Graduate General Regulations and Policies

I. Formal Relationship Between the University and Students

Upon registering and while registered in a for-credit course, program of study or audited course offered by or through the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), a Student enters a formal relationship with the University by which they
• acknowledge the right of the University to set acceptable standards of Academic Integrity and of Academic and Non-Academic Conduct;
• accept and agree to be subject to the University’s Policies, Rules and Procedures; and
• accept the right of the University to investigate, impose discipline and determine consequences for Academic or Non-Academic Conduct found to have violated the University’s standards, Policies, Rules or Procedures.
By registering to become a student at UNBC, a Student agrees to enter the formal relationship outlined above.
Students are required to inform themselves of UNBC’s policies, procedures, rules and regulations, and any subsequent amendments in place at the University. Please refer to the following website to access UNBC’s Policies and Procedures: https://www.unbc.ca/policy.


II. UNBC’s Core Values and Statement of Principles

1. UNBC is a place of research, teaching, and learning, where members of the University Community value inclusiveness and diversity, community, integrity, and academic excellence. These values are supported through an unwavering commitment to free expression and debate in an atmosphere of respectful interactions, safety and good conduct.
2. The University is committed to reconciliation and recognizing Aboriginal Ways of Knowing within the Academy. UNBC’s Motto, En Cha Huna, meaning “they also live,” sets a foundation of respect, and reflects a shared commitment to Responsibility, Reciprocity and Relationship in the interactions between students and the University Community as a whole.
3. All members of the University Community share the responsibility for the academic standards and reputation of the University. Academic Integrity is founded on values of respect for knowledge, truth, scholarship and acting with honesty. Upholding Academic Integrity is a condition of continued membership in the University Community.
4. The University strives, whenever possible, to take an educational and developmental approach to Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct, informed by knowledge and respect for mental health, well-being, cultural differences, and principles of reconciliation.

5. The University adheres to the principles of Procedural Fairness and Natural Justice in working to ensure that Students, Faculty and Staff are aware of their applicable rights and responsibilities with respect to Academic and Non-Academic Conduct, in investigating alleged misconduct, and when taking steps to establish or impose consequences.


III. Academic Conduct and Non-Academic Conduct

UNBC is committed to creating a scholarly community characterized by free expression, open debate, critical and free inquiry, and diversity of thought and perspective; the orderly and safe enjoyment of University facilities by all members of the University Community; and the proper functioning of the University and protection of University property.
The Academic and Non-Academic Conduct Student Policy defines students’ responsibilities as academic community members, defines inappropriate student conduct, and provides procedures and outcomes to be invoked if students engage in such behaviour. Each student is responsible for their conduct that affects the University community.
A Student may appeal a decision made or disciplinary measure imposed in response to a finding of Academic Misconduct. A student may appeal a suspension imposed in response to a finding of Non-Academic Misconduct. In accordance with the University Act, the appeal is to the Senate Committee on Student Appeals.
For more information on academic conduct and non-academic conduct and the appeals processes at UNBC visit https://www.unbc.ca/policy.


IV. Harassment, Discrimination and Diversity Initiatives

UNBC is committed to providing a working and learning environment in which all students, staff and faculty are treated with respect and dignity. UNBC acknowledges the right of all individuals in the University community to work or learn without discrimination or harassment. An approved policy, available at www.unbc.ca/policy, applies to all members of the UNBC community.


V. Notification of Disclosure of Personal Information to Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada is the national statistical agency. As such, Statistics Canada carries out hundreds of surveys each year on a wide range of matters, including education.

It is essential to be able to follow students across time and institutions to understand, for example, the factors affecting enrolment demand at postsecondary institutions. The increased emphasis on accountability for public investment means that it is also important to understand 'outcomes'. In order to conduct such studies, Statistics Canada asks all colleges and universities to provide data on students and graduates. Institutions collect and provide to Statistics Canada student identification information (student's name, student ID number, Social Insurance Number), student contact information (address and telephone number), student demographic characteristics, and enrolment information.

The federal Statistics Act provides the legal authority for Statistics Canada to obtain access to personal information held by educational institutions. The information may be used for statistical purposes only, and the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act prevent the information from being released in any way that would identify a student.

Students may contact Statistics Canada via e-mail if they have any questions: statcan.PSIS-SIEP.statcan@canada.ca.


VI. BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

UNBC gathers and maintains information used for the purposes of admission, registration and other fundamental activities related to membership in the UNBC community and attendance at a public postsecondary institution in the Province of British Columbia. Information provided to the University by students, and any other information placed into the student record, is protected and used in compliance with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (1996).

VII. General Academic Regulations

Note: Graduate students are directed, as well, to the Graduate Programs Admissions and Regulations section of this Calendar.

1. Purpose of Academic Regulations

UNBC is committed to high academic standards as well as to assisting students to achieve their educational goals.

The Academic Regulations provide the framework within which academic programs are completed, and offer academic guidance along the program path.

The University reserves the right to add to, to alter, or to amend these regulations at any time.

2. E-mail Communication

E-mail is one of the official means of communication between UNBC and its students. All students are assigned a UNBC e-mail address upon course registration. The e-mail address assigned to a student by the University will be the only e-mail address used by UNBC for communication with students for academic and administrative purposes. Students are responsible for checking their UNBC e-mail account regularly so as to remain current with administrative and academic notifications. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that time-critical e-mail is accessed, read, and acted upon in a timely fashion. If a student chooses to forward University e-mail to another e-mail address, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that the alternate account is active.

3. Full-Time Studies

A full-time graduate student during any one of the academic semesters is one who is either enrolled in courses totaling a minimum of six credit hours during a single semester or working on a dissertation, thesis, or comprehensive examination (Master's level only) project during a semester (see Graduate Programs Admissions and Regulations section).

4. Part-Time Studies

A part-time graduate student during any one of the academic semesters is one who is enrolled in courses totaling less than six credit hours during a single semester, and who is not working on a dissertation, thesis or project (see Graduate Programs Admissions and Regulations section).

5. Class Attendance

Students are expected to attend classes on a regular basis. Instructors may establish attendance requirements for each class. These expectations must be defined in the course syllabus.

6. Official and Unofficial Transcripts

Official transcripts are confidential and are only released on written request from the student. Transcripts issued to an institution, company, or agency are mailed directly to their address, or held for pick-up at the Office of the Registrar in confidential envelopes marked ‘Official Transcript’. In extenuating circumstances, transcripts may be issued to a student. Third-party requests must be accompanied by a signed authorization from the student.

Each transcript will include the student’s complete record at the University. Since credit earned is determined on the results of final examinations, a transcript will not include results of mid-term examinations.

Transcripts will not be released without payment of the required transcript fee, and/or if there is an outstanding financial obligation.

Requests for transcripts can be made online by using the login link www.unbc.ca or by completing a Transcript Request Form available in the Office of the Registrar. There is a 3 business day turnaround for transcript requests.

Unofficial transcripts are available to students directly through Online Services at www.unbc.ca.

7. Evaluation of Transcripts

The evaluation of transcripts is the responsibility of the Office of the Registrar.

8. Criminal Records Review

Under the requirements of the Criminal Records Review Act (2008) UNBC requires, as part of the application process, criminal records searches for applicants to program areas that involve working with children or other vulnerable persons. The cost of this search is the responsibility of the student. Criminal Records Search forms are available in the Office of the Registrar. Results which identify relevant criminal convictions may disqualify an applicant from admission into a program. Submission of a Criminal Records Search at the point of admission does not preclude either the program or provincial certification bodies from requesting a subsequent Criminal Records Search prior to field placement or professional registration.

Criminal Records Searches are requirements for the following Graduate programs:

  • Health Sciences (MSc)
  • Disability Management (MA)
  • Counselling (MEd)
  • Nursing (MScN, MSCN:FNP)
  • Social Work Programs (MSW)

9. Student Access to Official University Record

Students have the right to inspect their Official University Record, including the student file, under the supervision of a staff member and as maintained by the Office of the Registrar. Students have the right to have access to their financial assistance file, as maintained by the Financial Aid and Awards Office under the supervision of a staff member. Assessment reports and letters of reference submitted by third parties in support of students applying to Graduate programs will not be available for inspection. Students may inspect their Official University Record during normal office hours, and upon advance request in writing. When students inspect their original records, examination will be permitted only under conditions that will prevent alteration or mutilation. In the event of a dispute as to the accuracy of the information maintained in their Official University Record, a student may appeal to the Registrar.

10. Registration After the Published Revision Deadline Date

No graduate student is permitted to alter their registration for any course after the last date to revise registration as published in the Calendar except on the express written permission of the instructor and the Vice President Research and Graduate Programs or designate.

11. Change of Grade after Submission of Final Grades

Except for grade changes resulting from formal Academic Appeal, any changes in final grade after the initial grade submission must be transmitted to the Office of the Registrar.

12. Repeating Courses

Graduate students may not repeat graduate courses except under exceptional circumstances and only with the approval of the Vice President Research and Graduate Programs or designate on the recommendation of the supervisory committee. In the event that a course is repeated, it is the second grade earned which will be used in the grade point average calculation.

13. Conferral of Degrees

All students who expect to receive a credential must apply to graduate. Students are eligible to graduate at the end of each semester. All applications for graduation must be received by the Office of the Registrar before each deadline, accompanied by the appropriate (non-refundable) graduation fee.


14. Graduation Constraints

1. Students must submit their Application for Graduation Form in their final semester alongside their request for oral examination, which would normally be no later than November 1, March 1, and July 1 to graduate in the September, January, and May semesters, respectively.

2. Students who have any outstanding obligation to the University are not permitted to graduate. Outstanding obligations include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • tuition fees owing;
  • library or other fines;
  • outstanding library loans;
  • outstanding equipment or other loans.

15. Grounds for Withholding Official Transcripts

In instances of non-payment of any portion of tuition, prescribed fees or University library fines and/or bills, or of delinquency in the return or replacement of University property on loan, or non-repayment of cash advances or loans, or violation of a residence license agreement, the University shall not permit a student to register for further courses, and shall not issue an official transcript. The above prohibitions shall be in force until such time as indebtedness to the University has been cleared to the satisfaction of the University.

16. Grading

Each course taken for academic credit is assigned a final grade at the end of the semester. The final grade for each course will be indicated by a letter grade on the student's transcript.

Grade Point Average: Grade Point Average (GPA) is a method of expressing a student's academic performance as a numerical value. Each letter grade is assigned a numerical equivalent, which is then multiplied by the credit hour value assigned to the course to produce the grade point.

Semester Grade Point Average: Semester Grade Point Average (SGPA) is computed by dividing the total number of grade points earned by the total number of credit hours taken in a semester.

Cumulative Grade Point Average: The UNBC Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) expresses performance as a numerical average for all UNBC courses for all semesters completed. The CGPA is calculated by dividing the total number of grade points earned to date by the total number of credit hours undertaken to date. (Letter grades of P or W are not assigned a numerical value and are not used in calculating the grade point average.) See Academic Regulation 12 (Repeating Courses) for the treatment of repeated courses in GPA calculations. The CGPA provides the numerical value used to determine good academic standing or academic probation.

Graduation Requirement: In order to graduate, a student must have the minimum cumulative grade point average required by the student's program, and also have satisfied non-course-based requirements of the program.

Grading System - Graduate Students

UNBC Grade Point Letter Grade Percentage Definition/Standing
4.33 A+ 90 -100% Excellent
4.00 A 85-89.9%
3.67 A- 80-84.9%
3.33 B+ 77-79.9% Good
3.00 B 73-76.9%
2.67 B- 70-72.9%

Passing grade is B- for all courses taken towards a graduate degree. Courses in which achievement is less than B- are assigned a letter grade of "F". Individual programs may set higher standards.

The following are not included in academic average:

P Passing grade credit awarded
AEG Aegrotat standing credit awarded
DEF Deferred grade no credit awarded
W Withdrawn no credit awarded
WE Withdrawn under extenuating
circumstances
no credit awarded
AUD Audit of course no credit awarded
INP Course or Thesis work in progress
NGR No grade reported

Calculation of Grade Point Average

The following is an example of how a student's GPA is calculated at the end of a semester:

1. PSYC 600-4 B 3.0 4 credit hours x 3.0 = 12.00
2. PSYC 610-3 A+ 4.33 3 credit hours x 4.33 = 12.99
Total 7 credit hours 24.99
Semester GPA 24.99/7 = 3.57

17. International Exchange Grading

In the case of a formal exchange, the grades from an exchange university are reported using a Pass/Fail grading system and are not counted towards a student's UNBC CGPA.

18. Academic Distinction

Each year a very small number of students will be graduated with Distinction. Selection criteria take into account the student’s overall academic record and, as appropriate, the quality of the thesis; and are applied by a Dean’s Committee on Graduate Honours chaired by the Vice President Research and Graduate Programs or designate. Students do not apply for graduation with distinction.

19. Examinations

  1. When a graduate course has a final examinations, the examination shall normally be worth at least 25% of the total course marks.
  2. With the exception of laboratory, clinical or practicum-based final examinations, tests worth, aggregate, more than 10% of the final grade must not be administered during the final week of classes. During the last two weeks of classes, major papers or projects must not be newly assigned.
  3. Students are required to write no more than two final exams in any one 24-hour period. When a course has a final examination, it must be given during the scheduled examination period.
  4. Final exams are no longer than three hours in duration. Exceptions must be approved by the Program Chair.
  5. College Deans may make exceptions to this policy in extraordinary cases. Such exceptions must be made at the beginning of the semester, and have the approval of the Program Chair.

20. Conduct in Examinations

Students must be prepared to present appropriate identification upon entering the examination room. Appropriate identification is defined as a UNBC student card and/or some other form of photo identification acceptable to the proctor. The following regulations apply to the conduct of examinations:

  1. Books, papers, or other materials or devices must not be in the possession of the student during an exam except by the express permission of the examiner. Specifically, without such permission, no laptop computers, mobile phone sets, handheld electronic devices or the like may be in the possession of the student in the examination room (see Regulation 25 (b)).
  2. No candidate is permitted to enter the examination room more than 30 minutes after the beginning of the examination, or permitted to leave within 30 minutes after the examination has started.
  3. Candidates must not communicate in any way with other candidates in the examination room.
  4. Candidates must not leave their seats, except when granted permission by the proctor.
  5. Candidates must turn in all materials, including rough work, upon leaving the examination room.
  6. Food and beverages other than water are not permitted in the examination room.

21. Student Access to Final Examinations

The instructor will, on request by a student, informally review the final examination with the student after the semester grade has been released.

Final examinations will be retained by the instructor for a period of one year after the examination period, after which time they may be shredded or destroyed by other acceptable means.

22. Religious Holidays/Examination Schedule

In some instances, students may find themselves, for religious reasons, unable to write a final examination on a scheduled day. If the final examination cannot be rescheduled to avoid the conflict, the student concerned shall be evaluated by other means, which may include another examination scheduled at a different time. Students must complete the appropriate form and notify their instructors of a conflict at least two weeks prior to the examination period.

23. Final Examinations Missed

Satisfactory explanation, with supporting documentation as appropriate, for any final examination missed must be made by the student or designate to the Office of the Registrar within 48 hours from the time the examination was written.

Within 48 hours of receiving a submission, the Registrar (or designate) may direct the Program under which the course is offered to arrange the writing of a special examination in the case of an examination which was missed.

Normally, for explanations of sickness, a doctor's certification is required.

24. Deferred Examinations and Grades

Students may apply for a deferred examination or a deferred status to complete required term work if medical or compassionate reasons prevent attendance at an examination or completion of assignments. Written application for a deferment, along with supporting documentation and written approval from the Instructor and Program Chair, should be received by the Office of the Registrar without exception before the date of the final examination; after that date, Academic Regulation 23 (Final Examinations Missed) applies. Forms for deferred status are available to Faculty from the Office of the Registrar. If a student is granted a deferral, the exam must be written or the assignment(s) completed and graded before the last day of classes in the following semester, unless prior arrangements have been made with the Instructor and notification has been submitted to the Office of the Registrar. If a student is granted a deferral but does not complete the required work, or does not appear for the examination, a grade of F will be assigned. If a student's request for deferred status is refused, the instructor will submit a final grade.

25. Academic Misconduct

Any academic conduct that violates The Academic and Non-Academic Conduct – Student Policy is a serious offense. The formal processes set out in the following three documents: Academic and Non-Academic Conduct – Student Policy, Academic and Non Academic Misconduct Procedures, and Appeals Procedures are to be followed. For more information on student academic conduct at UNBC, visit https://www.unbc.ca/policy.

26. Appeals Process

All students have the natural and reasonable right to appeal grades given during the term, the final grade of a course, requirement to withdraw and decisions the University makes regarding academic and non-academic misconduct. The Senate Committee on Student Appeals is the final adjudicator in such matters. For more information on student appeals, please visit https://www.unbc.ca/policy.

27. Appeals Concerning Academic Relationships

Appeals may arise out of other difficulties involving the academic relationship between students and faculty members. It is sometimes necessary, for instance, for a student to change supervisors, or a student may have other difficulties with a supervisor, or a student may have difficulties of a personal nature with a faculty member. Because the personal and professional relationship between student and faculty member can become entangled, and because problems of this sort can be perceived as potentially career-threatening by a student, there is a need for a process by which a student can seek mediation and resolution in such cases. Because each case is unique, the following procedure shall be followed:

  1. A Student experiencing such difficulties should attempt to resolve them informally at the level of the individual Instructor or the Program Chair.
  2. If this cannot be done, or if the nature of the problem is such that the student does not wish to attempt it, the student should seek the advice of the Vice President Research or designate who shall follow one of the following procedures:
    1. If the Vice President Research thinks it advisable, the Vice President shall seek to bring about a solution through informal means;
    2. After assessing the evidence that is presented, if in the opinion of the Vice President Research the complaint is invalid, the Vice President Research shall advise the student of this opinion, and take no further action;
    3. After assessing the evidence that is presented, if in the opinion of the Vice President the complaint is valid but an informal solution is unlikely, or if the Vice President has attempted an informal solution and has failed, he/she shall advise the student of this fact;
    4. In the case of an appeal of a final grade, the student may choose not to proceed further, or the student may choose to proceed with the matter. In the latter case, the student shall make a written complaint, through the Registrar, to the Senate Committee on Student Appeals which shall consider it according to its rules of procedure.

28. University Closure/Weather

On rare occasions, the President (or designate) may elect to close the University due to inclement weather or other human or natural circumstances. In such circumstances, classes and examinations are formally cancelled and rescheduled. Assignments due on the date of the closure must be submitted on the next day that the University is open.

Updated: January 21, 2020