Supervision

picture of a young woman posing with some men in front of a mud building

Margarita Sanchez posing with rural producers in Bolivia (2016).


Members of the supervisory committee act as academic advisors assessing the student’s work and progress, assisting with thesis or major research paper preparation and serving as professional mentors. Selecting the right supervisor and developing a good working relation with your supervisory committee is therefore essential for the successful completion of the program.

Students are responsible to find their supervisor with the assistance of the GPD and are encouraged to start this process early in the term. Every attempt will be made to assign the supervisor of first choice to students but sometimes this may not be the possible and therefore students should think about alternative supervisors. Ideally, students should have a confirmed supervisor by October of the first year and a list of potential second readers (MRP option) or members of their supervisory committee (thesis option) by November.

Supervisory Committee Composition

Thesis option

The Thesis Supervisory Committee consists of three faculty members, including one from outside the program. The thesis supervisor should be chosen from the program’s list of faculty. The thesis must be defended in an oral examination before a Thesis Examining Committee, made up of all three members of the Supervisory committee and the Dean's Representative.

MRP Option

The MRP Supervisory Committee consists of two faculty members, a Supervisor and a Second Reader. The MRP supervisor should be chosen from the program’s list of faculty. The second reader may be selected from another program. Students will be required to defend their MRPs orally before both readers.

Supervision Guidelines

Notwithstanding the fact that there are various approaches to supervisor-student relations, the following general guidelines outline some basic expectations:

A supervisor shall:

  • be reasonably accessible to the student, normally meeting once a month and never less than once each term.
  • make arrangements for the student’s defense and ensure that a copy of the student’s thesis/MRP is sent to each member of the examining committee as far as possible in advance of the date of the oral examination but no later than three weeks prior to the date set.

Members of a supervisory committee shall:

  • review the student’s progress from time to time, meeting with the student at least once per term, and maintain regular contact during the fieldwork period.
  • meet with the student in the Spring of Year I to evaluate the Report on Progress submitted by the student and submit a completed copy of the Report on Progress to the graduate program director after the meeting.
  • provide comments within a reasonable time period (two to three weeks) after student submits written drafts of their work.
  • review a student’s research proposal and recommend its approval not less than three months prior to the date set for the oral examination.
  • read the thesis/MRP and make a recommendation to the graduate program director regarding oral defense and/or its approval.

Students shall:

  • select their supervisory committee by the deadlines set by the program.
  • maintain regular contact with their supervisor and supervisory committees.
  • involve members of the supervisory committee in the research/writing processes,  including the development of their research proposal, from the beginning of the study.
  • inform members of their supervisory committees well in advance (three weeks minimum) of upcoming deadlines and/or activities that require their input or signature.

Please visit Faculty of Graduate Studies - Supervision Guidelines for more information.