The Supervisory Committee

The supervisory committee consists of your supervisor plus

  • at least two other individuals for doctoral students
  • at least one other individual for master's students.

Committee members are normally faculty members. The committee's role is to provide support by broadening and deepening the range of expertise and experience available to you and your supervisor. The committee offers advice about and assessment of your work.

A doctoral student’s supervisory committee is responsible for guiding the student in selecting any required courses, planning the research, and preparing the thesis.

Students in a master's program with a thesis will have a supervisory committee that advises them on coursework, research, and thesis preparation.

Graduate students who establish their supervisory committees early in their programs and who meet with their committees regularly, tend to complete their degree programs successfully, and more quickly, than students who wait to establish their committees. 

Doctoral students: If there are changes to the composition or distribution of roles on a doctoral student's supervisory committee after candidacy, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral studies must be notified so that the committee can be re-confirmed. Failure to do this may result in delays at the time of the doctoral defence if there are problems with the non-confirmed committee.

The Handbook of Graduate Supervision has more information about working effectively with your supervisory committee.

Who can be a supervisory committee member?

For information on composition of supervisory committees and eligibility for supervisory roles, see Policies and Procedures / Supervision