Evolution of Collaborative Specializations in Ontario


In October of 2016, the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (the “Quality Council”) approved a proposal from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies (OCGS) to update the nomenclature and definition of Collaborative Program.

The approval was effective immediately, resulting in all offerings of Collaborative Programs across Ontario universities to be known as “Collaborative Specializations.” All offerings are expected to meet the new definition provided in the Quality Assurance Framework.

As of 2017-18, the School of Graduate Studies Calendar has reflected the new “Collaborative Specialization” nomenclature.

As a result of the 2016 OCGS changes:

  • All Collaborative Programs were renamed “Collaborative Specializations.”
  • All proposals for a new Collaborative Specialization are considered major modifications, with final approval at the divisional council level. New Collaborative Specializations do not go to Quality Council for expedited approval.
  • The definition requires that all Collaborative Specializations have at least one core course.
  • In any coursework-only master’s program: “at least 30% of the courses must be in the area of specialization including the core course [for the Collaborative Specialization].”

Frequently Asked Questions

What will appear on the transcript?

  • Any student entering prior to 2017-18 (i.e., those admitted to and registered in collaborative programs on August 31, 2017 and prior) will have “Collaborative Program” on their transcript, SGS certificate of completion, etc.
  • Any student entering on September 1, 2017-18 (i.e., those for whom the 2017-18 calendar applies) will have “Collaborative Specialization” on the transcript.

What about Memorandums of Agreement?

  • Memorandums of Agreement are updated following completion of the UTQAP review process for Collaborative Specializations and take into account the 2016 OCGS changes.

How are new Collaborative Specializations approved?

  • Through the major modification process. A consultation meeting is required prior to developing a proposal for a new Collaborative Specialization.

How does this impact collaborative specialization reviews?

  • Collaborative specialization reviews launched in 2017 and later include a process to confirm alignment with the 2016 OCGS changes. Please see collaborative specialization reviews for more information.


Overview of collaborative specializations


Erin Meyers
Acting Assistant Coordinator, Academic Change

Alexandra Varela (on secondment until June 2023)
Assistant Coordinator, Academic Change