for approval. At the end of a medical leave and before returning to active studies, the student must provide to the Graduate chair and to CGPS a physician’s certificate indicating the condition necessitating the leave no longer compromises the graduate program.

Maternity, Adopting, Parenting Leaves

A graduate student who is bearing a child, and/or who has primary responsibility for the care of a child immediately following a birth or an adoption is deemed to be eligible for parental leave. Maternity, adopting and parental leaves may be requested for up to one year in duration, upon receipt of a letter from the student indicating the reason for the leave, and written acknowledgement from the supervisor.

“Co-op Program” leaves and Graduate Studies in Industry

It is the policy of the CGPS to encourage wherever appropriate research and teaching partnerships with the public and private sector. When students receive offers to spend a period of time in industry or the public sector pursuing research-related activities which are closely linked to their Master’s or Ph.D. Program of Studies, the CGPS will consider granting a four-month leave. Such a leave may be repeated once at a later time in the program. Request for such leaves must provide all relevant details in writing and must be supported in writing by the supervisor and Graduate Chair. The leave period is not included in the time period for completion of the degree and tuition is not assessed during the leave.

Leaves to pursue undergraduate studies

A graduate student that has been offered admission into an undergraduate college at the University of Saskatchewan may apply for a leave of absence from the graduate program for a maximum of two consecutive terms. To be eligible for such a leave, the student must provide documentation from the undergraduate college indicating that dual college registration will not be permitted. The student must also provide a detailed plan to completion for the graduate program that has been approved by the graduate program supervisor and graduate chair. For thesis students, a complete draft of the thesis must be complete for the student to be eligible for the leave.

Once you have determined your eligibility for a leave, based on the above criteria, you must submit a formal request, following the steps outlined below:

1) Submit your request to your supervisor/committee in writing. Included in this request must be the following:

  • A clear indication of what type of leave you are requesting
  • An explanation of the circumstances necessitating the leave
  • Medical documentation, where applicable
    • Please note that specific diagnoses, details of conditions, details regarding medication, treatment, etc. are NOT required.
    • We request that medical notes state how long the physician has been treating the student and specific dates/duration of time away being recommended by the physician. 

2) Once your request has been approved by your supervisor/committee, it can be forwarded to CGPS for final approval and processing. The request should not be submitted directly from the student to CGPS – it must be submitted by the academic unit to the CGPS Advisor assigned to that unit. All of the information and documentation outlined above must be included in the request forwarded to CGPS.

3) Once your leave has been approved and processed by CGPS, the assigned CGPS Advisor will send an e-mail notifying you and the appropriate contacts in your academic unit. While you are on leave, you are not assessed tuition. Additionally, leaves of absence do not count toward your time in program.

Students pursuing a leave of absence should be aware of the implications a leave from program may have on other aspects of their academic and non-academic affairs. It is important to consider and manage the following carefully when pursuing a leave from graduate studies:

Health and Dental Benefits - Depending on when you are taking your leave and for how long, your access to student health and dental benefits may be impacted. We recommend that students pursuing a leave visit, stop by the Health & Dental Plan Office in Room 121, Main Level, Place Riel Student Centre, or call (306) 933-0093 / toll-free 1-877-795-4428 to ensure that they understand the options available to them.

Funding/Awards - Per section 13.1 of the Graduate Policies and Procedures, financial support offered to a full-time, fully-qualified student is not available to a student on leave unless otherwise permitted by the funding source. If you are planning to pursue a leave, and are studying on scholarship or other types of student  funding, you must contact the office from which your funding is coming  prior to going on leave. Failure to do this could be detrimental to current or future funding opportunities, and could result in a requirement to repay any payments made in error. The source of your funding should be identified in your award letter - usually it will be coming from within your own home academic unit, OR centrally from the CGPS Awards office. It is also advised that you contact your award office when you are returning from leave, so that appropriate arrangements can be made where necessary.

Immigration Status/Study Permits - If you are an international student, taking a leave of absence could impact your study permit and/or your status in Canada. We strongly recommend that any international graduate student pursuing a leave of absence from study contact the International Student and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC) as soon as possible to be advised appropriately.


Students who wish to withdraw from their graduate program must submit a Withdrawal from graduate program form to the CGPS. In addition, they must withdraw from any courses they are currently registered for through the registration channel in PAWS immediately.

Failure to do so can result in a faculty action of Required to Discontinue (RTD) that will remain on your official academic record.

Extension to Time in Program

General information

Official program time limits are five years for Postgraduate Diploma and Master’s, and six years for Ph.D. This time is measured from the beginning of the first term of registration for work which is included in the Program of Studies (this may be course work done at U of S or elsewhere, thesis, project, or practicum), excluding any periods of approved leave.

Where a student has been suspended from the program for one or more terms because of an academic dishonesty ruling and penalty, the period of suspension will not count as time in program, subject to University Council regulations on student discipline and appeals.

Time extensions may be considered for students who encounter unforeseen problems while actively trying to finish their program.

While on extension, students are expected to be working on their programs full-time.

Applying for an Extension

Thesis-based students who have reached or will soon reach the time limit of the program without completing program requirements should meet with their supervisor to discuss a plan and timeline for completion, using the GSR 205: Request for Extension to Time in Program form as a guide. Once a plan has been drafted, it should be distributed to the advisory committee, and an advisory committee meeting should be scheduled to discuss, finalize, and approve the plan.

If the Advisory Committee supports the extension request, the request is forwarded to the Graduate Chair for approval.

Course-based students, who typically do not have a supervisor and committee, should meet directly with the Graduate Chair to discuss an extension and submit their request.

Only one extension request will be allowed per student, so it is important to plan accordingly and mutually commit to achieving the timelines submitted.

Examples of topics which should be discussed while developing the plan and timeline are:

  • Addressing challenges which have impeded the student’s progress and timely completion
  • Expectations for working together while on extension, for example:
    • How often the supervisor and student will meet
    • How often the committee will meet
    • Expectations surrounding communication, corrections, and feedback

The outcome of the meeting should be that a detailed, reasonable, achievable plan and timeline to completion is finalized and agreed upon by the student, supervisor, and committee.

Once a request has been approved by the Graduate Chair, the Graduate Chair submits it to CGPS for final approval.

Requests forwarded to CGPS must include a completed GSR 205: Request for Extension to Time in Program form

Once your extension has been approved and processed by CGPS, the assigned CGPS Advisor will send an e-mail notifying you and the appropriate contacts in your academic unit. Students who are on extension are responsible to continue maintaining continuous registration, and paying applicable tuition and fees.

Please note that any of the following may result in a request being returned:

  • Submission of an incomplete GSR 205 form
  • Insufficient detail/rationale provided in request for extension
  • Insufficient/unsatisfactory information for plan and timeline to completion

*The information/instructions above are subject to university policy - please refer to the Policies and Procedures Manual*