Guidelines, Policies and Forms

The regulations of the Faculty of Graduate Studies generally apply to all students enrolled in graduate programs at York University. In a number of instances individual graduate programs have additional requirements; these are set out at Faculty of Graduate Studies — Program Requirements.

General Information

  • Students are advised to be on campus the week before classes start to meet faculty, fellow students, and the Director.
  • Students are advised to observe the registration dates and program deadlines.
  • University courses begin on September 10, 2015 for the Fall/Winter 2015/2016 academic year. Students are responsible for verifying the precise date of the first class meeting for courses in which they are enrolled, please verify at Courses.
  • Students should make a point of discussing with the Graduate Program Director their academic plans: course selection, thesis topics, potential supervisors and committees, and leaves of absence. In every case, the most effective way of establishing an agreement and avoiding misunderstandings is to put things in writing.
  • Students should keep the Graduate Program Assistant informed of any changes in plans, courses, G.A.s and so on. A brief note letting her know of a new development can often save endless bureaucratic hassles at a later stage.
  • Computers are available for student use in the Philosophy Computer Lab. Printing access is via the latest and best Hewlett Packard printer in the lab. Additional printing is also available via the OAK server through CNS. Students have access to e-mail accounts which can be arranged through the CNS Helpdesk (416-736-5800). Accounts to access the Philosophy Lab computers are available through the Administrative Assistant.
  • Students should check their mailboxes in the Philosophy Computer Lab of the Philosophy Department for notices and information concerning the program. Except for part-time students, mail received in the program office will not be forwarded.
  • There are five York University libraries: the Scott Library, the Steacie Science Library, the Government Documents/Administrative Studies Library, the Law Library, and the Frost Library on the Glendon College campus. The Scott Library, located just west of the Ross Building, is the social science and humanities library. Information about library services can be obtained from the library’s information desk just inside the main entrance. All graduate students may apply for extended loan privileges at the circulation desk, Scott Library, by submitting a signed letter from the Program Director. With extended loan privileges two-week books at Scott, Steacie, Law and Frost are automatically charged out for 100 days.
  • TA Day, a one-day teaching seminar designed for Teaching Assistants, is held in the Fall by the Teaching Commons. The seminar provides invaluable information and workshops that can help you prepare for your role as a Teaching Assistant. In addition, the Centre for the Support of Teaching offers an accredited University Teaching Practicum. Its purpose is to furnish opportunities for candidates to develop their teaching skills. Successful candidates receive a letter of authenticity from FGS signed by the Dean. For more information, please visit Teaching Commons.
  • All students and faculty members have the right to pursue their studies and research in an atmosphere free from sexual harassment of any kind. The Sexual Harassment Education and Complaint Centre (108 Central Square) is for use by all members of the York University community (students, staff, faculty).
  • The Counselling and Development Centre offers an assortment of diverse programs to help students achieve their personal and academic potential. The Centre’s reception area (145 Behavioral Science Building) is open from 9:00-5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday 416-736-5297).
  • Other support groups that might be useful: Centre for Women and Trans People, 322 Student Centre, 416-736-2100 ext. 33484; Human Rights Centre, 416-736-5682; Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution, 416-736-5231. For more information on any of these groups, contact Student Community & Leadership Development, 416-736-5144.

Accommodations for Graduate Students

  • Accommodations are available for graduate students who require them.

Program Regulations

The Graduate Faculty divides the year into three terms: Fall, Winter and Summer. For as long as you are in the Program you must maintain continuous registration in all three terms. Failure to do so will result in your withdrawal from the Program. Re-registration is permitted only by special petition to the graduate study committee. If you have not completed requirements for the degree by May, you must register for the following Summer term whether or not you are using university services.

Student Status - Full-Time/Part-Time

Students may be registered as full-time for one year at the M.A. level, and six years at the Ph.D level. Funding is not guaranteed in the second year of the M.A. level.

Time Limits

Full-time Master’s Candidates are expected to complete the degree requirements within twelve months and must complete in twenty-four months. Master’s Students will automatically be switched to part-time status after 3 sessions have been completed. The requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree should be completed within six years. In order to remain in good standing, students must complete the course requirements by the end of PhD 2 and defend their dissertation proposal by the end of PhD 3.

Restrictions Related to Full-Time/Part-Time Status

Students must be registered as Full-time status in order to apply for Research or Teaching Assistantships, scholarships, and/or to reside in the York apartments.  Students registered full-time may not work more than ten hours per week.

Leave of Absence/Withdrawal From The Programme

Students may petition to the Dean of Graduate Studies for Leaves of Absence up to a maximum of three terms, which may be taken consecutively if approved.  Leaves of Absence are usually requested for personal or compassionate reasons.   The petition must be approved and signed by the Program Director and, in the case of students writing theses and dissertations, by the Supervisor. Students may not petition for a Leave of Absence if they owe fees, or in the term prior to completion of the degree. A L.O.A. student is considered to be a non-student during this period and should not be receiving any academic guidance from the University.

In addition, no Leaves of Absence will be granted to students who are carrying Incomplete grades, unless there are exceptional circumstances. In these special cases, the Program Director will be required to submit the student’s schedule of completion of the work for the unfinished course. This also applies to students whose programs have not yet assigned Incomplete grades for courses recently taken.

Students on Leave of Absence are required to maintain continuous registration and pay the appropriate L.O.A. fee. Leaves of Absence do not count towards the Master’s and Doctoral time limits.

Note: Approval of all Leaves of Absence is solely at the discretion of the Dean or the Dean’s designate.

A Withdrawal in Good Standing may be requested if the period of absence from the Program is likely to be longer than a year and if the student’s work has been satisfactory to that point. A letter with reasons supporting the request for withdrawal in good standing should be submitted to the Director.

Note: Withdrawal in Good Standing is not permitted if a student is holding a grade of Incomplete.


Fees are comprised of academic fees, ancillary fees and non tuition-related fees approved by student referendum. Normally all fees are subject to change starting with the summer term of each year. Academic fees are determined with reference to the formula fee schedule set by the Province of Ontario. Accordingly, any adjustments to the formula fee schedule by the Province of Ontario will result in adjustment to the University’s academic fees. The University will endeavour to inform the student community immediately upon any such adjustment. However, the University does not undertake or accept responsibility to so notify all recipients of this Calendar. The Board of Governors reserves the right to make changes in the published schedule of fees without notice.

For current fees information, please visit Faculty of Graduate Studies - Fees and Tuition.

Students who wish to pay for tuition by payroll deductions, are advised to go to the Faculty of Graduate Studies in 230 York Lanes to set up their tuition payroll deductions, this will need to be set up each new session. (eg.: Fall, Winter, Summer). Tuition Fee Receipts for income tax purposes are provided for the Academic Fee portion only.

Please note that fees are payable each term, three times per year. Due dates are:

  • Summer Term: First week of May
  • Fall Term: First week of September
  • Winter Term: First week of January

Methods of Payment

  • Pay at the bank with the pay-at-the-bank stub included in your first student accounts statement. Remember to have the stub stamped and dated by the teller if paying in person, or to retain your transaction record if paying at an automated banking machine.
  • By cheque or money order made payable to York University, in person or by mail. Cash payments are no longer accepted.
  • Payroll deduction to be arranged in person through the Faculty of Graduate Studies Office, 230 York Lanes.
  • York Scholarship (fees are automatically deducted from York Scholarships prior to any cheques being issued). If your scholarship is insufficient to cover your fees, please be prepared to pay the balance.
  • Sponsorship agency. If you are in Canada on an exchange agreement or sponsored by an agency such as CIDA or Commonwealth, which exempts you from the International Student Fees, you must provide copies of the necessary documentation at registration.
  • Deferments may be granted in extenuating circumstances. Please contact Heather Moore of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, 416-736-5521, 230 York Lanes.
Note: It is not possible to pay fees by payroll deduction for the Summer Term. A $200.00 penalty is automatically assessed for late registration, after September 2, January  2, or May 2.

Students who have not yet completed their course work may register as No Course Available  if no suitable course is offered in any given term.  This provision does not apply if a student is registered as working on a thesis/dissertation or a major research paper, or who have a grade of I (Incomplete) recorded for a course. Students registered as No Course Available pay administration fees, but not tuition.

For further information about registration, maternity leaves, leaves of absences, compassionate leaves, please visit Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Program Forms

Supervising Guidelines


  • students choose a supervisor: by the end of year 2
  • committee formed: mid-winter term of year 3 (before the proposal defence)

Supervisor Responsibilities

Before dissertation research begins (in roughly chronological order):

  1. meet with the student each April to complete progress forms and advise students about the upcoming terms;
  2. recommend conferences to submit papers to, read paper drafts for journal and conference presentation;
  3. encourage student to apply for SSHRC/OGS as appropriate and read drafts of project descriptions;
  4. guide the student through the two paper exam, and insure that the student has two papers ready to submit by the end of Fall of their third year;
  5. in the 3rd year of study, work with the student on the dissertation;
  6. in the 3rd year of study, organize the dissertation proposal defence by May;
  7. before scheduling the defense, ensure that the student has already passed the 2 paper exam;
  8. help the student pick a dissertation committee;
  9. help the student finalize a draft of the proposal;
  10. choose an external examiner for the proposal defence (typically a member of the department not on the committee, in consultation with the GPD);
  11. set a date that works for the committee and external examiner;
  12. inform the GPA regarding the date and book a room for the defence;
  13. help student develop an introductory spiel for the proposal defence;
  14. after the defence, the supervisor and committee sign off on two documents: one is an internal form to be kept in the student’s file, and the other is the TD1 form to be sent to FGS by the GPA (this latter form need not be signed by the external examiner). The student must also send a copy of their proposal to the GPA. Once the TD1 form and the proposal have been approved by FGS, the student is officially ABD.

After a successful proposal defence:

  1. meet with the student each April to complete progress forms and advise students about the upcoming terms;
  2. meet at least once a year with the student and the entire dissertation committee to assess the progress of the dissertation;
  3. supervise the dissertation writing;
  4. recommend conferences to submit papers to, read paper drafts for journal submissions and conference presentation;
  5. encourage student to apply for SSHRC/OGS as appropriate and read drafts of project descriptions;
  6. help student develop a dissertation spiel for the job market and conference meetings;
  7. discuss job prospects, work with student on their cv, and advise student about creating a viable job dossier;
  8. in the 4th year of study, if appropriate, encourage student to apply for a dissertation fellowship year (Susan Mann, Provost, and Departmental fellowships). Students typically indicate interest in being considered to the GPD in March;
  9. in the 5th or 6th year of study, inform the GPA and GPD that your student is ready to defend;
  10. suggest to the GPD examiners for the three roles: Dean’s Representative (at arm’s length from supervision of dissertation), External Examiner (from outside York, but inside Philosophy, typically, and at arm’s length from dissertation), Internal Examiner (from inside York, but outside Philosophy, typically, and at arm’s length from dissertation);
  11. 8 weeks before the defense date, inform the GPA of the examining committee and the date of the dissertation defense. With the GPA, file the paperwork for FGS to schedule a dissertation defence (by January 15 for a winter defence; by July 15 for a summer defence; by November 15 for a fall defence);
  12. 6 weeks before the defense date, supply the GPA with the dissertation draft to be defended. The GPA will send the dissertation draft to the external committee members;
  13. help the student prepare for the dissertation defence, including reviewing the introductory presentation and discussing possible lines of questioning.

A Note on Letters of Recommendation

Supervisors are usually asked to write letters for students for many different purposes: grant applications, scholarships, awards, jobs, etc. Research has suggested effective naming practices, including using the student’s full name (e.g. no diminutives or nicknames) and referring to the student by last name. (These practices are particularly important when writing for women.) In addition, there is evidence that implicit bias comes into play in the adjectives used to describe men and women in letters of recommendation. In one study , letters for women used more relationship adjectives (e.g. nurturing, caring) and letters for men used more leadership adjectives (e.g. confident, assertive, intellectual). In addition while women were just as likely to be praised for being intelligent and knowledgeable, men were more likely to be described as “trail-blazing,” “the best student I ever had,” or “brilliant”.

A Note on Turn Around Times for Reading Written Work

Some student work is more time-dependent than others. For standard work, such as drafts of dissertation chapters, we should not keep students waiting more than 3 weeks for our feedback. For SSHRC/OGS proposals, the turn-around time might need to be much sooner. Be sure to communicate expected turn-around times with your student.

Dissertation Proposal Guidelines

Proposal Contents

The proposal should include

  1. A formal cover sheet, which includes the following information: student name, working title of the thesis/dissertation, date the thesis/dissertation writing will commence, date of planned completion, and the suggested supervisory committee;
  2. A short description of the project, which briefly summarizes the proposal, how the student proposes to accomplish the task, and how the results would contribute to scholarship in the field. This short description should be one double-spaced page or less;
  3. A detailed description of the project, which would permit an accurate assessment of the proposed thesis/dissertation. The detailed description should be a maximum of 3500 words and should cover the following topics:
    1. Scope and objectives of the research;
    2. An account of the existing state of scholarship on the subject, and an explanation or justification of the undertaking of the project and of its potential contribution to knowledge;
    3. Research strategy, hypotheses and methods including a tentative list of the divisions, phases, or chapters into which the dissertation will fall, so far as the student can see them at this early stage of his/her work;
    4. Work already completed and scheduled work to be done.
  4. A selective bibliography done according to The Chicago Manual of Style: The 13th Edition... Revised and Expanded (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982). For easy reference see: Kate L. Turabian's A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations, 5th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).
    The selective bibliography should list:

    1. the primary sources (texts, editions, etc.) on which the dissertation is to be based,
    2. the chief secondary sources (critical, biographical, etc.) which bear most closely on the subject.
Please Note: A growing bank of past proposals is available to view from the Graduate Program Assistant.

FGS Regulations

Office of the Registrar