About the GSA

What We Are

The Graduate Students' Association of the University of Alberta (GSA) actively represents and advocates for graduate students at the University of Alberta, with government, and in the broader post-secondary community. Prior to 1972, the GSA operated as a Society under Alberta's Societies Act.

Starting in 1972, the GSA is established by the province’s Post-Secondary Learning Act (PSLA) as a separate, not-for-profit corporation to represent graduate students at the University of Alberta to administration (including the Board of Governors) and government. As a separate corporation, the GSA is governed by a Council established by the PSLA, led by Directly-Elected Officers, and managed by a professional staff, with management reporting regularly to the President, Board, and Council; the GSA also has its own lawyers, auditor, and chartered accountant.

The GSA envisions an engaging environment that is supportive, healthy, accessible, and inclusive. This empowers graduate students to be agents of change in all endeavours, academic and otherwise, during their time here and beyond.

How we are different from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research

Many people confuse the GSA with the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR).

While the GSA and FGSR are both located in Triffo Hall (just south of Deweys), we have separate offices and separate mandates.

FGSR registers you as a graduate student and it is FGSR which oversees your program according to the regulations of the General Faculties Council (the University’s academic governing body).

The GSA, however, represents all graduate students on-and-off campus to government and university administrators, and negotiates for several services on behalf of graduate students as well as the Collective Agreement governing the academic employment of graduate students.

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR) website for more information.

What We Do

Briefly, the mission of the GSA is to:

  1. Advocate for comprehensive, timely, and excellent supports for all graduate students as provided by both the University and government.
  2. Negotiate a Collective Agreement that equitably supports graduate students holding assistantships, and ensure compliance with the Collective Agreement
  3. Foster student engagement
  4. Support academic endeavours of graduate students
The GSA administers a budget of over $1M, including over $750K in grants, awards, and bursaries, is a founding member of the Campus Food Bank, and has negotiated for a number of services on behalf of graduate students including the GSA Health and Dental Plan, group rate home and auto insurance through TDIMM, and the U-Pass. The GSA also subsidizes additional services through the Career Centre and Writing Resources for graduate students.

Another of the GSA’s key responsibilities is to act with “exclusive authority” in representing graduate students in negotiating a Collective Agreement for graduate students holding assistantships. (See PSLA, Section 96(1)).

As the official representative body for all masters' and doctoral students at the U of A, the GSA represents over 7,000 graduate students on committees, councils, and boards that regulate or shape a graduate student’s academic and non-academic life at the U of A. To list a few, the GSA is represented on the Board of Governors, General Faculties Council and all its committees, the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Council, the Senate, and the Alumni Council. The GSA also has a Council, a Board, and several standing committees.

The following links provide additional information: