Annual Progress Report
All graduate students must submit a progress report every year, and must maintain satisfactory progress (see section below) toward degree completion in order to remain in the program. If students do not complete an annual progress report (APR) they run the risk of being withdrawn from graduate studies. The annual progress report (APR) must be completed every year; only students with a defense scheduled for the semester the APR is due are exempt.
Annual progress reports are useful for both the student and committee as they help to ensure timely progress toward the completion of the degree, and can identify any issues with student progress early enough so the committee can help the student.
Graduate students receive a hard copy of the annual report form from the Graduate Program Assistant every year in the semester in which they started (Fall, Spring or Summer), and are expected to have completed and returned it by October 15 (Fall admission) February 15 (Spring admission) or June 15 (Summer admission).
What’s in a progress report?
- The completed form given to you by the Graduate Program Assistant.
- Minutes of your most recent supervisory committee meeting, which has to be held annually. Students are encouraged to hold committee meetings in a timely manner, and not delay scheduling the meetings until the month the APR is due. The minutes include a sheet of past and future milestones which you should bring to the committee meeting for discussion, and up to two free-form pages summarizing the main points discussed during the meeting. Please do not include printed copies of any powerpoint presentation made at the meeting.
- A brief description of the work completed since the last report (or since starting their program if this is the first report). The senior supervisor and candidate must be present at the committee meeting and no more than one committee member can attend using video conferencing options. Separate meetings with individual committee members can only be used in place of the committee meeting under exceptional circumstances and with prior approval of the DGSC chair.
- An unofficial graduate transcript. Do not submit your undergraduate transcript.
- An assessment of your progress by each member of your supervisory committee.
MSc and MPM Students
Note that students in the MSc and MPM are required to submit a 3-4 page formal thesis proposal with their first annual progress report. This proposal must be discussed with the supervisory committee no later than the second semester enrolled. MSc and MPM students must have their first supervisory committee meeting no later than the second semester enrolled.
Students in the first year of the MET program are required to submit a progress report outlining all the courses taken. The progress report is to be approved by the MET Program Director.
MET students are required to form a supervisory committee by the end of their 3rd semester. After a committee has been formed, future annual progress reports will follow the requirements for a progress report listed above in "What's in a progress report?".
PhD candidates must defend a 5-page thesis proposal during a candidacy exam. The candidacy exam normally occurs by the fourth semester enrolled. More information on the candidacy exam is on our Degree Requirements page.
What constitutes Satisfactory Progress?
Progress by a graduate student in Biological Sciences is deemed to be satisfactory when two conditions are met.
1. Satisfactory CGPA
MSc, MET, MPM and PhD students are required to maintain a CGPA of at least 3.0.
2. Satisfactory evaluations by supervisory committee
Each member of the supervisory committee for master’s and doctoral students has to report on student progress at least once each year. This is done by means of evaluation forms which assess progress in (a) articulating the goals and broad context of the research, (b) understanding and applying relevant methods, (c) data collection, analysis and writing, and (d) development of good work habits. Overall progress is rated as excellent, satisfactory, satisfactory with concerns, or unsatisfactory. A rating of unsatisfactory overall progress by one or more, but not all, committee members will be discussed between the Chair of DGSC and the committee member(s) concerned. A unanimous unsatisfactory rating for overall progress, or such a rating by the Senior Supervisor, will trigger a progress review by DGSC.
What happens if progress is not satisfactory?
Unsatisfactory progress, owing to the failure to meet either of the requirements described above, will trigger a review by the Departmental Graduate Studies Committee (DGSC). The DGSC, in consultation with the student’s supervisory committee, will inform the student of the unsatisfactory progress and may either require the student to improve in specific ways in a specific period of time or may require the student to withdraw. These outcomes, and the appeal procedures, are described more fully in the General Graduate Regulations (sections 1.8.2 and Guidelines for Graduate Program Appeals, http://www.fhs.sfu.ca/graduate-programs/Graduate-Studies-Appeal-Procedures.pdf).
Under no circumstances will a graduate student whose CGPA is below 3.0 be awarded a graduate degree. Similarly, under no circumstances will a student with a CGPA below 2.5 be awarded a graduate diploma.
If you have concerns about your committee please complete the Confidential Report to DGSC Chair.