Western Graduate & Postdoctoral  Studies

11. Supervision

One of the most important aspects of graduate training is the timely, clear identification of a Supervisor for each graduate student. Although there are wide variations in the pattern of finding such a Supervisor, it is this individual who plays a key role in the direction of the graduate student's research. Although reasonable effort will be made to accommodate individual student research preferences, the graduate program cannot guarantee to provide a particular supervisor, nor to accommodate every topic of research that might be proposed by a graduate student. As one illustration, some programs may only accept students to work on specific projects that are funded by a faculty member's research grant or contract-based funding.

The Thesis Supervisory Committee consists of Supervisor(s) and at least one additional SGPS member who may or may not be in the students Graduate Program. This committee assists in the development of the candidate's research plan and thesis proposal, provides advice and criticism on the planning and writing of the thesis, and decides, or the Supervisor(s) alone may decide at the program's discretion, when the candidate's thesis is ready for examination. The student, however, may submit the thesis without the Supervisor(s)'s or Thesis Supervisory Committee's approval.

Supervisor: This designation indicates that the faculty member has the appropriate level of supervisory membership and primary responsibility for overseeing the Master's or Doctoral thesis research. This designation also indicates primary credit for such supervision.

Co-Supervisor: This designation is applied where two faculty members supervise a Master's thesis, one of whom has Master's or Doctoral membership, and the other has a Non-Thesis membership. This designation can also be applied where two faculty members supervise a Doctoral thesis, one of whom has Doctoral membership and the other has Master's membership. These co-supervisory arrangements allow faculty members without significant supervisory membership to gain supervisory experience via a mentoring process of working with senior faculty. Both faculty members receive equal credit for supervision.

Joint-Supervisors: This designation is applicable where two faculty members in a program supervise a thesis, both of whom have the same level of supervisory membership, and thus share joint responsibility for the thesis. Joint supervision can apply to both Master's and Doctoral theses. These arrangements allow both faculty members to receive equal credit for supervision. Only one of the joint supervisors must be a core-member of the program granting the student's degree.

Alternate Supervisor: For all Master's or Doctoral Supervisory Members who are not employed by UWO (e.g., those with a current Casual Academic Appointment, such as emeritus faculty or off-site research adjunct professors), an alternate Supervisor must be appointed by the Graduate Program Chair for each student supervised. The alternate Supervisor must have the appropriate level of supervisory membership for the student in question (Master's or Doctoral), and must be able to assume the supervisory role if necessary.

A supervisor is required for all research-degree students.  At admission, students are given an offer letter that outlines the contractual obligations between the student and the program.   Each program will ensure that students receive appropriate supervision.

When the supervisor is determined (either at admission or some later point) the supervisor commits to assuming the roles and responsibilities specified by the School for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and the program. http://grad.uwo.ca/faculty_staff/viceprovost/supervision.html

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is committed to resolving any conflicts between students and supervisors as early as possible.   When the process breaks down, the following apply:

The new supervisor, normally from the student’s program, will assume the roles and responsibilities specified by SGPS and the program.  Normally, the normal duration of the degree program for the student will not be increased.