Finding a Supervisor for MSc Program

Every incoming graduate student is assigned a faculty member as his/her temporary advisor.  These assignments are made keeping in mind the research interests of the student and the workload of the faculty member.  The initial advisor does not necessarily become the thesis supervisor.  It is the student’s responsibility to find an appropriate thesis or essay supervisor in his or her area of interest within 6 months. 

The supervisor must be a Professor, Associate Professor, or Assistant Professor and a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.  Once the student has found a supervisor, the student and supervisor must complete the supervisory agreement form.  The supervisor then takes over the responsibility of the advisor.  It is essential that students begin their thesis or essay work in the summer following their first year.  Support for this work may be available (see our policy on financial support).  The thesis or essay must be approved by the supervisor and one other faculty member.

The supervisor may be from outside the student’s home department.  In this case, the student must identify a co-supervisor from the home department. All three parties (student and both supervisors) must sign the supervisory agreement form.

If the supervisor leaves the University but the thesis is close to completion the supervisor may, with the permission of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, continue.  In this case, a co-supervisor who is a full member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is appointed.

If the supervisor is on study leave or any other leave exceeding two months, it is highly recommended that an interim co-supervisor who is a full member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies be appointed.

Deadline for Finding a Supervisor

For students starting in September and January:

  • By March 15, Year 1:  the student should have made substantial progress toward finding a thesis/essay supervisor, i.e., the student should have identified one or more possible supervisors and discussed supervision with them.
  • By May 1, Year 1:  any student who has not found a thesis/essay supervisor will receive a notification that they have not conformed to the schedule for finding a supervisor and a reminder of the timeline detailed below.
  • By July 1, Year 1:  if a thesis/essay supervisor has not been found, the student will be judged not to be making satisfactory progress.  He/she will not receive any funding beyond August 31 of that year.  If a student finds a supervisor, the student will be judged to be making satisfactory progress and funding will be restored.
  • By Jan 1, Year 2:   if a thesis/essay supervisor not been found, the Graduate Affairs Committee will notify the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies that the student has not met the requirements and should be withdrawn from the program.

Students who start in January have the same deadlines since they will be drawing from the same pool of supervisors as the September entrants.  January entrants to the program would have to find a supervisor within 2.5 months, by March 15 of their first year; therefore, students entering in January should start communicating with faculty members in the department before they arrive.  Students deferring their start of studies until January will be informed that they must adhere to this schedule.

Form:  Supervisory Form

Faculty of Graduate & Post Doctoral Studies:



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