Guidelines for Joint Courses Between Universities

Approved by SGS Council, January 28, 2003

Guidelines for Joint Courses Between Universities to Support Collaborative Research & Professional Graduate Studies


Many graduate units at the University of Toronto are responding to the need to develop national and international programs in various areas of research, including collaborative research and in health professional training, by establishing new collaborations with experts at research-intensive universities, with comparable standards to the University of Toronto, in Canada, the USA, Western Europe, and elsewhere.

As an example, recently 10 CIHR Training Grants were obtained involving faculty members from graduate departments in Medicine, Dentistry, and Nursing at the University of Toronto and many other universities in Canada. The proposals for these CIHR Training Grants included the development of multi-institutional learning opportunities for graduate students at these sites in the form of research seminars and graduate courses.

Another example of an inter-university collaborative program which consists of joint courses is the Design and Manufacturing program, involving four Ontario universities, administered through the Advanced Design and Manufacturing Institute (ADMI), in which the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto has taken a lead role.

Some professional master’s programs, e.g., MHSc in Health Administration in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, are seeking opportunities to recruit expert faculty from other universities to contribute to core graduate course content for their degree programs in advanced career development. In some instances, the content provided by a collaborating institution may constitute the majority of an established course equivalent offered to graduate students at the home institution.

This proposal recommends guidelines for the planning and implementation of joint graduate courses between other research-intensive universities and the University of Toronto. These apply to both doctoral-stream and professional master’s graduate degree programs.

Guidelines for Joint Graduate Courses Between Universities

  1. A joint course will have a director from the University of Toronto; his/her graduate department will assume full responsibility for all aspects of a joint course as it applies to University of Toronto graduate students. This includes academic standards of instruction, student evaluation and grading, and appeals. The graduate department will assume full responsibility for the University of Toronto component of the budget necessary to support the joint course at both the University of Toronto and the collaborating university or universities.
  2. The same process that applies to the established approval of graduate courses will apply to joint courses. In addition, however, an addendum to the SGS “Proposal for a New Graduate Course” form will be developed. This addendum will outline, in a formal agreement, the respective contributions by faculty members from the University of Toronto and the collaborating institutions. Also, cooperating institutions should formally commit a necessary budget for a specified period of time. The joint course will require the usual governance approvals for courses before implementation. The course will be assigned a University of Toronto graduate course number.
  3. Cross-appointment to the University of Toronto of faculty members from other research-intensive universities in North America, Western Europe, and elsewhere who contribute teaching to joint courses is not necessary. Nevertheless, the graduate department at the University of Toronto will take full responsibility for the academic credentials of the collaborating faculty member. It is expected that the faculty members at other institutions who contribute to joint graduate courses will be as highly qualified as faculty at the University of Toronto. Faculty members from the other institution should have graduate appointment (in good standing) within their own university. It is required that approval in writing be obtained from the departmental chair at the outside institution in support of the teaching contribution to the joint course by their faculty member. This approval is expected to address both academic and financial issues relevant to their faculty member participation in the joint course including a clear statement about the requirement, or not, of a teaching stipend.
  4. Periodic review of joint courses (three-year maximum limit) by the graduate department and relevant Faculty Graduate Affairs Office will ensure that academic standards and student evaluation are being sustained. The graduate department responsible for the joint course will present the case for continuing, revising, or discontinuing the course based on its relevance to collaborative research or professional graduate programs, ongoing support from the contributing institutions, and minimum (five students per year) enrolment.​