Graduate Supervision


Students will conduct research under the guidance of a faculty supervisor (assigned at admission). The supervisory relationship is a foundation of graduate education, particularly in doctoral-stream programs. The success of a good supervisory relationship is a shared responsibility. It depends on both the student and supervisor communicating well, being tolerant and understanding, and each holding the other to high standards. The department also plays a role, providing clarity and consistency of expectations, upholding academic standards, administering the program fairly and effectively, and intervening where necessary to help resolve problems.

Supervision Guidelines and Checklist

At the start of a student’s program and regularly throughout, the department recommends that students meet with their supervisor and set out clear, shared expectations, discuss intellectual property issues and publication expectations and other matters. The department recommends that students and supervisors review the Graduate Supervision Guidelines, and each complete a graduate supervision checklist (contained in the guidelines).

Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee provides support to the student and supervisor by broadening and deepening the range of expertise and experience available and by offering advice about, and assessment of, the student’s work.

Doctoral students are expected to form a supervisory committee in consultation with their supervisor by April of year 1. Many students start connecting with committee members earlier, in January of year 1. It is recommended that students meet or take a course with faculty they might want to be on their committee early on to get a sense if a good match of interests exists. PhD students are required to meet with their supervisory committee at least once a year (normally April to June).

Masters students should discuss forming a committee with their supervisor when they are developing their research proposal (March/April). The supervisor may recommend that establishing a committee early or they may recommend doing this at the writing stage when the student has started to draft a thesis/major research paper.

The supervisory committee must include:
a) the supervisor or supervisors;
b) an additional Geography & Planning graduate faculty member;
c) one additional graduate faculty member from any graduate unit at the university, including Geography & Planning.

Additional members may be added if necessary.