PhD Supervision

A good supervisory relationship is key to ensuring that the goals and standards of the doctoral program are met while contributing to the student’s overall positive experience in the program.

The success of good supervision is a shared responsibility and depends on both student and supervisor communicating well and upholding high academic standards.   The SGS Graduate Supervision Guidelines is a good resource, a set of “best practices”, general guidelines, policies, and suggestions that provide direction on choosing a supervisor, establishing a supervisory committee, and maintaining a productive working relationship among all three. The guidelines include a supervision checklist for students.

Supervisory Committee

Within six months of supervisor and topic selection, a Supervisory Committee should be set up consisting of the supervisor and at least two other faculty members with appropriate academic interests.  This committee should meet promptly to review the proposed thesis topic, and to advise the student.   It is possible to appoint a committee member from another university if the individual holds similar graduate faculty status at their home institution. The supervisor forwards the proposed member’s CV to the CIRHR Director who will request temporary SGS graduate faculty status.

The continuing role of the Committee is to ensure that the student is achieving, in a timely manner, the level of academic excellence and technical maturity expected of a PhD graduate from this University. The Committee should also discuss professional development and provide career guidance.

The Supervisory Committee must meet with the student at least once per year to assess the student’s progress in the program.  A report with recommendations for future work is prepared and the student is given the opportunity to respond.   Copies of the report and the student’s response are given to the student and filed with the graduate unit.   Committee meeting dates are tracked by SGS.