Academic regulations

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General regulations

All students accepted into programs offered at this Faculty must adhere to the General Regulations of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) as outlined on the SGS Calendar in effect when they first register.

Students are expected to become familiar with all regulations that pertain to their studies while at the Faculty of Information. The SGS calendar contains all relevant information students must know in order to make informed decisions.

To view the current SGS calendar as well as SGS calendars for previous years, please visit the SGS website.

 

Performance, appeals & sanctions 

Academic performance

The Faculty of Information adheres to the grade scales, the non-grade course reports and the grading procedures as set down in the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Calendar.   A student whose academic performance is considered unsatisfactory may at any time, on the recommendation of the iSchool and with SGS approval, have his/her registration terminated.

Satisfactory performance in a program:

  • Requires completion of all courses in the program with a grade of at least B- or CR
  • Courses taken in other faculties or schools for credit towards an iSchool degree must meet the same grade standard
  • A student who receives less than B- standing in three (3) half-courses may have her/his registration terminated. Please note that the School of Graduate Studies allows the Graduate Unit to recommend termination of registration upon a student failing (FZ) or receiving NCR in one (1) course (Section 8.4 of SGS Calendar)
  • A total of three (3) permanent incompletes (INC) in the program will be viewed as evidence of unsatisfactory academic performance. Please note that the School of Graduate Studies only requires one (1) FZ

Failures (FZ) & Incompletes (INC):

  • Failed (FZ) or incomplete (INC) core and required courses must be repeated
  • Failed or incomplete elective courses may be repeated. On the recommendation of the Faculty and with SGS approval, another course may be substituted
  • Courses, including incomplete courses, may be repeated only once
  • Students who are repeating courses may not use assignments previously submitted
  • No student is permitted to repeat a course without attending its classes again
  • Failures (FZ) and Incompletes (INC) appear on transcripts
  • Students who fail a course must meet with the Registrar in order to review their progress in the program. Students who fail two courses must meet with the Graduate Coordinator as they are no longer considered to be making good progress in the program.

Examinations:

  • No supplemental examinations are permitted
  • Special examinations may be provided for students who cannot  write their final examinations, or whose performance is adversely affected by reason of illness, domestic affliction, or other causes
  • Requests for special consideration must be submitted within three (3) days after the examination period, along with a medical certificate (which includes a statement that the student was examined at the time of his/her illness), or other supporting evidence
  • Medical certificates must:  (1) confirm that the student was adversely affected by her/his health problems; (2) show the dates of illness; and, (3) state that the physician was consulted at the time of illness
     

Academic appeals

Formal and informal academic appeal procedures at the Faculty of Information, conform to SGS policies and procedures.
 

Academic sanctions

The SGS Calendar lists academic sanctions for students who have outstanding U of T obligations.

Until the student's obligations have been discharged, the Faculty of Information is not permitted to give such students letters stating that they have completed their degree requirements.
 

Academic misconduct

Academic misconduct, such as plagiarism, is a serious matter.  Consult the SGS policies and procedures on ethics and conduct.

 

Course-related regulations

Transfer credits

Credit, equivalent to a maximum of four (4) half-courses, may be given for graduate courses previously taken in other U of T programs, or at other approved universities.

Such courses must:

  • Have been completed within a five-year period immediately prior to the first registration in the iSchool program
  • Have been completed with a minimum grade of B
  • Not be, or have been, used for credit towards another degree
  • Be relevant to the student's academic and career goals

Credit is only given on the recommendation of the Faculty of Information, and with the SGS approval.

Students who wish to request transfer credit must submit a written request to the iSchool Graduate Coordinator by September 30th of the first year of the iSchool degree program. Submit a Transfer Credit or Exemption Form available in the Registration & Enrolment section at the SGS student forms website. In addition, course outlines, course descriptions, and copies of transcripts must be included with the form.

Exemptions

In rare circumstances, an exemption from a specific course requirement may be given permitting the substitution of another course to meet degree requirements. The purpose of this exemption policy is to free students from having to retake essentially the same course from a prior graduate degree. For this reason, exemption requests should be submitted by September 30th of the first term of a student's iSchool degree program. To be approved, the courses must be almost identical in learning outcomes and content. 

Consider the following: 

1. If approved, an exemption does not reduce the overall course credit requirements for the degree. 
    You must replace the exempted course with another.

2. An exemption will only be considered based on the substitution of a graduate-level course taken in the past five years, and only for a specifically identified and documented course;

3. Research assistantships and professional experience are not eligible as a general basis for exemptions; 

4. The exemptions policy does not exist to let students mix and match program requirements based on their interests or scheduling needs. Requests made on those grounds will not be considered. 

To request an exemption, submit to Student Services all the items below in a single package or PDF file:

  • a completed Transfer Credit or Exemption Form, available in the Registration & Enrolment section at the SGS student forms website (note that this form must indicate a specific course, already completed by the student, as the substitute for the exempted course);
  • course descriptions;
  • course syllabi;
  • copies of transcripts; and,
  • a clear one-paragraph rationale indicating why an exemption is justified.

NOTE:  Exemption request packages must include all documentation listed above to be considered. Incomplete packages will not be accepted by Student Services. Exemptions are assessed by the Program Director in consultation with appropriate faculty, however, final approval rests with the School of Graduate Studies. Students will be notified in writing upon final decision. Please note: there is no appeal process for the granting of extensions. 

For more information, see the Transfer Credit and Exemption details in the Enrolment section of the SGS website.

 

Course waivers

Students are responsible for ensuring that all course requisites are fulfilled. Faculty of Information approval for waiving a requisite must be obtained in writing before a course begins. Failure to do so will result in the student receiving no credit for the course.

 

Reading Courses  

Reading Courses serve as a way to meet the needs of individual students who wish to explore topics not covered by courses currently offered at the iSchool. They are categorized as elective courses, and are subject to the same regulations as other elective courses.

Exceptions: 

  • Thesis (MMSt and MI) - Effective Fall 2015, students following the Thesis option are required to do a reading course prior to submitting a Thesis Proposal Form.
  • Culture & Technology (C&T) concentration (MI) - Students following the C&T requirements prior to September 2016 are required to do a reading course for the concentration.

Students must submit the SGS form Request for Reading and/or Research Course, available on the SGS website, Registration, Enrolment, Program Status section, to Student Services for iSchool approval at the beginning of the term in which the course is to take place.

Requests must include the following information:

  1. Section 3 of the Request for Reading and/or Research Course form: breakdown of work required (i.e., assignments), weight of each assignment, and their respective due dates.
  2. Separate documentation:
    • Short paragraph outlining a description of the topic to be explored, the needs for the course and how it fits in the student's overall program of study and goals
    • List of course learning outcomes, and brief paragraph connecting them to program learning outcomes (see the iSchool’s policy on Defining Student Learning Outcomes in Course Syllabi)
    • Reading list (to be agreed by both student and faculty member)

Note:

  • Reading Courses in all programs must follow the University Assessment and Grading Practices policy, which includes a maximum of 20% for participation grades in graduate courses (see Part B. sec. 1.4.2).
  • Reading Courses can only be given by regular iSchool faculty members. Reading Courses require that student and instructor meet regularly and frequently; therefore, both must be available for meetings on campus. The written work of a Reading Course is comparable to that of other elective courses.
  • A student's degree program (MMSt, MI, or PhD) may include a maximum of two (2) half-courses taken as Reading Courses.
  • See Elective Courses within the Doctoral Program for details on reading courses within the PhD program.

Courses outside the iSchool

Courses in other programs

Students may take up to four (4) graduate-level courses in areas of study offered by other SGS Units. This option provides opportunities for students to increase their level of specialization in a subject field. This applies to students in the MI program wishing to take Museum courses, and vice versa. Please see the procedure to enrol in courses outside your program under the Course enrolment & registration section of our website.

Permission is conditional upon iSchool recommendation, approval of the other graduate unit(s) involved, and SGS approval.  iSchool grade submission deadlines must be met, regardless of the deadlines of the other unit(s) involved.

See Elective Courses within the Doctoral Program for details on courses in other programs taken in fulfillment of the doctoral program requirements.
 

Courses in other universities

Students may take up to two (2) graduate-level courses at other universities. This option also provides opportunities for students to increase their level of specialization in a subject field.

Permission is conditional upon iSchool recommendation, approval of the other graduate unit(s) involved, and SGS approval. iSchool grade submission deadlines must be met, regardless of the deadlines of the other unit(s) involved.
 

Extra courses not required for a degree


As per School of Graduate Studies (SGS) regulations, students may NOT enrol in additional half/full courses beyond the number of courses required by their program of study.

An exception may occur when an extra course is required if, for example, a supervisor feels that a student needs additional background in order to do his/her research.

Extra courses are subject to approval and iSchool permission is required prior to the start of the course (via Add/Drop form or written request to the Registrar); courses cannot be designated as 'EXT' retroactively

Extra courses are:

  • Listed with 'EXT' notation on the student's transcript
  • Subject to the same regulations for withdrawal, failure (FZ), and failure to complete work (INC), as courses required for the degree; however, repetition or replacement of FZ or INC extra courses may be waived by the Faculty
  • Not counted towards the student's GPA - is not considered for averaging purposes
  • Not substitutable or convertible to credit courses towards the student's degree, after the Add/Drop period has passed
  • Students will receive final grades to EXT courses
  • Students may apply to transfer these credits to other graduate degrees
     

 Auditing iSchool courses

The Faculty of Information follows the University of Toronto’s Policy on Auditing of Courses.  A Course Audit form must be filled out by the interested party, along with the instructor's signature and submitted to the iSchool Registrar for final approval.  An audit fee may apply.
 

Withdrawal from courses

There are two dates relevant to withdrawing from or dropping courses. Students need to request a petition only after the official drop date, announced under Academic dates, has passed:

Dropping a course by the official School of Graduate Studies (SGS) final date

Students wishing to drop a course by the final date as established by SGS and announced under Academic dates:

  • May drop courses directly on SWS/ROSI
  • There is no academic penalty and the course will not appear SWS/ROSI or any official transcript/documentation.

This final day to drop/withdraw from courses “without academic penalty” is the last time students can go onto SWS/ROSI and drop courses without filling out a course Add/drop form, giving reasons and petitioning the Faculty’s Committee on Standing.

Dropping courses and ROSI/SWS - Dropping a course on ROSI/SWS by the official deadline is a 2-step process:

  1. Students select which course(s) they wish to drop from their timetable on ROSI/SWS, and 
  2. ROSI/SWS generates a message to confirm their action prior to processing their request.

Students are responsible for making sure the change has been processed by going back to ROSI and list their courses again. The course(s) they wished to drop should no longer appear on their timetable. If students detect any anomalies, they must immediately bring it to the attention of Student Services via email to inquire [dot] ischoolatutoronto [dot] ca no later than 24 hours after the deadline to drop courses without academic penalty has passed.

Effective May 1, 2013, the Committee on Standing no longer considers requests for late withdrawal based on misunderstanding of how ROSI/SWS works.

Dropping a course after the deadline has passed

After the official deadline to drop a course without academic penalty has passed, students wishing to drop a course must fill out a course Add/drop form to request a Late Withdrawal if they have a serious problem preventing them from finishing the course. The form is available in the Registration & Enrolment section at the SGS student forms website. This request will be reviewed by the Faculty’s Committee on Standing:

  • The Committee meets right before the SGS deadline to have grades submitted.
  • The Committee may or may not support the request based on the reasons submitted by students and supporting documentation.
  • Generally, the Committee will only consider documented, extraordinary, unexpected circumstances as valid reasons for wanting to drop a course after the official deadline. This could be a personal or medical situation, but the situation must be one that was unforeseeable and that was sufficiently serious that it prevented the student from completing the course.
  • Final decision rests with SGS.

Underlying Assumptions

The official date to drop a course without academic penalty is roughly half way through a course. The underlying assumption is that graduate students will have had an opportunity to assess their situation by this date. In deciding whether or not to withdraw from a course, students should consider the following factors:   

  • performance in the course(s) up to that point,
  • interest in the subject,
  • course load,
  • personal circumstances,
  • work and/or extracurricular activities,
  • health issues, if any.   

Please note that the graduate grading policy does not require assignments be returned prior to the drop deadline. Waiting for mid-term results is not a valid reason for missing the drop deadline.

After the drop date has passed, students are responsible for their decision.

As indicated above, the only reasons the Committee on Standing is willing to consider are those that are unforeseeable or unexpected. Something must have happened after the drop date that prevented students from completing the course. Examples include:

  • medical issues: illness or existing medical situation which grew worse over the course of the term;
  • a serious personal situation which was unexpected and unforeseeable .

It is important to note that something must have happened that prevented the student from staying in the course. If this is the case, please contact Student Services for assistance.

Important: Late Withdrawals are only considered by the Committee on Standing. Instructors and Student Services do not have any say in the matter.

Requests

Requests for Late Withdrawals are done via the course Add/drop form. The form is available in the Registration & Enrolment section at the SGS student forms website. Students must include an explanation as to why they are making such a request.

Requests based on medical reasons must be accompanied by a medical certificate. Please note that the university has now implemented an official form to be used as a medical certificate: Verification of Student Illness or Injury. This medical certificate must:

  • confirm that the student was adversely affected by her/his health problems
  • show the dates of illness
  • state that the physician/health care professional was consulted at the time of illness

Students registered with Accessibility Services or Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) must submit a medical certificate attesting to the fact that their condition grew worse and prevented them from continuing in the course after the official drop date. For more information, and to access the required form, please see the section Verification of Student Illness or Injury on the main university website. We can only accept this form to confirm illness/injury.

Deadlines to submit documentation to be reviewed by the Committee on Standing:

  • First session (Fall) courses (September to December) - December 15
  • Second session (Winter) courses (January to April) - May 1
  • Spring/Summer courses (May to August) - September 1

Results

The Committee on Standing will communicate with students who have requested a Late Withdrawal early in the following term after the course took place. There are only two possible outcomes:

  • Approved petitions for Late Withdrawal from a course carry no academic penalty. The course(s) will still appear on the student’s transcript, but a WDR (withdrawal) will be entered next to the course in lieu of a mark. This designation does not affect a student’s GPA (Grade Point Average).
  • Denied petitions will be assigned whatever marks the student has earned for completed work and zero for incomplete work.

Students should keep in mind that a Late Withdrawal is a last resort remedy and that there may be other less-final solutions available to them. Timing is always important; students should seek advice from their Faculty advisor, Graduate Coordinator, or Registrar, on issues that may threaten their ability to successfully complete a course, sooner rather than later.

Students who withdraw from all courses in which they are enrolled must also withdraw from their program.

Changes in course load and refunds/additional payments

  • The last date to drop or withdraw from a course with no academic penalty is not the same as the last date to be eligible for a refund.
  • Dropping or adding courses may not necessarily result in a refund or additional tuition fee payment. Refunds or additional payments take place when students change their registration status, i.e., switching from FT to PT, or from PT to FT status. Please contact Student Services for more information.

Requests for Extension to Complete Course Work

Term work is a matter between students and their instructors. Students who need to request an extension to complete course work beyond the end of term, must do so via the Course Extension Form, available in the Registration & Enrolment section of the SGS website.

Students having trouble with a course should speak to their instructor first. Students having serious trouble with more than one course should seek advice from their Faculty advisor, Graduate coordinator, or Registrar. Timing is important; the sooner students seek help, the better the Faculty can help them.

Extension periods

  • In-course extensions are entirely at the instructor’s discretion.
  • After classes end, but before the SGS deadline to have grades submitted, authority rests with instructors, provided that both the assignment and a grade is submitted prior to the SGS deadline.
  • After the SGS deadline to have grades submitted has passed, students must petition the Committee on Standing to grant the extension, as long as a grade has not yet been entered.

Requests

Requests for Extension to complete course work are done via the Course Extension Form, available in the Registration & Enrolment section of the SGS student forms website. Students must include an explanation as to why they are making such a request and:

  • identify precisely the piece(s) of work for which they are requesting an extension;
  • indicate the assignment’s original due date and any extensions already granted; explain why they were unable to complete the work;
  • propose a reasonable plan, including a new deadline for when they will complete the work;
  • the student must submit the completed form to the instructor who must fill section 2 of the form indicating whether he/she supports the extension.

Requests based on medical reasons must be accompanied by a medical certificate. Please note that the university has now implemented an official form to be used as a medical certificate: Verification of Student Illness or Injury. This medical certificate must:

  • confirm that the student was adversely affected by her/his health problems
  • show the dates of illness
  • state that the physician/health care professional was consulted at the time of illness

Students registered with Accessibility Services or Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) must submit a medical certificate attesting to the fact that their condition grew worse and prevented them from continuing in the course after the official drop date. For more information, and to access the required form, please see the section Verification of Student Illness or Injury on the main university website. We can only accept this form to confirm illness/injury.

Please note: When requesting extensions via the Committee on Standing, students do not need to cc instructors on any email correspondence that includes attachments of a personal nature, such as medical certificates.

SGS guidelines

Legitimate reasons for an extension can be academic in nature (e.g.unexpected problems of research in a course, or non academic, e.g. illness). In order to ensure as much uniformity and fairness as possible in the granting of extensions (or continuations of extensions), the relevant graduate unit must be reasonably certain that:

  • the reasons for the delay are both serious and substantiated;
  • the student would not be granted an unfair academic advantage over fellow students in the course;
  • the student would not be placing in jeopardy the normal and satisfactory completion of new course work. The graduate unit, in consultation with the student, may determine that new course work should not be undertaken until the outstanding course work is completed;
  • the student has a reasonable chance of completing outstanding requirements within the time to be allotted.

Deadlines to submit documentation to be reviewed by the Committee on Standing:

  • First session (Fall) courses (September to December) - December 15
  • Second session (Winter) courses (January to April) - May 1
  • Spring/Summer courses (May to August) - September 1

Results

The Committee on Standing will communicate with students who have requested an Extension to complete course work early in the following term after the course took place. There are only two possible outcomes:

  • Approved petitions for an extension will identify the new deadline; that deadline may differ from the one requested.
  • Denied petitions will be assigned whatever marks the student has earned for completed work and zero for any incomplete work.
     

Withdrawal from the program    

Withdrawal from a program requires that the student submit an iSchool-authorized withdrawal form to SGS.

TCards, e-classroom access cards, locker keys, and registration cards (student card) must be surrendered.

Withdrawn students must re-apply for admission, and will be in competition with all other applicants, unless School of Graduate Studies (SGS) approves an iSchool recommendation made at the time of withdrawal, that the student should be eligible to re-register at a stated date.

Normally, SGS approves such recommendations, and students are eligible to re-register any time within 12 months following the withdrawal.  Any fee rebate will be determined by the date on which written withdrawal notification was received by SGS.