Graduate Student Responsibilities

When you register as a graduate student at UBC, you're making a commitment to devote the time and energy needed to engage in research and write a thesis or dissertation. Your supervisor has a right to expect substantial effort, initiative, respect and receptiveness to suggestions and criticisms.

As a graduate student, you must accept the rules, procedures and standards in place in the program and at the university and should check the University Calendar for regulations regarding academic and non-academic matters. You are expected to:

  • Make a commitment and show dedicated efforts to gain the background knowledge and skills needed to pursue your research project successfully.
  • In conjunction with your supervisor, develop a plan and timetable for completion of all stages of your thesis project, adhere to a schedule and meet appropriate deadlines.
  • Meet with your supervisor when requested and report fully and regularly on progress and results.
  • Maintain registration throughout the program and (for international students) ensure that study permits and (where applicable) employment authorization documents are kept up to date.
  • Keep your supervisor, graduate program advisor and Enrolment Services informed about your contact information.
  • Give serious consideration to the advice and criticisms received from your supervisor and other members of your supervisory committee.
  • Keep your work space tidy, safe and healthy; show tolerance and respect for the rights of others.
  • Be thoughtful and reasonably frugal in using resources provided by your supervisor and the University, and assist in obtaining additional resources for your research or for other group members where applicable.
  • Conform to University, Faculty and graduate program requirements, including those related to deadlines, dissertation or thesis style, conflict of interest.
  • When your degree program requirements have been met, terminate your work and clean up your work space.
  • Return borrowed materials to your supervisor, graduate program, library or reading room, etc. when your project has been finished or when return is requested.

The following suggestions can make your life a lot easier:

  • Review the literature regularly and keep your literature survey up-to-date
  • Maintain exemplary records of your experimental/theoretical work (so that others can replicate your results)
  • While your supervisor is required to be reasonably available for consultation, it is your responsibility to keep in touch with your supervisor
  • Make yourself available to your supervisor for regular meetings at mutually acceptable times
  • Follow the university's policy regarding ownership of intellectual property

Student Comments: Advice for New Grad Students

  • "It’s all a matter of perspective. As a student you have little to no control over the administrative part of things, but on the flip side, if you take the time to get to know your administrators, things can be made a lot smoother, especially if someone in the office is willing to sign a form that is late."
  • "Ultimately, you are responsible for yourself as a graduate student. It’s time to learn how to self-advocate."
  • "Take care of your committee. It sounds corny, but if the student doesn’t care, the committee won’t. For example, set up meetings (time and agenda), give them plenty of information on what you are doing (progress reports), and remind them of past, present, and future important stuff."
  • "Don’t expect your committee to care for your emotions. Their role is to put students to the test."
  • "Other graduate students are your ticket to a healthy student life. They either have gone through it, are going through it, or will go through it. Sharing feelings and experiences will keep you sane."
  • "It’s tough, yet rewarding at the same time, being a graduate student. There are a lot of us at UBC, so competition is high."
  • "Be nice to librarians: they are a key resource as your research progresses. You may need their assistance not only during the literature review, but for data analysis, web searches, copyright issues."
  • "Use your research to make contacts. Remember, you aren’t just conducting graduate research—you are also entering a field of colleagues."