Supervisory Committee

Supervisory Committees

Students must establish their MA Supervisory Committee by the beginning of their second term of their program, at the latest. The MA and PhD supervisory committee will consist of at least two Department of Psychology faculty members, one of whom will be the supervisor and a committee member(s). Other faculty members outside the Department who are considered necessary by the student and supervisor may serve on MA and PhD committees. (See Graduate General Regulations 1.6 of the Graduate General Regulations).

Students are required to submit an Approval of Supervisory Committee form detailing the composition of their supervisory committee to the Graduate Program Assistant.

The Role of Supervisor and Your Role as Research Student

Your Supervisor is your mentor and should be available to meet with you to provide guidance. A senior supervisor should be consulted for advice in choosing course-work options, planning a sequence of tasks over an extended period, discussing training opportunities, and developing career-related plans.

The main role of your Supervisor is to help guide your research thinking. This will include providing a critical appraisal of your ideas so as to ensure your research is feasible and worth doing. Your Supervisor can also direct you to possible resources and give constructive comments on your written work.

The frequency of contact between student and Supervisor varies widely owning both to differences in the nature of activities and to individual differences in supervisory and student styles. At times this may require weekly individual or research group meetings, while at other times consultations may be less frequent. For these reasons it will be important for you to meet with your Supervisor early in your first term to review mutual expectations concerning frequency of contact, laboratory work, and the development of your research proposal. If you are not working alongside your Supervisor in a laboratory setting you should expect these discussions to be arranged by appointment within regular working hours on campus. Supervisors and students share an equal responsibility for keeping appointments and for fulfilling commitments arising from such meetings. Graduate Students have the right to meet with their senior supervisors at least once every 2 weeks.

When you bring your Supervisor written work for review you should normally expect it to be attended to in a timely manner. There should be some general agreement as to when further discussions should proceed. Normally you should expect comments within two weeks. You should not ask your Supervisor to review major manuscripts on short notice unless this arrangement has been agreed to in advance. If your Supervisor is expecting major time demands from an off-campus commitment or will have a research term involving absences from campus, you have a right to be informed of these absences well in advance. It is up to you both to plan your consultations effectively. Your requests for letters of reference for scholarships, job applications, or to Internship settings should be made well in advance (one month is recommended) and should be supported by useful documentation of your work in the program as information to assist your referee. 

It is to your benefit to take advantage of every opportunity to participate in additional research projects being run by your Supervisor, other faculty members, or other graduate students. This is true even if some of the work is quite routine: you gain experience in collaboration, you may share some of the rewards by participating in presenting the results to the scientific community, and you may experience reciprocal benefits by receiving help from others on your own projects.

As part of your general education in psychology, you are expected to attend Departmental Colloquia as a means of maintaining familiarity with contemporary research that may fall outside the bounds of your own research area. Your Supervisory Committee may also require you to complete extra course work if it considers such experience desirable for the fullest development of your competencies.