The Research Supervisor

Your supervisor is the key person in your graduate degree program. The principal role of the supervisor is to help students achieve their scholastic potential and to chair the student’s Supervisory Committee. The Supervisor will provide reasonable commitment, accessibility, professionalism, stimulation, guidance, respect and consistent encouragement to the student.

Supervisors should be 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 must also ensure that their students’ work meets the standards of the University and the academic discipline.

The Handbook of Graduate Supervision has more information on the roles and responsibilities of supervisors.

Who can be a supervisor?

For complete information, see Policies and Procedures / Supervision

Any faculty member who is a member of the UBC Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is eligible to serve as a graduate student supervisor.

The UBC Calendar has the full Senate policy on membership in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.


Supervision of a student can be shared by two co-supervisors. At least one co-supervisor must meet the criteria above. Other appropriately qualified individuals may be approved to serve as co-supervisors.

In all cases where the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must approve a supervisory role for a non-member, the request must be made when the committee is formed.

Recommending non-G&PS members for supervisory roles

Please see the following pages in the Faculty and Staff / Policies and Procedures section of this website.

Supervision of Graduate Students by Non-members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Non-members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as Supervisory Committee Members