Finding a Supervisor

Do I need a supervisor?

Not all programs require you to secure a supervisor before applying. Generally, research-based programs require a supervisor for your thesis project. The Master of Science in Bioscience, Technology, & Public Policy and the Master of Environmental & Social Change programs require that you find a supervisor and write a research proposal before being admitted.

For the Master of Science in Applied Computer Science & Society program, a supervisor is required if you are applying to the research-based program. Applicants to the Master’s in Development Practice: Indigenous Development program are not obligated to consult with or secure a supervisor before applying. Upon admission to the MDP, students will be assigned an academic supervisor according to their area of interest. If you are unsure if you need to find a supervisor, you should contact the program chair.

How do I find a supervisor?

If you have been advised that you require a Graduate Supervisor, you will need to contact professors to determine if they are taking on new graduate students. The first step is often to browse the web pages of faculty members in your department to see which research projects interest you. To contact a professor, be sure to send a tailored enquiry, rather than a generic message, attach a copy of your Curriculum Vitae, and offer an opportunity for further discussion (via teleconference, video-conference, or in-person interview).

You may also consider contacting the Graduate Program Chair with a brief research proposal, asking if they could recommend anyone in the program engaging in similar work. It is always a good idea to reach out to the Graduate Program Chair before applying to any graduate program. They will be your main point of contact to answer questions about eligibility requirements, funding, or assistantship opportunities.

What is the difference between a supervisor and an advisor?

A Graduate Advisor is responsible for assisting students with planning a program of study and ensuring that students are aware of all general regulations, program requirements, and degree regulations of the graduate department. Advisors also attend all supervisory committee meetings as well as student thesis, clinical or technical practicum examinations and prepare an annual report of the progress of the graduate student.

A Graduate Supervisor is responsible for supervising and providing guidance on all aspects of a student’s thesis, practicum, or research program and staying informed of the student’s progress and preparing an annual report summarizing progress in research, clinical, or technical activities and ensuring that scientific research is conducted in a way that is effective and safe. Supervisors review and evaluate student theses and major research papers in draft and final form and attend all supervisory committee meetings as well as student thesis, clinical or technical practicum examinations.

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