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G.A.3 Graduate Admission Categories

Graduate students are admitted to the Faculty in one of the categories outlined below.

See for application deadlines and forms for all categories.

Regular Students
A student who meets the qualifications for admission to a graduate-level certificate, graduate-level diploma, master’s degree or doctoral degree at the University of Calgary with no conditions for further academic work (qualifying) or language proficiency (ACC).

Interdisciplinary Students
Interdisciplinary students pursue thesis-based research (Master's, PhD) in an area that does not fit the traditional disciplinary requirements of only one graduate program. The requirements for the student's program are individually tailored to meet their research interests. Research is carried out under the direction and guidance of a Supervisor, Co-Supervisor and Supervisory Committee whose research expertise is relevant to the disciplinary areas. The student should submit an application form and fee, along with official transcripts and letters of reference to the intended home graduate program. The application must meet the minimum Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements for admission. The prospective home program will work with the conjoint program to establish coursework and candidacy examination requirements. Parchments for the Interdisciplinary Degree will identify both the home and conjoint programs. Contact the prospective home graduate program for further details.

Cotutelle (admission to cotutelle currently suspended; replaced by Joint PhD)
A doctoral cotutelle is a single PhD degree jointly awarded by two universities with a transcript and parchment from each. It is designed, supervised and examined by faculty from both universities. Applicants must normally meet the PhD requirements of both universities. An agreed plan of study and support must be established at the outset.

The primary institution may be University of Calgary or another partner institution. Cotutelle admission may be approved at the beginning of the degree or by transfer in the first two years of an existing PhD program.

Joint Thesis-based Graduate Students
Joint thesis-based graduate students study and perform research at the University of Calgary and one other institution. The University of Calgary may act as the home institution or the collaborating institution. Students will have supervisors at both institutions and physically attend the collaborating institution as a visiting student researcher for a minimum of six months for PhD programs and four months for thesis-based Masters programs.

Each joint degree is administered according to an agreement between the University of Calgary and the partnering institution.

Students enrolled in a joint degree program must first be accepted to a thesis-based program at their home institution. They must also meet the admission requirements of the collaborating institution and be recommended for the joint degree by their program at their home institution. Students must complete the degree requirements of their respective program at their home institution.

Students receive one parchment from their home institution. Where the home institution is the University of Calgary, the parchment will indicate “Joint Degree offered in collaboration with (Collaborating Institution Name).” Where the home institution is not the University of Calgary, the joint thesis-based degree is similarly recognized and recorded.

Qualifying Students
A student who meets the Faculty of Graduate Studies admission requirements but lacks the necessary background for a graduate program in a chosen area of specialization may be admitted as a qualifying graduate student. A qualifying student is required to take more courses in a degree program than a regular graduate student. Upon satisfactory completion of a qualifying term or year, the student may be transferred to regular student status. Qualifying graduate students must be full-time registrants in either a master's or a doctoral degree program. Qualifying status will not be granted for a period exceeding one year. Note that time spent as a qualifying student does not count as time in the degree program.

Students in course-based programs may not normally be accepted as qualifying students. If they are, they will pay tuition fees for the extra required courses on a per-course basis.

Visiting Students
A student who is registered in a graduate degree program at another university that does not have an exchange agreement with the University of Calgary, and who wishes to engage in course work and/or research at the graduate level at the University of Calgary for credit at their home university, may be admitted as a visiting graduate student. A visiting student must contact the graduate program and obtain approval from the graduate program director, then submit an online application and pay the application fee by one of the deadlines posted on the website. Visiting students pay all applicable general and tuition fees. Visiting students are normally permitted to spend a maximum of one year at the University of Calgary. It should be noted that admission as a visiting student does not guarantee later admission to a graduate program at the University of Calgary.

Exchange Students
The University of Calgary has reciprocal exchange agreements with other institutions. Graduate students from these institutions may engage in course or research work at the University of Calgary for credit at the home institution. Note that students with practicum requirements may not be eligible to apply for an exchange.

An exchange student pays tuition fees at the home institution when this is written into the specific exchange agreement, and applicable general fees at the University of Calgary. If there is no reciprocal fee agreement, the exchange student pays applicable tuition and general fees at the University of Calgary.

Exchange student status does not guarantee admission to graduate programs at the University of Calgary. An exchange student who wishes to apply to a graduate program at the University of Calgary must do so in the usual manner.

Western Deans’ Agreement
A graduate student registered in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at one university may apply for student status at a university covered under the Western Deans’ Agreement. The application requires approval of the Graduate Program Director and the Faculty of Graduate Studies at both the student’s home and host universities. See the Faculty of Graduate Studies website for a list of universities covered by The Western Deans’ Agreement and application deadlines.

Deadlines in effect at both the home and host institutions must be observed.

The student pays tuition and general fees at the home university and applicable general fees at the host institution.

The student is responsible for arranging for an official transcript to be sent from the host institution to the home institution when the course(s) has been completed.

Each home institution has regulations regarding the maximum number of transfer credits permitted. Further information is available at

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