Role of the Supervisor

Supervisors are available to help their graduate students at every stage, from formulation of their research projects through establishing methodologies and discussing results, to presentation and possible publication of dissertations. Graduate supervisors also ensure that their students’ work meets the standards of the University.

Some specific responsibilities of a graduate supervisor include:

  • Research topic: Assisting the student with the selection and planning of a suitable and manageable research topic.
  • Accessibility to the student for consultation and discussion of the student’s academic progress and research. The frequency of meetings will vary according to the needs of each student and their project. For some students, weekly meetings are essential; for others, monthly meetings are satisfactory. However, in no case should interaction be less frequent than once per term.
  • Establishing a supervisory committee, and convening full committee meetings, at least twice annually, to evaluate the student’s progress.
  • Responding in a timely manner to written work submitted by the student, with constructive suggestions for improvement and continuation. The turnaround time for comments on written work should not normally exceed three weeks.
  • Maintaining continuity of supervision: Making arrangements to ensure continuity of supervision when the supervisor anticipates an absence for extended periods, e.g. a month or longer.
  • Research materials: Helping the student gain access to facilities or research materials.
  • Safety of research environment: Ensuring that the research environment is safe, healthy and free from harassment, discrimination and conflict.
  • Awareness of program requirements: Assisting the student in being aware of current graduate program requirements, deadlines, sources of funding, etc.
  • Publications: Acknowledging appropriately the contributions of the student in presentations and in published material, in many cases via joint authorship.
  • Funding: All faculty (including associates) should help obtain funding for their graduate students, though we understand that limitations to this exist across fields of study.

For more details on supervisor responsibilities, please consult the G+PS guidelines