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Transdisciplinary Sustainability


Students are required to take one graduate-level elective course as part of their program, in addition to the core TRSU courses (i.e. 7001 and 7002). The specific elective is determined by the supervisory committee in conjunction with the student, and is typically meant to give the student some familiarity with a new field that is relevant to their proposed research – this is meant to reflect the “broad interdisciplinarity” focus of the program. A student can take more than one elective if the committee decides it is necessary, and these additional electives can be at the undergraduate level.

Because the elective could be from any subject at MUN, registering for it is more complicated than registering for the core courses. Please follow this process: 

1. Determine the appropriate elective. The student and supervisory committee make this decision together. 

2. Reach out to the instructor of that course directly, briefly explain your situation, and ask if they would be willing to have you enroll in their course. 

3. Once you have the instructor's informal approval, try registering for the course yourself using MUN Self Service. This is unlikely to work, but if it does, skip to Step 6. Otherwise, fill out a course change form and formally request the instructor’s signature. Please CC the TRSU Graduate Officer (currently grichards@grenfell.mun.ca) on your request and note that you are doing so. 

4. Once you have the instructor’s permission, the form goes to the course’s “academic unit head” for an additional signature. Start by sending the form to that unit’s graduate officer (see the contact list). Explain your situation and request a signature (suggest that they help you forward the form along if they are not the right person to sign it). Please CC the TRSU Graduate Officer (currently grichards@grenfell.mun.ca) on your request and note that you are doing so. 


5. The completed form goes to the Grenfell Registrar’s Office (rofrontcounter@grenfell.mun.ca). See the Registrar's Office website for more information on this and earlier steps. 


6. Update your program with a program change form, complete with signatures from your supervisor and the TRSU Graduate Officer (currently grichards@grenfell.mun.ca). Note that undergraduate courses deemed necessary by the supervisory committee should be added to the student's program of study before starting the course. This will prevent additional tuition fees from being charged and will count the course as a graduate-level course on the student's transcript. The change is not as pressing for graduate courses; you may want to wait until your committee members, thesis title, and all of your courses are finalized, because all of those changes can be noted on this form. The completed form goes to SGS (sgs@mun.ca) – please CC the Grenfell Graduate Secretary (currently nsimmons@grenfell.mun.ca).

The following is a list of sample courses that TRSU students have taken as electives in the past. In addition, some students audit courses or take undergraduate courses to further their familiarity with a new discipline. A student's elective ultimately must be approved by their supervisory committee (along with permission from the instructor of the section) and does not need to come from this list, which is for illustrative purposes only.

  • BEAS 6033 (Soil and Water Conservation)
  • ENGI 9797 (Climate Change and Water Resources Sustainability)
  • ENGI 9853 (Energy Economics and Policy)
  • ENVP 6055 (Environmental Impact Assessment)
  • ENVP 6056 (Risk Assessment and Analysis)
  • ENVP 6523 (Special Topics in Indigenous Peoples and Environmental Policy)
  • ENVS 6000 (Environmental Science and Technology)
  • FOLK 6020 (Field and Research Methods)
  • GEOG 6250 (Conservation and Sustainability of Natural Resources)
  • GNDR 6000 (Feminist Theory)
  • HUMN 6000 (Speaking and Writing)
  • MSTM 6011 (Introduction to Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management)

One way to search for possible electives is to use MUN's course offerings listing. In general, you should look for graduate-level courses offered at Grenfell, online, or indicating remote delivery from another MUN campus. You can also consider courses from another institution, such as the University Centre of the Westfjords in Iceland, which has a partnership with Grenfell Campus. Please note that, in order to use a course from another institution as your elective, you will require additional approval from the program and the School of Graduate Studies.

Comprehensive Exams

To summarize the process of setting up the exam, the following steps must occur for each student, in this order:

1. supervisor finalizes the full supervisory committee by submitting a change-of-program form to Graduate Officer and then School of Graduate Studies (minimum supervisory committee size of three; other supervisory committee requirements are in the supervisory committee guidelines - see below)

2. student's summary of proposed research must be approved by supervisory committee

3. supervisory committee uses summary to identify two additional members for exam committee

4. supervisor asks Dean of the School of Science and the Environment to serve as exam committee Chair (or appoint delegate to serve as Chair)

5. exam committee (i.e. Chair plus two members of supervisory committee plus two additional members; the collective must represent broad interdisciplinarity) informally determines the sub-topic of the student's comprehensive exam and notifies student

6. exam committee informally determines exam dates and submits "Recommendation for PhD Comprehensive Examination" form to Graduate Officer, who submits it to the School of Graduate Studies

  • include proof of notifying student about the sub-topic
  • if less than 3 months between notification and start of exam, include student consent to waive 3-month waiting period
  • course work must be complete before start of the exam interval

7. follow comprehensive exam schedule (questions and initial readings to student in Week 1)

The current supervisory commitee guidelines (more information on Step 1) and comprehensive exam procedures (more information on Steps 2-7) are available on request to anyone currently affiliated with the program (e.g. students or supervisory committee members). Contact the TRSU Graduate Officer (currently grichards@grenfell.mun.ca).

Graduate Studies

Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland
20 University Drive, Corner Brook, NL
A2H 5G4, Canada

Office: FC4021
Phone: (709)639-6585
Email: gradstudies@grenfell.mun.ca

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