Graduate Studies

UCFV has launched its first graduate degree, the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice. This is the first MA (Criminal Justice) to be offered in Canada and the first masterís degree to be offered by a university college in British Columbia.

More masterís degrees are currently in the planning stages.

General Regulations for Graduate Studies

Administration of Graduate Studies

The Vice President, Academic is responsible for the general supervision of graduate work at UCFV and chairs the UCC Graduate Studies committee. 

The Graduate Studies assistant is responsible for ensuring that registration of students, assessment of fees, maintenance of records, and other administrative duties related to graduate students are carried out.

The committees responsible for the supervision of graduate students are the Supervisory committee, Graduate Program committee and the UCC Graduate Studies committee. The functions of these committees in relation to individual students are as follows.

Supervisory committee

The student's supervisory committee helps the student define and develop a program of studies and reports on the student's progress to the Graduate Program Committee. The supervisory committee forms part of the student's final examination committee.

Graduate Program committee

The Graduate Program committee is responsible for recommending admission, reviewing the student's progress and arranging for the supervision and examination of the student. For most graduate programs, the Graduate Program committee is the departmental graduate studies committee.

The University College Council Graduate Studies committee

The UCC Graduate Studies committee makes recommendations to UCC on such matters as awarding of degrees, changes to established programs and establishment of new programs. This committee has the final authority on admissions and the administration of UCC regulations which concern graduate work.

Admission

General

Before applying for admission, the student should obtain information about admission requirements and procedures. This information can be obtained from departments and faculties.

Applicants meeting the minimum requirements for admission given below are not assured admission into any graduate program. Most graduate programs have admission requirements in addition to the minimum. Furthermore, programs must restrict admission to students whose interests are compatible with available resources and faculty expertise. Graduate programs may set limits on total enrolments.

Admission to an applied masterís program

The minimum requirements for admission to an applied masterís program are as follows:

a.  a bachelor's degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 from a recognized post-secondary institution;

b.  submitted evidence, usually references from qualified referees, of the student's ability to undertake advanced work in the area of interest. 

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted with lower formal qualification than in (a) when there is significant professional experience relevant to the proposed area of scholarship.

Students must satisfy any further requirements set by the Graduate Program committee. Students whose native language is not English may be required to satisfy the University College and the Graduate Program committee as to their capability in English.

Application for admission

Application is through the Graduate Program committee in the department in which the student wishes to work; applicants are advised to contact the department before submitting an application. Transcripts of previous university work and proof of obtaining a degree are required at the time of application, and letters of reference may be required at that time.

Application procedures and deadlines for a graduate program may vary from program to program.

All decisions on graduate admissions are made by the UCC Graduate Studies committee, on recommendation from the Graduate Program committee. Decisions on admissions shall be final. Final approval of admission for exchange graduate students is by the Vice President, Academic.

Conditional admission

Conditional admission may be offered to an applicant who is substantially ready to undertake a program but who has not completed all admission requirements at the time of application. An offer of conditional admission will specify the remaining requirements to be met and a limited time period within which the requirements must be met. Normally, the requirements must be fulfilled either prior to registering in the program, or within the first semester of registration.

Admission as an exchange student

Bona fide graduate students at other universities who wish to take courses at UCFV, not leading to a degree at UCFV, will be admitted to take specific graduate courses on the recommendation of the chair of the department and the dean of graduate studies (or equivalent officers) at the other university, and with the permission of the appropriate Graduate Program committee and the Vice President, Academic at UCFV.

English language competence

English is the primary language of instruction and communication at UCFV. UCFV recognizes that applicants must have a proficiency in English sufficient to participate in the learning process.  See UCFV Calendar for further details.

Registration and academic records

Date of entry

Graduate students may enter programs at the beginning of any semester, unless a program requires students to start in a specific semester.

Registration

Students are registered in one of two different types of programs. In `per semester fee' programs, students are charged a standard fee for each semester of registration. In "per credit fee" programs, students are charged a fee based on the number of credits taken.

Registration normally begins two months before the start of each semester and must be completed by the Friday preceding the start of classes. New students are allowed an additional two weeks to finalize their registration, without financial penalty. The course or research-related work for which the student registers must have the approval of the Chair of the Graduate Program committee and of his/her senior supervisor, once the senior supervisor is appointed. In addition, registration for courses taken outside the student's program must have the approval of the senior supervisor and the Graduate Program committee.

Continuity of registration

Students going on leave are required to obtain the approval of the Chair of the Graduate Program committee and of his/her senior supervisor. Students must register as on leave.

Students in per semester fee programs are required to register in every semester until all requirements for the degree have been fulfilled. This includes students registered on leave. A student in a per semester fee program who does not register is considered to have withdrawn from UCFV.

Students in per credit fee programs register only in those semesters in which they are taking courses or working on other requirements, such as a project or field exam. A student in a per credit fee program who does not register in at least one of three consecutive semesters is considered to have withdrawn from UCFV.

Course audit

Graduate students may audit graduate courses, with permission of the instructor, senior supervisor and graduate program chair of the student's department.

Prior to registration, the student and instructor must agree on the requirements for auditing the class. These requirements must include regular attendance at class meetings, completion of readings and participation in class activities. Course fees for an audit may apply. Audited courses will not count toward degree requirements. Such audits are recorded as AU on the studentís transcript.

Normal Grading System

The following grades are used at the graduate level in UCFV:

A+ = 4.33 point
A   = 4.00 points
A-  = 3.67 points
B+ = 3.33 points
B   = 3.00 points
B-  = 2.67 points
C+ = 2.33 points
C   = 2.00 points
C-  = 1.67
P    = 1 point
NC = 0 points

When a student is working on a thesis or major project as part of the requirements for the degree, the notation IP (in progress) shall be entered on the transcript. IP is not a grade and is not used in calculating the student's program GPA.

Credit/no credit grading (CR/NCR)

With the approval of UCC Graduate Studies committee, a department may require that a designated course be graded credit/no credit (CR/NCR) for all students in the course. The grades CR and NCR have no grade points and are not counted in the GPA.

Program GPA required for continuation and graduation

To continue in a program, students must maintain a minimum program grade point average of 3.0, or higher if required by the program. Failure to meet the minimum program GPA is evidence of unsatisfactory progress and this will be considered by the Graduate Program committee as required under Policy 340.03 Ė Academic Warning.

Successful completion of an applied masterís degree at UCFV requires the student to obtain a minimum of B- in every course, a minimum program GPA of 3.0, or higher if required by the program, and successful completion of any other program requirements. Under no circumstances will a student whose program GPA is below 3.0 be awarded a graduate degree.

Graduate students retaking a course

A graduate student may retake a course under the following conditions:

a.   when the same numbered course covers different material in different semesters (many special topics and directed readings courses are of this nature).
b.   when the student wishes to improve the grade earned in the course. Permission of the Graduate Program committee is required.

Under a), both grades are recorded on the student's transcript, and the grade and the credit hours for both iterations of the course are used for the calculation of the program GPA and towards the credit hours required for the degree. Under b), both grades are recorded on the student's transcript. However, only the better grade is used in calculating the program GPA and the credit hours for the course are used only once towards the requirements for the degree.

Students may not take a course more than twice unless they also receive approval under policy 340.13 Ė Course Repeat.

Supervision

General

When a graduate student has been admitted, the Graduate Program committee will exercise general supervision and counselling for the student through the Chair of the Graduate Program committee or a faculty member designated by the Chair, until a senior supervisor has been appointed.

Senior supervisor

In consultation with the student, the Graduate Program committee will ensure that a senior supervisor is in place as soon as possible after admission to the graduate program. The senior supervisor is the person principally responsible for supervising the student throughout the degree program. A senior supervisor must hold a doctoral degree.

A senior supervisor who is planning to be off campus for more than three months shall arrange for proper supervision of the student during this absence. The Graduate Program committee and the Vice President, Academic shall be informed in writing of the arrangement.

Supervisory committee 

A supervisory committee, constituted as described below, must be established.

The senior supervisor, in consultation with the student, shall recommend the composition of the supervisory committee. The supervisory committee consists of the senior supervisor and at least one other person. Normally, this recommendation shall be made during the same semester in which the senior supervisor is appointed.

A recommendation for a supervisory committee that includes a person who is not a faculty member at UCFV should be accompanied by a curriculum vitae of that person.

The composition of the supervisory committee, for which the senior supervisor is chair, shall be approved by the Graduate Program committee and sent to the Vice President, Academic for final approval.

The supervisory committee is responsible for helping the student develop a program of study leading to a degree and for reporting to the Graduate Program Committee at least once a year on the student's progress towards completing the degree requirements. The supervisory committee shall be available to the student for consultation on a regular basis.

Change in the supervisory committee

Continuity of supervision is important in all graduate work. As a consequence, after a supervisory committee is established, a change in supervisory committee, especially a change in senior supervisor, may be made only on the basis of strong reasons.

A request for a change in the supervisory committee may come from the student or any member of the supervisory committee. It shall be sent to the Graduate Program committee accompanied by the reasons, in writing, for the proposed change. If the Graduate Program Committee concurs in the request, it shall be sent to the Vice President, Academic for final approval.

Ethics review

All research plans must comply with UCFV Research Ethics policies 210.10 and 210.07.

Residence requirement for applied masterís degrees

Applied masterís degree programs may allow the transfer of equivalent graduate level credits from other recognized institutions as well as, wherever appropriate, the recognition of prior learning. However, a minimum of 75 percent of the academic requirements for the completion of an applied masterís degree must be completed by the student at UCFV. 

Courses in applied masterís programs

A graduate student may apply to take one or more courses at another university for credit towards a degree at UCFV under the following conditions:

Such applications shall be made at least one month before the course/courses start and shall be approved by the student's senior supervisor and the Graduate Program committee.

A graduate student may apply to have credit for graduate courses taken prior to admission applied to the requirements for the degree, under the condition that courses must have been taken within two years of starting the UCFV program.

Application for advance credit must be made at the time of application for admission, and must be approved by the Graduate Program committee and the Vice President, Academic.  

Progress, withdrawal and leave

Progress evaluation

The supervisory committee shall report on the student's progress at least once each year. This report will be sent, in writing, to the Graduate Program committee with a copy to the student. The evaluation of student progress in coursework will rely in part on their maintenance of a program GPA of 3.0. A graduate program may define any further expectation for progress.

Review of unsatisfactory progress

If a student's progress appears to be unsatisfactory, the supervisory committee or the Chair of the Graduate Program committee shall make a written report to the Graduate Program Committee, and provide a copy to the student. That committee shall consider whether the student's progress has been satisfactory, the Graduate Program committee, on consultation with the supervisory committee, if one has been appointed, may:

a.   require the student to withdraw, or
b.   inform the student of the unsatisfactory progress and require the student to improve in specific ways in a specific period of time.

The student concerned has the right to appear before the Graduate Program committee when the case is considered, and may submit any materials relevant to the case. A student who is required to withdraw shall be informed, in writing, with copies to the Vice President, Academic and the Chair of the UCC Graduate Studies committee. If required to improve within a specific period of time, the student shall be informed in writing as to what precisely is required, with copies to the Vice President, Academic and the Chair of the UCC Graduate Studies committee. 

Any decision of the Graduate Program committee under the provisions of this section may be appealed to the UCC Graduate Studies committee through the Vice President, Academic. The student has the right to appear before the UCC Graduate Studies committee when the case is heard. The decision of that committee shall be final.

Withdrawal from courses and from UCFV

A student must obtain permission of the senior supervisor and the Chair of the Graduate Program committee in order to withdraw from a course. If the senior supervisor is not yet appointed, or if the student is in a graduate diploma program, permission of the Chair of the Graduate Program committee is required. If such permission is granted, a student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty up to the end of fifty percent (50%) of classes in any semester.

Under extenuating circumstances, a student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty after fifty percent (50%) of the course duration. Such circumstances must be beyond the control of the student (e.g., medical or financial crisis). Permission of the senior supervisor, if one has been appointed) and the Chair of the Graduate Program committee is required.

A student may withdraw from UCFV at any time by notifying the Chair of the Graduate Program committee. 

A student who has withdrawn from UCFV and who wishes to re-enter shall apply for permission under the same conditions as any other applicant.

A student who does not register in accordance with the section 3.3 is considered to have withdrawn from UCFV.

Examinations of project, extended essay or thesis

Examining committee for an applied masterís degree candidate

Each candidate for an applied masterís degree shall be examined on the project, extended essay or thesis by an examining committee comprised of:

a.  the chair of the student's Graduate Program committee, or his/her designate, who shall be a non-voting chair of the examining committee. If the Chair of the Graduate Program committee is also on the student's supervisory committee, he/she shall designate a member of faculty at UCFV, who is not a member of the student's supervisory committee, as chair.

b.  all members of the student's supervisory committee.

c.  a member of faculty at UCFV, or a person otherwise suitably qualified, who is not a member of the student's supervisory committee, must be included for examination of a thesis.

Preparation for examination of applied masterís project, extended essay or thesis

Preparation for the examination of an applied masterís project, extended essay or thesis shall not take place until the project, extended essay or thesis is substantially complete and in the format laid down in the UCFV Preparation of Projects, Extended Essays and Theses: Regulations and Guidelines (under development). This examination can take place only when the student has successfully met all the requirements in section 3.7.

The candidate's supervisory committee shall make a recommendation to the Chair of the Graduate Program committee concerning the date, place and time of the examination and the composition of the examining committee. This recommendation will be submitted for approval to the Vice President, Academic (or designate).

Prior to the examination, the Chair of the Graduate Program committee will notify the Registrar of the title of the project, extended essay or thesis, and the schedule for the examination. At this time, the Chair of the Graduate Program committee will notify the University community of the intended time and place of the examination.

At least two weeks before the date of the project, extended essay or thesis examination, unbound copies of the completed project, extended essay or thesis shall be distributed to the examining committee by the Chair of the Graduate Program committee, and one copy shall be made generally available for inspection by interested members of faculty and students. Department rules may require earlier submission of the completed project, extended essay or thesis. 

If the date or place has been changed, the Chair of the Graduate Program committee will notify the UCFV community.

The examination shall take place under the regulations approved by UCC.

Possible outcomes of the examination

The possible outcomes are:

1.   the project, extended essay or thesis may be passed as submitted
2.   the project, extended essay or thesis may be passed on the condition that minor revisions be completed to the satisfaction of the senior supervisor
3.   judgement on project, extended essay or thesis may be deferred once, up to one semester, pending major revisions to be completed to the satisfaction of the examining committee
4.   the project, extended essay or thesis may be failed. In this case the candidate is required to withdraw from UCFV.

Recommendation for the award of degree

When a student has successfully defended the project, extended essay or thesis and made any minor revisions required, the supervisory committee shall recommend that the degree be awarded. The Chair of the Graduate Program committee will ensure that all program requirements have been met and forward the recommendation to the Graduate Program committee for review.  If it is approved, the Chair of the Graduate Program committee will forward the recommendation to the UCC Graduate Studies committee, which will send it to the Registrar for presentation to UCC, and the Board. The Board has the final authority to award the degree.

The title of the project, extended essay or thesis will be recorded on the student's transcript.

Publication of thesis

Submission of the project, extended essay or thesis to the library

If the examining committee has required minor revisions to a project, extended essay or thesis, these will be completed within two weeks after the examination and checked by the senior supervisor. A minimum of five unbound copies of the final draft of the completed document shall be sent to the library together with a memorandum from the senior supervisor certifying that all required revisions have been made. In addition, an electronic version of the final draft of the project, extended essay or thesis shall be submitted to the library, in a format stipulated by the library.

When a library representative has checked the project, extended essay or thesis and accepted the format, the representative will notify the Registrar. No degree will be approved by UCC until the Registrar has been so notified.

Partial copyright license

Except as noted in section 9.4, the student shall sign a partial copyright license which grants to UCFV the right to lend the project, extended essay or thesis to users of the library, and to make partial or single copies for such users. Multiple copying is not permitted without written permission from the author except that, if the author is unobtainable, the Vice President, Academic may give this permission.

Reproduction

In the case of theses, except as noted in section 9.4, the student shall sign an agreement form authorizing the Library and Archives of Canada to reproduce the thesis and make it available in a variety of formats. 

Postponement of publication

The results of research conducted at the UCFV should be available freely to the public, and it is expected that projects, extended essays and theses will be placed in the library immediately following final revisions. It is the responsibility of graduate students to ensure that this policy is communicated clearly to relevant individuals and organizations outside UCFV prior to the initiation of any research project.

A project, extended essay or thesis may be withheld from circulation and from copying for a period of 12 months from the date of defence in order to protect confidential commercial information, patentable material, pending application, or where immediate commercial publication is anticipated. No extensions to this time limit will be permitted. At the time of defence, a project, extended essay or thesis withholding document requesting and authorizing such delay shall be signed by the student, the senior supervisor, and the Vice President, Academic. The official copies of the project, extended essay or thesis and all pertinent forms shall be deposited in the library along with the withholding document. A copy of the thesis shall not be sent to The Library and Archives of Canada during the restricted period but the abstract of the thesis shall be sent with the period of restriction duly noted. 

Under exceptional circumstances, portions of a project, extended essay or thesis may be withheld from the reference copy of the document that is made available to faculty members and students. This procedure must be authorized by the Vice President, Academic well before the distribution of the document. The Vice President, Academic must ensure that only the most confidential material is withheld from the document, and that the overall integrity of the document is preserved.

Publication of the project, extended essay or thesis by the student

None of the clauses above preclude the student from publishing the project, extended essay or thesis in any form at any time.

Maximum time for completion of the requirements for the degree

The maximum times for completion given below are not intended to be the normal times for completion. They are intended to take into account a wide variety of extraordinary circumstances and events that may delay completion. Individual departments may specify their expectations of normal degree completion times as a guide to determining whether a student's progress is satisfactory.

All requirements of the applied masterís degree must be completed within seven years of initial enrolment as an applied masterís student.

Award of the degree

Application for graduation

Every candidate for a graduate degree is responsible for applying for graduation on forms available from the Admissions and Records office.

Award of the degree

Award of the degree is by approval of the UCFV Board of Governors.

Transcripts

Certified official transcripts of the student's graduate academic record may be obtained from the Admissions and Records office. Only individually signed copies with the University College seal are valid.

Convocation ceremony

Convocation is held annually. Graduates meeting all requirements prior to April 30 of a given year convocate in early June of that year.

Graduate student appeals

Graduate students are advised to seek informal resolution of problems through discussions with their senior supervisor and the Chair of the Graduate Program committee.

Progress evaluations may be appealed through the UCC Graduate Studies committee (see section 6.2). All other appeals go through Policy 310.01 - Academic Appeals.

 

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