Resources for Students


Students are required to take one 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.

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.

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 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. 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 on your request and note that you are doing so.
  5. The completed form goes to the Grenfell Registrar’s Office. 
  6. Update your program with a program change form, complete with signatures from your supervisor and the TRSU Graduate Officer. Note that undergraduate courses deemed necessary by the supervisory committee should be added to the student's program of study beforestarting 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 ( – please CC the Grenfell Graduate Secretary.

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)


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.



Internships are a good match for the TRSU program's focus on partnership building and applied problem solving. Thus, a student's supervisory committee may wish to add an internship to the student's individual program of study, as a mandatory requirement for that student's success in the program and in their thesis project (acknowledging the potential delays an internship might cause for other program requirements). In such cases, the supervisory committee should add the course INTE 6000 (more information below) to the student's program of study using a program-change form. Funding for internships may be available through programs such as Mitacs BSI and Mitacs Accelerate. To be clear, internships are *not* a regular program requirement for *all* TRSU students, but *are* a requirement for *some* TRSU students.

For a student to complete a full-time internship (or any internship exceeding 24 hours of work per week) while retaining full-time student status, they must register for INTE 6000 (Doctoral Internship), which requires approval of the supervisor, the TRSU Graduate Officer, and the Director of the Interdisciplinary PhD program (which hosts INTE 6000). All parties must agree that the internship is an essential component of that student's individual program of study. See the INTE 6000 page for more information (e.g. "the doctoral internships shall normally be one semester in duration and consist of a minimum of 420 hours"). Through INTE 6000, the School of Graduate Studies will count the internship as part of the student's academic work, instead of as employment, which allows the student to retain full-time-student status (and thus baseline funding) even though working more than 24 hours a week. Informal internship arrangements entailing fewer than 24 hours of work per week may be handled without a program change and without INTE 6000, as part of a student's normally permitted part-time employment.

International students should note that their study permit may also limit the number of hours that they can work per week, which will likely preclude full-time work. They may be able to apply for a co-op work permit that would allow an exception, but that process can take a long time. The INTE 6000 page (linked above) states that "students should expect some delays in the processing of such applications and should apply well before the start of their internship (at least 90 days prior)". See Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or contact the Grenfell Campus International Office for more information.

For an internship placement to receive the support of the program (e.g. including permission to take INTE 6000), a "TRSU Internship Host Agreement" must be filled out and signed by all parties (i.e. the internship host, the student, the academic supervisor, and the TRSU Graduate Officer) before the internship placement can begin. TRSU students and supervisors can request a blank version of the agreement from the TRSU Graduate Officer (currently