Annual Plan

An Annual Plan can provide you and your supervisor with a clear outline of the work to come, as well as a document to check with periodically as the year progresses. You should be aware of these important milestones towards the timely completion of your degree:

  • End of first year: course work completed; supervisory committee established and has met once
  • End of second year: qualifying requirements completed (for PhD students); research work completed (for master's students); at least one supervisory committee meeting completed.
  • Maximum time allowed for completing a master's degree: five years
  • Maximum time allowed for completing a doctoral degree: six years
  • Doctoral students should check the Doctoral Exams section of this web site.

Annual Expectations

As a graduate student, you need to find out what your graduate program, supervisor and committee expect of you on an annual basis. For example:

  • Are you required to propose an annual plan?
  • How often are you expected to meet with your supervisory committee?
  • Do you have to provide some sort of formal progress report to your program? How often?

Student Comments: Planning the Year

We asked graduate students what advice they would give students when they are planning for the year. Here’s what they said:

  • "Develop a set of general goals and determine what you need to do each month to achieve them. Make others aware of your goals so there is some outside pressure to meet deadlines."
  • "Whatever timeline you plan, double the amount of time you expect your actual research to take."
  • "When planning for the year consider: starting and finishing dates, scholarship deadlines, timing of courses, committee meetings, timing of field work, comprehensive exams, data analysis period, writing period, waiting and revision period, defense, and timei for writing articles."
  • "The first year should centre around courses and a high GPA (for additional scholarship chances) and give the background for the first summer’s research."
  • "Consider how your course work contributes to the development of a research proposal and/or your comprehensive examination."