Roles & Permissions

In Canvas, permissions allow users to access certain features and perform certain functions in a course. Roles are collections of permissions set at the system level and cannot be modified by instructors,

A user's permissions are determined by the role(s) the user is assigned. Roles are assigned based on the access needs of the user and may be determined by the user’s school or department. Roles are cumulative, meaning that if someone is added to a course several times with different roles, they will have permissions for all of those roles in that course.

FERPA Requirements for Access to Student Grades

Users in the Teacher, TA, and Grader roles can view and edit student grade information. Any user who will hold one of these roles must complete the FERPA Tutorial for Staff and take the quiz before being assigned to the role in Canvas. 

Course Roles Currently Available in Canvas


For instructors and assistants who need full access to the Canvas features for instruction.


For assistant instructors and teaching assistants. Teaching assistants cannot publish the course, add others to the course or merge course sections.


For librarians working with faculty in their courses. Librarians can add content including pages, modules, quizzes, and assignments, participate in discussion boards, comment on student submissions, and message the class or individual students.


For individuals who will be grading items in Canvas. The Grader role is similar to the TA role, but has more limited permissions. Graders can view all course content including assignments, quizzes, and discussions; however, unlike users in the TA role, Graders cannot edit course content.


For instructional designers (and staff with similar responsibilities) who write and manage course content, but do not actually teach courses or grade student work. Designers can add content to courses, moderate and post to discussions, and view most course content except for grades.


For students officially enrolled in the course. Students have limited permissions that include posting in discussions, sending messages to others in the class, and viewing course content. This role can only be added to Canvas courses through OPUS feeds.

Note: If you need to add students who are not officially enrolled and want to grant them student-like permissions, use the "Student Non-OPUS" role instead.

Student Non-OPUS

This role has the same permissions as the Student role. Use this role for anyone you want to add to a class with Student permissions but who is not enrolled in the class on OPUS.


For users who need access to view course content but not participate in the course. This role may be used for purposes of ensuring accessibility for students who require accommodations.

For a detailed description of each course role permission, see Emory Canvas permissions chart.