With support from their supervisor, students choose their supervisory committee members and schedule their initial committee meeting during the first year of study. Discuss your potential committee members with your supervisor. It is your responsibility to contact prospective faculty and request that they act as committee members. Be aware that not all faculty are able to honour every request for committee membership. Only one faculty member from the same department as a supervisor is allowed.
- Doctoral supervisory committees must have at least three members (excluding the supervisor)
- Master’s supervisory committees must have at least three members (including the supervisor)
To add committee members who are not G+PS members, special permission 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. To be eligible, the non-member should normally be actively engaged in research, experienced with graduate education, and hold appropriate qualifications. Note that at least half of the members of the supervisory committee must be members of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Please see GPN forms for MSc students and here for PhD students.
It is the responsibility of the student to initiate and arrange committee meetings. This includes finding a suitable time for all members of the committee and booking appropriate meeting space. Many faculty have significant travel schedules, so committee meetings are best arranged well in advance (2-3 months). Doodle or similar scheduling tools are useful and often necessary to find a suitable time. Use the committee meeting checklist to help you plan your committee meetings.
The following are general guidelines for conducting a supervisory committee meeting. The committee is given considerable latitude to alter this format as they see fit.
- The student provides the committee with a written review of their progress one week prior to the meeting. We recommend that this progress report includes notes on required coursework, project progress, and any publications or presentations. A form is available (see https://med-neuroscience-2021.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2022/03/progress_update_for_supervisory_committee.pdf) to help with this. It is highly recommended that students use this form. The progress report should be approved by the supervisor before sending it to the committee. Please copy the GPN Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org on your email to the committee.
- At the committee meeting, the Chair calls the meeting to order, and the student is asked to present their recent progress (in a short 20-25 minute presentation), and then a general discussion of the project ensues.
- Be sure to print out the Committee Report form and bring it with you to the meeting. Fill out the form, get all signatures, and return the completed form to the GPN Coordinator at email@example.com.
One member of the committee will act as the Chair. This can be decided by the committee at the first meeting. The chair represents the Graduate Program for Neuroscience on the supervisory committee and will monitor and report on the student’s progress. The chair will perform normal duties on the committee and is additionally responsible for ensuring that the student is being supervised adequately and fairly. If the chair has any concerns in this regard, they should be communicated immediately to the Graduate Program for Neuroscience.
Responsibilities of Committee Members
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.