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Guidelines, Policies & Forms

Petitions are initiated at the Program level, typically by a student request. All petitions require a statement of the request, the reasons for the request, and a recommendation from the Graduate Program Director. The additional and more specific information that is needed for different types of petitions is indicated below.

Please submit all petitions—with any accompanying documents—to the Program office at S712 Ross, or via email to the Graduate Program Assistant, Judith Hawley, via

See Petition Forms on the FGS website

A Graduate Program Director may recommend that students be given credit for previously completed graduate courses. Please note that courses cannot be counted toward two degrees.
Information required:

  • The amount of advanced standing that is requested; and
  • The details of the work for which advanced standing is requested (title of course, location, grade eg); and
  • A rationale from the Director as to why approval of advanced standing is appropriate (comparison to York courses, eg).

This petition serves as permission for full-time students to be away from campus for a period longer than four weeks for purposes related to their academic work. Information required: Reason for absence. This petition is necessary for auditing purposes to indicate that the student, although registered (typically as a full-time student) has been given permission to be away from campus, for reasons related to their academic program.

students' ability to make academic progress alters, they may petition for a change of status. It is important to note (with some limited exceptions applicable to FES), that students who are permitted to change to part-time status are expected to register as a part-time student for a minimum of two terms. Information required: A rationale outlining the change in circumstances that justifies the petition (switch to full or part-time employment, eg.).

In a limited set of circumstances, a student may be eligible for external status. These are:

  • All course work is completed with no Incompletes;
  • The student is not geographically available to the campus;
  • The student is continuing to make academic progress; and
  • The student is not using any University facilities, including contact with members of the supervisory committee.

External status is limited to a maximum of three terms and each external term counts as an active term towards the student's time limits.

Information required: It is important to state explicitly that the student is aware that no supervisory or other University resources may be drawn upon during this time.

Grade changes, with the exception of an Incomplete to a letter grade, must be petitioned.

  • General LOA
    Students may petition for a Leave of Absence on compassionate and medical grounds; occasionally there are academic grounds for an LOA. Normally, students who carry Incompletes are not eligible for an LOA. LOAs are limited to a maximum of three terms, and each term is considered an inactive term and is not included in the calculation of time limits.Information required: Supporting documentation, if appropriate, should be included (medical note, eg).
  • Maternity LOA
    A maximum of three terms of maternity leave is available. This is automatic on request, but students should not be carrying Incompletes. Terms taken as maternity LOA are regarded as inactive and are not included in the calculation of time limits.
  • Parental LOA
    A one-term parental leave is available to students who are providing care to members of their families; this is additional to maternity leave. A parental LOA is regarded as an inactive term and is not included in the calculation of time limits.

Students in course-work only programs who have not completed their course work may register as NCA, with GPD approval. Other students who are unable to make meaningful progress towards the completion of their degree requirements by any other means except through a course, and no suitable course is available to them, must petition. Opportunities are expected to be available for students to make meaningful progress in all terms, so the particular circumstances necessitating the NCA petition need to be outlined.

Students who withdraw in good standing may be reinstated if they meet all of the following conditions:

  1. they have been withdrawn for no more than three terms;
  2. their time limits have not expired; and
  3. they have not engaged in any additional academic work in the interim.

If they have been out for more than three terms or have studied elsewhere, they must reapply to the Program (this process can be expedited but a formal reapplication is required). Individuals whose time limits have expired may be eligible to be reinstated to defend (see below).

Individuals may be reinstated to defend who: 1) withdrew in good standing or were withdrawn by their Program because their time limits had expired; and 2) are returning for one term only as part-time students to defend their thesis/dissertation. Information required: a clear indication that the student will complete in one term only (all members have read thesis/dissertation; date has been set, etc.). Petitions should be  submitted at least 6 weeks before the intended defense date.

Time extensions are normally approved on a part-time basis only. All petitions for full-time extensions are referred to the FGS Petitions Committee for consideration. Information required:

  1. letter from the student explaining the reasons for delay in completion and detailing the work that has been completed, the work that remains to be done, and a time schedule for its completion; and
  2. a letter from the supervisor that comments on the student's need for an extension, and assesses the time schedule outlined by the student. Any relevant supporting documentation (medical note, eg) should also be included.

Faculty of Graduate Studies Forms

The following forms can be found the Faculty of Graduate Studies website:

  • Academic Affairs
  • Student Affairs
  • Thesis and Dissertation
  • Student Finances
  • Graduate & Postdoctoral Professional Skills (GPPS)

Learn More

The Graduate Program in Social & Political Thought at York is an exciting environment to pursue innovative, socially engaging, career-ready education. Contact our Graduate Program Assistant to learn more.