Supervision

Graduate programs: For detailed instructions please see the SISC supervisory committee screen. Alternatively, you may visit our “Faculty and Staff Intranet”, log in with your CWL, go to “Resources” in the top bar menu, and then pick "Student Administration".

Abbreviated Senate policy in UBC Calendar:

Full Senate policy

Database of eligible supervisors

For information on supervision by non-members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, and on non-members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as supervisory committee members, see end of this page.

Form: Recommendation for Supervision of Graduate Student by Non-G+PS Member

Form: Recommendation for Non-G+PS Member to Join Supervisory Committee

From the Calendar:

"Members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must be tenured or tenure track (including grant tenured or grant tenure track) faculty members holding the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor. They must be approved by their disciplinary faculty (or functional equivalent) for membership in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and must meet the criteria established by the graduate programs with which they are affiliated. Members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may supervise graduate students, chair examining committees, and vote at Faculty general meetings."

"Persons holding the following ranks are not eligible for membership in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies: adjunct professors, clinical professors, honorary professors, partner professors, visiting professors, professors of teaching, senior instructors, instructors, lecturers, acting assistant professors, UBC Okanagan professors." [Note: This is NOT a complete list.] For more information on UBC Okanagan faculty, see "UBCO Faculty" further down this page.

"Members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are listed in the Calendar under the degree programs with which they are formally affiliated."

Instructions for formally affiliating a faculty member with your program

IMPORTANT:

Faculty in the Educational Leadership stream are not eligible to be members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and are not automatically eligible to supervise or co-supervise students or to serve on doctoral supervisory committees.

 

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Every student in a doctoral or thesis-based master’s program must have a research supervisor and a supervisory committee. The supervisor’s principal role is to help students achieve their academic potential. The supervisor will provide commitment, accessibility, professionalism, stimulation, guidance, respect, and consistent encouragement to the student. The committee should be established as early in the student’s program as possible. For further information and guidance on supervision, please see “Supervising Graduate Students”.

Members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies have full supervisory privileges. They must be listed in the Calendar under the degree programs with which they are formally affiliated. Appropriately qualified individuals who are not members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (such as clinical faculty, faculty with partner appointments, adjunct faculty, professors of teaching, senior instructors, visiting faculty, honorary faculty, UBCO faculty, affiliate professors, faculty members from other universities, and off-campus professionals who are academically qualified to advise graduate students) may be approved to supervise, co-supervise, or serve on the supervisory committees of graduate students.

For information about recommending approval to supervise or co-supervise a graduate student by individuals who are not members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, see the heading "Supervision of Graduate Students by Non-members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies".

For information about recommending approval to serve on a graduate student supervisory committee by individuals who are not members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, see the heading "Non-members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as Supervisory Committee Members".

UBC Partner appointees

Partner appointees are not eligible to be members of G+PS, but may be eligible for full graduate supervisory privileges. In 2015 G+PS delegated the authority to graduate programs in the Faculty of Medicine to grant supervisory privileges to partner appointees. The process applies to decisions regarding sole or co-supervision of master’s and doctoral students in the Faculty of Medicine, membership on doctoral supervisory committees, and eligibility to serve as university examiners on the final doctoral examination. Partner appointees who want to hold supervisory roles for students whose graduate program is in the Faculty of Medicine must contact the individual graduate program(s) or the Faculty of Medicine Dean's office for information.

Partner appointees who want to hold supervisory roles for students whose program is not in the Faculty of Medicine, and who have not been approved for supervisory privileges by the Faculty of Medicine, require approval of the Dean of G+PS. See links above for information.

UBCO Faculty

2022 NOTE: UBC-O revised its membership policy in January 2022. Due to changes in the policy, language, and terminlology, the terms approved by UBC Senate in January 2018 are no longer accurate. UBC-V is revising the wording in its policy so that the intent of it remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, in the paragraph below, for "Members in good standing of the College of Graduate Studies..." please read "Tenured and tenure-track UBC-Okanagan faculty members in the research stream who hold Supervisory membership in the College of Graduate Studies...."

The following paragraph is an amendment that was approved by UBC Senate in January 2018.

"Members in good standing of the College of Graduate Studies from the UBC Okanagan campus may co-supervise UBC-V master’s and doctoral students and/or serve on master’s and doctoral student supervisory committees without requiring approval from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Approval for UBC-O faculty in these roles is the responsibility of the graduate program concerned. Note that sole supervision of UBC-V master’s and doctoral students by UBC-O faculty does require the approval of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, upon the recommendation of the graduate program concerned. According to UBC Okanagan Senate Policy O-4, membership in the College of Graduate Studies includes all tenured or tenure-track (including grant tenured or grant tenure-track) faculty members holding the rank of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor approved by their Faculty for membership in the College. These individuals are not members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies."

2022 Note: In January 2022, UBC Okanagan Senate Policy O-4 was replaced with UBC Okanagan Senate Policy O-9: Graduate Student Supervision and Membership in the College of Graduate Studies

Retirement

Members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may continue as members upon retirement, provided they are approved by their disciplinary Faculty (or functional equivalent) for membership in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and continue to meet the criteria established by their graduate program for membership in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. A retired member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may supervise, co-supervise, and serve on the supervisory committees of graduate students with the approval of the disciplinary Faculty.

Changes to Supervision

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.

Procedure: If the committee has not yet been approved in SISC, the program office can change it. If the committee has been approved, please complete the form below and send it to Grad Studies:

Change to Supervisory Committee form

  • If the supervisor leaves the University with the thesis or dissertation close to completion, the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies may permit the supervisor to retain this position. In this case, a co-supervisor must be appointed.
  • If the supervisor is on study leave or any other leave exceeding two months, arrangements must be made to ensure continuity of supervision. It is highly recommended that an interim co-supervisor be appointed.
  • When a faculty member approaching retirement accepts an assignment as supervisor, the faculty member and the head of the department must ensure that provision is made for an alternate supervisor if or when the need arises.
  • A number of circumstances may lead to a termination of the student–supervisor relationship. Resolution of the situation is dependent on a variety of factors but, if the student is in good academic standing, the program has the responsibility to make their best effort to help the student find a new supervisor.

Supervisory Committees: Roles and Responsibilities

Supervisory committee members are to be available for help at every stage of the student’s program, from selection of coursework to formulation of the research proposal by establishing the methodology and discussing the results, to presentation and publication of the thesis or dissertation.

It is the responsibility of the supervisory committee to provide constructive criticism and assessment of the student’s ideas as the program develops, thereby broadening and deepening the range of expertise and experience of the graduate student. The committee is required to approve the final thesis or dissertation before examination.

The supervisory committee, whether master’s or doctoral, must meet at least once a year to monitor and direct the student’s progress. Generally, it is the student’s responsibility to organize the committee meetings.

Supervisory Committees: Composition

Doctoral supervisory committees must have at least three members (including the supervisor). They may have either one supervisor and at least two committee members, or one primary supervisor and one co-supervisor and at least one committee member, or two co-supervisors and at least one committee member. They may not have three co-supervisors.

Master’s supervisory committees must have at least two members, and should have at least three members (including the supervisor). They may have either one supervisor and at least one committee member, or one primary supervisor and one co-supervisor and one committee member, or two co-supervisors and one committee member. They may not have three co-supervisors (or one supervisor and two co-supervisors).

Doctoral supervisors, co-supervisors, and committee members, and master's supervisors and co-supervisors, must be members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies or have been approved by the appropriate bodies (see Non-members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies as Supervisory Committee Members and Supervision of Graduate Students by Non-members of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, as appropriate, for approval processes). It is recommended that at least one committee member be from a graduate program other than the student’s. At least half of the members of the supervisory committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

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

Senate policy in Calendar

Form: Recommendation for Supervision of Graduate Student by Non-G+PS Member

For a non-member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to supervise or co-supervise a master’s or doctoral student, special approval is required from both the disciplinary Faculty and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

In all cases where the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must approve a supervisory role for a non-member, the request should be made when the non-member is chosen as a potential co-supervisor or supervisor.

To be eligible, a non-member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should normally be actively engaged in research, experienced with graduate education, and hold appropriate qualifications. Supervision of a graduate student involves significant and sometimes arduous responsibilities. Supervisor responsibilities should be reviewed and discussed by the student, graduate advisor, and the prospective supervisor to ensure the viability and desirability of the arrangement, including provision for financial support. In most cases where a non-member of G+PS is granted supervisory privileges the student is co-supervised by a G+PS member. Note that at least half of the members of the supervisory committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Suitable nominees may be found among:

  • clinical faculty
  • faculty with partner appointments (see Faculty of Medicine for information)
  • adjunct faculty
  • professors of teaching
  • senior instructors
  • visiting faculty
  • honorary faculty
  • UBCO faculty
  • affiliate professors
  • faculty members from other universities
  • off-campus professionals who are academically qualified to advise graduate students

UBCO Faculty

UBC Okanagan faculty who are tenured or tenure-track faculty in the research stream and who are Supervisory Members of the College of Graduate Studies may co-supervise UBC-V master’s and doctoral students and/or serve on master’s and doctoral student supervisory committees without requiring approval from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Note that sole supervision of UBC-V master’s and doctoral students by UBCO faculty requires the approval of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Please see the Senate Policy for full details.

Recommending Approval of Non-members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Please use this form to send your recommendation:

Recommendation for Supervision of Graduate Student by Non-G+PS Member

If you are sending the recommendation electronically, please scan and send to graduate.sas@ubc.ca

The Graduate Advisor or Head of the Graduate Program must provide the following information to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, along with the recommendation form:

  • Nominee’s current CV [not required for UBCO faculty in the Research Professoriate Stream]
  • Statement from nominee assenting to supervise or co-supervise and accepting supervisor responsibilities
  • Indication (from the graduate program) of the particular qualifications that make the nominee suitable
  • Details of the composition of the committee.

Programs can choose to recommend approval for the nominee to supervise or co-supervise a specific student, or to supervisor or co-supervise any students in the graduate program for a five-year period. If the recommendation is for approval for supervision of any students, please ensure that the memo from program and the nominee's assent address qualifications and consent for multiple students.

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

Senate policy in Calendar

Form: Recommendation for Non-G+PS Member to Join Supervisory Committee

For a non-member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to serve on a student's supervisory committee, special approval is required. For service on doctoral committees, the disciplinary Faculty and the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies must approve; for service on master's committees, the approval of the graduate program advisor or department head suffices.

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

To be eligible, a non-member of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies should normally be actively engaged in research, experienced with graduate education, and hold appropriate qualifications. The roles and responsibilities of supervisory committee members should be reviewed and discussed by the student, supervisor, graduate advisor, and prospective committee member to ensure the viability and desirability of the arrangement. Note that at least half of the members of the supervisory committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Suitable nominees may be found among:

  • clinical faculty
  • faculty with partner appointments (see Faculty of Medicine for information)
  • adjunct faculty
  • professors of teaching
  • senior instructors
  • visiting faculty
  • honorary faculty
  • UBCO faculty
  • affiliate professors
  • faculty members from other universities
  • off-campus professionals who are academically qualified to advise graduate students

UBCO Faculty

UBC Okanagan faculty who are tenured or tenure-track faculty in the research stream and who are Supervisory Members of the College of Graduate Studies from the UBC Okanagan campus may co-supervise UBC-V master’s and doctoral students and/or serve on master’s and doctoral student supervisory committees without requiring approval from the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Note that sole supervision of UBCV master’s and doctoral students by UBC-O faculty requires the approval of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Please see the Senate Policy for full details.

Recommending Approval of Non-members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Please use this form to submit your recommendation:

Recommendation for Non-G+PS Member to Join Supervisory Committee

If you are sending the recommendation electronically, please scan and send to graduate.sas@ubc.ca

This recommendation should be made when the committee is formed.  The Graduate Advisor or Head of the Graduate Program should provide the following information to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, along with the recommendation form:

  • Nominee’s current CV [not required for UBCO faculty in the Research Professoriate Stream]
  • Statement from nominee assenting to serve on committee and accepting committee membership responsibilities
  • Indication (from the graduate program) of the particular qualifications that make the nominee suitable
  • Details of the composition of the committee.

Programs can choose to recommend approval for committee membership on a specific student's committee, or for membership on the committees of any students in the graduate program for a five-year period. If the recommendation is for approval for service on the committees of any students, please ensure that the memo from program and the nominee's assent address qualifications and consent for multiple students.