Academic Standing and Progress

Academic Standing and Progress

To be in good academic standing, students must comply with the School of Graduate Studies Regulations as well as the degree regulations and program requirements for each degree program and make satisfactory progress towards degree completion, as measured by the general standards of the School of Graduate Studies or by the specific standards of the IMS. Failure to maintain good academic standing may result in various sanctions, including ineligibility for student stipends fellowships and internal awards, and even termination of the program.

IMS standards for maintaining good academic standing include:

Full Time Studies

IMS students must maintain full-time registration at the University.

They must not engage in more than 10 hours a week of employment outside their degree program. Teaching Assistantships are allowed, as long as they do not exceed the allowed weekly hours.

Students are not permitted to be employed (lab manager, research assistant, etc.) in the same lab and/or under the same supervisor while they are conducting their IMS graduate research project.

Students are expected to be actively engaged in their degree program for at least 14 out of 17 weeks in each term. Off campus study is not encouraged.

Students who plan to be absent from the University for extended periods (more than 3 weeks in a term) will require written permission from the IMS.

Timely Completion of Graduate Requirements

Students must meet with their supervisor regularly and have a PAC meeting at least every 6-8 months. Courses are expected to be completed early in the degree program and every effort should be made to complete the degree program within the time period recommended in the timeline to degree completion

Satisfactory Completion of Graduate Courses

Every course taken for graduate credit must have a grade of at least “B-“ and a cumulative grade of “B” must be maintained by IMS students. Students who do not meet these standards may be asked to withdraw from the IMS program, repeat the relevant course, or take an alternative course recommended by the IMS and approved by the School of Graduate Studies.

Successful PAC Reports

Formal meetings of the student, supervisor and committee must be held at least twice a year or every six months to review the student’s research proposal and monitor progress. If in each of two consecutive meetings, a student’s supervisory committee reports that the student’s progress is unsatisfactory, the graduate unit may recommend termination of registration. A student who encounters difficulties arranging PAC meetings should consult the Graduate Coordinator in advance of the relevant deadline for doing so. A student who fails to meet with the supervisory committee in a given year will be considered to have received an unsatisfactory progress report from the committee.

For more information, see PAC for details, reports and forms.


An IMS graduate student must be supervised by an IMS graduate faculty member. If there is a co-supervisor in place, then the co-supervisor should also be an IMS faculty member. The IMS has over 500 active graduate faculty members conducting a wide variety of research activities. If applying to the MSc program, your graduate supervisor must be either an “Associate Member” or “Full Member” of the IMS. You can search for active faculty on the IMS website.  Please see the SGS Graduate Supervisory Guidelines.


Master’s thesis is generally considered to be the equivalent of one full peer-reviewed research paper, with a historical introduction.

A PhD thesis is generally considered to be the equivalent of three first-authored, peer-reviewed research papers, with a historical introduction.

Thesis Publications and Presentations

  • Students should write and publish abstracts, manuscripts, etc. ideally as first author in peer reviewed journals.
  • Students should attend and present at meetings and conferences, local and international.

IMS Scientific Day

The Annual Scientific Day is the academic highlight of the year. It is designed to highlight student achievements, teaching excellence and to provide opportunities for students to work on presentation skills and for faculty and students to interact.  All faculty and students are encouraged to attend.

Scientific Day takes place in May each year. Students are invited to compete for a number of student awards, including the Laidlaw Manuscript Competition and the Alan Wu Poster Competition. 

Presentation at Scientific Day is also a mandatory component of degree completion for all research based and doctoral stream MSc and PhD students. A course credit for the MSC1010/1011 Seminar Series will not be received if this presentation is not completed. IMS Scientific Day presentations typically occur within the first two years. IMS faculty members and students will be updated via email of competition deadlines and Scientific Day events.