Supervising Graduate Students

In your role as supervisor, you are the key person in your students’ graduate degree program and have considerable influence in helping them achieve their full potential academically, intellectually, and professionally. To be an effective graduate supervisor, you must first recognize the responsibilities that come with this role, and ensure that these are met to the best of your abilities with each graduate student.

The relationship a research graduate student has with his/her supervisor is one of the most important factors in the success of their program, and the most positive outcomes for supervisors depend on mutually open, committed, and respectful relationships with their students. 

The resource we have created, with input from the Graduate Student Society and UBC Counsel Office is a document outlining the expectations of the student-supervisor relationship.

Although not all points in the document may be applicable in all circumstances, and additional elements may be important, we view these generally as hallmarks of a positive, productive, and respectful relationship between a research student and his/her supervisor. We strongly encourage students and their supervisors to have a conversation at the start of the student's program about their relationship, and the document is meant to facilitate that process.  If used as such, it may be modified according to circumstances. We encourage signing by both parties to indicate a high level of mutual commitment to the principles laid out. The template letter we have provided may be used by the supervisor to expand on the expectations/conditions associated with supervision or to place the expectations document in context.

UBC Policy 85 on Scholarly Integrity stipulates that the principal investigator is responsible for "ensuring that the research conditions applicable to the research project, including compensation and practices around supervision, authorship and recording data, are properly articulated in writing and disseminated to all members of the research team prior to engagement in the project". The document may also assist faculty members in meeting this important University requirement.