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Advisors and Supervisors

Once admitted, each student will be assigned an advisor or supervisor, as well as an advisory committee. The advisor (for thesis students) or supervisor (for project students) is chosen through discussions and matching of research interests of faculty and students. The advisory committee for each student is formed shortly after the selection of the advisor/supervisor, in accordance with the rules in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies calendar.

During their first term, most students concentrate on coursework. Those who do not have supervisors for their thesis/project before they enter the program are encouraged to approach faculty members during this term to discuss possible topics and supervision. In addition to taking courses in their second term, students begin to work on their thesis/project that is then continued until completion of their program. Upon completion of their thesis/project, students must arrange with their advisory committee for its defence and then finally for their graduation.

Duties and Responsibilities of Advisors and Supervisors

The primary responsibility for completion of a thesis or project within an acceptable length of time lies with the student. The role of an advisor or supervisor encompasses:

  • Outlining the requirements of a thesis/project; indicating primary source material.
  • Developing the scope of the research problem.
  • Indicating primary source material.
  • Developing a research plan that reflects the time lines outlined on the department’s graduate website.
  • Giving guidance on the form of the presentation of the thesis or project.
  • Following the progress of the student through appropriate meetings and evaluation of preliminary work.
  • Helping to resolve problems the student encounters in the research.
  • Giving guidance on formatting of the thesis or project for presentation.
  • Providing general mentoring of her/his graduate students.

The thesis advisor is a member of the student’s thesis advisory committee and the thesis examining committee. The major research project (MRP) supervisor is a member of the student’s MRP supervisory committee and the MRP evaluation committee. If issues arise between student and advisor/supervisor, they should be dealt with by the graduate officer. If the graduate officer is the advisor/supervisor, then the issue is addressed to the department chair or designate.